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Blog Business World

Blogs in business, marketing, public relations, and SEO search engine optimization for successful entrepreneurs

Sunday, April 30, 2006

 

Business cash flow: New revenue sources



Business income is important to all entrepreneurs, whether new to small business or along time independent business owners. Without cash flow, the organization will not be able to meet its financial obligations. No revenue from the business means...well...no more company.

Along with your income statements, as derived from your accounting records, simply make a note of the number of different sources supporting your business. For example, you might have your own product or services sales income, cash from affiliate programs, revenue from consulting services, and even some money arriving from rental property.

The important thing is to find your cash cows, and see where you get your milk. Okay, that wasn't the best analogy, but I think you get my point. Your business will have its major sources of revenue, and also some minor ones that could grow with time. A few revenue streams will be growing, as others dry up to a slow trickle. Along with the existing cash flow sources, new ones should be sought on a constant basis.



Look for ways to expand the growing income sources even more. Check into expanding some of the smaller revenue generators. Abandon the money losers that take all of your time, but give little back in the way of hard cash. They are costing you far more than they are worth. Your time and money is better used elsewhere in the company.

As you take stock of your business revenue centres, you will often unearth brand new opportunities. Older products and services can be revived or packaged in a brand new and exciting way. Some services can be easily expanded and take on new forms. If a product or service can be expanded, combined with another existing line, or used in an entirely new way, then more income can be derived from what already exist. Never stop searching for new money making ideas. You are only limited by your imagination.

Look over the income side of your business, and find ways to enhance your company's cash flow. As most of us in the business blogging community already know, your blog is a powerful source of income and profit growth. Blog revenue can be derived either directly as income or as support for growth of your main business. Both business blog advantages add money to your company's bottom line.



Consider adding an e-mail newsletter or direct marketing campaign. Develop joint ventures with other complementary, but non-competing businesses. Sharing customers and clients help both businesses to grow and expand. Seek out free publicity, and media coverage of some company event or milestone.

Offer your services as a guest speaker who provides information that people can use. Becoming an expert in your industry provides trust in your company as well. Don't think in terms of sales. Think about helping others to solve their problems. By building trust, business will naturally gravitate your way, all by itself. Think creatively, and about helping others and you'll find that ideas will flow like water. Not all revenue producing ideas have to cost money. Many are low cost or even free.

A successful entrepreneur is always seeking new and exciting ways to add revenue to the business. I know that you are a successful business person, as you are actively seeking new and profitable product and service ideas. As we now know, research and development doesn't have to be expensive. In fact, it can often be almost cost free. Let your creativity flow into some exciting new product development.

Now it's time to get started on increasing your cash flow, enhancing those profits, and achieving greater business success.

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Friday, April 28, 2006

 

Management rules: Fairness is good business



Management rules and performance requirements should be fair for everyone.

While that statement makes logical sense, you might return the statement that different people in different management, supervisory, administrative, and front line positions have widely differing jobs. As such, you will often hear managers state that the same rules for everyone are impossible.

I am not saying that all employees should have identical rules, cutting across all job descriptions. What I am suggesting is similar managers, working in the similar or identical positions within the company, have the same rules and the same expectations. They should also experience the same level of accountibility for their departmental results, their staff results, and their personal results.



Let's create an example.

A company has four Regional Sales and Marketing Managers. While all of their respective territories are of differing sizes, their goals remain the same. They must all provide profitable sales results for the company. Expanding their sales figures is also expected.

In our example, two managers are clearly meeting their sales objectives, and their regions are growing. The other two managers have seen their sales numbers stagnate and decline to a point where their regions are no longer profitable. In fact, the other regions are forced to subsidize their lack of activity.

You would think that the two underperforming managers would be called onto the carpet and explain themselves. That is not necessarily so. In fact, if they are longer term employees, and part of the old boys network within the organization, they will have different rules. Their numbers are often allowed to completely collapse, while the other two managers are required to produce strong sales volume, and to increase it over time.

You say that my example is unrealistic.

Well, I was in just such a company, and I am sure that many of you have shared a similar experience. I was one of the heavy producers, and enjoyed the most profitable region in the company's North American operations. Our region subsidized the two weakly performing regions.

Of course, that is only a single example. You see it all the time in your business, and within your industry. Some clearly incompetent individuals are given more money, extra vacation time, and better perks. The real producers get less of everything, and are always in danger of unemployment. The talented people are a threat to the status quo, and any existing "old boys networks". As a result, separate sets of rules for different people have evolved.



If your business, regardless of size, has evolved a separate set of rules to coddle the incompetent, you are not doing your company any favours. In fact, you are doing a great disservice to your company bottom line. Not only is the practice costing money, it's harmful to employee morale. When staff see certain individuals get preferential treatment, yet are not pulling their own weight, the employees resent it. Often this employee resentment spills over and affects customer service and product quality, further compounding an already bad situation.

If your business looks like the one that I have just described, it's time to make some changes. If high sales volumes and constant growth are expected from one department, and from one manager, then the same rules should apply to them all. Should the company pets fail to live up to their minimum requirements, it's time to consider replacement with newer more productive personnel.



Business owners and managers should also consider fair hiring practices including adding more women and minority staff members to the organization. Many companies overlook talented and highly qualified people based on race, religion, or gender. Not only are thse hiring practices illegal, they are also bad for business. Any recruitment policy that fails to address all of the skilled applicants for a position is doomed to failure. An inclusive hiring policy, based on talent and skill as the criteria, sends a positive message throughout the company that a level playing field exists for all employees.

Make your employee rules and performance requirements fair and equitable. Rewarding favoured employees with unearned bonuses, salary, and perks costs the company money in lost sales and lowered staff morale. Having unfair standards is bad business as it adversely affects the business bottom line.

Employee fairness is only good business.

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Blogging connections: Real life meetings



Blogs are connection and relationship builders. We are all aware of the blog potential for creating and nurtuting online relationships. Blogs have the tremendous benefit of creating in person introductions, between blogger and blogger, or blogger and reader, as well. In fact, many bloggers are now meeting face to face, in the offline world, on a very regular basis.

As blogging evolves into the mainstream of business communications and marketing, blog writers are very likely to encounter one another at events of all types. The now ubiquitous blogging conferences are an obvious blogger networking arena. At the same time, other non-blog related conferences and events are also facilitating blogger meetings. Bloggers are meeting and talking with non-bloggers as well as other blog writers.



As bloggers become more established as experts within their respective fields, ever more networking opportunities will arise. Blog writers are becoming popular speakers in areas ranging from business, to politics, to social and personal topics. Of course, the reason for this recognition of exprtise is a direct result of writing the blog itself. Without maintaining a blog, many of the newly recognized authorities in their areas would not have received as much notice. They may not have even been seen at all. Blogs build a reputation as an authority.

Because bloggers are the fastest rising group of experts, they are now being sought as speakers, experts, panelists, and media spokespeople. Along with the heightened media exposure comes an opportunity to meet other bloggers in person. Again, we are seeing people making face to face connections that almost certainly would never have taken place without the blogging experience. Blogs are a powerful networking tool.



Once bloggers meet in person, they are able to deepen and expand upon relationships created and developed previously online. With the live introductions, many bloggers often go on to form business partenerships, as well as personal friendships. The blog has already built up the level of trust. The live meeting cements that trust into many types of lasting relationships. Blogs build business opportunities and personal friendhips.

When you get a chance to attend a function of any size, with other bloggers in attendance, be sure to put in an appearance. The ability to talk face to face with people known through their blogs is extremely powerful, both personally and professionally. If you don't know a blogger personally, there is no need to worry. Another mutual blogging acquaintance is almost certain to make the formal introductions for you. Bloggers are connection makers.

Most blog writers are as exciting and interesting in real life as they are they their written word.

Meet some bloggers offline today.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

 

Carnival of the Vanities at IMAO



The 188th edition of the longest running internet blog carnival, the well known Carnival of the Vanities appears at Laurence Simon's political, satire, and cat blog known as IMAO.

Carnival of the Vanities is the original collection of blog postings, assembling some of the best and wide ranging bloggers on the internet.



This week's Carnival of the Vanities entries include politics, literature, science, medicine, technology, business, and culture.







I have an entry in this week's Carnival of the Vanities as well.

My post is titled "Carnival of the Capitalists at About Entrepreneurs" where I discuss the power of entering blog carnivals. The host selected this post because he is a real blog carnival fan.




To participate in the Carnival of the Vanities, or any of the other blog carnivals, one of the easiest techniques is to use the all inclusive carnival entry form at The Conservative Cat.





Another participation option is to simply e-mail your entry to the new e-mail address:

cotvmail -at- gmail -dot- com

As I suggest elsewhere, hosting and contributing to the various internet blog carnivals is a great promotional idea for your blog.

Next week's edition of Carnival of the Vanities appears at Andrew Ian Dodge's very eclectic blog known as Dodgeblogium.

In the meantime, head on over to the IMAO hosting of Carnival of the Vanities and enjoy the posts on offer.

You will almost certainly be introduced to some great new and interesting blogs.

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Customer referrals: Viral marketing goes old school



Getting referral business and new customers, through recommendations by satisfied customers and clients, is a dream of most business owners and managers. Of course, it’s often more likely thought about as an abstract concept, than really put into practice. Many business owners dream of referral business, but not every entrepreneur takes advantage of this powerful marketing tool.

Referral business is often called word of mouth advertising. More recently, the term viral marketing has been applied to the age old concept. In the end, it’s getting a happy customer to help you sell your products or services. In fact, it’s the cheapest sales force that a business can ever cultivate.

Surprisingly, referrals are one of the least used sales and marketing techniques around. Sure, you’ll hear many business owners ask their customers if any other people would be interested in the offered products and services. You might even have said the same tired old line yourself.

Usually, the customer smiles, nods, and then forgets the entire conversation ever took place. After all, your business, products, and services are not the most important thing on their minds. Instead of creating a customer evangelist for your business, another golden marketing opportunity was lost. Developing a customer referral system could be the most profitable marketing step ever taken by a business. It’s time to get one started for your business.



The satisfied customer as target marketer

Most business people, when asking for customer referrals, are much too vague in their request. After all, if a business targets their marketing to specific customers, it only makes sense to apply the same principle to seeking referrals. Make the request specific, and aim for the proper target market.

All too often, a business person will simply ask if they know of some friend, relative, or business associate who requires a similar service. Little response is the usual result. Instead of being general, be specific. Provide specific examples of a type of product or service offered. Let the satisfied client discover the person who needs it.

For example, a men’s tailor would not simply ask if a customer knew who needed a new suit. Instead, the approach would be if the client knew of a friend or relative who was getting married in the near future. The tailor would remind the customer that the new groom would be made look like a movie star in just the right fitting suit.

The client is not only now thinking of who is getting married, but who might also be attending a wedding. The same approach could be used to specifically target graduations or prom clothing. The goal is to zero in on a specific target person for referral. Aiming too widely will capture fewer referrals. Being specific is the key.



Help the referrer to get the new prospect

If the business service or product is fairly complex or a large investment, a few sales props are helpful to the referring customer. Provide them with a sample or a brochure to give to the prospect. Giving the customer evangelist something to work with helps her to demonstrate the opportunity your business offers. The information you provide will answer many of her prospect’s questions.

Make certain that not only your sales staff ask for business referrals, but have every member of your organization working on the referral system. Treat the entire staff as a sales referral team, and provide them with the sales tools to add their social and family networks to the business client base. Many potential customers are lost because not all members of the firm were aware of the company’s products and services line. Don’t miss that built in company referral system.



Rewarding the helpful

Most people want to be helpful. They want to share good experiences with their friends and family. Referrals are usually treated as part of a business transaction, and most people will be open to the idea. People want to help. You just need to help them a bit too.

Offering a small referral gift or reward often works very well. The possibility of getting a free product or service is appealing. More importantly, it keeps the referral in the satisfied customer’s mind. They think of the gift and remember to market your product or service wherever possible. The key is deciding what sort of reward to offer as an incentive.

Don’t offer anything too extravagant. It makes the business appear too profitable, and can even make the satisfied customer think she paid too much. After all, the cost of an expensive referral gift has to be covered somewhere. A potential customer might believe that the incentiv reward forms a large portion of the purchase price.

A better idea is to offer some additional service or accessory as the referral gift. Our tailor could offer free alterations, or a minor clothing accessory, for every successful referral. The point is to have the customer make a referral to a new prospect; and to make it somehow related to the product or service on offer. Keeping the concept of referrals in the customer's mind is what counts. A product or service, that works with the referral item, is an ideal referral reward.

Conclusion

By putting customer and staff referral systems in place, your business can grow by word of mouth. Treat your customers well, and reward them fairly, and they will happily do your target marketing on your behalf.

Old school know how will enhance a business’s modern viral marketing program.

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Monday, April 24, 2006

 

Carnival of the Capitalists at About Entrepreneurs



This week sees a entrepreneurial approach to the travelling business show, recognized by one and all as Carnival of the Capitalists makes a visit to Scott Allen's entreprenuer and small independent business information blog known as the About.com Entrepreneur Guide.

This week's edition of Carnival of the Capitalists highlights some of the best bloggers writing on the internet today.

Blogging topics presented include entrepreneurship, management, market trading, internet commerce, marketing, the national and global economies, and technology.



As you would expect from About Entrepreneurs, there are many discussions of business, marketing, entrepreneurship, and startups.

It's always great to read and discover the many high quality blogs out there in the blogosphere.

We don't always get to them all, and this edition of Carnival of the Capitalists has introduced many of us to some brand new ones.



I have an entry in this week's Carnival of the Capitalists as well.

My post is titled "SEO for non-profit organization blogs" where I discuss how non-profit organizations can achieve powerful and very tangible benefits from basic blog SEO. Better search engine rankings means more potential members, donors, and volunteers visit your blog. The media can find your blog as well, keeping your organization in the news. The general public can also find out about your programs and events more easily. Good SEO rankings mean a stronger non-profit organization.

If you wish to submit an entry to next week's, or any Carnival of the Capitalists edition, e-mail your entries to the new address:

cotcmail -at- gmail -dot- com

You can always use the handy entry form at Gongol.com where all you have to do is fill in the blanks. Talk about making it easy to be included!

Another brand new form for sending entries to all of the internet carnvivals is provided by The Conservative Cat. This is a great one stop entry drop, for all your blog post entries, for every blog carnival.

Note as well that Carnival of the Capitalists. has a new URL at http://thecotc.com/. Be sure to update your links and bookmarks.



If you are searching for new and exciting ways to expand your blog's readership, you should seriously consider sending an entry to Carnival of the Capitalists.

Merely being included in the company, of the first rate regular Carnival of the Capitalists contributors, will enhance the reputation of your blog.

The extra visitors sent to your blog won't hurt either!

The growth and staying power, of Carnival of the Capitalists, is beginning to catch the attention of people outside the blogging community. Each hosting, brings a fresh assortment of new readers, to the various blogs involved.

The visitors aren't only bloggers anymore.

Readership is expanding to include the mainstream media, various government and private organizations, many businesses, and other interested people from beyond the blogging community.

Many people are introduced to some tremendous blogs that they might otherwise have missed.

Next week's Carnival of the Capitalists will be at the blog about doing business in the rapidly expanding economy of India, known as Interim Thoughts....

In the meantime, click that mouse over to the About.com Entrepreneur Guide hosting of Carnival of the Capitalists.

If the great posted entries don't convince you to click, or the possibility of finding some brand new blogs to read doesn't do it, then Carnival of the Capitalists certainly will offer some ideas to get into business. (groan)

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Conversations with experts: Lee Odden - Free teleseminar







Conversations with Experts: How to Build Your Business On and Off-line

Hosted by Denise Wakeman and Patsi Krakoff of Build a Better Blog System.

Search Engine Optimization with Blogs and Press Releases

Wednesday, April 26, 2006, 8:30 p.m. EDT - Free

Guest Expert: Lee Odden, TopRank Online Marketing

Gone are the days of optimizing web sites through a sprinkling of keywords and submissions to the search engines. Today's savvy marketer integrates a mix of tactics to gain the credibility and authority necessary for dominant search engine rankings.

Veteran Internet Marketer, Lee Odden of TopRank Online Marketing will discuss how a combination of search engine optimization, blogging and online PR can provide a distinct advantage over traditional web site marketing methods. He'll explain the core concepts of search engine optimization as well as specific blog marketing and press release optimization tactics that any web site owner can implement.



Lee Odden (pictured left) is President of TopRank Online Marketing, a leading search marketing agency specializing in helping companies increase traffic, sales and brand visibility online. Lee publishes Online Marketing Blog and contributes to Business Blog Consulting, AllBusiness.com and Lockergnome in addition to speaking about SEO, blogs and PR at Search Engine Strategies, Pubcon, eComXpo and DMA conferences. He has also been quoted by U.S. News, The Economist, and DM News.

Register for this conversation with Lee Odden:

ConversationsWithExperts.com

If you missed any Conversations With Experts, you can become a monthly member of a private blog. As a member, you gain access to the entire Conversation With Experts audio series of guest experts, past and present.

Conversations with Experts is sponsored by Build a Better Blog System.

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Sunday, April 23, 2006

 

Carnival of the Vanities at Harshly Mellow



The 187th edition of the longest running internet blog carnival, the well known Carnival of the Vanities appears at the Carnival home blog of Harshly Mellow

Carnival of the Vanities is the original collection of blog postings, assembling some of the best and wide ranging bloggers on the internet.



This week's Carnival of the Vanities entries include politics, literature, science, medicine, technology, business, and culture.






I have an entry in this week's Carnival of the Vanities as well.

My post is titled "Business Management: Honesty as a policy" where i discuss how success is achieved if you don't suppress your business problems. Embrace them. In the clothing of a a major problem or crisis, a powerful business opportunity can be the result. It may even present a new market, product, or cost cutting solution for the business. Openess and honesty, whether with the staff, your business associates, your customers, and with yourself pays.




To participate in the Carnival of the Vanities, or any of the other blog carnivals, one of the easiest techniques is to use the all inclusive carnival entry form at The Conservative Cat.





Another participation option is to simply e-mail your entry to the new e-mail address:

cotvmail -at- gmail -dot- com

As I suggest elsewhere, hosting and contributing to the various internet blog carnivals is a great promotional idea for your blog.

Next week's edition of Carnival of the Vanities appears at Laurence Simon's political, satire, and cat blog known as IMAO

In the meantime, head on over to the Harshly Mellow hosting of Carnival of the Vanities and enjoy the posts on offer.

You will almost certainly be introduced to some great new and interesting blogs.

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Friday, April 21, 2006

 

Auction sale buying: Sharing the world



Buying items at auction sales is a favourite hobby and busines practice of mine. As my readers already know, I consider auction sale purchases to be a powerful way to acquire needed business and personal assets at a reasonable price. For independent business owners, auction buying may be the only way to get needed furniture and equipment, while preserving the company cash flow.

Not all of my auction sale visits end with business items as the target. Today, I was at a sale where many of the features were art objects from around the world. The owners were world travellers and avid collectors of locally handcrafted items. They were especially interested in the work of local craftspeople.



One of the sale features was a wall tapestry (pictured above left) from Peru. Hand woven by a local Inca craftsperson from llama hair, the tapestry depicts the fabled ancient Inca lost city of Machu Picchu (pictured directly left). After a period of bidding, I was able to purchase the tapestry, to hold a place of honour on a wall here at home.

Another feature of the sale was hand carved objects from wood. I was able to bid and buy some birds that were hand carved from wood in the Amazon rainforest. I was also able to buy some hand carved elephants and giraffe from Africa. All of the items are very beautiful, and they tell a story of local craftspeople as independent businesses.

There is a sense of power in these objects. They are like holding a part of the world in your hands. They not only contain the spirit of the materials from which they were crafted, but also the loving care given by the craftspeople during their creation. In fact, that is what they are. They are an overt act of creation. They are the turning of one beutiful natural product into another that reflects the heart of their creator.

Beautiful hand made objects enrich and enhance our lives, as they helped provide a means of support to an unknown person halfway around the globe. When we see a handcrafted item from Africa or South America in our homes, we can feel the person who made it has joined our family too.

Thanks to today's auction sale, I was able to share in the phenomenon of the true global village of independent craftspeople.

The objects will have honoured places to live here at home.

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Thursday, April 20, 2006

 

Helping others: Giving directions that work



It's considered a truism that men will never ask for directions. No matter how hopelessly lost, it's believed that the male ego is so strong, that asking for help and direction is a form of weakness. I never ask for directions when travelling either, and the reason is not one of ego. It's the quality of the directions received.

Or the lack of quality thereof, to be more precise.

I once asked for directions in a rural area. I have also had terrible directions given to me in an urban setting, so the problem is probably universal. While the person offering the directions may believe they are helping, often the reverse is true. The directions presented may be worse than none at all.

Here is the actual exchange, as I asked for directions to find a place where I wanted to see some antiques.



Me: Where would I find the Jones (fictious name) place?

Local person: You go ahead until you get to where the old Smith barn used to be, then turn right and keep going. You can't miss it.

Me: I have no idea where the old Smith barn used to be. How far up the road was it?

Local person: Everyone knows where the Smith barn was. It's well known around here.

Me: I'm not from around here, and I don't know anything about the barn. Perhaps you could tell me how many miles it would be from here.

Local person: It's just up the road, then turn right.

Me (attempting a different track): After I find the missing Smith barn, how many miles to the right would I have to go?

Local person: You go to the old Smith barn and turn right and keep on going. You would have to be blind to miss it.

Me (noticing irritation): Well, thanks for your help. I'll see if I can find the place.

Local person: Everyone around here knows where the old Smith barn used to be.

Me (biting tongue to avoid saying anything out of order): Thanks again.

I left his yard, and never did find where the old Smith barn used to be, but I had to look just for interest sake. For several miles up the road, there was no sign of any former barns, or habitation of any sort at all. No wonder men never ask for directions. I know that I no longer ask for them. I find it better to muddle along than be sent on a wild goose chase.

When you are asked for help, whether in the form of directions, or some other advice or assistance, be sure your information is helpful. I try to avoid having too many "old Smith barns" in my directions or advice. Not everyone is aware of the background to every technical, marketing, promotions, or SEO issue. As a result, we are often sending the person asking for help to an "old Smith barn". We simply don't always realize it.



Be sure your instructions and advice cover the basics in the form of a brief background on the topic. If the listener knows that information already, you will be told to expand on that issue, or to move to the next step. If the person you are helping doesn't understand the full background of your advice, they will be left to locate the mythical "old Smith barn" on their own.

I never did find it, and I'm sure no one else could either, unless they were well versed in the local history and geography. The same advice applies to all of your information as well. Make certain that your readers and listeners can follow all of the steps, and why those steps are there in the first place.

Give good helpful advice, and your information will be sought from far and wide.

Good direction providers are hard to find.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

 

SEO for non-profit organization blogs



Blogs are an SEO powerhouse for a non-profit organization and its various programs and events. Often lost in a sea of events that fill the search engine results pages known as SERPs, non-profit pages need an SEO boost. Enter the non-profit association blog.

A non-profit organization can gain value from a blog in the form of more membership, greater volunteer involvement, and better communications with members, the media, and the general public. To achieve these goals, the blog must be found on the search engines first. A bit of care with blog SEO will go far to getting your non-profit blog to the top of the search engine results.

When choosing your non-profit association blog post topics, think in terms of your organization's overall themes. With many charitable blogs, the focus is quite straightforward, as the theme will be the cause itself. With community service blogs, the topics might be more wide ranging, and the blog might have more than one theme. With a multiple theme blog, try to tie the themes in together with one another. Make the posts relevant to the rest of the blog. Refer to and link to previous postings and other blogs that also cover that topic. Google and the other search engines value theme relevance. Be sure to keep it in mind.



Posts and the post titles should contain the keywords and keyword phrases that your organization is targeting. More importantly, the keywords and phrases should be the ones actually searched by real life people. The two sets of phrases are not likely to be the same lists. Check your visitor logs for actual searches that found your organization's blog. Use those phrases in your posts and titles in various forms. Flip the words around and use different forms of the words. Searches are made in different ways, and you want to rank well for them all.

Your blog title tags, which appear on the very top of your browser on that blue bar, should reflect the most important keywords for your blog. The title tags tell the search engine the themes and topics on the page, like a chapter title in a book. List that phrase first on the very left, and your organization and blog title second, and to the right. Search engines consider the words on the very left to be most important, and decreasing in importance as you move to the right.

My blog appears to violate that rule, but business blog and blog business are my most important keywords and are part of my blog title. If you can get your keywords into you blog title, and the blog descriptiom, they carry powerful weight with the search engines. Be sure to have the blog create separate title tags for every inside archived page. Many, but not all, blogging platforms do that automatically for you.



When you link to other blogs, think in terms of value to your membership. While that appears at first to not be search engine friendly, it is very good for rankings. The search engines are seeking to provide relevant results, and to provide rankings that reflect what searchers want to find. When you link to your own previous posts, or to other blogs, be sure to use the keywords when creating the clickable link. The words that appear on the link are referred to as link anchor text. It is important to search engines as they tell the search engine what the linked blog or post are discussing.

As a result of theme relevance, what is good for your readers is good for the search engines. Provide useful, and informative links and content for your readers and they will thank you. The search engines will reward you as well.

Non-profit organizations can achieve powerful and very tangible benefits from basic blog SEO. Better search engine rankings means more potential members, donors, and volunteers visit your blog. The media can find your blog as well, keeping your organization in the news. The general public can also find out about your programs and events more easily.

Good SEO rankings means a stronger non-profit organization.

Improve your not for profit association blog's search engine optimization today.

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Business plans: Disaster planning



Business plans are a must for any entrepreneurial venture. Every new and existing company should have one. They are the roadmap to future business success. They can also keep a business on course in the event of a change in the business fortunes.

There are many aspects to the creation of a good business plan, including finances, marketing, sales forecasts, expected expenses, and so on. By carefully assessing all of the details, a strong business plan can be formulated.

A business plan is a requirement for everyone from bankers to venture capitalists. They are also a useful exercise for you, as developing the business plan forces you to look long and hard at your ideas and projections.

Even with a good solid business plan in hand, many potentially successful business people still don't live their dream of entrepreneurship. Held back by many factors ranging from being unable to secure financing to staffing and production problems, many companies simply don't get off the ground.



While these difficulties are common to many businesses in general, some barriers are specific to the business person alone. One of these barricades to entrepreneurial success is fear of failure. Thoughts of marketing and sales problems, staffing issues, and changes in financial status and the economy pale in comparison to that trepidation. Fear can stop a new business before it ever gets started into the marketplace.

The business plan can go far to preventing self doubt by providing a guide to the business that is both direct, yet adaptable to changing conditions. Shortages of funds can be worked around through free media publicity, creative promotional ideas, and business blogging. Alternative financing can be used to bring need cash flow into the company. Hiring only the essential personnel and subcontracting the balance of the work to outside contractors, consultants, and virtual assistants can lower labour and wage costs.




The biggest stumbling block for most failed business owners is a lack of confidence in one's own abilities. That lack of confidence in oneself, and the potential of the organization, can be overcome. While many techniques can be employed to get past the feelings of self doubt, we will consider one method here.

We will ask one question.

What's the worst that can happen to the business?

Think about that question for a time. Consider what could be the very worst thing that could befall your business, and subsequently, your future. While some of the worst case possibilities are enough to drive anyone away from even attempting entrepreneurship, many if not most, are not. In fact, many potential disasters can be prevented through careful planning. Contingency plans can be put into place for implementation should the nightmares become real.



Simply looking objectively at the worst case scenario can help with the overall business plan. The worst that can happen to a business may not even be that disastrous at all. In fact, many worst case scenarios can be reduced in impact, or even negotiated into workable situations. Every business problem is not the end of the world or the company.

Once you know what is the deepest depth to which your company could sink, the issues involved don't even look so bad. It's much easier to work with a known factor than a completely unknown possibility. After all, the worst that can happen to your business, might not be so terrible after all. The fear of disaster is worse than the potential problem itself. Keep in mind that just because a problem could arise in theory, does not mean it will ever appear in practice.

Don't let fear of failure stand in your way to business success. Let a strong viable business plan, that makes allowances for major problems, guide you and your comany, to achieving all of your business goals.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

 

Carnival of the Capitalists at Free Money Finance



This week sees a personal finance approach to the travelling business show, recognized by one and all as Carnival of the Capitalists makes a visit to the personal finance and business blog known as Free Money Finance.

This week's edition of Carnival of the Capitalists highlights some of the best bloggers writing on the internet today.

Blogging topics presented include entrepreneurship, management, market trading, internet commerce, marketing, the national and global economies, and technology.

As you would expect from Free Money Finance, there are many discussions of business, marketing, entrepreneurship, and personal finances.

It's always great to read and discover the many high quality blogs out there in the blogosphere.

We don't always get to them all, and this edition of Carnival of the Capitalists has introduced many of us to some brand new ones.



I have an entry in this week's Carnival of the Capitalists as well.

My post is titled "Business mentors: Sharing knowledge" where I discuss how As a business person, who has vast experience in many areas, you are ideally suited to become a mentor and share your learning with someone else. As a blogger, helping others should be part of your blogging quest.

If you wish to submit an entry to next week's, or any Carnival of the Capitalists edition, e-mail your entries to the new address:

cotcmail -at- gmail -dot- com

You can always use the handy entry form at Gongol.com where all you have to do is fill in the blanks. Talk about making it easy to be included!

Another brand new form for sending entries to all of the internet carnvivals is provided by The Conservative Cat. This is a great one stop entry drop, for all your blog post entries, for every blog carnival.

Note as well that Carnival of the Capitalists. has a new URL at http://thecotc.com/. Be sure to update your links and bookmarks.



If you are searching for new and exciting ways to expand your blog's readership, you should seriously consider sending an entry to Carnival of the Capitalists.

Merely being included in the company, of the first rate regular Carnival of the Capitalists contributors, will enhance the reputation of your blog.

The extra visitors sent to your blog won't hurt either!

The growth and staying power, of Carnival of the Capitalists, is beginning to catch the attention of people outside the blogging community. Each hosting, brings a fresh assortment of new readers, to the various blogs involved.

The visitors aren't only bloggers anymore.

Readership is expanding to include the mainstream media, various government and private organizations, many businesses, and other interested people from beyond the blogging community.

Many people are introduced to some tremendous blogs that they might otherwise have missed.

Next week's Carnival of the Capitalists will be at Scott Allen's entreprenuer and small independent business information blog known as the About.com Entrepreneur Guide.

In the meantime, click that mouse over to the Free Money Finance hosting of Carnival of the Capitalists.

If the great posted entries don't convince you to click, or the possibility of finding some brand new blogs to read doesn't do it, then Carnival of the Capitalists certainly will offer some ideas to get some free cash. (groan)

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Monday, April 17, 2006

 

Conversations with experts: Alexandria Brown - Free teleseminar







Conversations with Experts: How to Build Your Business On and Off-line

Hosted by Denise Wakeman and Patsi Krakoff of Build a Better Blog System.


The Ezine Queen's 7-Step Plan for Building Your Ezine List

Wednesday, April 19, 2006, 8:30 p.m. EDT - Free

Guest Expert: Alexandria Brown, The Ezine Queen

Are you still struggling to grow your email list? You're not alone. It's one of many entrepreneurs' biggest challenges. You can have the best products or services in the world. And you can send out the best ezine or emails in the world. But if you have NO LIST, you have no one to market to and buy your stuff! And you may know of one or two methods, but you don't have a step-by-step PLAN. Well, Alexandria Brown, The Ezine Queen, has a clear and simple 7-step plan for building your list and she'll be sharing it on this call. Don't miss it!



Alexandria K. Brown, (pictured left) The Ezine Queen, is the authority in driving business via e-mail publishing. Her award-winning tutorials, teleseminars, and workshops have taught thousands of solo professionals and small biz owners how to market online inexpensively to get more clients, customers, and long term sales. She's author of the award-winning "Boost Business With Your Own E-zine" system.

She's consulted for prominent companies such as New York Times Digital, Adweek Magazines, Scholastic Books, and Dun & Bradstreet, but her passion lies in showing small business owners how to create consistent streams of income using the Internet.

Alexandria has been interviewed by The Wall Street Journal and sponsored by Microsoft, and has been featured in Entrepreneur Magazine and countless marketing books including Confessions of Shameless Internet Promoters by Debbie Allen. Her Web site is http://www.EzineQueen.com.

Register for this conversation with Ali Brown: ConversationsWithExperts.com

If you missed any Conversations With Experts, you can become a monthly member of a private blog. As a member, you gain access to the entire Conversation With Experts audio series of guest experts, past and present.

Conversations with Experts is sponsored by Build a Better Blog System.

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Sunday, April 16, 2006

 

Entrepreneurs: Community leadership



Small business is the backbone of the economy. Small businesses hire the vast majority of new employees. Independent businesses are leaders in their community as well.

When you think about it, small business entrepreneurs hire themselves. Now that's efficient job creation. I'd like to see some convoluted government make work project match that one. Instead of creating jobs for those who need them, all that results is more regulation and red tape, higher taxes for entrepreneurs, and higher costs for the products and services.

As entrepreneurs, and mainly we are also bloggers, it's up to us to support the economy of our countries. Talk about a burden to bear. It's up to independent, and forward thinking entrepreneurs to build the economy. Fortunately, it's a pleasant job that most of us wouldn't trade away for anything.

As my readers already know, I'm a strong advocate of entrepreneurship, starting your own business, being your own boss, and all of the other buzzwords and phrases that are appropriate to the topic. As independent business owners, and your blog is a small business as well, it's up to us to provide leaders to the community. Bloggers are already opnion makers, and entrepreneurs are already proven movers and shakers and job creaters. All that's needed is a community to help on the way to growth.

Like your community, for instance.

Local Chambers of Commerce, small business organizations, marketing and professional groups, charities and other non-profit organizations, and many more, all require your leadership skills. Who better than you to lead the way for your town, city, or local neighbourhood.

All of these great community based organizations are seeking talented individuals like yourself. Whether you volunteer for policy and management committees, for fund raising, or any other need that may arise, your leadership skills, your drive, and ability to get results will serve the organization and its membership well.





For yourself, the opportunities for networking, gaining potential new clients and customers, a much higher profile for you and your company, as well as the chance to meet many new and interesting people are only a few of the more tangible benefits. The sense of satisfaction at accomplishing something worthwhile for others, and for the community, is beyond value, and is perhaps the greatest reward of all.

Take a leadership role in community based organizations, whether charities or service groups. Call your local non-profit organizations and volunteer to help with their ongoing and developing projects. Your talents and leadership skills are in great demand in every city and town. As a blogger, you can expess yourself, and as an entrepreneur, you can get positive results. Give something back to the people who helped you to become a success. Help others to become successful too, in all their varied walks of life.

No one says you have to run for political office; but I certainly wouldn't discourage you from doing so. After all, they could sure use your abundant talents. Some of the best political leadership could emerge from the ranks of entrepreneurs, who understand jobs, and budgets, of meeting a payroll and paying bills, and for creative solutions to difficult problems.



Small business people like you understand how to balance budgets, how to lead and motivate prople, and have many wonderful ideas, and don't forget the vision thing. The wearing of many hats, shoes, and every other sartorial metaphor, has already set you apart.

It's time for you to take a leadership role in your own community. Help others to succeed and achieve their goals.

Lead the way in your own city as you already show the path to success in your own independent business.

Take action toward reaching that goal today.

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