The Article Box

Friday, October 21, 2005

Schatzlein's Saddle A Thriving Business and Community Landmark for 98 Years

When Emil Schatzlein left Kilzschein in the Bavarian Wine country, he came to Minneapolis with several others from his hometown. He was a leather maker and he wanted to set up a business in a central location. At the time, Minneapolis was a thriving milling and lumber center set on the banks of the Mighty Mississippi. It was a small commercial area surrounded by farms and he knew that farmers needed harnesses. So he set up shop on Lake Street near Lyndale Avenue at the eastern edge of the city. Not too long before, Lake Street was the main Indian path from Lake Calhoun to Fort Snelling.

His decision turned out to be a good one. Many farmers were German and liked to deal with him because he made a good product. They also liked the location because it was easy to find. As the years passed, the city expanded. Schatzlein's no longer was at the edge of the city, but very much in the center. The products he sold changed with the expansion. Horses no longer were used nearly exclusively for labor, people began to ride them for enjoyment. Sales of harnesses gave way to saddles and leather boots. The trend has continued into the third generation. Janet Schatzlein is the granddaughter of Emil. Their storefront sells English and Western saddles and clothing. People who have never been near a horse buy western clothing, and cowboy boots are as common as loafers. But saddles are still a large part of their inventory. For good reason. Hennepin County, where Minneapolis is located, has one of the largest per capita number of horse owners in the entire country.

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Horse or Zebra? It Can Happen To Anyone

There is a saying in diagnostics, "if it sounds like a herd of horses running, look to make sure they're not Zebras"...
In other words, don't look or only see the obvious, it could be something else...
This is not only true for disease, but in life itself. I have worked as a formulary for over 20 years, locked away in my little confined space, reading, researching, experimenting, looking at not only the obvious, but probing the unusual also. When I leave my confined space and go out into the community, I forget all about the parameters that are set in the work space...and that is when I get into trouble.
We had a man that sought our company out in 2003, shortly after we had released a very nice product. This man came into our small company promising business expertise and so forth. We were cautious and would sign no agreement with him, hired our own business manager with a MBA, tried to do those things that are right, but, even that didn't help.
This man stole company checks from us, stole the managers social security number and name from company documents, he and his wife opened a commercial account in a name similar to our company, used the managers social security number and name, signed off the back of the checks in our company name and took the money. Then he came back and is trying to sue for 49% of our company and all of my formulas saying that he is “owed” it.
Don't worry, we paid a bunch of money to protect ourselves from him and the Idaho State Bank that allowed him to do all of this. It's such a shame, to be victims of what is suppose to be federal crimes, and still have to pay and pay and pay again in order to protect yourself, your life works, and your home from people who don't understand how to work but who know how to intimidate others with physical threats so as to avoid prosecution. Do you know that the FBI sent a directive out in the Spring of 2005 stating that if a bank fraud case is not worth 300,000.00, that they are not to pursue it, so if you steal 299,000.00 from a bank using the same methods, I guess the FBI doesn't have to get involved, somebody is just SOL.
Ed Wilton and his wife, Kelley as we will call them, seemed to be nice people, good people, wanting to help and be kind, but as you can see, they're Zebras.
Idaho being the back water state it is, is slow to press anything against these people. Mr Wilton and his wife have done this to at least 3 other companies in the state of Idaho. Why are they not pursued? Mr. Wilton has at least 10 million dollars in the bank, although the IRS can't seem to find it as Mr. Wilton put the money in other peoples accounts, runs a pornography business, which isn't illegal unless it is kiddie porn, which he is also suspected of (but the witnesses keep disappearing), runs fly-by-night finance businesses that seem to go bankrupt every other month, has other homes in other states that he runs to when the Prosecuting attorney here decides he doesn't like him.
However, Mr. Wilton was arrested recently for stealing Internet services from the local "Rape Crisis Center", I believe he called them "A bunch of whining babies". The Rape Crisis Center has said that Mr. Wilton has often threatened the women that work and visit the office. Can you say "low life predator?".

Allegedly, Mr. Wilton, his wife Kelley and Mr. Wilton's other brothers, run the largest Escort Service in the US, called U.S. Leggs, which caters to all our State, Local and Federal Officials. Mr. Wilton has his girls take our politicians back to their rooms, which are wired with sound and cameras, have sex and afterwards, Mr. Wilton and his partners blackmail our leaders in order to run their prostitution rings, drug rings, and allow criminals to go without jail time when they get caught, because they work for Mr. Wilton. (Mr. Wilton has bragged several times about the fact that he not only has a US Attorney in his pocket, but also a couple of State Supreme Court Justices.)
We knew nothing about any of this activity with Mr. Wilton, until the State Police knocked on our door one day with Mr. And Mrs. Wilton's criminal file under their arms.
The local authorities have not arrested Mr. And Mrs Wilton for identity theft, fraud or forgery, patent theft, extortion, racketeering or some of the other crimes he and his wife is suspected of, because they are afraid of Mr. Wilton's connections to the State of Idaho, and being federal crimes, they don't want to step on anyones toes. Unfortunately, the Federal Government doesn't have time to clean up the streets of the US and save our own community from these kinds of terrorists that are home-made and aggressive in other ways, who's sole intention is to bankrupt and steal any idea's or company that may offer good jobs or benefits to our own hardworking citizens.
The moral of our story to you is...they may look like good, honest, kind and benevolent people. They may say that they are only trying to help...they may look like horses, but before you get involved, better give them a good wash and make sure you see their true stripes before you get your saddle!
Idaho is a good hiding place for all kinds of criminals if they can work themselves into our religious community, which, according to the FBI, they do. Idaho is not sophisticated in any way and their attitude is unguarded for the most part, they haven't had to deal with white collar crime as much here, or the sophistication of that kind of crime.
If you want to clean up our country from people like this, call your local, state and Federal officials,make sure that the banking laws in your state protect your business from anything like this happening again. Idaho is only one of four states that allow this type of banking, make sure your state is protecting you!!!
Now-a-days, it can happen to anyone!

D.S. Epperson is the top formulator for Home Blend Gourmet / South Pacific Health, a leader in the functional food industry in the U.S.. With 20 years of experience in Nutritional Biochemistry, she has written reference books on botanicals and manufacturing of medicines from botanicals, and published articles on health, fitness and foods. She has formulated over 240 formulas and inventions for health, the environment and agricultural uses, and continues to research and study microbial advantages in nutraceuticals and functional foods. For more information or to view the articles that she has written:

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Do You Think that Your Workload is Hampering Your Killer Marketing Activities?

You need an extra effort not the extra workload. Today when competition is high and consumers have many options to choose, an extra effort towards improvement of your product, managing your customers and taking care of other aspects of your business will give you advantage over your competition. You need to multiply your time may be you can keep your margin low, but will give you more volume and increase in your turnover.

Most SME’s start well during there initial stage of launching the business but looses its consistency do to pool of workloads on its day today life. It is often seen that hiring more employees gives extra load on limited earning resources resulting less revenue than expected. You need to put more efforts on Marketing and concentrate on your other activities so that you can do business with an ease. Outsourcing is one of the solutions for small and medium business entities too, that give them more opportunity to utilize there valuable time on marketing and other efforts. (Provided they get an honest an able outsourcing partner.)

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Is Your Marketing Missing The Cookie Factor

Is your marketing pouring some serious money down the drain, because you don’t have a cookie factor?

Just what the heck is a cookie factor anyway? And, how can you apply this simple marketing strategy and psychological principle to rake in some big bucks? You Buy $30 Takeaway, You Get Free Coke and Wontons

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The Seven Secrets of Top Performers

Let's put to rest the fallacy that success, in sales or any profession, is due to luck, chance, and/or hard work. There is nothing further from the truth. Think about it, you and I both know people who work incredibly hard, putting in long hours, they may even have two jobs, but they are not consistently (if ever) successful. Hard work certainly contributes to success, but hard work alone will not make you top-flight in your industry. Is success due, then, to luck or chance?

After years of study, in a multitude of industries, I have come to the conclusion that success is an absolute science. In other words, there are exact principles of thought and action that all top performers universally and consistently exhibit. Let's examine seven of these principles more closely:

  1. High achievers know exactly what they want.
    I was recently working with top sales professionals on a seven-city tour of Canada. In these seminars, I invariably asked people what they wanted to achieve in the upcoming year. Many people had a vague idea of what they wanted (or what they thought they could achieve); and even more knew what they didn't want; but the high performers knew in measurable terms, what they wanted to accomplish in every area of their life. Without a doubt, this type of clarity and focus is power!

  2. Top performers visualize themselves in possession of their desired results.
    I have interviewed thousands of the worlds most successful and without fail they see themselves winning every single day. Whether in business or athletics: Jack Nicholas in golf, Michael Jordan in basketball, the million-dollar sales producer I spoke with last week, they all have this in common. Visualizing is the key to realizing!

  3. Highly successful have an unbending belief in themselves and their abilities.
    Winners believe they will win in advance, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. A common mistake among would-be achievers is the notion that ''if I become more skilled in my profession I will succeed.'' Yet how many highly skilled people do you know that are not profiting every single day? Often two people go through the same training course and acquire the same skills -- yet one becomes a huge success and one accomplishes nothing. The answer lies in the individuals belief system and the unshakable conviction that he or she will win.

  4. Achievers take action ''as if'' they were already in possession of the goal they desire.
    High achievers think, work, talk, play, and take action like the person they want to become. This means turning away from current results and focusing, believing, and acting ''as if'' you were already there. Understand that your current results are the direct outcomes of the past. The past does not equal the future.

  5. Winners take full responsibility for their own destiny.
    Winners get results! Results are not equal to no-results-and-a-good-story. Many sales professionals are better at making excuses than they are at making money. ''It's the economy, it's the location, my prices are too high.'' You can always come up with a good story, but winners hold themselves accountable. Only when you take accountability for everything in your life can you be responsible to change anything.

  6. Top performers build high-leveraged partnerships.
    No one in today's world can make it alone. There is just too much to learn and things are changing too rapidly. High achievers always spend time with other high achievers. Like attracts like. They attend the same events, eat at the same restaurants, join the same churches and clubs. Your business and social environment is more important than your heredity, choose your relationships and partnerships wisely.

  7. Great achievers are great givers.
    Achievers ask: "How can I provide more value? How can I give to others, to my teammates, employees, clients. What can I do to make it better?" Winners always give 10 times more value than they ask for in return.
Success happens according to universal laws and timeless principles. Understand and utilize them and you will win. It works for everyone....every time.

James Arthur Ray of James Ray International is an expert in teaching individuals how to achieve Harmonic Wealth™ in all areas of their life by focusing on what they want, opposed to what they don't want. He has been speaking to individuals as well as Fortune 500 companies for over 20 years and is the author of four books and an inventor of numerous learning systems. His studies of highly successful people prove that they continually achieve results by taking control of their thoughts and actions to create and shape their own reality.

The Power to Win seminar ( will explain in detail how success is state of mind and how the principles of quantum physics (as seen in the movie What the Bleep) can be applied to proven success-building techniques. James will also cover why people who are successful in one area of their life tend to be successful in all areas. For more information, visit

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I WANT IT NOW 10 Tips for Freight & Drayage at Trade Shows

Gas prices continue to go through the roof and increased transportation costs will increase trade show costs across the board.

Here are 10 Tips for saving time, money and your sanity.

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10 Do's and Don'ts Of Customer Services

Email etiquette is the key to help calm down anxious and impatient customers. People assume that once they press the "send" button that we will get everything sorted out in an instant! Of course we all know that this is not an accurate representation of how things work. However, you should prepare yourself for the occasional hot tempered emails, regardless of whether their comments are unreasonable or not.

Five Do's Of Good Customer Services

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Making Money over the Internet : 5 Cool Tips

The Internet is a fast growing medium, trancending the personal ,geographical, political and cultural barriers. Because of its popularity and diversity, for an ambitious and hard working person, it is the right medium to make unlimited wealth th the only thing is that you should know how to do it, the knack of doing it comes only with practice ,but a non-starter doesnt get any practice.In this short exposure i will be scraching some of the ways you can make cool money on the internet ,legally!!. the way you choose depends upon your skill , aptitude and taste.

1. create your own website :

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After Hurrican Katrina Seven Things You Can Do

If you are like me, you are living some distance from the devastation wrought by Katrina. If you are like me you not physically impacted and can watch the plight of others on television in the comfort of your home. And if you are like me, you are wondering what you can do.

I believe the answer to that question is an important one. It can help define who you are and what you have and choose to give to the world. The list that follows is not meant to stimulate your thinking. It is meant to stimulate action. All of us can do all of these things. And in doing them we will not only be helping others, we will be helping ourselves deal with and grow from these events as well.

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10 Tips to Successfully Use Business Networking as a Marketing Strategy

Networking is probably the best way to build a profitable business, or sales pipeline over the long term. Many of us understand the value of networking, but we don’t always know the best way to go about it. Here are 10 simple tips that will help you maximize the effectiveness of your networking efforts.

1. Build Relationships not Stacks of Business Cards

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Home Furnishings in India : How to Find an Exporter,manufacturer or Supplier ? Beyond a Database.

Looking for a manufacturer or supplier of home furnishings in India ?

Don’t know where to begin? Want to find a source but at a loss for resources? Want to do business in India, but unsure what is the best way to go about it?

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Top 7 Reasons Why Women Business Leaders Are Needed

That’s what they say…but business is being done a new way. Massive technological connectivity and access to tidal waves of information is causing a shift in society, workers attitudes and how business is done.

Rapid changes in technology are causing disruption in the way corporations do business. Communication is now digital. Products are now digital. Marketing and delivery of product and services must be done in a different way.

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BACK to SCHOOL 10 TIPS for Trade Shows


Whether you have children attending for the first time or finishing university, it Is always hectic to get into the back-to-school routine. And, if you do not have school in your family, there might be your own remembrance of the excitement of starting afresh and learning something new.

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Ten Ways to Handle a Customer Complaint

Most professionals take pride in the work they do. Dealing with complaints is often challenging and upsetting. It is very natural to try to explain or justify what was done. The suggestions I have made in this list are not easy to do in the heat of a situation. So when you hear a complaint about you or your business/practice perhaps the best strategy is to count to ten and then do some of the following:

1. Listen – Resist the temptation to argue with the client. Instead ask questions to get to the bottom of the situation. What is the client really upset about? Show the client that you really understand the situation from the client’s perspective.

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Performance Reviews Seven Stupid Things Employees Do To Screw Them Up

In previous articles on the topic of performance management and appraisal, we covered the ten stupid things managers do to screw up performance appraisal, and a similar article on ways human resource departments screw up the process. Now it's time to turn our attention to employees!

Managers, feel free to share this with employees, and employees, feel free to share this with managers and/or colleagues. Please ensure proper credit is given and that the website address is included.

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Top Tips for Buying a New Telephone System

1. Don't buy a brand you've never heard of before. You wouldn't buy a plasma tv from a no name brand and you should trust your business to a no name brand either.

2. Don't buy from a vendor that is very far away from you. A telephone system requires routine service, so a dealer that is far away is going to have trouble proving you with service.

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Reduce Your Telephone Costs 10 Easy Tips

80% of businesses in the UK overspend on their telephone costs. Customers are often confused about the various solutions and cost options available. In reality there is no need to be - just ensure that you are talking to a supplier who provides a wide range of options and that they recommend the best solution for you. For organisations such as EWC who specialise in providing a broad range of business telecoms solutions, the prime business driver is to provide the optimum cost saving regardless of the technology and introduce new services

Now is always the right time to review your telecoms cost and you are almost certainly able to make worthwhile savings. I would recommend these simple hints:

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Explode Your Sales Through These Ad Copy Secrets!

1. Use a hand written letter on your ad copy instead of text. Write the ad on a piece of paper, scan it and publish the ad on your web page. Adding a personal touch will always increase your sales.

2. Publish a list of famous and respected customers who have bought from you on your a copy. People will think that if these people bought from you, they should also trust your business and purchase your products. Make sure to get their permission first.

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Be Interactive, Not Reactive or Proactive

Run, run, run. React to this, react to that. How can you be effective when you are continuously being pulled into situations? You want a way out and you think the solution is to become proactive. But how? And what does this mean? Are you now simply pushing the same people and situations that used to be pulling you? And how can you know if you are headed in the right direction?

Being reactive implies your action begins after the fact; acting in response to a stimulus or situation, as if simply poised waiting for something to happen. I don’t think this is ever the case. I usually feel reactive when I am hit with something I did not anticipate.

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Seven Tips for Developing a Solid Networking Strategy; From the Book Cracking the Networking CODE

Let's start with a quick reminder:

Networking is NOT forcing yourself or your products on someone.

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Seven Ways to Connect at a Networking Event

So your going to a networking function that you have never been to before (or maybe even one you have) determined to crack the networking code and start building priceless business relationships. Be aware that it’s possible to go to a networking event and not have any ‘networking moments.’ It is not just about showering and showing up. It’s about connecting with people and finding ways to help them progress. Here are seven proven strategies for making contact at networking events.

1. Go it alone.

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The Top 10 Reasons Why My Coaching Business is Not Slow

A mentor of mine recently commented that “coaches keep complaining business is too slow.” In response, I reported that things are the opposite for me, and that I am rarely slow. He asked me to present him with “The Top 10 Reasons Why My Coaching Business is Not Slow,” and here they are:

10. I place great emphasis on business development.

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10 Most Important Things to be Careful About While Outsourcing

It is often asked that what one needs to be careful about when choosing an outsourcing company or individual. The majority of outsourcing firms are to do with medical transcription , accounting outsourcing , outsource call center and other BPO outsourcing firms. Following is a generic list of important things to check while looking for an outsourcing firm.

1. Complete contact info for outsourcing firm: This is obvious that no one would want to deal without knowing where this guy or firm is from. Believe me there are hundreds, if not thousand, of websites offering great services without even a phone number or address! Be careful and look the whois records to double check.

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10 Latest Ways to Promote Your Website

10 Latest ways to promote your website

1. Pixel advertising
- Selling pixels for advertising space is the latest successful way to promote any website. Visit the original “Pixel advertising” website at to advertise or an improved alternative at

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10 Simple and Practical Tips on How to Dazzle Customers

1. If you know that a customer is coming to visit you, put up a sign (or maybe a balloon) that welcomes them to your business. Tell your team who is coming so that they know who your customer is and can call them by name.

2. When you go to visit a customer, take them a present. A special balloon, a box of cream cakes, a funny badge. Something that will make them remember you. And send them something with your quote or your invoice. It only needs to be small but it will make an impression.

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Top 7 Reasons to Hire a Virtual Assistant

Evidently I’ve been living under a rock. Recently, I stumbled across the small business solution that turned my overwhelming to-do list into something manageable. It’s called Virtual Assistance, and it has freed me from the burden of what would otherwise be time-consuming busywork. Simply put, a Virtual Assistant is an off-site employee who provides web or administrative support services, conducting nearly all transactions electronically.

Not only was I surprised to discover this neat lifesaver, I was even more amazed to find that it has it’s own association: The International Virtual Assistants Association ( The IVAA website is a great place to find what will most certainly be an indispensable resource for you: Your own Virtual Assistant. Below are the top seven reasons to hire a VA:

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Ten Ways to Build Client Trust

Clients work with professionals whom they trust. Building trust is an ongoing process. Here are 10 ways to build trust with both old and new clients.

1. Keep your agreements with your clients – If you promise delivery on a particular day, make sure to deliver when it was promised. Even something as small as the time you have scheduled an appointment is an agreement. Each time you break an agreement with a client, you break the trust.

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Managing E Mails 7 Tips for Effective Communication

Lately I have been trying to limit the e-mails in my in-box to those immediately readable on screen, so I don’t have to scroll down. I have achieved it a few times, but it always seems to start spreading again immediately!

I’m sure I’m not the only one fighting against an ever-rising e-mail tide, so I have asked around for colleagues’ favourite tips and these came out top:

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10 Ways to Stretch Your Printing Budget

1. Use the Internet- Call a few local printers for estimates and then look on the Internet for the best deals. Usually the best areas to purchase printing from are the less developed states where industrial space and labor are less expensive. Printing in states like Pennsylvania, Southern States, and the Mid Western States can save you up to 50%. Once you have found a printer give them a small job to test their services. Chances are if you found them on the Internet they are not close and you can't just stop by to check them out.

2. Plan Ahead - I know in today's market this is often difficult but a little extra time can save big money. Printers will charge between 25% and 100% on rush charges. Shipping charges for ground instead of overnight can save tremendous amounts of money. I have witnessed print jobs where the shipping costs exceeded the printing costs. If the printer is far away then give him the time to ship your job the most economical way possible.

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10 Tips for Delivering Solid First Impressions

Building a priceless business relationship entails creating a series of progress-based impressions. None is more important than the first. Make sure your first meeting with someone is progress-based and powerful.

Remember, people meet people all the time. You need to stand out as someone they want future contact with. To do this you must Be Progress in their mind. You must be a Progress Agent.

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Groups Assist the 'Make Money Online' Syndrome

William Shakespeare once wrote; "The world is a stage on which everyone is a player" ... and in Network Marketing, each player must play his/her part. To make money on the internet, working from home, you need to find the players that play their parts.

Making money online is much easier when everyone is part of the performance...

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How to Create a Great Mentoring Relationship

Everyone who is passionate about being a business owner or moving up needs and wants a mentor. Maybe there is someone you know or you just know of who can help you to take your life to the next level. How can you get that person to happily share their wisdom with you to help you get on the right path? How can you rise above the rest so that person wants to give you extra help?

I've been a mentor to certain people for years, but never more intensively than in the last four years as a marketing trainer and coach and now as a published author of my book, "Testosterone-Free Marketing." This article will help you to know how to approach a mentor in a way that will make that person more positively pre-disposed to helping you succeed. Read these tips and go find your mentor.

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Personal Image and Networking How To Be Noticed and Trusted

Image is essential for any successful business person and with this comes the issue of trust. A highly regarded and trusted business person will form stronger relationships, have a better personal brand and generally find more success in their business.

A Reader's Digest survey has found burns specialist Dr Fiona Wood is Australia's most trusted person, followed by singer Olivia Newton-John and Tasmanian-born Crown Princess Mary of Denmark.

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Networking Secrets for People Who Don't Like to Network

So you're not a networker, huh? Well, neither am I. But "studies show" that if you're an internet marketer, online networking is not optional... it's mandatory.

If you're like me, you balk at the thought of being thrown to the networking big dogs. So many personalities, so many opinions... so many opportunities to put your foot in your mouth.

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Networking Skills: How to be Winsome

Don't be a windbag... be winsome. Now more than ever, with online networking groups erupting at every turn, communication skills should be razor-sharp. If you're a network member, you know what I mean.

You've seen that lone networker, he stands out in a crowd... not so much for his smooth moves, but because he knows how to rattle people with his egocentrism. Yes, many a networker has been that communication clod (myself included) who just tromps upon people's egos and shakes up the group with bad vibes. That networker has a knack all right... for wiping out their future business prospects in one fell swoop.

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To Serve Man

My favorite episode of "The Twilight Zone" is one where aliens arrive on earth and are recruiting people to come back with them to their home planet. They treat the humans with great respect and they have have a book that they keep referring to called, "To Serve Man". Many of the earthlings are captivated with the space men, who seem to be treating them like gods, with the goal to deliver them their greatest desires.

Some however are skeptical of the whole situation. While crowds are lining up to go with the aliens, expecting to be worshiped, others doubt that the motivation of the space travelers. Just has hundreds leave on the space ship to be taken into space, one of the humans runs out with a look of horror on his face. He has just finished translating "To Serve Man". He screams; "STOP....IT'S A COOKBOOK !!!!".

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Four Easy Peasy Steps To Forging A Powerful Joint Venture

Developing win-win joint ventures is the fastest and most profitable way to skyrocket your online sales and boost your profits.

If you've been marketing online for any length of time, I'm sure you've heard the term "Joint Ventures." Some of you may know what it means, some of you may not. So let's define the term and I'll share my simple four-step formula for creating a win-win joint venture.

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The Wellness Industry is Set to be the Next Trillion Dollar Industry Do You Want to be Part of It?

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How to Engage Others in Lively Conversation

I have found that the best way to get someone to respond positively to you is to LIKE them!

Seriously! It is so easy!!! Plus, it works.

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Work an Event, Not Just a Room

Networking is the number one reason many people join organizations. When they don’t get the results they anticipate, they “blame” the group for not delivering on its promises.

Most organizations provide opportunities for connections to occur rather than making the connections. While organizations need to shoulder the responsibility for offering creative and multiple venues locally and nationally, members also need to take more control of their destiny. They need to learn to network strategically rather than just network. Most people like to step up to the plate when they get to the room (and sometimes strike out!) rather than doing all the preparation involved in a planned approach to this vital art.

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Networking with Today's Tools

Clank clank clank! It should bring a smile to remember those old days when we had to use a typewriter to type business letters and sales correspondence. Overnight, it seems, our typewriters morphed into bullet-speed word processors. Business networking tools have also evolved in recent years to offer us new and improved opportunities to greet and meet new prospects, keep in touch with clients, and to organize our contact lists. Let’s take a look at some of these new and widely used networking tools

A computer is a must for most businesses. Specialized contact management programs assist in several networking areas making prospecting and contact follow up easier. Programs such as ACT!, Goldmine, Maximizer, and Outlook have various features that stores and organizes our contact’s records and can help organize our networking schedules. Personally, I have used ACT! faithfully for the last seven years in business. I simply load the networking contact’s business card information into the ACT! program once I return from a networking event. The next time I need to send that contact a letter or make a call, their contact information instantly appears on my computer screen.

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The Seven Deadly Sins of Business Networking (and How to Avoid Them)

The seven deadly sins are transgressions that stymie spiritual progress. But what if these sins were applied to business networking? Follow these tips to make your next networking endeavour a heavenly experience.

Pride - Arrogant or disdainful conduct or treatment; haughtiness.
(Source: American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language)

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Starting a Conversation is an Art

Almost all of us have been there. We meet a new person, we run into someone we have met once before, or we see someone we’ve spoken with numerous times. We want to start a meaningful conversation for myriad reasons; yet, we find ourselves asking those trite questions:

. Is this your first time here?

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Business Cards Small Yet Mighty Warriors!

They measure about 2” x 3 1/2.”

They weigh less than 1/4 of an ounce.

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Conquering the FEAR of Networking

One of the main reasons connecting with new people at a ‘networking function’ is so tough for so many is FEAR. We are at times paralyzed by internal questions:

What will people think when I walk across a room and approach them to start a conversation? Will they think I am stupid, boring, pushy? How’s my breath?

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CODE Cracking 101: From 'Met' to 'Net': Cracking The Networking CODE

There is this unassuming little word you often find in the biographies of famous people. The word is ‘met.’

Then William R. Hewlett met David Packard.

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Oh, the Places We'll Network!

If you are determined to crack the networking code and build priceless business relationships it is important to research the various networking options and commit to a networking strategy. Get out and about and reach out. Be proactive. Open relationships everywhere. On Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. On Golden Pond and even on the Bridge on the River Kwai. (Sorry, I got carried away and my movie references got a tad silly.) Anyway, you get the point.

To make connecting easier and more focused, look for groups and events where networking is encouraged. People expect to exchange cards and meet new people at these types of gatherings, so go expecting to make some contacts. It is best not to consider joining any business organizations unless you are committed to being an active member for at least one year. This stuff takes time.

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Networking: Preparing for the Event

1. Your networking purpose

Why are you attending this particular event? Be specific. Do you want to meet a particular person or persons? For what purpose? If you do meet, what will you say?

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Developing a POWERFUL 30 Second Elevator Speech That Could Double Your Business

First let me tell you what NOT to do. Don’t talk about you, don’t talk about your products. In as short a statement as possible tell them the measurable results you deliver, and who you deliver them to. Then shut up.

Don’t try to tell them EVERYTHING in one breath. Tell them something that is so powerfully grabbing that they just have to ask you for more, and even then when you respond keep it short, keep them asking for more.

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Making the Best First Impression With Business Cards

When you want to make the best first impression, a great deal depends on your appearance. How you look and what you say leaves a lasting impression on a potential customer. A professional business card will help remind prospects and customers of their positive experience.

The first impression is known to be a critical when doing business, and your business cards should compliment your personality.

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Business Card Pricing How Much is Too Much?

When you want to by a specific model of camera or a computer over the net, there are not many differences between buying from one website or another. The only difference is the pricing and the service. The product itself is the same.

However, when you want to order discount business cards or custom postcards over the Internet, they are tailor made products that have been created especially for you’re your company. These are not standard products that are in stock, and after ordering, have only to be packed and shipped.

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How to Ensure You Receive Top Quality Business Cards Online

How can you ensure the quality of custom business cards when ordering over the Internet? When buying a specific model of stereo or camera, you go to your local store, inspect what you want, then it’s simply down to the price. If you decide to buy over the Internet, it might be cheaper than the store, but then you will have to wait for it to be delivered. However, the quality of the specific product model will be the same whether you buy online or at the brick and morter store.

Business cards are a custom-made product. You just can’t go into a store and walk out with your business cards. Going to your local printer can be time consuming, and their prices could be high. It’s important that you visit a printer to inspect the quality of similar cards before ordering.

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How Do "Free" Business Card Printers Work?

Whenever you see an advertiser that wants to give something away, there is usually a catch behind it.

Nothing in life is “free”, especially in the printing business. How are business card printers willing to give you something for free? There are high costs associated with materials, labor and shipping of business cards. They aren’t free to make, so how could they be free to receive?

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It Isn't Just A Matter of Black and White

We network, by joining online communities, to promote our services; get advice from others or just plain "chat", and most of our time is spent sending, and responding to, e-mails. But have you considered that e-mail isn't just a matter of black and white.

It is very true that the written word can be misconstrued and that, when reading an e-mail, you can tend to misread the "tone" that the content is given in. This is very much the case when you are a part of a networking group when there are different professional opinions, races or religions.

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5 Ways to Start a Networking Group That Sizzles, Not Fizzles

You've attended every networking event in your area and they seem to offer the same thing - eating, meeting, greeting and fleeing. You're bored with the routine of these events and you joyously decide that the time has come to start your own networking group that will blow everyone's socks off.

Starting your own networking group takes time and effort. Not only do you have to create excitement, but you also have to sustain the momentum so people continue to attend.

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Increasing Your Network For Greater Success

Increasing your network - We hear a lot about the importance of increasing our personal networks. Networks being those special people that we know we can call on when we need advice or input on an idea that we might have.

For the purpose of this message I'll assume that you're already sold on the value of having people in place to fill this need in your life. Now the question remains where in the world can I look for such people? The answer to that my friend is not always an easy one, but here's a source that I've used in the past successfully yet often goes untapped. SCORE is the Service Corp Of Retired Executives.

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Making the Deal: Women as Negotiators

Negotiating is no game. It is not for the weak or the fragile. It takes assertiveness and someone who feels comfortable in the mano-a-mano world of business. Can women negotiate the deal as well as their male counterparts? Absolutely! In some cases, they may even do a better job. Women have a definite edge at the negotiating table because of their instincts and natural power of persuasion.

Women usually look for a win/win in negotiations. In Getting to Yes, the classic book on negotiation by the Harvard Negotiation Project, it was reported that the win/win strategy work best in negotiations. In order to avoid future resentments, all parties should come away feeling good about the resolution of a problem.

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How To Deal With A Complainer

How To Deal With A Complainer

A Complainer Is Characterized by:

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How To Make An Inflexible Bureaucrat See You As A Person

Inflexible Bureaucrats Are Characterized by:

1. Cares little about your happiness in life
2. Sees people as numbers rather than faces
3. Pushed for time
4. Handles each person the same i.e. scripted procedure
5. Hides behind policies and rules
6. Cannot look outside of the box
7. May have trouble remembering who you are due to a large volume of contacts
8. May not want to reveal anything about their interests

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Are You Scaring Away Potential Customers?

When you are trying to make a sale and ask someone to fill out a credit application and new account form, do your potential customers turn around and run to the competition?

Author Michelle Dunn, in her new book “Become the Squeaky Wheel,” explains how you can avoid scaring customers away and keep them coming back. First, find out what your competition is doing, do they have a credit policy? If they do, what is included? What does their credit application look like? How many forms do new customers have to fill out? Do they have good paying customers? Look online, a lot of business website will have their credit applications available online.

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Effective Negotiation Skills: A Practical Application

Negotiations are often associated with labor union contract, with strongly held positions, or with conflicting situations. However, looking at negotiating from a better perspective, we are surprised to find that it is much a part of our daily life. Daily, we bring negotiations into our relationships, our businesses, and our employment practices.

In recalling the different negotiations in which I have been involved, one stands clearly in my mind. It was a performance appraisal meeting at a former place of employment. I can recall how the meeting took place and its unproductive results. Later I learned effective negotiation skills that would have produced a winning outcome for all parties involved.

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Meet Me in the Middle: 5 Reasons to Negotiate for Compromise

Hate to negotiate? Think you have to be a trickster to land that contract? Think again. Here's why honesty is always the best policy, even when you're swinging those big biz deals.

1. Your future clients deserve a taste of what's to come.

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Negotiating on Common Ground

Most good negotiators will suggest that you find common ground with the other party. This maybe a wise tactic and generally can work well. Yet, if you find this tactic being used on you, you might wish to have a strategy to make it very tough for the other person to find common ground.

The best method I have found was to ask the other party; “you seem to be trying to find common ground so that we can move forward in our negotiations, is that true?” If they say no, they will generally touch their face, as itches occur when one it lying. If they touch their face tell them; “I am a very good body language reader and you have just told me a lie, I find it hard to negotiate with someone I do not trust” then touch your face like they did in an exaggerated way. If they say; “Yes, we would like to find common ground” then immediately go into what I call my Common Ground Speech. It is an old lawyer trick, which will really aggravate you if you hear it. It is the definitional rhetoric game and it goes something like this.

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Negotiation Tactic�Getting It In Your Hands

This tactic is the classic for the sales-driven person. Essentially the “getting it in your hands” tactic is like giving candy to a child to make them stop crying. Once they get it, they are happy and nothing else matters to them. The sales professional knows that if he can get their product in your hands for a “free trial” before fees are assessed, then you will have a psychological attachment to that product and be more likely to purchase it and pay more for it. This is why car salesmen like to get you into the car for a test drive. Once you give it a spin, your emotions have already closed the deal..

How To Counter This Tactic

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Negotiation Tactic Take It Or Leave It

How many times have we heard this commonly used negotiation tactic? The “take it or leave it” tactic is basically an ultimatum designed to prevent further negotiations from taking place. It is almost always a bluff and a challenge to the other side to see who has the stronger nerves. The problem with this tactic is that it causes too much resistance and conflict to facilitate an agreement. This tactic is aggressive and demanding, two things that don’t sit well with your counterpart. What you are basically saying with this tactic is, “Its going to be my way, or no way.” Now the other side is going to have to reassert their own dominance over the situation by choosing to “leave it” rather than to “take it” to save face and show you who really is in charge. Where is the negotiation now?

How To Counter This Tactic

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Negotiate Like A Pro

Meeting planners who negotiate successfully all have one thing in common: They know the value of their meeting from the hotel’s perspective. All too often, planners make the mistake of assuming that because their annual convention is valuable to their organization, it must be valuable to the property. But that’s not always the case.

Remember that a piece of business is only valuable to a hotel if it provides profit — maximum profit, if possible. (The value of your meeting drops, for example, if any other group wants the same dates and is willing to pay a higher room rate or provide more food and beverage revenue.) So be sure to thoroughly analyze every aspect of your event — just the way a hotel sales manager would. The result will be power and confidence at the negotiating table. Here are seven major areas to consider in your analysis:

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Tips for Easier Hotel Contract Review

The next time a hotel contract lands on your desk, read it twice. First, read what is there and identify the terms that need to be rewritten, changed, or deleted. Then, read it for what is not there and needs to be added. The following checklist will help you determine what to look for and what is missing. (Note: This information is not intended to be “legal advice.” Meeting planners and hotel managers should consult a qualified attorney to review all contract issues.)


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Coach Lee Sumner's Advice About Salary Negotiation

You've bought a great suit and a pair of new shoes. You're preparing to interview for a new job for which you feel very qualified. But you need help assessing the value of your skills and experience to calculate a respectable salary. You want to pinpoint a salary that you feel confident asking for and that your future employer will feel comfortable paying you. How do you figure out what you're worth and actually get it?

Salary negotiation can be an emotional experience. We want the job but we need more money. Or we may be afraid that if we push too hard the company will offer the job to another candidate. Negotiating is not merely saying, "I want more money." You're looking for a way to reach an agreement, not a confrontation, with your future employer. Before discussing salary, you need to have the answers to certain questions, such as:

  • What is the salary range for this job in this geographical area?
  • What is the lowest salary I will consider?
  • What makes me worth a higher salary?
  • What makes me uniquely valuable to this company?
You can research salary information through the National Association of Colleges and Employers, job-hunting websites, libraries, trade publications, a college career office, or people who work in that industry or company.

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Conflict: Don't Just Fight It, Manage It

Conflict is an ever-present reality whenever people work together. It can manifest itself in differences of view, differences of opinion, differences of personality, and differences of interest. But conflict doesn’t have to be destructive. If the right options are chosen to handle conflict – either as a strategy or as a tactical choice – the result can be of huge benefit to both sides. These are the 7 options you have.

1. No Deal. A no-deal outcome to a conflict means that the status quo is confirmed and nothing changes. No-deal is rarely a successful end to a conflict unless during discussions it becomes clear there is no advantage for you in continuing. No-deal, in the sense of walkaway power, can also be used tactically at any stage of the proceedings. To make sure you are not disadvantaged if your bluff is called when you threaten "No deal!", make sure you have a good second-best BATNA (Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement) to fall back on.

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Decisions and Negotiating: When to Ask the Question

For a negotiation to end, decisions have to be made. Large decisions, small decisions, important decisions and mundane decisions. The process of making decisions is what advances a negotiation to its final outcome.

People naturally resist making decisions. This is especially true when they feel they are being pressured to commit. An effective negotiator needs to prepare others to make decisions and commit. The timing of when to seek a decision is a function of many things.

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Negotiating and Team Building Ideas

Teams are dynamic entities in their own rights. By expanding a negotiating group, additional talents and perspectives are introduced. Additional members also increase communication and focus challenges. This can be beneficial to the process; or detrimental.

Like all other aspect of negotiations or management, teams need to be managed.

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Negotiating: The Impact of Time on Negotiations

Time is a precious commodity in your personal life, in your professional life, and in general. Value the time you are investing in resolving a dispute or negotiating an issue. Wasted time is not recoverable. Consider the importance of the matter at hand before over-investing in the resolution process. Time is important to everyone. By better understanding the dynamics of time consumption, one can use it tactically to advance a negotiation.

There are ways to manage time relating to settlement conferences. Suggest having the meeting at your office to eliminate travel time. Prepare a written agenda for the meeting to keep the parties focused and minimize extraneous dialogue that you do not want to have. Consider who should draft the settlement documents. You control the timing of getting documents out if you do the work to draft the agreement. But you save time by letting the other person draft the agreements for your review.

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A Negotiator Needs Good People Skills

Negotiations and the people involved in them are going to be managed by someone. Managing a negotiation, all of the parties at the table, requires exceptional people skills to influence and motivate others. Honing these people skills is a sure way to improve your ability to negotiate successfully.

The parties to a negotiation are people. People are unique individuals. To reach them through a debate of the issues requires that you present your case in terms they can readily understand. To effectively communicate with the other person you must understand the person. Not his or her argument but the "person". Researching the other party before the settlement conference can provide valuable details about their background, professional, personal and scholastic. Another way to learn about your adversary is to ask associates or common acquaintances about the person with whom you are about to meet. Finally, the time spent informally talking with the person before a negotiating session serves the purpose of providing insights into how you might phrase your arguments.

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Communicate Better to Win More

Communicating is a constant in all negotiations; in all interaction for that matter. Understanding the dynamics of effective communications to settle conflict is an important aspect of managing the negotiation process. The challenge to communications during any conflict situation is that listening is typically impaired. Those involved, even when they do listen, are not apt to hear what is being said. To reach an accord the parties need to be able to communicate with each other. The first rule of any negotiation is to open channels of communication.

Communication concepts are important to understanding human interaction.

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Negotiating Skills: Communicate Better

A negotiator needs to be a skilled communicator. His role is to deliver and receive information. If negotiating is an art then communicating is like the practice of architecture.

Learning to emphasize or reinforce what you are saying through your body language and demeanor improves your communication. Actors practice or rehearse their lines in front of mirrors to get their entire persona to deliver the "feeling" as well as the line. Attorneys preparing opening and closing arguments do the same thing. Prepare, review, and practice for a meeting until you have mastered the subject matter, know your objectives, and are confident to field issues as they are presented. You want to be able to control and direct the conversation; not be subject to the control of another person.

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The Purpose of a Resume: To Win an Interview

Your resume must be better than anything your competitors have to offer if you are going to get an interview. A well-written resume generates phone calls. Those phone calls are from prospective employers who want to interview you for a job. If you are not getting phone calls and you are sending out resumes, then you need to take a closer look at your resume.

Any resume can list employment dates and job position titles, but only the best resumes speak the language employers want to hear.


If you just list the job duties you performed and hope the prospective employer makes the leap that you are a good employee, you are probably going to be in for a big surprise. You see, they don’t have time to read your job responsibilities and then ponder how you managed to accomplish all that you did. Hiring managers simply do not have that kind of time. They are scanning a resume for the words that show results.


You have to show them that you are a cut above the rest of the crowd by providing concrete examples of your successes. Do the thinking for the employer and give them what they are looking for.

First, use action-oriented keywords that reflect your ability to solve problems, take initiative, are performance-driven and goal-based.

Second, quantify your statements with numbers that define your desire to affect the bottom line. Give examples of how you saved the company money or time (relates to money) or how you earned money for the company. Numbers have meaning and are easy to latch on to. Employers love to read quantifiable statements (that are truthful) as it paints a picture that SHOWS what you accomplished rather than the dubious joy of your words telling them what you did.

Resumes can work FOR you or they can work AGAINST you. When you list the information employers want to see, then you will have a great deal of success. You will be one of the ones to get a coveted phone call for an interview. If you don’t take the time to prepare a resume in a way that grabs a hiring manager’s attention, it is actually working against you.

Take the time to write an excellent resume. It may take a little longer to think of the right words to use, but in the end, when you are enjoying the benefits of an excellent career, you will be SO GLAD you did.

Best of Luck!

Carla Vaughan

Carla Vaughan is the owner of, a web site devoted to assisting candidates in the job-search process. She holds a B.S. in Business from Southern Illinois University and has authored a book titled, “The Do-It-Yourself Resume Kit” soon to be available on her site.

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Situational Leadership as the Key to Effectively Managing People

For over 25 years, major corporations and organizations throughout the world have used the concepts of Situational Leadership to improve the effectiveness of their managers. Dr. Heresy and Dr. Blanshard at Ohio State University to provide managers with a practical and simple approach to achieve the best results from their people developed one of the most outstanding leadership models.

There are many ways you can be an effective leader – there is no single “school solution” to the management process.

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What Are the Keys to Increase Your Money Making Opportunity?

To increase your money making opportunity you may use employees’ suggestions. You may well believe you have a better one, but keep your goal in mind. You want to encourage risk taking as well as solving money making problems. The path employees choose to reach the goal may be different from the one you would select – however, if their money making method solves the problem, let them try in their way. Work together to foresee the possible results if the money making idea is put into action. Share some standards for what you consider a good money making idea.

Insist that employees contribute their money making ideas. If your employees respond with shuffling feet, averted eyes and a mumbled “I do not know”, let them know that you are really want their help. Make them believe this is the case by not answering your own question, even if the silence gets uncomfortable.

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Your Information Technology Career: Certification vs Experience

Whether you're just starting your Information Technology career, or wanting to get further ahead in your current IT career, you have probably thought about earning one of the many popular computer certifications such as the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification, or the MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer) cert.

A major point of frustration for individuals pursuing one of these certifications is a possible lack of experience with these technologies. Many future CCNAs or MCSEs simply stop trying to earn their certification, feeling that their lack of experience will hold them back.

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The Three P's of Salary Negotiation

Salary negotiations aren’t easy for most people. If you’re going after a new job, you don’t want to price yourself out of the market. If you’re attempting salary negotiations at a job you already have, then you may be afraid of bringing up the subject at all or be concerned you won’t be taken seriously, or worse, that you will make your current boss angry. Fortunately in either case, if you do your homework, approach the matter of salary negotiations in a professional way, you will likely be surprised to hear your employer say yes to your salary requests—and always present them as requests, not demands.

The very first step in salary negotiation, though, is to know your own value. This is particularly true when negotiating for a salary increase in a job you already have. To determine your worth, consider these things:

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Flight Coordinator Job Sites

Finding work as an aircraft flight coordinator typically involves submitting your resume directly to companies that may be hiring. Still, it can be a laborious process trying to track down and find those companies that are hiring. On the other hand, there are several web sites on the internet that list flight coordinator jobs from time to time. No, there aren’t an abundance of jobs available, but if you know where to look, you can make the process easier on yourself.

Aviation Employment Board – A free site, this board lists job opportunities across the spectrum of business and commercial aviation. Registration is free and you can post your resume for free as well. Visit for more information.

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Aviation Maintenance Job Boards

Aviation maintenance opportunities can be found on various sites on the internet. Some job sites specialize in maintenance opportunities, while others do not, however they still manage to list their fair share of relevant opportunities. Please read on to learn about several key sites available to you.

Aerotek – Billing themselves as the leading technical and engineering staffing agency, Aerotek features jobs in eleven different specialties, including aviation. Job titles featured include: avionics technician, A&P mechanic, aircraft mechanic, quality assurance, and more. Visit for more information.

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Cessna Caravan Job Opportunities

Finding employment as a Cessna Caravan "driver" can be a challenge. Plenty of pilots for just a few positions. Fortunately, if you know where to look, you can turn up information right online and save yourself a lot of time and aggravation. The following web sites list opportunities as they become available:

Air Serv International – If humanitarian work interests you, then Air Serv International just may be the organization for you. Air Serv places qualified people in developing countries to provide aviation support to humanitarian groups and other non-profit organizations. Visit for more information.

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Aviation Dispatcher Job Sites

Employment opportunities for flight dispatchers are often available through one of the major airlines as well as with one of the regional carriers. However, the best opportunities for pay and autonomy is typically through a private jet operator. Finding work with

Aviation Employment Board – A free site, the Aviation Employment Board features job openings for business and commercial aviation. Registration is free and you may post your resume for free as well. Visit for all the details.

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Cessna Caravan Job Opportunities

Finding employment as a Cessna Caravan "driver" can be a challenge. Plenty of pilots for just a few positions. Fortunately, if you know where to look, you can turn up information right online and save yourself a lot of time and aggravation. The following web sites list opportunities as they become available:

Air Serv International – If humanitarian work interests you, then Air Serv International just may be the organization for you. Air Serv places qualified people in developing countries to provide aviation support to humanitarian groups and other non-profit organizations. Visit for more information.

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Flight Attendant Resource Guide

Are you interested in becoming a flight attendant? Does the desire to fly to places hither and yon excite the primal beast within? Okay, I am being a bit dramatic! Still, for 75 years flight attendants have been providing much needed passenger service and safety assistance on aircraft ever since the original eight women from Boeing Air Transport took flight on May 15, 1930. Since then stewardesses, as they were originally were called, have flown to every destination imaginable on the planet. Read on for important resources available right online that can help you launch your flight attendant career.

Airline Flight Attendant Room – Hosted as an MSN group, the Airline Flight Attendant Room is a place for veterans and wannabes to gather together to discuss the latest news on airline hiring, work conditions, passenger attitudes [ugh!], and so much more. This site also features a nifty list of companies that are currently hiring. Updated frequently too! Visit for more information.

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7 Tips Toward Building A Successful Online Resume

As the manager of two aviation web sites, I have learned that one of the best ways to promote people who are looking for work is to allow for them to list their resume right online. Unlike a traditional resume, there are some things best left off an online resume. Let's take a look at some of things you need to do as your craft your online copy.

1. Omit certain personal information. You must include your name, the area in which you live [for example, Chicagoland], a contact phone number, and an email address. Please be aware that your telephone number can reveal more to people about you than what you want them to know. Showing an unlisted phone number is preferable; only give out your cell number if you can reasonably see an advantage in sharing that information openly. Identity theft and stalking are persistent problems; be careful that your resume invites neither practice.

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Job Performance: A Lost Lession

I’m a fan of the hit TV show "Lost." In case you’re not familiar with it (can you believe some folks don’t watch TV?), it’s about a bunch of plane crash survivors living on an island full of mysteries. I always find it to be entertaining. But a recent episode was also (probably unintentionally) educational.

In that episode, a character named Hurley was assigned the task of controlling a newly found stash of food. Although it’s obvious from his size that Hurley loves to eat, he wasn’t thrilled about being in charge of the food. Why? Because everyone liked Hurley, and that was very important to him.

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Seven Inexpensive Not Cheap Advertising Tactics

Most small businesses have limited marketing communication, aka advertising, budgets making it even more crucial to research thoroughly; select the best medium(s) and target prospects carefully.

The following list contains seven suggestions for achieving "champagne" results on a "beer" budget!

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Location, Location, Location


A smart organization will rotate its annual convention across the map. This strategy not only allows you to meet in all regions where your membership is based, but it also benefits membership growth and recruitment in addition to keeping the meeting fresh in terms of climate, attractions, time zones, and cost of attending.

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Due Diligence, It Can Make or Break The Bank

Due diligence by a Venture Capitalist is the last step in the "dating stage" of Venture Capital. This is when the Venture Capitalist comes to your facilities and goes through you books, looks at your product in detail, talks with you clients, staff, and vendors. This can be a pretty intense time. Some does and don’ts to follow:


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Build A Great Team In Order To Acquire Venture Funding

There are three key Executives needed in a company that is looking for Venture Capital. They are:

  • Business Manager (Chief Executive Officer, President, President/Chief Operating Officer)
  • Money Manager (Chief Financial Officer)
  • Product Manager (Chief Technology Officer, Chief Product Officer)
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    Funding Source's, What to Look For When On the Hunt, and How To Present

    Now that you have written your business plan, have your preliminary financial data in place, you need money to make it happen.

    How do you find that money? If you have saved up some, you can use that, or you can go to friends and family and get some money from them, if they support your concept and think you can do it. (F/F/P phase)

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    Going Beyond Goal Setting

    I just Googled the phrase “goal setting”, and found approximately 3,600,000 web pages that relate in some way to that phrase. This shouldn’t surprise us, because conventional wisdom is that goal setting is an important skill.

    It is easy to document both through anecdotal evidence as well as through research that setting goals can help us achieve more. There are hundreds of books, tapes, speeches, workshops, and websites that will provide us with tools and processes to set goals. One would think for something as important as goal setting, with as many tools as there are available, that everyone would be a goal setter.

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    Business Continuation Planning

    As a business owner, much of your wealth is probably tied to your business. While that may help the business grow, it may also create severe liquidity problems for your beneficiaries when you die. The value of your business will be included in your estate. How will your beneficiaries get the liquidity necessary to pay taxes due?

    Will they be forced to liquidate the business, or a portion of it, at a loss? Forced liquidation could have the following results:

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    How to Charge More and Work Less

    I remember when I first launched my first business as a copywriter seven years ago, I had no clue what to charge. Without putting hard thought into what type of results my work gave my clients, I started out with an hourly rate that didn't scare ME! I would still even stutter when I said to clients, "My rate is si- si- si- sixty dollars an hour." Deep down, I wasn't confident in myself, so of course I wouldn't let myself charge more. And of course, as a result I attracted lame clients, worked like a dog, and stayed broke all the time.

    Well, things are VERY different today. I have no problem saying my consulting rate is $500 an hour, or that a private mentorship with me starts at a minimum of $9,700. And, here's the kicker: Because I take on so few clients now, at higher rates, and the bulk of my income comes from information products, I work LESS than I used to!

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    Footprints to Success: The Five Priorities of Strategic Planning in Wholesale Distribution

    Strategic planning is a management tool. It is used to help an organization clarify its future direction – to focus its energy, and to help members of the organization work toward the same goals. The planning process adjusts the organization’s direction in response to a changing environment. Strategic planning is a disciplined effort to support fundamental decisions and actions that shape and guide what an organization is, what it does and why it does it, with a focus on where it wants to go and how it is going to get there.

    Discipline is a prerequisite to this process because it requires laser-like persistence to bring about a productive strategic planning initiative. The process raises a sequence of questions that helps planners examine current reality, test assumptions, gather and incorporate information about the present, and perform trend analysis on the future industry environment.

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    Your Roadmap to Success

    On a scale of one to ten, having a good business strategy rates about a fifteen!

    Creating a strategy can mean the difference between you working 60 to 80 hours a week all year long -- and then breaking even, or worse, losing money.

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    Business Growth: The Five Rules that Goliath Forgot

    Most big businesses are less agile than their smaller counterparts. Often, it’s smaller, nimble companies that spot the opportunity in the market. The big corporation lumbers along a couple of years later. By that time, the opportunity has vanished or it’s been locked up.

    But there’s an irony here. And it’s this. Most large companies don’t just pop into existence. They are small businesses that have survived and thrived. So, for at least part of their history, they knew what it took to grow and to change – to create and dominate markets.

    As companies mature, they concentrate on being big. They put processes and procedures in place. They form committees to create policy. They appoint planning task groups. They forget how they used to think and behave.

    And as a result, they slow down. They become less innovative and more defensive. They find growth harder to come by. And their core markets are threatened by changing consumer demands, by new business approaches, and by niche competitors.

    Consider these two businesses. Goliath Worldwide has good people, huge budgets, and decades of experience. It launched a series of successful brands in the 1950s and 1960s, and then went international in the 1970s. In the 1990s, they cut costs and returned to the core. Now it’s struggling, even in the markets it helped to create.

    The newcomer -- David Inc -- is growing the market and taking share. Four years ago, they launched a range of products called ‘Dinc’. At first they sold through specialist outlets; last year they began selling through major retailers; now Dinc is growing its segment at the premium end of the market, and it’s seen as a ‘must-have’ brand by the retailers.

    Somewhere along the line, while Goliath was growing so successfully, it was also losing sight of the things which made it work. What has Goliath forgotten that David is doing right -– and can Goliath learn to be agile again?

    Forgotten Rule One. Spend extraordinary amounts of time with your customers.

    Goliath Limited conducts plenty of market research.
    Their agency filters the results and presents them to the marketing team each month. The marketing team selectively publishes research results via email on a quarterly basis. Most of the emails are unread.

    David Inc's managers just spend time with their customers, at least half a day each week, whether it’s watching them in stores, shadowing them in everyday life, or observing them in focus groups.

    You may believe that David’s approach is unproductive. But what could be more unproductive than working without a deep knowledge of what your ultimate customer wants?

    Here’s an example. Michele Ferrero, the late boss of Ferrero (one of the largest confectionery businesses in the world) used to spend two days every week just watching shoppers. He created a steady stream of hugely successful new products (including Ferrero Rocher, Tic Tac and the Kinder Egg) which have perfectly met the needs of consumers.

    And here’s another. Terry Leahy, the boss of Tesco, spends a day a week in his stores, talking to customers and staff. Is he wasting his time? Well, Tesco is the largest retailer in Britain, and it’s pulling away from its competitors.

    Forgotten Rule Two. Get under the skin of your competitors.

    Goliath Limited has a specialist competitor intelligence desk.
    Every two years, the desk produces profiles of all major players in the marketplace. Pages of data, charts and analysis. Yet Goliath continually underestimates its competitors. For years, the sales forecasts have assumed that Goliath will grow faster than their market, which means taking share from competitors. But they never say which competitor, or how.

    David Inc is rather less formal. It has polled its own employees about Goliath’s strengths and weaknesses, and has made a guess at its likely strategic priorities. In fact, Goliath won’t start writing next year’s plan until September, but David has already intuited two-thirds of the sales and marketing activities that Goliath will come up with! So they can get on with pre-empting them right now.

    Sales and marketing professionals know that they have to stand in their customers’ shoes. It’s exactly the same with competitors. The best way to understand your competitors is to stand in their shoes. That means looking at the market from their perspective and figuring out what you would do if you were them.

    Here’s an anonymous example. (Companies who successfully outsmart their competitors don’t want to publicise their methods.) I worked with a major UK business to understand a dangerous new competitor. We put ourselves in their boots and effectively plotted our own downfall. Then we turned it around and figured out how to pre-empt them.

    Three months later, this competitor published a trade ad which set out its four strategic priorities. We had predicted them all correctly, and the sales and marketing campaigns to beat them were already under way...

    Forgotten Rule Three. Build your business on insights.

    Goliath Limited has a sprawling annual strategic planning process, run at Goliath HQ.
    It begins in April and the plan is eventually issued (to selected senior managers) just before starting work on the operating plan in September. A lot of experienced managers contribute to the process, but Goliath is aware that the plan never really comes to life in the business.

    By contrast, David Inc’s strategy looks chaotic. Conversations are regularly held with people across the business, particularly with people at the outside edge of the business -– people who work with customers and suppliers. In the ‘cockpit’ at their open plan office, the directors write up every single idea on the wall and solicit comments and further thoughts.

    They build -- and rebuild -- their whole business on insights. An insight is hard to define, but you’ll know one when you see it! It’s a high value nugget of information that helps you see things in a different way.

    If you look at successful innovative products, you can often see the insight that lies at the heart of them. The iPod (and its equivalents): “I don’t want to carry around a pile of CDs, particularly as I only like two or three songs on each.” Bratz (the dolls that gave Barbie a slap): “I like the sassy attitude of female celebrities -- it’s part of their glamour.” The Smart car (the Swatch on wheels): “why should I -– or my business -– give up my individuality when I buy a small city car?”

    Most big businesses are rightly concerned with Knowledge Management. But managing insights is even more fundamental. It takes courage and energy to DO something about an insight, rather than saying “that’s interesting” and letting it drop.

    Forgotten Rule Four. Have a purpose you’d risk your house for.

    Goliath Worldwide has a vision statement -– “to provide superior returns to shareholders”, and a profit share plan.
    If the company beats its consolidated profit target, managers can earn a bonus of up to 8% of their annual salary. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. It depends more on the target and the economic climate than on what the managers do.

    The directors of David Inc took out mortgages to start the business. If they don’t meet their profit target, they could literally lose their homes! But they’re not worrying about that, because they have an overriding sense of purpose. And it’s not “to provide superior returns to shareholders.” They know that they’re making products they’re really proud of. They’re genuinely making their customers’ lives better, and they feel that they’re making the world a better place.

    Big companies set great store by a vision and mission. Here’s a fairly typical vision statement. “The Gillette Company’s Vision is to build Total Brand Value by innovating to deliver consumer value and customer leadership faster, better and more completely than our competition.”

    Now this isn’t wrong, or misguided. It’s just not very interesting. It won’t create a buzz. Nobody’s going to take a bullet in the chest for it. A vision and mission are fine. But a well-thought-through purpose, on the other hand, is bold, clear, maybe impudent, certainly inspiring. It provokes a response.

    Take Apple. When Steve Jobs was reappointed CEO of Apple, a reporter asked him “Can you turn Apple around?” His answer: “The goal is not to turn Apple around. The goal is not to move back into profit. The goal is to make the best computers in the world.”

    Forgotten Rule Five. Treat business as a journey, and involve everyone.

    Goliath Worldwide has a massive formal quarterly briefing process,
    which cascades through the organisation. Part one of the briefing is about the future –- about aspirations; part two is about the recent past -– about financial results. It is fair to say that the two parts are not linked, and that strategy is not tracked. Directors brief senior managers, who brief junior managers, who brief non-managers. Very few reactions are passed back up the chain, and when they are the response is defensive.

    David Inc’s three owners go round the company briefing everyone themselves. They describe their business as a journey. They talk about what’s working and what’s not working. They have a scorecard –- a set of a dozen metrics that they always use –- to tell the story of the company’s progress. Sessions are informal. Wine is taken. Questions and suggestions and challenges are welcome. Valuable insights come out of the discussions.

    Many successful business leaders describe business as a journey – Jack Welch, Bill Gates, Richard Branson. But only a few companies take that idea forward and involve all their employees in the journey.

    One way to do this is to create and publish a ‘balanced scorecard’ -– the concept developed by David Norton and Professor Robert Kaplan. This is a set of linked measures which tell the story of what a business is trying to do.

    Another way is to create a cockpit, with details of the journey charted on the walls (e.g. the strategic direction, a map of the marketplace, ‘engines’ such as brands or technologies, and measures of progress).

    If these ideas are well implemented, and pushed widely around the business, they make strategy a continuous process owned by everyone.

    Conclusion and tips

    These are the lessons that big businesses once knew but have forgotten.
    All of them can be re-learned and put into practice.

    If you can’t change your whole business, then focus on your unit or branch or division or team. Or on yourself.

    “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” Henry Ford

    So how do these lessons also apply to individuals?

    Spend time with your customers.
    Start by booking a couple of hours to visit your own personal customers, whether they’re inside the company or outside. Ask them how they use your services. Ask them what they really need. Ask them what they like and what they don’t like. Ask them how you could improve what you do. Is there anything you could stop doing? Look for opportunities to make things easier for both of you. Most of all, find out what they love.

    Climb into your competitor’s boots. Look at your services from a competitor’s point of view. (If you don’t have a competitor, lucky you; try imagining that a seriously impressive colleague of yours IS a competitor.) What would they say are the rules of the game in your field? What do you have to do to be world-class? What do you have to do to take your game to the next level?

    Build your business on insights. As you talk to people, get them to tell stories about using your services. Note down the positives – their hopes and ideals – and the negatives – their frustrations and compromises. These unwitting moments are how people give you insights.

    Define a purpose that makes you feel proud. Choose one of those insights that most resonates with you, and set about bringing it to life in your work. A great way to be fulfilled in your work is to make your customers’ lives even a little bit better.

    Lay out your journey and measure your success. Goal-setters achieve more than people who drift. But goal-setting can be a dry activity. By thinking of your life and career as a journey, with milestones on the way, you can make it more interesting. And the journey will be shaped by what you now know about your customers, your competitors, your insights and your purpose.

    Bon voyage!

    © 2005 Charles Kingsmill. You are free to use material from this article in whole or in part, as long as you include complete attribution, including live web site link. Please also notify Charles Kingsmill where the material will appear. The attribution should read: "By Charles Kingsmill. Please visit Charles’s web site at for additional information and resources on growing your business." (Make sure the link is live if placed in an eZine or in a web site.)

    Charles Kingsmill works with medium and large businesses who have set themselves challenging growth targets. His services include Strategy Action Teams and Competitor Wargaming. Visit Charles’s website at where you can download a growth questionnaire and free workbooks, as well as subscribing to his e-zine “Mission Control.”

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