Archive for the ‘Business Training’ Category

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What Kind of Business Training is Best for You?

August 19, 2008

While the content should be something that will enhance your business and help you increase your revenue, skills or happiness; the way in which you learn should help you determine how those skills are best processed by you.

Essentially there are 3 different Learning modalities:

Visual – You find writing things down, or highlighting them to help you best to recall the information.  Diagrams, photos, video or even cards with notes on them – remember flash cards in math?  All of those are helpful for those that process things visually.

Auditory – You learn best by closing your eyes, blocking out the world and listening.  Word Association is an effective tool that you use to remember things.  Tapes and teleconferences are fabulous ways for you to increase you business acumen.

Kinesthetic – You learn best by jumping in and doing it.  You are the one that glosses over directions and fiddles around with things until you know how to do it.  Lessons that include games, role-playing and props (or physical examples of something you can touch) make a much bigger impression on you.

Most people do not have just one modality.  I learn best kinesthetically, but I also learn well visually.  Sitting still through a lecture or teleseminar is difficult for me, no matter how interesting the subject matter.  To counteract this tendency for my mind to wander in situations such as teleseminars, I tend to doodle about what the person is speaking about or take notes.  If the speaker is referencing things from the web I will bring them up on my computer.  I do have to make an effort not to become too involved with whatever is on the web so I tune out the speaker.  I know the point of my doodling or surfing the web is to keep my mind engaged on what the speaker is saying.

The most important thing to do is think about the ways you process information best and then choose the classes or lessons that work with that modality.  If there is a class or seminar that you want to be involved in that is not your strength, think of ways to incorporate your learning modality.  Someone who is auditory might want to record a seminar to listen to later.  Someone who is visual might choose to take notes and go over them with a highlighter later.  A kinesthetic person would choose to jump in and try out whatever it is they are learning to see how it feels.

Play to your strengths, while still being aware of your weaknesses.

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Credibility on the Web

August 4, 2008

(Part 2)

Since so many business owners are popping up and creating their own businesses from templates I will add a few do’s and don’ts about designing a website. Any good web designer should know this, so use it as criteria to evaluate their web designs or in designing one yourself. If you can afford a web designer – don’t do it yourself! There is much behind the scenes “stuff” that will be missed in a templated site.

Business websites should have a consistent theme or feel so the viewer knows they are still on the same website. Templates provide this – however there are a whole slew of sites out there that just scream that they are templates. If you must use them do so, but plan to have a professional designer do your site as soon as practical. And make sure that whatever domain name you choose you can take with you, that it is not the property of someone else.

Spelling, punctuation, grammar and font choice are all very important. The web is no place for typos. Have as many fresh eyes as possible go over your site and critique it.

Many people are fond of a particular font or like to change things up. Limit your website to no more than 2 fonts. It should be noted, however that for legibility on the web, a non-serif font is best. This would include Arial, Verdana, Trebuchet, Tahoma and Calibri to name a few. If you use a different, more decorative font, limit it to Titles and headings. By using it sparingly it says more – also realize if you use a lesser known font, it will not necessarily show up for all users as the font you want. Prepare for this contingency.

If this is a strictly business site, leave off the advertisements and web banners. If you do use them, make sure it is clear that it is advertisement separate from your site. Likewise if you include Links or affiliates, be sure they are appropriate to your industry and your audience and leave them on a page labeled Links.

Make sure the content is fresh and updated on a regular basis. If it shows “old news” it quickly loses credibility. An example happened to me recently. A friend decided she wanted a German Shepherd Puppy. I Googled German Shepherd Dog Breeders in her area and came up with several possibilities. One site stood out above the rest, until I read about the most recent litter of puppies born just last week. The date on the photo was 14 months earlier. I passed and moved on. If you don’t care about your site, you don’t care about your customers.

Creating a web presence that has credibility is the first step in creating credibility for you business. Websites have become the platform that most people use to research a business. Make sure yours stands out, is believable and creates the image that you can be proud of.

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Credibility on the Web

July 23, 2008

(Part 1)

Most business owners in the 21st Century recognize the need for a web presence. However, in an effort to put yourself out there, be sure you build in credibility as you build your site. Here are some guidelines for building your web presence.

Purchase your own Domain. Don’t be http://www.YourCompany.AnotherDomain.com. Having your business at it’s own domain is best. Avoid hyphens if possible. If you use them (as I did) you will need to tell everyone your web address is ch(DASH)enterprises.com If your business domain name is taken use your own name (if you are a solo entrepreneur providing a service), use an acronym like GMC.com, or use something uniquely descriptive of your products, “GizmoGuru.com” (Since GarysGizmos.com was taken).

Use an email address of YOU @ YourDomain.com (net, biz, tv… what have you). If you prefer receiving your web based mail on AOL, Yahoo! or Gmail (or any OTHER address – have the email forwarded). Always send business correspondence from your domain. In many cases you can do this from your web based email. For example my email provider is AT&T and my web email interface is through Yahoo! I can also send from within Yahoo! With the “from address” being Cheryl @ ch-enterprises.com.

Having a physical address and phone number gives you credibility. People may not even be aware that this is important when they look at your site. Even if you are a completely virtual business, it is exceedingly important from a business standpoint to include a physical address and phone number. If you are a solopreneur working from home you may want to invest in something like Ring Central switchboard with the ability to forward to your home or cell phone. You can even have VOIP service and take your phone with you in the form of your laptop. Answering services like Ruby Receptionists provide state of the art receptionist, giving your small company a big company feel.

Provide a real, up to date picture of your business, yourself and/or your officers. Include at least a short bio about who you are in and out of the office. This gives readers the sense that they are relating to another human being just like them.

Business websites should be no frills, fast loading, and easy to navigate. These websites are not the place to show-off the cool technological things you can do on the web. Even if that is the type of business you have, keep that sort of thing to a minimum and on a separate portfolio page.

I recently visited a website that was supposed to be fun put together about these authors of fiction novels. Initially the site was intriguing, the premise inviting. But the fancy page turning java script got in the way of what was being presented. With rare exceptions (and always with a clear option to turn it off), business websites should never include music or other loud sounds.

If you have articles or others have written about your business, site them. A business website is not the place to show off all your cool friend’s websites. It’s a business space as much as your office is. Be sure to only connect with credible sources.

Think of your website and email addresses as business tools. How do they look to someone that knows nothing of you or your business. Stay professional, be consistent and project credibility.

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DO YOU HAVE A TARGET MARKET?

June 14, 2008

Are you trying to speak to the entire world, or have you narrowed the pool of people you are marketing to, down to a manageable size? That is the importance of finding a target or niche market. Think about the industries that you have worked with in your “corporate life”. What kind of work did you like best? What type of people did you prefer to work with?

Narrowing your message doesn’t give you less people to work with, as so many people think. Instead of being a small fish in a big pool (where the bigger fish eat you up!) you get to be the big fish in the little pool. And because you are targeting a smaller pool you are able to narrow your message down to their specific needs and desires. When they see that you are JUST FOR THEM they will come to you.

In practical terms it means finding where your clients are and going out of your way to speak to them. Finding the forums they participate in, the online and in person places they are likely to frequent. Talk to them. Have fun and make friends. Initially the point is NOT to sell your business but to let them get to know and like YOU. People do business with others that they know and like.

I was just as flummoxed over trying to find a niche market as any business owner. I didn’t know where to begin. So I sat down and really thought about what I liked to do.  And then I considered the things I love – things I am passionate about. I considered my personal goals for the next 2-3 years and how I want to have horses again. After chewing on that for awhile I settled for the Equine industry. I figured I could work for Breeders, Trainers, Farriers, Large Animal Vets and Clinicians, etc.

I redesigned my website to speak specifically to that group. And I suddenly knew where I had to focus my attention. I’m a now a member of several select Equine groups. As I have had discussions with this crowd, I’ve pretty much narrowed my niche even further to breeders and trainers. There are so many out there, even with my market that narrow, I couldn’t begin to contact them all. In fact, I could narrow my market to breeders of one type of horse and I would still have a huge market!  By making friends that know horses and know that I know horses I am able to present my business to them in their own language from a source they know and trust.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering, narrowing your market doesn’t mean you can’t do business outside of that target. You can work with anyone! It’s just a matter of where you put your focus.  So find your ideal client, pursue your passion and watch your business grow.

To find people in your niche just Google them!  As an example I’ve Googled Business Forums, but get specific!  Target YOUR ideal clients!

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10 Ways to Communicate Confidence and Boost Your Credibility

February 6, 2008

PRESENTED BY LEW BAYER OF THE CIVILITY GROUP

DATE: Thursday, February 21, 2008
TIME: 5pm PST / 6pm MST / 7pm CST / 8pm EST
DURATION: 60 minutes (please call in 10 min. early)
COST: FREE!

Lew BayerIMAGINE… interacting with clients and feeling confident enough to ask for the sale every time you recognize a business opportunity.

IMAGINE…walking into a business reception or your weekly office meeting and not feeling self-conscious about approaching new people.

IMAGINE…what it would be like to have the capability to stay calm and act appropriately when the unexpected arises.

If there were 10 simple behaviors that could make you more self-assured, and help you know for certain that you could tackle any challenge that came your way, wouldn’t you want to know what they were? In this entertaining and informative session, Canada’s Civility in the Workplace expert, Lew Bayer, will provide insight and practical tools that, with practice, will ensure increased self-assurance, confidence, and productivity.

Regardless of what your profession is, confidence is key to effective communications, building relationships and sending a positive, lasting impression. By making a few simple adjustments and adopting a few good habits, anyone can feel more confident–and confidence boosts credibility in business.

Some of the things you will learn include:

  • The four “E’s” of civility;

  • How civility impacts your credibility and professional relationships;

  • How to shift your perspective and remember the business priority;

  • How to handle yourself appropriately in mixing and networking scenarios;

  • How to get someone’s attention and then keep it;

  • How to speak the language of confidence–learn what words to avoid if you want to close the deal;

  • How to eliminate self-defeating behaviors that undermine confidence;

  • How to handle uncomfortable situations with grace and charm…

  • And much more!

Register Here NOW!

About Lew Bayer

Lew Bayer is nationally recognized as Canada’s leading expert on civility in the workplace and courteous communications. She is co-founder and partner of The Civility Group, Inc., an international training company. Twice nominated Manitoba Entrepreneur of the Year, Lew is a six-time published author who is regularly called upon for expert editorial commentary in her field. She writes a national “ask the experts” column called “Sticky Situations” for Canadian Living web and magazine. In addition to her role at The Civility Group, Inc., Lew is a certified Intercultural Competence Trainer. She sits on the City of Winnipeg Citizen’s Equity Committee, is director of the International Institute for Civility, co-director of the Winnipeg Chapter of Roaring Women, and President of the Center for Organizational Cultural Competence. For more information about The Civility Group, Inc., visit http://www.thecivilitygroup.com

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VACOC Monthly Guest Expert Teleseminar Series:

January 7, 2008

Know Your Inner Consultant:

5 Steps to Learning the Art of Intuition

Presented by Intuitive Artist Jennifer Crews

 

DATE: Thursday, January 17, 2008
TIME: 5pm PST / 6pm MST / 7pm CST / 8pm EST
DURATION: 60 minutes (please call in 10 min. early)
COST: FREE!

INVITE YOUR BUSINESS BUDDIES! This class is open to all Virtual Assistants and small business owners. Copy and paste any text on this paste and post invitations on the forums, listservs and groups you participate in.

Intuitive Artist Jennifer CrewsEveryone is blessed with intuition, and with practice and dedication to learning, one can excel and strengthen this innate gift.

Learning intuition is not any different than taking art, dance or music lessons to advance in the learning of a skill. The first of these five steps is “awareness” of your inner language. Your inner language is your own source of receiving information. You have your own personalized way to receive information—your own inner consultant.

Learn more as well as all five steps in how to master this invisible intelligence and strengthen your intuition in business and in all areas of your life.

Register Now!

About Jennifer Crews

Jennifer Crews, M.A., is an intuitive artist, child intuitive, visionary educator, writer and speaker dedicated to honoring the essence of children worldwide. She began her work in the care-giving profession as an international pediatric speech language pathologist. She has 13 years experience working with children and their families all over the globe, and specialized in working with children with severe and multiple physical, sensory and cognitive challenges. Though the children were non-verbal, she realized she literally could hear and see what they wanted to share, communicate and express through her own inner language—her intuition. She decided to honor this gift and founded Intuitive Teachings, LLC.

Jennifer offers individual and group teaching sessions on the following topics: Five Steps in Learning the Art of Intuition, Understanding the New Children, Energy Management, and Multidimensional Living. She also offers individual intuitive sessions locally and long-distance.

For more information about her work and services, visit Jennifer’s website at http://www.IntuitiveTeachings.com

 

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Missing My Muse

December 31, 2007

I’ve been in a real funk.  You know that place where we all end up from time to time with no creative juices flowing.  My muse has taken a vacation and I am finding it difficult to put pen to pad.  I’ve had some rather large personal issues that have taken the forefront in my life and then inconveniently contracted the flu as well.  We’ve all been there.  In our 9-5 business days we would pick ourselves up and trudge off to work.  We would share our sniffles and sneezes with co-workers and then commiserate about the lousy working conditions and sick leave policy!  But independent business owners working from home often find it easier to do other things.  Like stay in bed days beyond what would have been acceptable when we were working for someone else.  We put things on the back burner because who is gonna get on our case? – One of the perks of being the boss!

I’ve found that the best thing to keep me on track is to have a schedule of simple things that I can do even when I am feeling awful.  These things keep my mind in and on business just enough that I don’t stray too far.  For me it is checking my email about 3 times a day and checking in with colleagues to read forums at least once a day.  It’s not a “Must read every email and post” sort of thing.  More like keeping a pulse of what is going on.  Short of being passed out, running a high fever or having a severe (praying to the porcelain god) migraine I can do that!  And since there is almost always something amusing shared, it lifts my spirits as well. 

I also know that when I am not feeling well I am not going to be putting my best foot forward.  I am learning that being picture perfect is not always as important as getting the job done.  This one is a tough one for me because I am more critical of my own work when I am not feeling well.  Learning to do it and let go can be an up hill battle, but an important one.

And finally, KNOWING what can sit on the back burner.  And then knowing when to pick it up and trudge through, even if you don’t have your muse to assist you.  Sometimes just doing it is enough.