RSS

Monthly Archives: March 2013

How To Put On A (successful) Gig

32612c95eab017aa71621705f40Slash-05The music business is one of THE most difficult businesses to get yourself into, believe me I have seen many try and fail!  But one thing I did notice about people who were looking to get into the business is they had the thirst and the determination to put on some really crummy gigs in some even worse bars.

So I thought I would share some of my experience of putting on a gig and hopefully can help some people who are thinking about putting a gig on somewhere and how they can put it all together.

Seek some experience

Ask around some local music bars and get in touch with organisers and promoters who can set you up with some experience.  Offering to be a roadie, which essentially is a dogsbody but what this allows you to do is to be near musical acts and understand the finer points of putting on a night of your own.

Speak to local acts

Build up a relationship with local acts and meet as many as you can.  By doing this you can then approach them about playing at your night and also puts your name out there.  Don’t forget all the online resources there are too such as Twitter and MySpace.

Find a venue

Check out your local area for venues that are available for rent.  Schools, cinemas and function rooms should all be available to you but keep in mind the size of the venue and also the facilities that they offer as part of the deal.  Will the venue provide sound engineers or a PA system and in particular the last point as this can save you money down the line.

Costing the project

It always makes sense to cost the venue for the night and add it to your total budget, some venues insist on taking a cut on ticket sales and if this is the case make sure that it does not exceed 40% as this can eat into your budget too heavily.

Organise Security

This is one point I cannot stress enough.  Speak to a reputable company and have them supply security for you.  If something happens then it is always safer to have people who are trained in dealing with those situations.  Some laws even insist that security is undertaken by professionals.

Liability insurance

Going to all the hassle and expense of putting on a gig shouldn’t be at jeopardy because of $200 or so.  Getting Public Liability Insurance protects you from any damages that may occur and is generally a good idea.

BANDS

Determine which bands you will have playing at your gig and a wise move is to choose a band who have a good following so you have a better chance of getting more people through the door.

PROMOTION

I cannot stress enough how important it is to promote your night as best as possible.  Get some friends to hand out flyers, set up a Facebook page or Twitter account and push what you are doing to people.  Ask the bands that are to perform to mention the night on their profiles too.  Also another great idea is contacting local radio station and ask them to spread the message, sending demos will do no harm either.

Michael Wood has spent many years providing merchandise including lanyards and badges to bands and music promoters, if you would like to speak to Michael about blogging or seek advice you can email him at woodie19838@gmail.com.

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Hey to all my Green buddies; here’s an easy way to make a difference

download
We have been blessed with an opportunity to really make a difference, and please SHARE this with your friends; We have found a high tech paint that actually removes pollution from the air! This is real and it is the only paint in the world that does. I am hoping with your help, we can reach the nation with this great way to improve our air!!! You can LIKE our new FB page and also visit our main site @ Eco Distribution, Inc. for information on how to include KNOxOUT paint in your ‘Green” projects! Thank you,

eco-logoFINAL


2013 Can

 

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Your Best Marketing Tool is Still the Most Basic One

Marsha Pink Jacket2009 Official PhotoBy: Marsha Friedman

New concepts are constantly emerging in marketing. We’ve seen the rise of “green marketing” — appealing to people’s environmental concerns by emphasizing recycled packaging and the like. And mobile marketing, finding new ways to get the attention of potential customers clutching hand-held devices.

There’s a lot to be said for new strategies, but it sometimes seems people get dazzled by novel approaches. They forget there’s one enduring strategy that never fails.

Honesty.

You can only do so much telling customers and prospective clients about who and what you are. At some point, you have to show them. And if the experience you provide doesn’t match with how you’ve represented yourself, your company, your practice, product or book, they’ll not only walk away — they’ll likely take others with them.

There are a lot of ways your honesty — or lack of it — can be revealed in the course of a day. Sometimes, it may seem like the price of being honest is just too high, for instance, when you’ve made a mistake you fear will seriously damage your reputation.
Do you own up to the mistake? Blame someone else? Cover it up?

I like Jason Fried’s answer.

Jason is the co-founder of 37signals, a company that produces a chat tool called Campfire for small businesses. A couple years ago, he wrote a column in Inc. magazine about what happened when Campfire malfunctioned, sparking a real wildfire of rage among his customers.

But, he wrote, “People don’t judge you on the basis of your mistakes — they judge you on the manner in which you own up to them.”

Jason and his business partner were honest about their mistake, and sincere and consistent in their apologies. They corrected the problem, of course, and also gave their customers a free month of service for the disruption.

By the end of their nightmare, Jason and his business partner were getting messages like this from their customers: “37signals has been giving a free lesson in customer service and honesty the past few weeks.”

While I don’t believe anyone reading this would intentionally lie to customers or in their marketing, there are many situations that test us! I find it helps to have the rules of engagement firmly in place before a situation arises.

Here are a few good “old-school” marketing strategies:

• Be honest about what you can do – and what you can’t. I’m a “yes we can” kind of businesswoman. I’ve succeeded in business because I know there’s almost always a way around an obstacle if you’re flexible and creative in problem-solving. I don’t back down from a challenge just because it’s something I’ve never done before. However, I also know there are some things I cannot do. Recently, I had a prospective, high-profile client who would’ve been a dream to bring onboard. In our many conversations, he talked about the kind of publicity he wanted and the general goals he hoped to meet. I knew we would have no problem getting him what he was looking for. But then, just as he was preparing to sign a contract, he shared what he really wanted: His own regular segment on a national network morning show.

To get that he would need more than a publicity campaign, so it’s unlikely we could make it happen for him. And I was honest about that. He didn’t sign on with us, but, more important, we maintained our integrity and he’s not disappointed.

• Keep your word. If you offer a “money back guarantee,” honor it upon request. If you say you’ll pay a referral fee, pay it immediately. If you say you’ll have something done by a certain date, move heaven and earth to meet the deadline. If for some reason you can’t, let the customer know, tell them why and be prepared to help mitigate the consequences if possible. (The corollary rule on deadlines is don’t promise more than you can deliver!)

• Remember, there’s a fine line between attention-getting and trickery. In marketing, the competition for attention is overwhelming, so we draw upon all of our creativity to make ourselves stand out. That’s fine. Tricking people is not. In fact, some tricks — like the old bait-and-switch tactic — amount to fraud. Others may not have legal consequences but can be just as damaging. (I’m thinking of the congratulatory emails sent out by LinkedIn a couple weeks ago, telling members “You have one of the top 10 (or 5 or 1) percent most viewed profiles for 2012.” Many recipients were pleased and rushed to share their exclusive ranking on social media. Many weren’t so pleased when the Los Angeles Times reported millions of other members also got the emails.)

It boils down to the Golden Rule for business — do unto your clients, customers and prospects as you would like done unto you. Sometimes, it requires some really hard decisions. But in the end, integrity is the most valuable marketing tool in your arsenal.

About Marsha Friedman

Marsha Friedman is a 23-year veteran of the public relations industry. She is the CEO of EMSI Public Relations (www.emsincorporated.com), a national firm that provides PR strategy and publicity services to corporations, entertainers, authors and professional firms. Marsha is the author of Celebritize Yourself and she can also be heard weekly on her Blog Talk Radio Show, EMSI’s PR Insider every Thursday at 3:00 PM EST. Follow her on Twitter: @marshafriedman.

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Life after ‘Till Death Do Us Part’

OldCoupleWalking1 5 Real-Life Tips for Widowhood
from Former Romance Novelist

Perhaps the only bad thing about a lifelong romance is, eventually, someone has to die.

Short of an unnatural occurrence – a violent crime, a suicide pact, a plane crash – a wife or a husband will be forced to go on alone. After decades of shared life, love and happiness with her husband, Ralph, Thelma Zirkelbach says surviving “till death do us part” can be like wandering lost in a foreign wilderness.

“Ralph has been gone for 7½ years now; when I first lost him I had no idea that I’d have to get used to an entirely new lifestyle,” says Zirkelbach, author of “Stumbling Through the Dark,” (www.widowsphere.blogspot.com), a memoir about an interfaith couple facing one of life’s greatest spiritual challenges.

“When you’re grieving – whether your loved one is suffering from a terminal condition, or he or she has recently passed – practical things like funeral arrangements, short- to long-term financial issues or even what’s for dinner can seem very conceptual, abstract and far removed from what you’re feeling.”

But the biggest challenge is having no one with whom to share your life, she says.

“Family milestones, major news stories and technological changes are just a few things Ralph has not experienced with me,” says Zirkelbach, a grandmother, speech pathologist and Harlequin Romance author.

She offers five areas in which couples can prepare for both the process of dying, and life after death:

• At the hospital: We tend to take our health for granted until we don’t feel well. Sometimes, it’s something we can’t shake; for Ralph, flu-like symptoms would prove to be leukemia. At one point during her life at the hospital with Ralph, Zirkelbach kissed her husband before he was sent off to isolation as part of his treatment; it would be the last kiss for an entire month. When a spouse gets sick and requires extended hospital treatment, be ready for a shortage of parking, general uncertainty and an irregular schedule. Zirkelbach’s sanctuary during Ralph’s time at the hospital was the hospital’s café, where she “gorged on smoothies and cookies – sweets are my comfort food,” she says.

• Finances: This can be one of the most difficult areas because, too often, couples don’t prepare for the eventuality of a death well in advance. While older couples are more likely to be financially prepared for a death, younger couples are often caught blindsided by the loss of a spouse. Consider getting professional assistance from a financial expert.

• Spirituality: What is often put aside as secondary in daily life can quickly become the primary thought for someone who is grieving. Zirkelbach and her husband were an interfaith couple – he came from an evangelical Christian background and she is Jewish. Ralph was admitted to the hospital as Jewish; he had planned to convert, but as his condition worsened and his family became more involved, he stuck with Christianity. This was emotionally confusing to Zirkelbach during an already stressful period. Understanding each other’s views on matters of life and afterlife before a loss is helpful.

• Bad things can still happen: When Ralph got sick, Zirkelbach’s mother was also beginning a rapid decline, and ultimately died before Ralph. “Just because a terrible thing is happening to you doesn’t cancel out the possibility of another one happening,” she says. “There’s no credit limit for misfortune, which is all the more reason to show love, regularly, to the people you care about the most.”

• The journey of letting go: Zirkelbach quotes Mary Oliver’s poem “In Blackwater Woods”: To live in this world / You must be able … To love what is mortal … knowing / Your own life depends on it; / And when the time comes to let it go, / To let it go. “I had no idea I could survive all by myself; it seemed like I needed help with everything,” she says. “But I’ve learned a very important lesson — I’m much more resourceful, much stronger and much more independent than I ever thought I was.”

About Thelma Zirkelbach

Thelma Zirkelbach received a bachelor’s degree in speech pathology from the University of Texas, a master’s in speech pathology and audiology from the University of Houston and an education doctorate in curriculum and instruction with emphasis on reading disorders from the University of Houston. She has been in private practice in speech pathology, specializing in young children with speech, language and learning disabilities, for many years. She began her writing career as a romance novelist, publishing with Harlequin, Silhouette and Kensington. Her husband’s death from leukemia in 2005 propelled her to creative non-fiction.

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

How Female CEOs Can ‘Lead with Impact’

deboramcl3 Ways to Set Yourself Apart from the Competition

A record number of women are Fortune 500 CEOs.

Women are launching businesses at 1.5 times the national average.

There are now 8.2 million American women running their own companies.

“The numbers are notable,” says executive and business coach Debora McLaughlin, author of “The Renegade Leader: 9 Success Strategies Driven Leaders Use to Ignite People, Performance and Profits,” (www.TheRenegadeLeader.com).

“From 1997 to 2011, the number of U.S. women-owned businesses increased by 50 percent,” McLaughlin says. “And in 2011, the median compensation for female CEOs was 13 percent more than for male CEOs,” according to NerdWallet Financial Markets.

According to Catalyst, a non-profit organization, as of Jan. 1, there were 21 women running Fortune 500 companies, including IBM and PepsiCo, That’s up from seven in 2002-2003. Among the Fortune 1000 companies, there are twice as many, including the CEOs of Neiman Marcus Group, Cracker Barrel and Dun & Bradstreet.

“Nonetheless, business women still face hurdles,” McLaughlin notes. “Keep in mind, while 21 are Fortune 500 CEOs — a record high – that’s only 4.25 percent of the total and the figures hold for Fortune 1000 companies, less than 5 percent have a female at the helm.”

A recipient of the 2012-13 Women of the Year award presented by the National Association of Professional Women, McLaughlin watches the financial trends. While women are launching more businesses, they have an upward climb; studies show that women-owned companies are less likely to hit the $1 million mark and are more likely to fail.

“To claim, own and keep the keys to the corner office, women executives need to be seen, heard and to lead with greater influence and impact,” McLaughlin says. She offers three key tips:

• Develop your personal brand: Let people get to know you, your core story of experiences and how they relate to your drive and vision. As Steve Jobs said, “connect the dots,” then use transparent communication to share your story. People make better connections with people who tell a great story, and they’re most interested in the story behind the person at the top. Transparency encourages greater communication, team building and leadership.

• Develop and use your personal network. Find a mentor and be a mentor; seek out other women at your level; and accept the strength, ideas and energy your connections have to offer. It is no longer necessary to blaze trails alone, and women have more power than they may realize. According to a Dow Jones report, startups with five or more female executives have a 61 percent success rate. It goes further and says that odds of success “increase with more female executives at the VP and Director levels.”

• Stand for something; position yourself as a strong thought leader. It’s not easy being at the top. Women tend to distrust powerful women, and men may view women as weak or too collaborative and sensitive. Take a firm stand on something you care about deeply and rally the organization around that objective. You will gain the respect of your peers, customers and stakeholders.

As the numbers clearly demonstrate, business is changing. Women account for 73 percent to 85 percent of consumer decisions in the United States, which gives female CEOs yet another advantage — insight into their customers’ values, McLaughlin says.

About Debora McLaughlin

Debora McLaughlin, best-selling author of “The Renegade Leader: 9 Success Strategies Driven Leaders Use to Ignite People, Performance and Profits;” the forthcoming book, “A League of Her Own,” and CEO of The Renegade Leader Coaching and Consulting Group combines her experience as certified executive coach and as a top sales performer in New York City and Boston to help CEOs, business leaders and organizations achieve accelerated results.

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

How To Harness And Utilize Advanced Selling Skills

Selling Skills

While the idea of garnering advanced selling skills sounds like a daunting, time consuming task, it can actually be a relatively simple transition.

To become an advanced salesman requires a different approach and to attack problems from a different angle. In turn, this requires the salesman to look at the sales process in simpler terms. The key to obtaining advanced selling skills is not to work harder, but to work smarter.

An advanced salesman is everything the smug, pushy salesman is not. A salesman with advanced selling skills is not short-sighted. They look for long term gains by aiming to build relationships with their prospects that revolve around mutual respect. Learning this and other aspects that go into gaining advanced selling skills takes time, dedication and a patience to learn. These advanced selling skills can also be taught directly from a training sales manager as part of a sales and management training program.

Here are a few comprehensive tips that can help a salesman at any experience level gain the advanced selling skills they need.

Intentions Come First

As a salesman, it’s important to make your intentions clear to the customer within those first few moments. In other words, never candy coat the reason for you being there on the sales call.

So how does this help a salesman? It saves them valuable time. By making their intentions clear and direct from the moment the salesman arrives, the prospect has a chance to make it very clear that they’re not interested, which lets the salesman know not to invest too much time into that particular customer, and it allows the salesman to quickly move on to the next prospect.

Share the Negatives

Whichever product or service the salesman is pitching to the prospect, it more than likely comes with a few drawbacks. It’s important to explain these drawbacks during the initial sales pitch.

But what if it kills a sale? While that is a possibility, not relaying the negative information only causes mistrust between the salesman and customer. Doing this also eliminates any unwanted refunds from customers.

In addition, the customer is bound to notice these negative aspects eventually, so it’s ideal to come forth with the drawbacks in the beginning and let the prospect know that the salesman is straightforward. This also instills a sliver of trust with the customer.

The Closing

All great salesman who possess advanced selling skills have one characteristic in common: They know how to close the sale and ask for the customer’s business. While this is certainly one of the more obvious skills that an advanced salesman should possess, it can be surprising at how often a salesman waits for the prospect to come to their own conclusion. Ask for their business in a direct manner. Give them guidance and a quick recap of the benefits. This saves the salesman and the customer time and allows the salesman to spend effort and time on other prospects that could lead to more sales.

Learning how to perfect these and other advanced selling skills is made easy by utilizing a sales management development program or by taking advice from a training sales manager.

Featured images:

Anne Harvester is familiar with customer service and how to successfully use selling skills to sell products. Anne refers to Learning Outsource Group when in need of additional professional assistance. Add Anne on Google Plus.

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Freight Forwarding Companies Explained

5b6800734536bfc7d9369dcfe862When people bring up freight forwarding companies in a conversation, it is likely you are going to get confused; this is because the systems they follow can be quite confusing, especially if you do not know anything about them. Basically freight forwarding is a system used by businesses who want to deal their goods internationally and multi-nationally.

The freight forwarding company does not actually move the freight itself, instead it acts a go-between the client and the transport companies. If you want to move your products from international destination then you are expected to involve a number of different carriers, requirements, documentations and legalities.  As there is so much to take care of, the client and company may not have the time or expertise in freight forwarding, this is where the freight forwarding company comes in and takes over.

Choosing a Freight Forwarding Company

A good freight forwarding company will guarantee you that your products will get to the intended destination on a specified date, if your goods do not get to the destination then you will have the right to complain and recover expenses from the company as part of a breach of contract.

You should choose a freight forwarding company that has established strong relationships and connections with a number of different carriers; this can include air freighters, rail freighters, sea liners and even trucking companies. Freight forwarding companies will know the best economical route for your goods, saving you both time and money.

Some freight companies will offer you different services, a good company will also be able to offer you warehousing services, a project manager and risk assessment surveys.

Benefits of Using a Freight Forwarding Company

You may wonder why you would want to choose a freight forwarding company, the main reason to why most businesses will choose to hire one is because they will attempt to save you a lot of time and money. When shipping goods internationally, you will have to create the correct types of paperwork, this will include customs documents and insurance, if you do not provide the correct documents then there is a risk your goods will not get to the intended destination.

Rather you having to spend hours doing research into the best potential route to transport your goods across the world, a freight forwarding company with good experience will know immediately the best way to transport your cargo.

You should never just use the first freight forwarding company you come across, as the services they offer can differ quite spectacularly. You should complete plenty of research before you choose a company.

Peter works on behalf of a global freight shipping company and likes to share advice with others. He has listed a variety of services, http://www.thefreightpeople.com, to help people choose what services they need. 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How To Turn Your Customers Into Marketing Marvels

PhotoChooser-6d6357ba-775a-475b-9c04-8fdf1a200275Businesses everywhere are working around the clock to ensure that they deliver a five-star service experience and leave their customers raving about them. The reason for this? They know that a customer telling their friends or posting on Facebook how great their product or service was is a much more powerful marketing tool than any advert they could ever dream up.

If it is good enough for the biggest brands on the planet, then every small business in every town and city around the world should also be working towards this mantra.

Turning your customers into your de-facto marketing team removes a lot of stress from small business owners who may be worrying about where their next advertising campaign is going to be funded from.

Of course, it isn’t as easy as just throwing open the doors and inviting your customers to deliver word of mouth recommendations to anyone who will listen. Putting the work in first will mean you reap the rewards later. Read on to find out how to turn customers into marketing marvels.

Help the Customer

How many businesses try to grow their revenues by suggesting items to customers? They all do, now ask yourself again how many do this in a helpful manner? Telling customers that they should spend more money because one product works well with another is unlikely to win many friends.

On the other hand, suggest items that will make a difference to the customers’ life and benefit them in some way. Sell them what they need rather than what you want them to buy. ‘This product has really made my life easier, I feel as if they made a real effort to get to know me,’ is better than, ‘I bought this because they suggested it but it’s useless.’

Keep In Touch

This is a definite must if you operate any form of e-commerce site. When you sell an item, do you allow your customers to track the item, and keep in touch with them regarding their delivery? Or are you a business that takes their money and leaves all responsibility to the courier from then on?

You don’t need us to tell you which scenario you should be looking to replicate. Keeping customers updated after they have parted with their cash will allow you to prevent ‘buyer’s remorse’ from building up because they are thinking too much about their purchase.

Putting the power in the hands of the customer means they can proactively check for themselves where there exciting new product is, and not have to continually log in to your site and look for updates.

The relationship between the product and the customer should begin the moment the sale is confirmed, not when it is delivered.

Ask for Feedback

All roads lead directly to this point. By asking your customer for feedback, you will be enjoying many benefits. Other potential customers will see that you have a reputation for quality products and services. User generated content on your website will make you more attractive in the eyes of search engines.

Either you or the user can then share this content across social media platforms, bringing all of those benefits together.

The key, of course, is to ensure you do everything possible so that each piece of feedback will be positive and paint a favourable picture of your business.

Once you’ve done this, your customers will be your marketing team. You can sit back and enjoy the rewards.

Robert is an online content writer across a number of industries, with a specific interest in business turnaround. Robert’s areas of expertise include transformational change strategies, such as relaunching product ranges and reconnecting with new and previous customers.

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How To Find The Best Apps For Your Business

Best_Mobile_Apps_for_Your_BusinessOne of the biggest trends in small business right now is the use of mobile applications in order to make an operation more productive.  Large businesses are increasingly using apps, too, however in these cases they are usually a compliment to what is already in place.

For small companies and start-ups, business apps can be the difference between success and failure. While that statement can seem an extreme one, the financial and time savings that apps can give to a business owner, particularly sole traders, are valuable, and mean that resources can instead be directed towards product development, building customer relationships, and selling.

How can you choose the best apps for your business, and then use them to ensure your company hits the big time?

Do You Really Need It?

When you head to an app marketplace, it is very easy to be taken in by everything on offer. Therefore, write down everything that you need to do that you think an app might be able to achieve for you.

The purpose behind this is simple. By doing it this way, you will write down what you need, and keep your business as simple as possible. If you were to head to an app store right away, you would soon find yourself downloading all kinds of apps that achieve nothing but making your business more complicated than it needs to be.

Look Further for Reviews

Rather than just checking out the reviews on the app stores themselves, find forums where apps are discussed. This way, you will be able to connect with fellow business owners and strike up a conversation and ask questions, rather than make a decision based on a few sentences, which may have been written in hasty joy or anger.

Business magazines and social feeds will also be a valuable resource, as they feature news and reviews on the newest and most effective apps that could make a difference for you.

Think Employee

If you have employees in your business, they will be working to a specific set of objectives and a job description at all times. Should they fall below the required performance level, you review their role and question whether someone else could do it better.

You should take exactly the same approach to your mobile apps. If you are using a profit and loss tool, does it give you a detailed breakdown of all incomings and outgoings? Does your mobile invoicing system allow you to send invoices straight away from your device, or do you have to import the file into email first?

Be clear in your head what each app should do, and if they aren’t making your life easier or performing their role, deal with them as you would an employee.

Taking this approach to sourcing mobile business apps will leave you in a great position to get on with the job of generating revenue for your company, which in turn will see you in a strong place when it comes to expanding your brand.

Robert is an online content writer with a specific interest in the technology sector. Robert regularly writes about emerging trends, such as managed VPS hosting, as well as popular apps that can help to make businesses more efficient and profitable.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: