Friday, May 6, 2011



DO WRITE OUT ALL DETAILS in your ad offer. Read it, edit it,
and re-write it for a shorter, money saving effective ad.
"Think small".

DO FOLLOW ALL THE RULES when writing your classified ad. Use
these ideas.

Attention Interest Desire Action

DO USE A NAME with each classified ad including your envelopes.

DO NOT CHARGE for sales letters or circulars.

DO BE HONEST with all your classified ad claims.

DO IDENTIFY your product.

DO WRITE YOUR CLASSIFIED AD simple, clear and direct.

DO USE WORDS EVERYONE KNOWS and everyone will understand what
your are saying.

DO USE A WORD that will benefit a reader.

DO NOT OVERPRICE your product.

DO ADVERTISE FREQUENTLY. Constant exposure creates a familiar
offer with better response.

DO OFFER A MONEY BACK GUARANTEE in your classified ad,
salesletter or circular if possible. An excellent sales

DO TEST YOUR AD in 2 or 3 smaller, low cost publications.
Record results. Code each ad.

DO READ PUBLICATIONS that relate to your product. Write for ad
rates, paid circulation, discounts and closing dates. Keep

your ad appears in the publication of your choice. Do not delay
in responding.

DO USE THE COPYCAT METHOD. Do what other successful advertisers
are doing. Only with a slight twist, idea or offer.

DO RUN SEVERAL ADS worded differently. Keep records of results.

DON'T OVER ADVERTISE. It can be expensive. If you want to, do
it gradually.

Take time to find out what you need to know.

DON'T TRUST YOUR MEMORY. A thought will leave you as quickly as
it came. Always write down a good idea. NOW!

DON'T PLACE YOUR AD in the wrong classification.

DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY on ad words to amuse or entertain, but
use words to persuade, inform and sell your product.

DO USE A SHORT BUSINESS NAME. Make it easy to pronounce and

DON'T FORGET THE M.E.D.I.C.S. Motivation. Enthusiasm. Desire.
Image. Creativity. Success!

DON'T GIVE UP. If your ad doesn't pull after a fair exposure,
try re-writing it. One or two different words may do the trick.

DON'T SPEND THE PROFITS. Re-invest the money in more continuous

DON'T FORGET, an ad that offers "FREE DETAILS" means writing a
sales letter or circular.


Getting your price lists, brochures, catalogs or newsletters
typeset does not necessarily have to be a costly procedure.
Keep in mind that the main cost in typesetting is the time
involved in setting type. By minimizing the time needed to
create a typeset piece you can effectively keep your cost down.
The following suggestions can help reduce your typesetting

Know what you want the FIRST time around. Have a picture in
your mind. Trial and error can be costly. Don't have a
typesetter set it one way, then decide a different format would
look better.

Reduce and eliminate author's corrections by thorough proofing
and re-proofing.

Avoid minimum charges by combining small jobs and having them
set at the same time.

Try to use one family of type to save time and money by avoiding
font changes. The consistent look is better.

Give explicit instructions on marking up copy: type styles,
column widths/margins.

With a large job, such as a brochure or annual report, request a
style setting proof sheet to get approvals before the entire job
is done.

Avoid super rush jobs, especially if you don't really need them.

Avoid lengthy corrections on the phone. You might end up paying
for corrections later that could have been avoided if you had
done your editing on proof sheets.

Get the layout finished and approved before having type set...
the same goes for copy, of course.

Avoid the use of "run-arounds" (reducing the width of the copy
to make room for a photo in the column, for example). If you do
use them, use simple shapes, boxes, squares.

Avoid the use of curved or angular type. Type reading left to
right on a page (for example, this report) is faster and less
expensive to set than copy that is set in a curve or running
sideways on the page.

The use of unjustified text and captions is less expensive than
justified because it sets quicker, costing less time.

Don't depend on the typesetter to read your mind. Be specific.



Advertising isn't hard to do. You prepare an advertisement or write a
classified ad to sell your product or generate interest to send people more
information. But the way most people make mistakes is either by their
inability to write effective ad copy and by sending it to be published in
the wrong publication. Here are some pointers to follow:

Writing Effective Copy
Never try to sell anything costing more than $5 in a small display ad or a
classified ad. First of all, you don't have enough room to tell people
everything they need to know to entice them to order.

Instead, you need to employ the "Two-Step" method of advertising. Request
the reader to send you $1 or 4 first-class postage stamps for more
information. When they respond, you will send them a brochure, flyer, order
form and cover letter so they can place an order for the real product.

Now that pricing is out of the way lets talk about writing your ad copy.
The best way to learn how is to read the ads other people have written.
Don't copy them word-for-word, but use them as a guide to write your own ads.
Once you get the hang of it, you'll be writing effective ad copy just as well as the pros.

Advertising in the Right Publication. Although this may sound a little
silly and you think it is only common sense to know this - people will often
overlook this fact when choosing the publication they will be advertising in.
Instead, they will look for the lowest price for the amount of circulation
they receive. Unfortunately, this does not work out. Even though you need
to look for good deals that make it easy on your pocketbook, you will be
throwing money away if you don't pre-qualify the publication you choose.

One way of pre-qualifying the publication is to send for a sample copy.
Most publishers will send them to you free of charge for the asking. If you
don't know of any mail order publications, just write to Glenn Bridgeman,
PO Box 10150, Terra Bella CA 93270 or William Lee, Rt 1, Box 10790,
Madisonville TN 37354 and ask them to send you some. (Be sure to enclose
$1 or 4 first-class postage stamps in with your request to offset postage
costs.) If you tell them you are new to mail order and are interested in
publications to advertise in, you certainly will find the $1 you spent is
well worth the effort because both of these publishers are very reputable,
honest and helpful.

Study the publication to see what other people are advertising and how they
are advertising it. Contact some of the people who sell items similar to your
own with the hope of networking with them. You would be surprised how much
free publicity you can get just from corresponding, calling and networking
with others.

Once you locate a publication you want to advertise in, give it a try for
3 months. If you don't get any response or only a few orders, try another
publication. There are millions of them and eventually you will hit the right
target market that will be interested in what you have to sell.

Don't Stop With One Publication. Just because you locate the target market
of people who are interested in purchasing your product there is no reason
you can't advertise in more than one publication. In fact - if you don't,
your ad will become stale. If the same people continue to see your ad every
month they will probably get tired of looking at it. Besides, if they wanted
the product they would have ordered it by now. Don't tire them out! Alternate
different size ads and get rid of ones that don't work well.

Leave your ad running as long as it brings in orders for you but also
advertise in 5, 10, 20 or 50 other publications also to generate a steady
stream of orders and to reach more people.

Key Your Ads. Many beginners in mail order never key their ads so they
know what publication people saw their ads in. In fact, I personally never
did this myself and ended up losing a lot of money. So please don't make the
same mistake I did. Keying your ads means that you place a code of some sort
in your address so that when people write and order something from you, you
immediately will know where they saw your ad. Keep a record of every name
and address of the publisher you send an advertisement to. Record the date
you sent the ad and the date you received a checking copy, proving that your
ad appeared. Also record the "code" you used so you can immediately identify
where it came from.

If your address is "123 Anytown St," it could become "123 Anytown St,
Suite A" for one publication and "Suite B" for another. The postman will
still deliver your mail to "123 Anytown St." Of course, if you live in an
apartment complex and there are apartment numbers you could turn "111 Johnson
Apt A" into "111 Johnson, Apt A-1" for one publication and "Apt A-2" for
another. Post office box addresses are also simple. Turn "PO Box 585" into
"PO Box 585, Dept A-1" for one publication and "Dept A-2" for another.

People will sometimes even change their name on the ad for keying purposes.
You might see the name "Harriet's Recipe Book" instead of Harriet Ranger.
Harriet might also use "Harriet's Cookbook" or even "Harriet's Solution to
Stress" on her ads relating to these products. Use your own imagination and
pretty soon, keying your ads will be a normal part of your life.
Be sure and keep track (on your Record Sheet) of how many responses you
receive from each publication. After 3 months, look over your Record Sheet
and get rid of the publications that didn't do well. You'll go broke if you
spend $10 per month advertising a 2-inch ad if you only receive $1 back in
orders. After awhile you'll be able to see where it pays you to advertise
your particular product and then you can send in larger ads to those
publications. Never stop using this method and you'll never stop getting
orders in your mailbox. It's a win-win situation for everybody!

Tabloids -vs- Adsheets. Another question about advertising that many people
have is whether its better to advertise in tabloids or adsheets. Many people
will sell you information on the best day to mail and the best time of the
year to advertise. They think they have it down to a science and will
convince you of their methods.
However, there is NO set rules that can be employed by everyone. That's
because there are a wide variety of ways to approach various products. If
you sell travel services and read a report that told you not to advertise
during the summer months, you'd go broke. The summer is the travel industry's
biggest money-making season!

Don't get hung up on specific statistics made by people who claim to be
expert researchers. There is no way to determine what is best for you than
to try it yourself and see what works. You are the person in control of your
business and you are where the buck stops. Take advantage of your authority
and try every angle you can think of until you determine what's best for your
company's product and/or service.

Tabloids are a fantastic advertising vehicle and adsheets are too. Sometimes
people feel a small 1" camera-ready ad gets lost in a tabloid filled with
100's of them. This may be true in some circumstances and not true in others.
Do you look at 1" ads in tabloids? Of course you do. You scan the pages and
your eye is always directed to one or two on the page that catches your eye.
Ask yourself "why" they caught your eye. Was it because the ad was placed in
a specific area on the page? Was it because of the headline or the word

Classifieds work well in tabloids and adsheets and sometimes they don't,
Look in the back of the Globe or Enquirer. Don't they have page after page
of classified ads? If nobody was reading them and responding to them, the
advertisers wouldn't be submitting advertising to the Globe or Enquirer for
them. So evidently, people DO read classified ads - even if there are 100's
of them. Test the waters and do what works the best for you.

Dispelling 8 Misconceptions of Organization

Dispelling 8 Misconceptions of Organization

Some people were born organized and then there are those of us who struggle with organizing every year at this time. It seems that it’s always at the end of the year when that little annoying bug begins nudging you to clear things up and start the new year organized.

Well, I’ve read just about everybody’s directions, books, and helpful hints about getting organized (in fact, I’m thinking of writing one myself), and I’ve got to tell you there are some misconceptions being fostered by every organizational guru. It will be my pleasure to give you the “skinny” on that in today’s column.

Here are the 8 misconceptions that we can throw out:

1. Handle paper once. This is not only impossible, but in most cases it’s unrealistic. Instead of handling paper once, get in the habit of doing something with each piece of paper to move it forward. If you get some information about an upcoming seminar/trade show, for example, decide if you’ll attend or not. If you’re to attend then note the date on your calendar and sign up. If not, then toss the information immediately. If you want to wait to sign up, then make a note in your planner to respond well before the deadline and file the paper in your “to-do” file.
2. Always keep papers stored out of sight: Some of us work better when their desk is clear, whereas others feel stifled if they aren’t surrounded by stacks of paper. If you’re an “out of sight – out of mind” type, keep papers you use often nearby in files or stacking bins. They’ll be accessible, yet not clutter your desk. When working on a project, spread out the papers related to it, and when you’re done put them away together in one place.
3. Everyone should be organized to the same degree. Different people work differently. Don’t feel that you have to work the same as someone else. Find a comfortable level of being organized, and make the necessary changes to maintain that level. I usually draw that line when I’m looking for something and can’t find it; that’s when I know things need to get reorganized.
4. Soon we’ll be a “paperless” society. Don’t you believe it. Experts have been saying that for years, and we won’t be paperless for a long time. It’s not technology that’s the problem, it is human nature that’s the culprit. We’re creatures of habit and used to seeing things in print rather than on a computer screen. The younger generation is now being trained on computers at an early age, so when they join the workforce, the “paperless” society will have a better chance of becoming a reality.
5. One planning system should fit everyone. When used correctly, daily planners are an ideal way to stay organized. Keep in mind, however, they are designed by a few for many users. When buying a planner, whether paper-based or electronic, determine what you want it to do and choose a system accordingly. If you can’t find one to suit your system, design your own based on your individual needs.
6. You have to be born organized to be organized. We learn both good and bad habits at an early age. It’s possible to change any bad habit, including disorganization. Youngsters raised in an organized environment sometimes rebel as adults by being disorganized. The opposite is also true, but neither is carved in stone and behavior can be modified.
7. You MUST use a “to-do” list. Planning day-to-day is not realistic for everyone. Someone may do the same task every week, but others find their plans changing daily. Consider your particular need, then plan by the day or the week.
8. Being organized means being a perfectionist. A perfectionist may spend time on insignificant details while disregarding the big picture. When others complete a project quickly and on time, the perfectionist continues to work until the project is perfect. A perfectionist becomes more effective when he/she lowers his/her standards slightly and concentrates on ways to increase productivity.

Misinformation, when taken seriously, can hinder you from doing what you want. The next time you hear one of those “Organizational Gurus” espousing one of the above misconceptions, consider its value and work to develop your own style of organizing.

When Did Customer Service Breakup?

When Did Customer Service Breakup?

We’ve all had friends in our circle who were known as “Mary & John”, and when “John” split “Mary” was alone. Mary was the “odd” number at the dinner party and we were all concerned about her. Well, today it seems that the union of Customer & Service have had a breakup. Service has split and Customer is on his/her own.

Today, let me tell you a story that many of you will find humorous but is all too common. I can tell you this without fear of our local editor getting sued because it’s about me, but business owners take note that you don’t fit the profile of company “X”.

Four weeks ago I decided that I needed another green recycling can from my trash pickup company. We’ll call them Brown Keg Trash Pickup, an anonymous company in the interest of avoiding litigation. I called their Customer Service number, and as an environmentally conscious citizen requested my extra recycle can. The cheerful voice on the other end of the line chirped, “Of course, we’ll have one delivered in 48 hours.” After giving her all the pertinent location information, I hung up the phone with the satisfied feeling of a good citizen.

I arrived home about 5 p.m. the next day and I was happy to see another green can at the mouth of my driveway. When I looked again, I noticed that I had another green can – but it was without a lid. I quickly dialed my cheerful telephone voice at Brown Keg Company thanking her graciously for the rapid service and then told her about the missing lid. Just as cheerfully as the first time, she told me to leave it at the end of my driveway after my usual trash pickup and they would replace the entire unit since they didn’t have extra lids. I agreed, and after hanging up the phone I pondered their plight of having lidless cans but no extra lids. I conjured up all sorts of scenarios that explained where all the lids to the lidless cans went, and sympathized with their predicament.

Well, 3 days went by and there sat my poor, green, lidless can at my driveway’s mouth and a replacement never arrived. Feeling empathy for this green plastic waif, I returned it to the side of it’s brother that had a lid. I called my cheerful Customer Service voice again, and reiterated the plight of my poor lidless can and after a chuckle she assured me a complete unit would be forthcoming. I found it necessary to make use of my lidless friend, and put it out the next pickup day filled to the brim. Fortunately, it wasn’t windy and all the contents remained inside it. That was 2 weeks ago, and life being what it is other more important tasks have occupied me until this morning when facing another pickup day I thought of my lidless friend.

Once more I picked up the phone and called my trash pickup company, and this time I listened to a litany of choices of buttons I could punch and chose my cheerful Customer Service button again. I was transferred, listened to a brief melody when there was a “click” and I expected my cheerful voice to chirp “hello”. The next thing I heard was another click, silence, and then the dreaded dial tone that means you’ve been disconnected. Not being one of the “fainthearted”, I simply redialed my number. Again there was the litany of button choices, my choice and the music, and just when I began to feel that all was right with the world I heard – “click”, “dial tone” and nothing.

This was not the morning for the phone to be playing games with me, so I made one more determined effort and REDIALED! “NASA, we have lift-off !” I once more heard the litany of button choices, but this time I outfoxed that monotonous voice and punched “0”. I asked for the Manager of Customer Service, I was given her name and was transferred. What greeted my eager ear was, “You’ve reached the voicemail of ……., please leave your name and number and she’ll return your call.”

So here we sit - my lidless, green can and I facing another pick-up day. This eager-to-serve plastic green waif must bravely face another dutiful day half-clothed.

You must admit that is an amusing story, and one that far too many of us have lived through, but what a sad commentary it is about our business community. Doesn’t it make you wonder if our language has changed so drastically that what we interpret “Customer Service” to mean - is not what today’s business owners mean. It makes me wonder when the marriage of Customer and Service broke-up, leaving us all the lonely ones.

Entrepreneurs and business owners take note! If you’re going to have a number for your customers to access your Customer Service, please follow these rules.
 Have the phone manned by an employee that can hear thunder and see lightening.
 Give that employee training in helping the caller and not shuffling the problem to another desk.
 Have an overseer, who can also hear thunder and see lightening, check that all incoming complaints were handled appropriately.

After learning how to find your customers and what they want; after getting them committed to doing business with YOU; and after wooing them to keep them as your customers – WHY WOULD YOU LET “SERVICE” DIVORCE “CUSTOMER?”
If your customers aren’t getting the service they require from you – your competitor will be only too happy to help them!

Prepare Crisis Control

Prepare Crisis Control

A personal crisis doesn’t have to spell disaster for your business if you’re prepared. Every business occasionally endures a crisis, but what happens when your dilemma isn’t falling profits but personal.

Because we have no idea what type of personal crisis may await us – an ugly divorce, debilitating disease, or ailing parent/child/spouse, we must be prepared. Just as you plan for advertising and promotions, you must plan for life’s surprises.

Paul Krasinski, founder of Lion Strategy Advisors, New York, suggests finding somebody NOW who can take over your responsibility and carry on for at least 20 days. He/she needs to be someone who can communicate well with staff and command respect, and may or may not be the person you feel closest to in the company.

Once a personal crisis hits, Krasinski recommends “full disclosure” to your employees. This avoids the feeling of being hit by a bomb, and that business will go on as usual. In case you think this doesn’t work, let me give you a case history.

Dana Weidaw, 28 and president of her own PR firm had only been in business 1 year when she tested “full disclosure” with her employees. She was diagnosed with an aneurysm which required a surgeon to drill through her skull. She had just landed her first major client and was publicizing a major hockey arena. If all didn’t go well with the project, this client could turn out to be her last.

Before missing 7 days of work, Weidaw prepped her full-time employee, another agency she was working with, and her client by sharing the nitty-gritty details of her crisis. She assured them everything would run according to plans and smoothly in her absence, and found that everybody was willing to work around her crisis. Weidaw found that, by nature, people are very sympathetic.

A word of caution though, you need to know when to talk. During and after a crisis – full disclosure is great. If you’re “contingency” planning though, it might be prudent not to advertise that if your personal life goes in the tanker good old Gary or Suzy will be in charge. Your employees may needlessly dwell on why they weren’t picked to run the show instead of them. Above all, you don’t want to cause widespread distress or distract your staff from day-to-day operation.

Just as surely as you plan for financial allocations for your business, always have a crisis plan in place. This may need adjustments from year to year as staff leaves and are replaced, so when planning for each year’s business needs include your crisis plan.

Good Girls Don’t Get Corner Offices

Good Girls Don’t Get Corner Offices

Are you a polite, hardworking, accommodating worker? Well, I’ve just learned that being a “good girl” can be a bad thing when it comes to your career and personal finances.

At a recent Breakfast Meeting of the National Association of Female Executives (NAFE) I heard a talk by Dr. Lois Frankel, the author of “Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers…”, which brought up some good points.

One of the things Frankel said was that women should understand and play by the rules. She asserted that hard work doesn’t get you ahead – it enables you to keep your job. Women have to start thinking strategically and start promoting themselves as team players.

Another point made was that women have to learn to “manage up.” People complain that the reason someone is getting ahead is that the boss likes them, and it’s true. You don’t have to flatter your boss or agree with everything they say, but you do want to let them know that you’re committed to his/her success. Then your boss will be committed to yours.

Another thing we women miss is building 360 degree relationships. Spend a part of your time at work nurturing sincere relationships at ALL levels. No one gets ahead by being tethered to their desk all day. Instead spend 15 minutes a day in casual conversation with co-workers and build connections.

Strange as it seems, since women feel that they’re liberated from the former stereotypes, you must pay attention to the “dress for success” mantra. A full 50% of your credibility is based on how you look, and how you dress. Another 40% is based on how you sound, so it’s not being phony or false to put your best foot forward – it’s strategic.

Now for all you women I hear groaning after that last point, I sympathize with you. As an entrepreneur, one
of my favorite perks is not having to don pantyhose everyday – but that doesn’t mean you can run around in pj’s or sweats either. You can put forth a very presentable, business-like, credible, impression with a neat pant suit – even with low-heel shoes. Add a well maintained haircut and style, and even with minimal makeup and smart jewelry you can look as smart as any office executive.

There’s also something of note for my male readers, if you’ve kept with me this far into the column. Women should pay attention, too, to the shocking statistics I’m about to reveal. Let’s not fall asleep at the switch, ladies!

A figure everyone should watch is:

Women fill less than 15% of Congressional seats. Among our 100 senators, only 14 are women and we hold only 15% of the seats in the House of Representatives. The result is, we have almost no say in Washington in the thousands of decisions that control our businesses, families, and lives. That means that 85% of the people shaping our lives are men.

At a time when women account for more than half of the nation’s population, why don’t we have greater representation in Congress? Surely women haven’t knowingly ceded our important decisions to men. I think this stunning inequity exists because people don’t know about it.

Why do we need more women in office? Because women politicians have a track record of introducing and pushing issues of interest to women and families. An example of this, in 1990, women in Congress realized that the National Institute of Health was conducting heart disease research only on men. So Congressional women called for an investigation of gender bias in medical research and catalyzed the Women’s Health Initiative to study women’s heart disease, breast cancer, and osteoporosis. We now know heart disease is markedly different in women, and with this one effort they saved many of our own lives and those of loved ones.

Granted there are many reasons why women don’t run for office: insufficient funding, family responsibilities, and an incumbency system that favors people in office (usually men). But there’s one reason we can change! Women, unlike men, wait to be asked to run. Ladies, it’s time to stop waiting! Start running!

More women in Congress could help us close the wage gap that still exists, and don’t kid yourself that it doesn’t. Recent research by NAFE shows that men annually earn, on average, $10,000-plus more than women in exactly the same jobs. If you can’t run yourself, then offer to work on the campaign of a woman running in your district and help her win.

Women must not remain the silent majority!!!! Let’s make this year a better year for women.

Markets & The Dynamics of Competition

Markets & The Dynamics of Competition

Today marketing is not the same as it was in the ‘60s or ‘70s, because there are enough products to satisfy customer’s needs. In fact customers are “hyper-satisfied”! Companies have segmented the market until it has become almost too small to service profitably.

Distribution is now largely in the hands of giant corporations such as Wal-Mart and Costco. There are more brands and fewer producers, products “life” have been shortened, and it’s cheaper to replace than to repair - all complicating the process further.
Marketing has always started with identifying the needs of your customer, but many companies are now focusing on the product. They focus on what category it falls into, and then what sub-category (for instance pudding and then what flavors). By focusing on the product, companies then focus on who’ll use the product, and those considered “not using” are excluded from the picture. In doing this, you’ve just given your competitor a target market.

You may have captured 75% of your “user market” because you have a USP (unique selling position) i.e.; more flavors, more convenient packaging, longer shelf life, etc. But why can’t YOU also take care of the other 25% instead of your competitor?

To do that, requires a new way of thinking known as “Lateral Marketing”. Stop thinking about how you can keep the 75% in love with your product (Vertical Marketing), think about drawing in the 25% of the market that wasn’t your customer. This is done by innovative thinking. This may be seen as further “segmenting” the market-place, but at the same time it’s making it bigger.

Let’s say you sell soap. You’ve captured 75% of your market because of some formulary development that makes more suds with less product. The 25% that your competition is trying to capture would rather spend less for soap, than use less. Your method of also capturing that 25% is to start thinking “innovation” and not different product.

Lateral Marketing works within the original category of product and complements it, not competes with it. You could come up with a soap with more bleach, with less foam, fragrance free, with more foam. You can innovate by size – selling in large economy packs, selling in individual packs, and do this without ever changing the formula of the product. This type of marketing works best for mature markets with no growth (after all, what new uses can you come up with for soap). It also can create markets from scratch, requires greater resources, and may redefine your company’s mission and business focus.

This innovative method of marketing doesn’t create “new” categories or markets, it always occurs “within” the category where the idea originated. If you’ve done everything right, you’ve garnered the 25% of customers that might have got away and it didn’t require a lot of overhead – you’re still producing soap!

Good Companies Grow No Matter What

Good Companies Grow No Matter What

Every business demands growth, and double-digit growth is the dream of every dedicated business owner, even when lackluster results show up at quarter’s end.

Most entrepreneurial business owners need a guide to navigate their way toward substantial, sustainable growth. It can be done even in a slow economy as demonstrated by such companies as Harley Davidson, Starbucks, and WalMart. Even smaller companies such as Paychex and Oshkosh Truck have been able to make gains in revenue, gross profits and net profits.

Here are 5 disciplines of sustained growth:

1. Retain Your Customer Base: Keep the growth that you have already earned by coaxing customers into complex relationships that make it a hassle for them to switch to your competitor. Tailor your products/services using data gleaned from your customers giving you an advantage. Proactively managing customer defections will help you anticipate and pre-empt them. Bonding with customers wherever emotion is tied to an interaction is another great way to retain them.

2. Gain Market Share at the Expense of Your Rivals: Give customers a reason to abandon a competitor’s product/service for yours. Do what it takes to lower the switching costs. Pulling customers away from a competitor can be difficult, so you must devote many resources to raiding their customer base. Offering higher value and quality are crucial to this end. Buying a competitor is another way to do this.

3. Exploit Market Position: Show up where growth is going to happen by spotting it early. This can be done by watching the industry for shifts in buying criteria, product or service innovations, and population trends. You must be able to spot positioning opportunities to make the most of them by continually using a systematic approach to the process.

4. Invade Adjacent Markets: Before moving into a nearby market, decide whether it offers significant long-term growth and profitability. Determine whether you have an advantage over a competitor, and ensure you can match its standards of quality and value.

5. Invest In New Lines of Business: If you take this approach, never overpay for a new line. You must find simple strategies instead of complex ones, and partner with the new business by assessing its leadership team and balance sheet.

Although a successful growth portfolio might not include all five of these disciplines, it must contain more than one. Only a balanced growth portfolio can keep an organization growing when the market shifts dramatically.

In closing I wish a happy and safe Memorial Day to all my entrepreneurial buddies and readers. Drive carefully!

What About Commonality?

Diversity, diversity, diversity! Some people, political types in particular, are trying to make “diversity” our defining characteristic. Has anyone thought of approaching the topic from the point of “commonality”, a bonding point of view, rather than “diversity”, a dividing point of view? Using the term “diversity” appears to me to mask a hidden and potentially sinister agenda to divide and control us. The parties pursuing this line seem more interested in playing the “blame game” and law suits by using “diversity” to categorize color group rather than individual capability.

We are all unique because DNA has billions of variations which make us so, but our opportunities are not. Humans share only a few dozen needs and desires, at best, but we have a history describing how others have solved similar problems. However, today’s use of the term “diversity” tends to make some feel like victims who only use history as an excuse.

Positive self-worth is an important attribute to every person, but it comes from assuming responsibility for tasks and seeing them completed successfully. Without responsibility, we drift in a sea of self-doubt, but many are using “diversity” as a way to avert this responsibility.

“Sensitivity training” is a negative method assuming certain color groups must have special treatments for special needs. Bull! We are all special and should be treated accordingly. Special treat of sensitive groups simply allows them excuses and the escape from responsibility. The basics of Management 101 states – “don’t give responsibility without authority, or authority without responsibility.” That’s the training needed in place of “sensitivity”.

The United States thrives on individuality which has been the sparkplug of our society. When we meld this individuality with teamwork, as in companies and corporations, we have a powerful engine. Combining individual initiative and other talents with organizational management has led us to become a world leader.

Why not stress “Commonality?” Let’s find ways to cooperate and multiply our individual talents to accomplish meaningful tasks. Let’s look at what each can provide to gain the mutual goal? Let’s join together to:
• Define mutual needs/wants, desires.
• Gather resources available.
• Develop, build, execute, and monitor a plan to this end.

Commission or Bribe?

Commission or Bribe?

Supposed you’ve decided to move part of your business overseas, those administrative fees could look like illegal bribes.

Let’s say that to open a manufacturing plant in Southeast Asia you need a permit from the local government. A government agent there offers to get you the permit within a week – and his commission will only be $1,000. Back off! Watch your step here. In many countries, kickbacks and bribes have long been the accepted cost of doing business. However, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), enacted by Congress in l977, prohibits bribery of officials in other countries.

It’s illegal to make payments, offers or even promises of anything of value to foreign officials to obtain or retain business or get an advantage. It’s also illegal to make such payment to a third party (say the official’s wife or sibling).

For over 20 years the United States was the only country trying to prohibit bribery to foreign officials. U.S. companies complained they faced either bribing foreign officials and risking FCPA prosecution or losing the contract.

Since then, with the urging of the US, international organizations have enacted treaties and conventions aimed at stamping out this practice. The European Union, the United Nations, and the World Bank have adopted resolutions and policies against corruption which has helped to level the playing field.

You don’t want to get tangled up in bribery! The problem is it’s rarely easy to tell whether a proposed payment is actually a bribe. For instance, the FCPA doesn’t prohibit “grease payments” which are fees paid to foreign officials to expedite the actions the government would eventually take anyway, such as issuing a routine permit. But suppose you need a permit to build an oil pipeline, and a government agent asks for a few thousand dollars for advising you on environmental issues and compliances to make sure you get the permit. Would that be a “grease payment,” or a bribe for the officials to look the other way?

In light of the new rulings and laws, people of authority rarely ask for bribes, but they may ask for a small payment for advice on doing business there. For instance, if a government agency asks your company to build a park or pave a road in exchange for approval, that wouldn’t count as a “bribe.”

This whole scenario is further complicated by the layers of people it might take to get a job done. So, if you hire an agent to work with an agent abroad, how do you know he isn’t paying bribes and implicating your firm in corruption? Know what the deal should cost, so you can tell if money is leaking out.

Because complying with the many overlapping laws is tricky, don’t try it alone. Hire a lawyer with experience in international business to help you through this minefield.

In fact, it makes one wonder whether it wouldn’t be better just to stay on your home turf! Such is the way it goes when you start doing business overseas.

Cheap Web Site Traffic

Every online company knows that without traffic to their site, they go broke, quickly. There are many ways to get cheap web site traffic. One way is pay per click advertising, where you pay per click through to your site, but you do not know if the customer is going to purchase your product, so you do lose some money with that. Another way is to request links from other relevant, high traffic sites. Links to other well established sites is like personal recommendations, where you establish credibility fast, which increases the chances that they will buy your product. You must be persistent enough with some sites, though. You want to download the alexa toolbar, which gives you information about a website, such as traffic rating, ranking, contact info, site stats, related links, etc.

You can get free advertising by giving away free expert content to relevant sites itching for some new, fresh content. Web site owners are always looking for fresh content. Make sure you write a bit about the author and your web site or product. As long as it is not competing with theirs, they will not mind. You can post on these sites:

You can become an active expert in a newsgroup that is industry related. A newsgroup is an online forum where people share information and common interests. When you post, you are literally talking to your potential customers. These people do not want to be sold something; they want information from gurus, about the topic they are interested in. Make sure you have a sig file, or signature and start establishing relationships and prove your expertise. Stay with newsgroups that do not accept advertisements. This is also a great way to gather feedback from your website, straight from the horses’ mouth. You can reinvent it if you need to and fix it accordingly. When you post informative articles, people will begin to look forward to your posts, and eventually you may want to direct these people to your brand new newsletter.


If there is one word most Internet marketers quiver at the sound of, it is chargebacks. A chargeback is a dispute over a charge -usually an unauthorized or fraudulent charge- between the customer and the company. The merchant must pay back the entire amount along with any credit card fees. This amount is automatically deducted from your merchant account. There are three main problems about chargebacks that concern the merchant: 1. they lose the payment -and also the inventory if it was sent, 2. the fees associated with every chargeback are between $15 to $25, and worse of all 3. chargebacks don’t look good, and you may lose your merchant account. Merchant services are pretty finicky; they do not just hand out accounts to anyone.

The customer could either be dissatisfied with the product, or there could be a duplicate order, or it could be fraud. Whatever the reason may be, it is crucial to your online business to keep chargebacks to a minimum. One way to stop chargebacks is to stop fraudulent orders by checking to make sure the order seems legit. This may mean you may have to call each customer to confirm the order. You do not want to accept an order if it appears fraudulent. Be suspicious, because in the end, receiving too many chargebacks will damage your profit line.

If, on the other hand, your customer is simply dissatisfied with the product, give them a call and send them an email. Ask them what it is they didn’t like about the product. Ask them if there is anything you can do for them to satisfy them. If they still seem reluctant to drop the chargeback, your last resort would be to ask them if they wouldn’t mind dropping the chargeback and you can offer them a full refund. Most people wouldn’t mind this option. You will find that a simple phone call to the upset customer may actually turn things around in your favor.



How many times have you heard that phrase, pitch, advertisement, or
whatever? Lots, I'm sure. It is used so much because marketers know that
staying home and making money is the fondest dream of millions of people.

And why not? Did you know that the majority of fatal heart attacks happen
at 9 a.m. Monday morning? It's true. It seems a lot of people would
rather die than get back to the old grind after a weekend of freedom.

So when someone offers an opportunity or plan for you to take your job and
shove it, yet still make enough money to live and pay all your bills, it
sounds blissfully irresistible.

Of course, bliss and reality are always two different things. Is it
really possible to run a business from your own home that is more than a
hobby or source of part-time income? Can you get rich working out of your
own home? Can you really trade your cubical and necktie for blue jeans and
the comfort of your own den?

Well, for your information, home-based businesses are one of the fastest
growing kinds of enterprises in America today. As this is being written,
some 40 million Americans are doing at least some form of work out of their
homes, and the numbers are rising rapidly. According to the U.S.
Department of Labor, as many as 70 million people will be working out of
their homes by the year 2005. Government studies have indicated that as
much as 75% of all work done in this country could eventually be moved

The overwhelming majority of home workers, however, are not exactly getting
rich. The average work-at-home American earns less than $15,000 per year.
That may not be bad as a supplement to a spouse's full-time income, but
let's face it, fifteen grand in and of itself is not much better than poverty.

As master marketer and author Dr. Jeffrey Lant said: "Frankly, I never saw
any benefit to staying home and being poor."

Lant, without so much as a business card, became a work-at-home
millionaire, and is a perfect example of what truly can be achieved if you
are serious about chucking your day job, staying home, and not settling for
peanuts in exchange for your freedom. You can have it all -- you can stay
home and make as much -- and more -- money than your current job provides

In this report, we are going to outline and discuss five key rules on how
to work at home and make big bucks, no matter where you live. After these
five rules, we'll talk about the most important aspect of any business,
whether it be home-based or a giant factory -- cash flow. Starting your
own business out of your home is all about attitude and inspiration, but
all the attitude in the world won't help you without money!

1. It Takes Commitment

Is it any secret in America that most people detest their jobs? Study
after study proves that most people simply dread going to work Monday
morning, and they live for the freedom of the weekend. But even that
freedom is not pure because we know that it is only temporary. It's hard
to enjoy a Sunday evening when the Monday morning alarm clock is just a few
hours away.

It makes sense that people hate their jobs. Everyday, there is a lot of
butt kissing that needs to be done. There are endless meetings which
usually accomplish nothing. There are pointless interruptions, a lot of
drifting this way and that, and lot of idiot supervisors who do nothing but
waste your time and then dog you for not accomplishing your share of work.
There are co-workers you hate, and who would stab you in the back in a
minute if it meant a raise for them instead of you.

When you work for someone else, you live a regimented life. Your body may
not want to get up at 7 a.m., but you have to be at work by 8 a.m. so you
lurch out of bed with a head full of sleep.

People who choose to work at home are doing more than just escaping the
yoke of their master; they have made a deep, firm, life-altering decision
which says that health, happiness and prosperity depend vitally on the
freedom to work for ourselves, and in doing so in the comfort of the home.

We want to really emphasize that fact that to be successful in a
work-at-home situation, you have to be nothing less than a fanatic; a
zealot, who is utterly committed to making work-at-home not only a
successful venture, but a profound commitment for life. You must be
convinced that a return to an outside office job would be the equivalent of
a spiritual death sentence.

Many people hate their office jobs, but they have made an inner compromise
with themselves. They have convinced themselves that their job is "not so
bad," pays the bills, and that they can stick out because they have to.

If you want to be truly successful at quitting your day job, there cannot
be any room for such compromises in your soul. You have to take the
attitude that to work any longer at your hateful job is akin to fouling
your inner being with a spiritual cancer the will sicken and kill you.

2. Eliminating the Home-Office Mentality

To move our work home, however, does not mean we eliminate every single
thing about the traditional American office. Rather, we should select what
is useful and what is not.

It's a mistake to quit your job and go home with a "home-office" mentality.
By this we mean thinking small, and believing that you will automatically
sacrifice a decent income in exchange for your freedom. Please! Do not
think small!

To quote Jeffrey Lant again: "Too many home-based practitioners fail to
understand the benefits that accrue because of the professional style they
have selected. They focus on the "home" part of the business rather than
the "business" portion, and as a result are doomed to small incomes."
Working at home provides many benefits. We can save a lot of time because
we don't need to commute and we have more control over our schedule. We
can save a lot of costs because we don't have the overhead requirements of
larger businesses. We can cut our stress -- and so have more energy --
because we avoid many of the characteristic problems of life in the late
20th-Century office. We must work these advantages to our profit.

3. Your International Headquarters

The German philosopher Immanuel Kant said that if you sit at home alone at
your empty kitchen table, eventually, the "whole world will come to you."

Well, today you don't need the great mind of a philosopher to make the
entire world come into your living room. What you need is a phone jack.

We live in a unique time in history. Satellites, fiber optics, the
integrated circuit and other communications miracles means that you can be
just about anywhere in the developed world and establish communication with

The telephone, the fax machine, the computer, the modem -- all of these are
not only affordable by any middle-class citizen; they are the key to
eliminating your need to drive a hectic freeway everyday to get to a place
of business outside your home.

With these devices at our disposal, we should allow ourselves to "think
globally." Too often, home-based businesses focus on the narrowest market,
the neighborhood, the county, the city or state. This is fine if you are
providing a local service and are content with a certain moderate level of
income. But if you want the big bucks, you should not think small. Also,
you should not believe that, just because you are home-based, you cannot
compete with the big guys.

The purpose of any business is to seek assess and seek out every possible
market for its products and services, to ascertain whether these markets
have the ability to buy these products/services, to determine whether there
is sufficient profit in these markets to warrant approaching them, and,
once positive assessment has been made, to launch a sustained marketing
campaign that gets a significant percentage of this market to purchase the
product or service in question.

Your home telecommunications machines will not only enable you to do this,
but they can also help you overwhelm larger, more cumbersome traditional
businesses that are your competition.

As a home-based entrepreneur, you will not have all of the disadvantages of
your more traditional competitors: no office rent, equipment or expense;
no employees to pay salaries and fringe benefits for; no time wasted on
meetings, employee problems, paid sick leave, etc.

All the money your competitors spend on heating the office and buying
furniture could better be spent on the actual marketing itself.

As a home-based business, you will be already positioned where the
traditional business is currently struggling to move: toward the lowest
possible overhead and the greatest possible concentration of dollars on
products/service development and product/service marketing.

So, a home-based business takes full advantage of three major goals of
modern business success:

(1) Vastly reduced overhead
(2) Easy access to a global market
(3) Full advantage of telecommunications.

To not have the basic telecommunications toys -- computer, modem, fax, and
telephones is impossibly stupid. Still, even in this day and age, many of
people strongly resist the one element that is undoubtedly the heart and
brain of any successful home business -- the computer. The computer is so
important in fact, we have made it a category all itself.

And remember, learning to use a modern computer is easier than learning to
drive a car, so you have no excuse not to plunge forward.

4. The Computer

You should pay close attention to what computers can do for you in your
plans to escape your job and make your work-at-home dreams come true.

People who want to run a home business usually have a very small staff -- in
fact, a staff of one -- yourself! The rest of your needs are handled by
independent contractors, depending on the kind of business you are in and
the services you need.

To run a serious, truly global home business, a computer is as necessary as
oxygen is to life on earth. Those who try to fool themselves into thinking
they will ever make a serious go of their home-based business without a
computer are sadly mistaken.

Computers give you two primary advantages:

(1) They enable you to store large amounts of data and to sort by data
field so that you can easily get the information you need.

(2) They enable you to develop a pattern document for every situation
you'll ever be in in your business. To run a home-based business
successfully, you must anticipate just what situation will emerge and
prepare accordingly.

A business is based on a characteristic series of situations and a
characteristic set of things that happen -- or that do not happen. You
must be prepared with the proper document for each situation. Once you
have established all the protocols, and have experienced all the situations
associated with your kind of business, the time will come when running your
business is, in large part, a repetition of certain key tasks. Computers
are all about handling repetition swiftly and efficiently.

But the computer is much more. Today, by connecting a computer to the
phone line with a modem, your machine becomes more than a data storage
system and repetitive task handler. It becomes a multi-task, multi-level
communications processing center that connects you to the globe.

Such things as e-mail, on-line services, the Internet, the Web and more
can't help but revolutionize the way business is done. If you do not
become a part of it today, you certainly are going to suffer for it greatly
in the near future.

If there is an effective way to market products on the Internet or any
other on-line venue, no one has truly discovered it yet. The only people
making money on Internet marketing are the people who are selling the
concept of doing it. If you have a product or a service and expect to
reach millions of buyers through computer screens, you are sadly mistaken.

The Internet is definitely where a lot of innovative things are happening.
It's a great place to exchange ideas, find out what hot, what's not, and
stay on the cutting edge whatever your particular business is.

5. Your Business Hours

If you've been paying attention to the first four points, you're well on
your way to becoming a successful home-based business owner. Now we don't
want you to blow it by thinking you can keep banker's hours.

The global market is a 24-hour per day market, and a 365-day per year
market. Let the others sleep late on Saturdays and take Sundays off.
Those times could be your day to move and corner loads of customers that
the others miss.

You should get up earlier and quit work later. You should be open for
business on holidays and be available 24-hours a day either personally or
through your answering service.

"But wait a minute!" you might be thinking at this point! "I thought that
working at home was all about freedom and an end to drudgery. This sounds
like nothing but endless work!"

Well, here's the thing. For most of you who quit your regular jobs to go
to work for yourself, you'll discover something magical. You'll discover
that when you are working for yourself, when you are building your own
business, a lot of what you does not seem like work at all.

The great writer Jane Roberts said, "Inspiration is its own motivator."

Running your own business is all about being inspired 24-hours-a-day. When
you stop selling your body and soul to some company or corporation and
start giving your energy to yourself, work has a way of turning into
inspiration and play.

The perfect work for you is that which you don't think of as work, yet
doing it makes money and provides you with the bread and shelter of life.
You'll see what it's like if you make a true commitment to being self
employed, put all your energy into it, and stick with it for the long run.

Become Your Own Personal CFO

Become Your Own Personal CFO

Budgets and personal finances are not most people’s favorite topics, and certainly not one of mine. Even bank executives have problems in this area, but if you’re an entrepreneur so do you. You’re concentrating so much time on your business, your personal checkbook takes a back seat. Then one day you are met with the startling fact that you’re not saving enough for lean times and you panic.

Well, just apply your professional talents to the situation and become your own personal CFO. By using your CFO eyes on the situation, it somehow tempers the pain of dealing with your own money. To get started, here are 5 rules for treating your personal finances like a business:

1. Be Your Own Board of Directors. To make good decisions, you must know what you’re trying to achieve. In business, Board of Directors write mission statements to keep the company on track with goals. At home, it’s up to you to define your mission and make sure you’re fulfilling it by writing down your goals. Not just your financial goals either, but your “life” goals.

2. Know Your Operating Costs. Do you know what you spend every month on average? Businesses do because they base their budgets on historic spending patterns. Most people, however, don’t know what it costs to keep their lives running. You can make out detailed budgets, but find out at the end of the month that you haven’t stuck to it. So instead of doing a budget that dictates how much to spend, do a “cash flow statement” that records how much you actually spend each month broken into several categories.

3. Know Your Net Worth. Companies measure progress toward goals through balance sheets which list their assets and liabilities. Your net worth is your balance sheet where you list everything that you own. That means your checking and savings accounts, investments, car, house, etc. minus everything you owe. Track your net worth quarterly to make sure you’re moving toward your personal goals. Without this step, you might not see the impact of your money decisions until it’s too late.

4. Forecast Money Decisions Results. When a business makes important decisions, they use a process called “scenario planning”. They look at the possible outcomes of one choice compare to another. You can use the same process to make smart money decisions. For any choice, pick two options, and then look at what each answer would do to your cash flow and net worth. Remember, there are no “good” or “bad” choices – only choices that put you closer or farther from your goals.

5. Track Progress by Annual Reports. Just as companies assess their progress in their annual reports, you need to review your list of priorities every year. Have you accomplished any goals? Have your spending patterns changed? Did you spend less than you earned? Did you save as much as you planned?

You need to treat your money like you treat your business. Give it the time it deserves, because in the end the time you spend is really an investment in yourself and your dreams.

21st Century Business Women

When the first generation of women entered the workforce in earnest in the 1970s, they succeeded in the only way they could – by imitating men. Authoritarian leadership and tight control was the hallmark of that day’s businessman, and women were not exactly welcomed into the ranks of management. Well ladies, that was yesterday, and today is today!

Forget what your mama or your boss told you, because following the rules can be bad for your career. Today’s CEO/entrepreneur can no longer tap his/her company’s full potential using a “command-and-control” style. The 21st century business woman needs to be able to build a vision based on the awareness of economic transformation, then help her partners and staff fulfill that vision. She must draw on a wide range of skills to get to the top and stay there. Following are 7 Key Characteristics that are essential:

1. Sell the Vision: A leader with a fresh, independent plan for her company’s growth and future has a distinct advantage in luring and keeping great talent and investors. Vision is not some lofty ideal, but an obtainable concept that is easy to understand and will make the company grow to another level.
2. Reinvent the Rules: While women have traditionally been socialized to please others, the 21st century leader knows that good girls rarely post great returns. The strong managers/owners today not only anticipate change, they create entirely new organizations that respond to shifts and search for innovation.
3. Achieve With A Laser Focus: Go where others fear to tread! Being aggressive and ambitious has long been considered male traits, but they are key qualities for new leaders. Today’s business woman has the ability to home in on opportunities that others may simply not see, and then excel in that uncharted territory.
4. Use High-Touch in a High-Tech Era: When a number of leaders are conducting business by e-mail, voice mail, passwords, and PINs, the female entrepreneur succeeds because she guides with a strong, personal, bed-side manner. Today’s business woman is just as technologically savvy as her peers, but her skill with staff and customers is “high-touch” which gives her a critical edge and separation from the “pack”.
5. Challenge or Opportunity? – Women are great at turning a challenge into an opportunity instead of using the “slash-and-burn” approach. They are able to make bold strokes, but they also win the cooperation of others in the organization in making any transformation a success.
6. A Customer Preference Obsession: In this information age which makes it easier to shop around for the best “whatever”, businesses must work harder to give people what they want before their competitors do. There is no substitute for spending time with clients to become expert at their businesses and learn their demands. Female leaders are almost intuitively adept in doing just that, and without the client even suspecting.
7. Courage Under Fire: Show me any career woman or female entrepreneur today that isn’t able to “stand-the-heat” in any tough-call situation. Their decision-making skills are rooted in a high level of confidence, because they’ve had to weather and surpass any and all “corporate” storms they’ve encountered over time.

It takes a certain mind-set and bravado for anyone to start their own business and succeed, but it’s even more difficult for a female entrepreneur. Let’s face it, ladies! We’ve always had to be twice-as-smart and twice-as-confident as any male counterpart in the corporate world. After all, if we can bear and raise the future generation, how can running a successful business scare us?

Business Party Do’s and Don’ts

Here it is holiday time again, and while Ms. Abby and Manners takes care of our social etiquette I’d like to share some practical tips for business holiday parties.

Here are some DO’S….
 Attend the Event: It’s an unspoken expectation that showing up may not be mandatory or can it be required, but attending isn’t really optional. That is if you want to be working there next year.
 If you RSVP – by all means ATTEND: Many business functions are paid on the basis of the number who attend, and that is calculated by the number of RSVP’s.
 Mingle, Mix, and Move: Talk to different people and learn something new. Don’t stick with your usual watercooler pals.
 Pay Attention to Start and End Times on the Invitation: This is there for a reason, and you don’t want to overstay your welcome.
 Remember that Any Business Party is Really a Business Event: Although it might be outside the standard office meeting and be accompanied with food and beverage, the same rules of conduct apply.
 Limit Gift Giving: Colleagues will often feel obligated to give gifts in return for receiving gifts. If you do give, give from the heart and keep it simple, and priced at a minimum.
 Dress Appropriately and Professionally: All eyes are not meant to be on you, and this is not the time for provocative dress. Lean toward the conservative or classic look.
 Give Thank-You’s: When appropriate write either a note of thanks, or if at a private home tell the host/hostess in person that you enjoyed the celebration.

Now for the Don’ts…..
 Say “yes” to a Blind Date: You don’t know who the person is or who he/she might know. Rule of thumb – when in doubt, go stag.
 Be Flirtatious or Get Frisky: This is crossing the line of appropriate and adult behavior at a business event.
 Drink Too Much: it’s not worth taking the chance that you’ll say something you wish you hadn’t. Rule of thumb is- limit yourself to 2 drinks.
 Talk All Business: BORING!! After all it is a social gathering. The guests are supposed to have fun, get to know each other, and have a different experience outside of daily office routine.
 Prospect for New Business: TACKY!!
 Assume Everyone Celebrated the Same Holiday: If you say “Merry Christmas” to someone who doesn’t observe the holiday it might offend them. Be generic and say “Happy Holidays.”
 Give Gag Gifts: This is not the place to risk offending or embarrassing someone.
 Gossip: Gossiping in any situation is usually damaging and not a good practice, but it’s especially not appropriate at a business-related event.

Hopefully with these tips under your belt, your appearance at you next business holiday event will go successfully.

The majority of business professionals know these things, but there’s always some newcomers to the firm who may not be as seasoned as some of us.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Your Business Checkup

Your Business Checkup

Whether you’re thinking it’s Spring Cleaning Time or time for an annual checkup, your business needs to undergo a checkup each year. No matter how large or small your business is, you cannot gauge the effectiveness of any changes you’ve made without analyzing the benefits and bottom line.

Here are 10 questions to get you started:

• How do your year-to-date sales compare to the last couple of years? Don’t be satisfied if you managed to match them because if sales stayed the same then you’ve achieved zero growth. With inflation, this flat growth line is a warning sign for more trouble down the road.

• What percentage of your business is from repeat customers? This is important to know because if it’s too low, then it needs to be improved. The estimated cost of getting a new customer versus retaining an existing one can be as much as five to one in terms of dollars spent. Keeping customers is more cost-effective than constantly seeking new ones.

• How long has it been since you offered a new product or service? Loyal customers like to see you changing and progressing with the times. If you’re stuck for an idea, ask your customers what they need.

• Do you consider marketing and advertising expenses or investments? How you look at the money spent in these areas affects your willingness to spend money at all. Would you look at prescriptions as a waste of money? Marketing is really investing in you, your vision, and your company. The old adage that you must spend money to make money is true, but you must spend it wisely. Spend it on ads that are pulling responses and orders, and if they’re not maybe you need to change publications.

• Do you know what PR is and how to use it to positively position your business in the media? I’ll bet that at least one of your competitors does. Nearly every mention of a company or business in the newspapers and magazines is a direct result of publicity efforts. Being quoted or featured in an article speaks volumes to your clients and readers who are your potential prospects. A good PR consultant can do that for you and show you ways to extend the shelf life of that article beyond its publication.

• Are you listed in the yellow pages? If you only have a line listing, consider including a small ad in the yellow pages. If you can afford it, it will pay dividends throughout the year.

• Do you teat your regular customers better than your drop-ins? You should. If your customers don’t feel special when coming to you for products of services, why should they remain loyal to you? Have a customer appreciation day or a special invitation only sale for your regulars. Create a mailing list of your regulars. Send occasional post cards or greeting cards for special events or just to keep in touch. Learn to recognize them on sight and greet them by name when they visit you.

• How long has it been since you really talked to one of your customers? Just as you appreciate when your Doctor takes time to talk to you, your customers will appreciate you if you take an interest in their needs. If you have a service business, have lunch or coffee periodically with some regulars – even if they only contact you once or twice a year. The personal touch in an impersonal world will be remembered.

• How is your business doing compared to your competition? Every company, no matter what the size, has competition – even home-based businesses. Is their business growing or downsizing? Is their pricing or service better than yours? If so, what can you tell potential customers about the price difference? Think about how you can improve your service to meet or exceed your customer’s expectations.

• Are your employees happy? Don’t ask them directly, but observe them throughout the day. Watch, listen and learn. Employees who like their jobs don’t watch the clock for quitting time, aren’t habitually late, don’t have poor body language, don’t spend time on personal phone calls, and don’t look like they never smiled. Observe how they interact with customers. Not everyone is a match for direct contact with the public, so make sure you don’t have an employee who is driving business away.

I can remember when I was working at my very first job out of school. It was a service business with just the owner and me at work. There was direct contact with the clients, and there was never a problem with smiling when talking face to face with them. I was given the best business tip of my life by that employer, when he pointed out to me that when talking to clients on the telephone I should smile too. For some unexplainable reason, when you smile as you talk on the phone, the exchange with the client becomes more pleasant and more productive. It’s as if that smile went right through the phone wires to the person to whom you’re talking.

Business Dress – Men

Business Dress – Men

The general dress code guidelines for men during an interview are that they wear suits in navy blue or dark blue. This is preferred over gray or charcoal gray. Sometimes brown can be acceptable but not on the first interview. Usually, the darker the suit, the more authority it carries. But beware; a man should never wear black to an interview unless he is applying as an undertaker. A two piece suit is acceptable as is a three button single breasted jacket. What matters most is that the suit fits well and it is good quality. The trousers should fit comfortably at the waist and a slimmer fit is preferred. There should only be a slight break where the trouser hits the shoe. If your ankles are showing, they are way too short.

A man at an interview should always wear a long sleeved shirt either in white, cream or pale blue. Monograms are not a good decision on the first interview. If you tend to perspire often, cotton shirts are the way to go professionally cleaned and starched. The higher the cotton content, the better the shirt will look. Make sure your shirt fits the neck properly and that the sleeve cuff ends just at the wrist. All your interview clothes should be professionally cleaned and pressed and ready to go.

Ties that are cheap looking do not give off a good first impression. A pure silk tie makes the most powerful professional impact, has the best finish and feel, and is easiest to tie well. The tie should complement your suit, not match it. No outlandish, flamboyant ties are necessary. The length of the tie should be extended to your trouser belt.

Shoes should be brown or black leather. No other materials or colors are acceptable. Socks should complement the suit, blue, black, gray, or brown. A briefcase is a symbol of authority, which makes a strong professional statement. Brown or burgundy are the colors of choice.

As with women, men’s jewelry should be kept to a minimum. No visible body piercing or tattoos -if you can help it.

This clean cut, well manicured image says a lot about a professional man. He should smell wonderful, have a nicely trimmed hair cut and appear clean and crisp. Good luck.

Business Dress - Women

Business Dress - Women

Like it or not, the first impression people get from you is your appearance. When engaged in an interview or you are already hired, you always want to look best. Clean cut, professional looking people get treated like a professional. How you dress sends specific signals to people. Let’s start from head to toe for women. First of all, never wear too much jewelry or makeup. One item of jewelry is enough. A small ring on one finger, or small earrings is plenty. No big loops ladies. Makeup should be conservative, just plain powder or concealer and barely any eye makeup. No lipstick is appropriate at an interview. It is just not professional. The woman’s suit should be wool, linen, or cotton/polyester. Stick with navy, gray, and medium blues, at least for the first interview. As for blouses, solid colors and natural fabrics, such as cotton or silk look clean and professional. A scarf says a lot about a business woman; it is a powerful status symbol. Shoes should never be open toed and stay within 2 ½ inch heels, nothing faddish or multicolored. The color of your shoe should be the same or darker than your skirt. Pantyhose should always be neutral skin tones, nothing outlandish, unless you are interviewing in the fashion industry. A briefcase is an excellent choice for a business woman, but don’t bring along your purse too. It looks awkward trying to juggle them around. You should choose either brown or burgundy, black or navy, either one is fine. You do not want to ever distract the interviewer with your outfit, makeup or accessories. Last but definitely not least is your personal hygiene. Bad breath, dandruff, body odor, and dirty unmanicured nails do not give a good impression. When it comes to body odor, you are what you eat. If you consume a lot of garlic, onions, cilantro, and junk food, not only will it show in your skin, but it will seep through your pores. Gross. Make sure you eat a natural healthy diet so you always smell pleasant.

Building your Website

Building your Website

When building your own website there are a few things to consider. If you know nothing about web design, you will need to pay someone to design it exactly the way you want. Make sure you use a reputable source so you are not wasting your money. Be very picky about choosing your domain name. Make sure it is short, sweet and memorable. One popular site you can visit to check what domains are available is This is also a good site to see who owns a particular domain you are interested. If the owner is not using the domain, you can offer to purchase it from them.

Probably one of the most important factors in an internet company is choosing a very good web host. If your web site goes down, you are completely out of business. When searching for a web host company make sure they have secure server capabilities, fast servers, lots of space, unrestricted CGI access, SSH and FTP access, web-based administration, access to raw server logs, full email services, power and daily server backups, and no minimum contracts. You may want to test their technical support and see if they offer services, scripts, and software. Inquire about their downtime and how long they have been in business. Make sure you are not being charged for the extra services.

When a customer visits your website, you want them to see professionalism, knowledge and fast connections. If your visitors notice advertisements from your free or low cost web host server they will perceive your site to be unprofessional and very small time. Slow connection speeds will definitely lose customers and cost you much money. So, choose your web host server carefully and you will be well on your way to creating a website that will attract all types of visitors.

Body Language

Body Language

When you are at an interview, you may not be aware of this but your interviewer is observing your body language, very carefully. Your body language says a lot about yourself, so you need to control negative body movements and encourage positive body movements and habits. Humans naturally send and receive nonverbal communication; they have been doing so since the beginning of time. When your girlfriend folds her arms but has a smile on her face, are you not wondering what she upset is about or clammed up for. At an interview, you never want your body language to contradict your words, this makes you appear like a liar. The first impression, or the first few minutes of your interview are the most lasting.

The Handshake: your hands should be clean and well manicured, and free of perspiration. You want to allow the interviewer to initiate the handshake, which should match the interviewer in firmness, do not give a firmer handshake than them. Smile at the interviewer and look them in the eyes. It should last between two to five seconds. When departing the interview, the handshake may last longer, smile and lean forward as you shake.

Here are a few things you will want to avoid at an interview:

Clasping your hands behind your head
Adjusting your tie constantly
Slouching in your chair
Pulling your collar away
Picking at your face or outfit
Tight smiles or tension in face
Little eye contact
Wrinkling your eyebrows
Rapidly nodding your head
Any nervous tics
Crossing your ankles - means withholding information
Crossing your legs away from the interviewer- toward is ok
Crossing one ankle over the other knee
Crossing your interviewers personal space
Avoid grinning idiotically
Gnawing on one’s lips absentmindedly
“Faking” a cough during a tough question
Folding or crossing your arms
Avoid compulsive jabbing the floor or desk with your foot
Loud, obnoxious laughter

Biggest Challeneges for Entrepreneurs

Biggest Challeneges for Entrepreneurs

When I saw the January issue of Entrepreneur Magazine I was thrilled. Cover copy had a teaser on it to the effect that entrepreneurs had been surveyed and inside were their answers. I was certain that, finally, someone was paying attention to entrepreneurs who were striving for a successful business. It was time to hear from us little guys!

I can’t tell you how surprised I was as I began to read the article. Their idea of an “entrepreneur” and mine were as different as night and day. I always classified an entrepreneur as someone like the “Mom and Pop” coffee shop around the corner, the family run produce market in town, or the 18 to 24 year old who had come up with a fantastic “gizmo” and was scooped up into a corporation as their newest genius. Let me give you a quote from the article that will clue you into its idea of an “entrepreneur”.

To explain the method used for the survey they state, “Entrepreneur magazine and PricewaterhouseCoopers “Entrepreneurial Challenges Survey” is an annual telephone survey of more than 300 CEOs of privately held, U.S.-based businesses recognized for their sustained, rapid growth. They average $31.5 million in annual revenue with an average of 185 employees, and have an ongoing annual growth rate of more than 23 percent……”

That definitely was not my picture of an entrepreneur. I don’t know too many entrepreneurs who average $31.5 million annually, or employ 185 people. To me, that’s a pretty successful company on its way to being a corporation. We should all be such entrepreneurs!

At any rate, I continued reading and I must say the information was worth the read, and the business of doing business can apply to those of us who aren’t quite making that $31.5 million per year yet. Here’s what the survey discovered.

What were considered their biggest challenges for 2006?
• 73% - Retention of key workers
• 38% - Developing new products/services
• 36% - Expansion to domestic markets
• 35% - Increased productivity
• 28% - Upgrading technology
• 23% - Creating business alliances
• 21% - Better management of cash flow
• 14% - Expansion outside the U.S.
• 13% - Improving risk management
• 11% - Finding new financing
• 11% - Buying another company or launching a spinoff
• 7% - Preparing company for sale
• 2% - Going public

Now when you stop and think about it, that’s pretty much what most entrepreneurs think about each year. Maybe not to the extent of expanding to foreign markets or launching a spinoff, but to keep your business perking along the road of improvement - all the rest are considered.

The next part of the survey was interesting because entrepreneurs were given a list of several “wild-card” factors that could affect business in 2006. When asked which three would be most harmful to their business, here’s what they said:
• 47% - Unstable U.S. economy
• 43% - Rising health-care costs
• 41% - Shortage of qualified workers
• 40% - Weak market demand
• 24% - Rising oil/energy costs
• 24% - Rising interest rates
• 22% - New government regulations
• 18% - Weaker capital spending
• 14% - Weakening world economy
• 12% - Increased global competition
• 11% - Decreased access to capital
• 10% - Sudden drop in U.S. real estate market
• 10% - Tax increases
• 9% - Inflation

So maybe my entrepreneurs and those surveyed are not really that much different in thinking. The outlook of most entrepreneurs is probably optimistic, or will be unless more unforeseen disasters strike.

Even after the huge devastation of 9/11, within two quarters we were back to the same level of optimism as we had before. People get used to dealing with tough circumstances and factor them in, but are not swayed by them. When you really think about it; isn’t that what most entrepreneurs are like?

If they’re not, then they aren’t entrepreneurs by my way of thinking.

Become Your Own Personal CFO

Become Your Own Personal CFO

Budgets and personal finances are not most people’s favorite topics, and certainly not one of mine. Even bank executives have problems in this area, but if you’re an entrepreneur so do you. You’re concentrating so much time on your business, your personal checkbook takes a back seat. Then one day you are met with the startling fact that you’re not saving enough for lean times and you panic.

Well, just apply your professional talents to the situation and become your own personal CFO. By using your CFO eyes on the situation, it somehow tempers the pain of dealing with your own money. To get started, here are 5 rules for treating your personal finances like a business:

1. Be Your Own Board of Directors. To make good decisions, you must know what you’re trying to achieve. In business, Board of Directors write mission statements to keep the company on track with goals. At home, it’s up to you to define your mission and make sure you’re fulfilling it by writing down your goals. Not just your financial goals either, but your “life” goals.

2. Know Your Operating Costs. Do you know what you spend every month on average? Businesses do because they base their budgets on historic spending patterns. Most people, however, don’t know what it costs to keep their lives running. You can make out detailed budgets, but find out at the end of the month that you haven’t stuck to it. So instead of doing a budget that dictates how much to spend, do a “cash flow statement” that records how much you actually spend each month broken into several categories.

3. Know Your Net Worth. Companies measure progress toward goals through balance sheets which list their assets and liabilities. Your net worth is your balance sheet where you list everything that you own. That means your checking and savings accounts, investments, car, house, etc. minus everything you owe. Track your net worth quarterly to make sure you’re moving toward your personal goals. Without this step, you might not see the impact of your money decisions until it’s too late.

4. Forecast Money Decisions Results. When a business makes important decisions, they use a process called “scenario planning”. They look at the possible outcomes of one choice compare to another. You can use the same process to make smart money decisions. For any choice, pick two options, and then look at what each answer would do to your cash flow and net worth. Remember, there are no “good” or “bad” choices – only choices that put you closer or farther from your goals.

5. Track Progress by Annual Reports. Just as companies assess their progress in their annual reports, you need to review your list of priorities every year. Have you accomplished any goals? Have your spending patterns changed? Did you spend less than you earned? Did you save as much as you planned?

You need to treat your money like you treat your business. Give it the time it deserves, because in the end the time you spend is really an investment in yourself and your dreams.

Tried For A Bank Business Loan, Lately?

Tried For A Bank Business Loan, Lately?

If you’ve tried to get a loan from the bank for your business lately, you know it’s no slam-dunk. The promos for SBA loans and loans for minority or women owned businesses sounds great, but when you get nose-to-nose with a banker it’s another story.

Some of the reasons that make it seem so difficult are that many lending officers feel that they’re lending you their money instead of the bank’s. They take almost personal responsibility for maximizing repayment.

Another is that they are particularly suspect of new ventures. Since 4 out of 5 or 80% fail within the first three years, many lenders require a three-year history of doing business.

Lastly, with all the bank merging and acquisitions that have taken place the decision-making process has been moved far off-site from the local branch. Add all of these reasons up, and you had better be prepared to razzle-dazzle the banker.

Here are some tips to make lending you more attractive to the bank. First, start with a two-part presentation. Initially submit a brief overview of your loan request. In this overview include:

• Excerpts from your business plan about your business concept, management team, and financial projections.
• Credit history overviews of the principals of your business.
• Brief answers to key lender questions of how much you’ll need, how you’ll use it, and how will you pay it back?

This should be a two to three page document and can be considered a mutual qualifier. It determines if the bank has any interest in lending you funds before you spin your wheels for hours in front of the loan officer. You may want to end the document with your phone number so that the banker can call you back for an appointment or discussion.

If you’ve dazzled the loan officer sufficiently and have obtained an appointment to meet with him, then it’s time to prepare the “big guns”. The ammo you’ll come prepared with will be three years of personal tax returns for all the principals of your company and the existing business. Include credit reports on all principals, a complete and impressive business plan, and collateral and capitalization information.
This sounds like a lot of information and will require immense effort, but that’s why business ownership isn’t for everyone.

In addition to being prepared with all that paperwork be prepared for any off-the-wall questions the lender might throw at you. Take time to think about and originate a 30-second commercial about what you plan on doing and how it will benefit them and the business.

Be prepared to explain away any credit blemishes that show up on the credit reports before the banker has an opportunity to worry about them. Be sure you’re able to show “cash-flow” understanding and awareness, without which any business is doomed. Plot your most realistic estimated cash flow and bank account balance. Make sure the bank balance never goes negative, and for a good touch show the loan repayment as a separate line item. This shows the banker that you understand priorities.

Collateral may be needed to satisfy the lender’s angst about repayment of the loan, and unfortunately most small businesses have too few assets to satisfy this need. Many entrepreneurs are forced to pledge personal assets such as their home to allay the bank. This may seem scary, and it is, unless you’re really sure of your success.

It sounds like a daunting task, but with some preparation and determination it can be done. It’s not as easy as all the ads you’ve heard, and just the fact that you are starting a “woman-owned” business won’t cut any ice with a banker, but all of life is a gamble isn’t it?

After all, that’s why you’re an entrepreneur instead of a corporate lackey isn’t it? GO FOR THE GOLD!



The most important aspect of any business is selling the product or service. Without sales, no business can exist for very long.

All sales begin with some form of advertising. To build sales, this advertising must be seen or heard by potential buyers, and cause them to react to the advertising in some way. The credit for the success, or the blame for the failure of almost all ads, reverts back to the ad itself.

Generally, the "ad writer" wants the prospect to do one of the following:

a) Visit the store to see and judge the product for himself, or immediately write a check and send for the merchandise being advertised.

b) Phone for an appointment to hear the full sales presentation, or write for further information which amounts to the same thing.

The bottom line in any ad is quite simple: To make the reader buy the product or service. Any ad that causes the reader to only pause in this thinking, to just admire the product, or to simply believe what's written about the product - is not doing its job completely.

The "ad writer" must know exactly what he wants his reader to do, and any that does not elicit the desired action is an absolute waste of time and money.

In order to elicit the desired action from the prospect, all ads are written according to a simple "master formula" which is:

1) Attract the "attention" of your prospect.

2) "Interest" your prospect in the product

3) Cause your prospect to "desire" the product

4) Demand "action" from the prospect

Never forget the basic rule of advertising copywriting: If the ad is not read, it won't stimulate any sale; if it is not seen, it cannot be read; and if it does not command or grab the attention of the reader, it will not be seen!

Most successful advertising copywriters know these fundamentals backwards and forwards. Whether you know them already or you're just now being exposed to them, your knowledge and practice of these fundamentals will determine the extent of your success as an advertising copywriter.


Classified ads are the ads from which all successful businesses are started. These small, relatively inexpensive ads, give the beginner an opportunity to advertise his product or service without losing his shirt if the ad doesn't pull or the people don't break his door down with demands for his product. Classified ads are written according to all the advertising rules. What is said in a classified ad is the same that's said in a larger, more elaborate type of ad, except in condensed form.

To start learning how to write good classified ads, clip ten classified ads form ten different mail order type publications - ads that you think are pretty good. Paste each of these ads onto a separate sheet of paper.

Analyze each of these ads: How has the writer attracted your attention - what about the ads keeps your interest - are you stimulated to want to know more about the product being advertised - and finally, what action must you take? Are all of these points covered in the ad? How strongly are you "turned on" by each of these ads?

Rate these ads on a scale of one to ten, with ten being the best according to the formula I've given you. Now, just for practice, without clipping the ads, do the same thing with ten different ads from a Wards or Penney's catalog. In fact, every ad you see form now on, quickly analyze it, and rate it somewhere on your scale. If you'll practice this exercise on a regular basis, you'll soon be able to quickly recognize the "Power Points" of any ad you see, and know within your own mind whether an ad is good, bad or otherwise, and what makes it so.

Practice for an hour each day, write the ads you've rated 8, 9 and 10 exactly as they've been written. This will give you the "feel" of the fundamentals and style necessary in writing classified ads.

Your next project will be to pick out what you consider to be the ten "worst" ads you can find in the classifieds sections. Clip these out and paste them onto a sheet of paper so you can work on them.

Read these ads over a couple of times, and then beside each of them, write a short comment stating why you think it's bad: Lost in the crowd, doesn't attract attention - doesn't hold the reader's interest - nothing special to make the reader want to own the product - no demand for action.

You probably already know what's coming next, and that's right. Break out those pencils, erasers and scratch paper - and start rewriting these ads to include the missing elements.

Each day for the next month, practice writing the ten best ads for an hour, just the way they were originally written. Pick out ten of the worst ads, analyze those ads, and then practice rewriting those until they measure up to doing the job they were intended to do.

Once you're satisfied that the ads you've rewritten are perfect, go back into each ad and cross out the words that can be eliminated without detracting from the ad. Classified ads are almost always "finalized" in the style of a telegram.

EXAMPLE: I'll arrive at 2 o'clock tomorrow afternoon,
the 15th. Meet me at Sardi's. All my love, Jim.

EDITED FOR SENDING: Arrive 2pm - 15th - Sardi's.
Love, Jim.

CLASSIFIED AD: Save on your food bills! Reduced
prices on every shelf in the store! Stock up now while
supplies are complete! Come on in today, to Jerry's
Family Supermarkets!

Everything bargain priced! Limited Supplies! Hurry!
Jerry's Markets!

It takes dedicated and regular practice, but you can do it. Simply recognize and understand the basic formula - practice reading and writing the good ones - and rewriting the bad ones to make them better. Practice, and keep at it, over and over, every day - until the formula, the idea, and the feel of this kind of ad writing becomes second nature to you. This is the ONLY WAY to gain expertise in writing good classified ads.


A display or space ad differs from a classified ad because it has a headline, layout, and because the style isn't telegraphic. However, the fundamentals of writing the display or space ad are exactly the same as for a classified ad. The basic difference is that you have more room in which to emphasize the "master formula."

Most successful copywriters rate the headline and/or the lead sentence of an ad as the most important part of the ad, and in reality, you should do the same. After all, when you ad is surrounded by hundreds of other ads, and information or entertainment, what makes you think anyone is going to see your particular ad?

The truth is, they're not going to see your ad unless you can "grab" their attention and entice them to read all of what you have to say. Your headline, or lead sentence when no headline is used, has to make it more difficult for your prospect to ignore or pass over, than to stop and read your ad. If you don't capture the attention of your reader with your headline, anything beyond is useless effort and wasted money.

Successful advertising headlines - in classified ads, your first three to five words serve as your headline - are written as promises, either implied or direct. The former promises to show you how to save money, make money, or attain a desired goal. The latter is a warning against something undesirable.

EXAMPLE OF A PROMISE: Are You Ready To Become A Millionaire - In Just 18 Months?

EXAMPLE OF A WARNING: Do You Make These Mistakes In English?

In both of these examples, I've posed a question as the headline. Headlines that ask a question seem to attract the reader's attention almost as surely as a moth is drawn to a flame. Once he's seen the question, he just can't seem to keep himself from reading the rest of the ad to find out the answer. The best headline questions are those that challenge the reader; that involve his self esteem, and do not allow him to dismiss your question with a simple yes or no.

You'll be the envy of your friends is another kind of "reader appeal" to incorporate into your headline whenever appropriate. The appeal has to do with basic psychology: everyone wants to be well thought of, and consequently, will read into the body of your ad to find out how he can gain the respect and accolades of his friends.

Wherever and whenever possible, use colloquialisms or words that are not usually found in advertisements. The idea is to shock or shake the reader out of his reverie and cause him to take notice of your ad. Most of the headlines you see day in and day out, have a certain sameness with just the words rearranged. The reader may see these headlines with his eyes, but his brain fails to focus on any of them because there's nothing different or out of the ordinary to arrest his attention.


Another attention-grabber kind of headline is the comparative priced magazine headline: Three For Only $3, Regularly $3 Each! Still another of the "tried and proven" kind of headlines is the specific question: Do You Suffer From These Symptoms. And of course, if you offer a strong guarantee, you should say so in your headline: Your Money Refunded, If You Don't Make $100,00 Your First Year.

How To headlines have a very strong basic appeal, but in some instances, they're better used as book titles than advertising headlines. Who Else wants in on the finer things - which your product or service presumably offers - is another approach with a very strong reader appeal. The psychology here being the need of everyone to belong to a group - complete with status and prestige motivations.

Whenever, and as often as you can possible work it in, you should use the word "you" in your headline, and throughout your copy. After all, your ad should be directed to "one" person, and the person reading your ad wants to feel that you're talking to him personally, not everyone who lives on his street.

Personalize, and be specific! You can throw the teachings of your English teachers out the window, and the rules of "third person, singular" or whatever else tends to inhibit your writing. Whenever you sit down to write advertising copy intended to pull the orders - sell the product - you should picture yourself in a one-on-one situation and "talk" to your reader just as if you were sitting across from him at your dining room table. Say what you mean, and sell HIM on the product your offering. Be specific and ask him if these are the things that bother him - are these the things he wants - and he's the one you want to buy the product...

The layout you devise for your ad, or the frame you build around it, should also command attention. Either make it so spectacular that it stands out like lobster at a chili dinner, or so uncommonly simple that it catches the reader's eye because of its very simplicity. It's also important that you don't get cute with a lot of unrelated graphics and artwork. Your ad should convey the feeling of excitement and movement, but should not tire the eyes or disrupt the flow of the message you are trying to present.

Any graphics or artwork you use should be relevant to your product, it's use and/or the copy you have written about it. Graphics should not be used as artistic touches, or to create an atmosphere. Any illustrations with your ad should compliment the selling of your product, and prove or substantiate specific points in your copy.

Once you have your reader's attention, the only way you are going to keep it, is by quickly and emphatically telling him what your product will do for him.

Your potential buyer doesn't care in the least how long it's taken you to produce the product, how lone you have been in business, nor how many years you've spend learning your craft. He wants to know specifically how he is going to benefit form the purchase of your product.

Generally, his wants will fall into one of the following categories: Better health, more comfort, more money, more leisure time, more popularity, greater beauty, success and/or security.

Even though you have your reader's attention, you must follow through with an enumeration of the benefits you can gain. In essence, you must reiterate the advantages, comfort and happiness he'll enjoy - as you have implied in your headline.

Mentally picture your prospect - determine his wants and emotional needs - put yourself in his shoes, and ask yourself: If I were reading this ad, what are the things that would appeal to me? Write your copy to appeal to your reader's wants and emotional needs/ego cravings.

Remember, it's not the "safety features" that have sold cars for the past 50 years - nor has it been the need of transportation - it has been, and almost certainly always will be the advertising writer's recognition of people's wants and emotional needs/ego cravings. Visualize your prospect, recognize his wants and satisfy them. Writing good advertising copy is nothing more or less than knowing "who" your buyers are; recognizing what he wants; and then telling him how your product will fulfill each of those wants. Remember this because it's one of the "vitally important" keys to writing advertising copy that does the job you intend for it to do.

The "desire" portion of your ad is where you present the facts of your product; create and justify your prospect's conviction, and cause him to demand "a piece of the action" for himself.

It's vitally necessary that you present "proven facts" about your product because survey results show that at least 80% of the people reading your ad - especially those reading it for the first time - will tend to question its authenticity.

So, the more facts you can present in the ad, the more credible your offer. As you write this part of your ad, always remember that the more facts about the product you present, the more product you'll sell. People want facts as reasons, and/or excuses for buying a product - to justify to themselves and others, that they have not been "taken" by a slick copywriter.

It's like the girl who wants to marry the guy her father calls a "no good bum." Her heart - her emotions - tell her yes, but she needs to nullify the seed of doubt lingering in her mind - to rationalize her decision to go on with the wedding.

In other words, the "desire" portion of your ad has to build belief and credibility in the mind of your prospect. It has to assure him of his good judgment in the final decision to buy - furnish evidence of the benefits you have promised - and afford him a "safety net" in case anyone should question his decision to buy.

People tend to believe the things that appeal to their individual desires, fears and other emotions. Once you have established a belief in this manner, logic and reasoning are used to support it. People believe what they "want" to believe. Your reader "wants" to believe your ad if he has read it through this far - it is up to you to support his initial desire.

Study your product and everything about it - visualize the wants of your prospective buyers - dig up the facts, and you'll almost always find plenty of facts to support the buyer's reasons for buying.

Here is where you use results of tests conducted, growing sales figures to prove increasing popularity, and "user" testimonials or endorsements. It's also important that you present these facts - test results, sales view, and not that of the manufacturer.

Before you end this portion of your ad and get into your demand for action, summarize everything you've presented thus far. Draw a mental picture for your potential buyer. Let him imagine owning the product. Induce him to visualize all of the benefits you have promised. Give him the keys to seeing himself richer, enjoying luxury, having time to do whatever he would like to do, and with all of his dreams fulfilled.

This can be handled in one or two sentences, or spelled out in a paragraph or more, but it is the absolute ingredient you must include prior to closing the sale. Study all the sales presentations you have ever heard - look at every winning ad - this is the element included in all of them that actually makes the sale for you. Remember it, use it, and don't try to sell anything without it.

As Victor Schwab puts is so succinctly in his best selling book, How To Write A Good Advertisement: Every one of the fundamentals in the "master formula" is necessary. Those sitting across from him at your dining people who are "easy" to sell may perhaps be sold even if some of these factors are left out, but it's wiser to plan your advertisement so that it will have a powerful impact upon those who are "hardest" to sell. For, unlike fact-to-face selling, we cannot in printed advertising come to a "trial close" in our sales talk - in order to see if those who are easier to sell will welcome the dotted line without further persuasion. We must assume that we are talking to the hardest ones - and that the more thoroughly our copy sells both the hard and the easy, the better chance we have against the competition for the consumer's dollar - and also the less dependent we will be upon the usual completely ineffective follow through on our advertising effort which later takes place at the sales counter itself.


Lots of ads are beautiful, almost perfectly written, and quite convincing - yet they fail to ask for or demand action form the reader. If you want the reader to have your product, then tell him so and demand that he send his money now. Unless you enjoy entertaining your prospects with your beautiful writing skills, always demand that he complete the sale now, by taking action now - by calling a telephone number and ordering, or by writing his check and rushing it to the post office.

Once you have got him on the hook, land him! Don't let him get away!

Probably, one of the most common and best methods of moving the reader to act now, is written in some form of the following:

All of this can be yours! You can start enjoying this new way of life immediately, simply by sending a check for $XX! Don't put it off, then later wish you had gotten in on the ground floor! Make out that check now, and "be IN on the ground floor!" Act now, and as an "early-bird" buyer, we'll include a big bonus package - absolutely free, simply for acting immediately! You win all the way! We take all the risk! If you are not satisfied, simply return the product and we will quickly refund your money! Do it now! Get that check on its way to us today, and receive the big bonus package! After next week, we won't be able to include the bonus as a part of this fantastic deal, so act now! The sooner you act, you more you win!

Offering a reward of some kind will almost always stimulate the prospect to take action. However, in mentioning the reward or bonus, be very careful that you don't end up receiving primarily, requests for the bonus with mountains of requests for refunds on the product to follow. The bonus should be mentioned only casually if you are asking for product orders; and with lots of fanfare only when you are seeking inquiries.

Too often the copywriter, in his enthusiasm to pull in a record number of responses, confuses the reader by "forgetting about the product," and devoting his entire space allotted for the "demand for action" to sending for the bonus. Any reward offered should be closely related to the product, and a bonus offered only for immediate action on the part of the potential buyer.

Specify a time limit. Tell your prospect that he must act within a certain time limit or lose out on the bonus, face probably higher prices, or even the withdrawal of your offer. This is always a good hook to get action.

Any kind of guarantee you offer always helps you produce action from the prospect. And the more liberal you can make your guarantee, the more product orders you will receive. Be sure you state the guarantee clearly and simply. Make it so easy to understand that even a child would not misinterpret what you are saying.

The action you want your prospect to take should be easy - clearly stated - and devoid of any complicated procedural steps on his part, or numerous directions for him to follow.

Picture your prospect, very comfortable in his favorite easy chair, idly flipping through a magazine while "half-watching" TV. He notices your ad, reads through it, and he is sold on your product. Now what does he do?

Remember, he's very comfortable - you have "grabbed" his attention, sparked his interest, painted a picture of him enjoying a new kind of satisfaction, and he is ready to buy...

Anything and everything you ask or cause him to do is going to disrupt this aura of comfort and contentment. Whatever he must do had better be simple, quick and easy!

Tell him without any ifs, ands or buts, what to do - fill out the coupon, include your check for the full amount, and send it in to us today! Make it as easy for him as you possibly can - simply and dirert. And by all means, make sure your address is on the order form he is supposed to complete and mail in to you - your name and address on the order form, as well as just above it. People sometimes fill out a coupon, tear it off, seal it in an envelope and don't know where to send it. The easier you make it for him to respond, the more responses you'll get!

There you have it, a complete short course on how to write ads that will pull more orders for you - sell more of your product for you. It's important to learn "why" ads are written as they are - to understand and use, the "master formula" in your own ad writing endeavors.

By conscientiously studying good advertising copy, and practice in writing ads of your own, now that you have the knowledge and understand what makes advertising copy work, you should be able to quickly develop your copywriting abilities to produce order-pulling ads for your own products. Even so, and once you do become proficient in writing ads for your own products, you must never stop "noticing" how ads are written, designed and put together by other people. To stop learning would be comparable to shutting off from the rest of the world.

The best ad writers are people in touch with the world in which they live. Everytime they see a good ad, they clip it out and save it. Regularly, they pull what makes them good, and why they work. There's no school in the country that can give you the same kind of education and expertise so necessary in the field of ad writing. You must keep yourself up-to-date, aware of, and in-the-know about the other guy - his innovations, style, changes, and the methods he is using to sell his products. On-the-job training - study and practice - that's what it takes - and if you have got that burning ambition to succeed, you can do it too!



Classifieds are best used to build your mailing list of qualified prospects. Use classified to offer a free catalog, booklet or report relative to your product line.


Generally, anything and everything, so long as it doesn't cost more than five dollars which is about the most people will pay in response to an offer in the classifieds. These types of ads are great for pulling inquiries such as: Write for further information; Send $3, get two for the price of one; Dealers wanted, send for product info and a real money-maker's kit!


All twelve months of the year! Responses to your ads during some months will be slower in accumulating, but by keying your ads according to the month they appear, and a careful tabulation of your returns from each keyed ad, you will see that steady year round advertising will continue to pull orders for you, regardless of the month it's published. I've personally received inquiries and orders from ads placed as long as 2 years previous to the date of the response!


The lease effective are the ad sheets. Most of the ads in these publications are "exchange ads," meaning that the publisher of ad sheet "A" runs the ads of publisher "B" without charge, because publisher "B" is running the ads of publisher "A" without charge. The "claimed" circulation figures of these publications are almost always based on "wishes, hopes and wants" while the "true" circulation goes out to similar small, part-time mail order dealers. Very poor medium for investing advertising dollars because everybody receiving a copy is a "seller" and nobody is buying. When an ad sheet is received by someone not involved in mail order, it is usually given a cursory glance and then discarded as "junk mail."

Tabloid newspapers are slightly better than the ad sheets, but not by much! The important difference with the tabloids is in the "helpful information" articles they try to carry for the mail order beginner. A "fair media" for recruiting dealers or independent sales reps for mail order products, and for renting mailing lists, but still circulated amongst "sellers" with very few buyers. Besides that, the life of a mail order tab sheet is about the same as that of your daily newspaper.

With mail order magazines, it depends on the quality of the publication and its business concepts. Some mail order magazines are nothing more than expanded ad sheets, while others - such as BOOK BUSINESS MART - strive to help the opportunity seekers with on-going advice and tips he can use in the development and growth of his own wealth-building projects. Book Business Mart is not just the fastest growing publication in the mail order scene today; it's also the first publication in more than 20 years to offer real help anyone can use in achieving his own version of "The American Dream" of building one's own business form a "shoestring beginning" into a multi-million dollar empire!


First of all, you have to determine who your prospective buyers are. Then you do a little bit of market research. Talk to your friends, neighbors and people at random who might fit this profile. Ask them if they would be interested in a product such as yours, and then ask them which publications they read. Next, go to your public library for a listing of the publications of this type from the Standard Rate & Data Service catalogs.

Make a list of the addresses, circulation figures, reader demographics and advertising rates. To determine the true costs of your advertising and decide which is the better buy, divide the total audited circulation figure into the cost for a one inch ad: $10 per inch with a publication showing 10,000 circulation would be 10,000 into $10 or 10¢ per thousand. Looking at the advertising rates for Book Business Mart, you would take 42,500 into $15 for an advertising rate of less that THREE TENTHS OF ONE CENT PER THOUSAND. Obviously, your best buy in this case would be Book Business Mart because of the lower cost per thousand.

Write and ask for sample copies of the magazines you have tentatively chosen to place your advertising in. Look over their advertising - be sure that they don't or won't put your ad in the "gutter" which is the inside column next to the binding. How many other mail order type ads are they carrying - you want to go with a publication that's busy, not one that has only a few ads. The more ads in the publication, the better the response the advertisers are getting, or else they wouldn't be investing their money in that publication.

To "properly" test your ad, you should let it run through at least three consecutive issues of any publication. If your responses are small, try a different publication. Then, if your responses are still small, look at your ad and think about rewriting it for greater appeal, and pulling power. In a great many instances, it's the ad and not the publication's pulling power that's at fault!