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Blog Business World

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

Monday, April 30, 2007

 

Solving business problems: Seeking patterns



When you talk to many business people, they are convinced that the problems associated with their industry are unlike those experienced elsewhere. Not only do they believe their industry is unique in the business world, but their own company is one of a kind as well.

By thinking they are facing challenges met by no other business, they will often resist advice or assistance of any kind. After all, as they say, their industry is different from all the rest. Because of this perception, they fail to see universal business failure patterns, and are often too late in reaching a diagnosis. As a result, some very good companies fail, that could have been rescued and returned to health.

Regardless of the perceived one of a kind industry, many serious business failure causes follow similar patterns. Of course, the task at hand is to find and process those patterns in the first place. What we need for finding patterns in business problems is a usable framework. While a checklist might seem a bit simplistic, many of the challenges facing a troubled business have been experienced by many others, who have gone downhill in the past.



Let's examine some similarities.

While the troubled company may at first appear to be in chaos, there are always similarities with other financially distressed organizations. Most of the patterns can be found in the books. Examine the numbers carefully.

Most business people have no idea about the true cost of their goods and services. Very often, what they perceive to be the cost of doing business, for each individual product or service, is too low. Not all costs, hidden or even very obvious, are included in the pricing structure. Losing money, or only making a tiny profit, on every item sold is not a happy thought. Unfortunately, underestimating the true costs of doing business is a widespread pattern in all industries.




Many business people fail to do the right thing. Very often, instead of looking at the right costs, they focus on the wrong ones. Cutting corners, at the expense of current and future customers, is not a wise idea. Marketing and promotional budgets are often the first casualties of budget cuts and austerity measures. Those same reductions also lower the company's revenues by a much larger amount. Failing to promote and market the organization's products and services can lead to disaster.

Some companies stick too long with a failed product or service, or simply one whose time has passed it by. The hot toy of two Christmas shopping seasons ago is not going to be a winner this year either. Instead, encourage creative thinking, and continued research and development of new products and services. Failing companies very often do not listen to their customers, suppliers, and staff people. Thinking you know it all is usually the first step to business bankruptcy.

Seek out the patterns that affect all companies' revenue and expenses. Find patterns of lost opportunities everywhere. You will probably root out the causes of your own less than optimal company performance.

All it takes is a little pattern recognition.


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Sunday, April 29, 2007

 

Carnival of the Vanities 240 at Silflay Hraka



The 240th edition of the longest running internet blog carnival, the well known Carnival of the Vanities continues at Kehaar's Silflay Hraka.

The carnival, and indeed the entire blog carnival idea, was born over four years ago at Bigwig's Silflay Hraka blog. It is now back home to Silflay Hraka, as Bigwig's brother Kehaar has assumed the reins with great results.

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, religion, humour, and business.




The host says the preferred participation option is to simply enter at Blog Carnival.

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

When you send an entry to Carnival of the Vanities, or any of the many internet blog Carnivals, don't forget to link to the hosted edition. It's not only common courtesy, but helps to increase visitor traffic for all entrants. It also shows your appreciation of the hard work done by the host in preparing the post. Everyone shares in the benefits of the expanded Carnival readership.

Show the Carnival some linky love.

Next week's edition of Carnival of the Vanities appears once again at Kehaar's Silflay Hraka.

In the meantime, head on over to the Silflay Hraka 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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Saturday, April 28, 2007

 

Blog posting: Linking to the past



Any blogger who has posted to their blog for any length of time has built up a sizable archives section. Within those previous postings are some real gems of timeless wisdom and advice.

Unfortunately, once a blog post scrolls off the home page, it's gone from view forever. Literally.

It's time to mine other people's blog archives for the gold they contain. At the same time, you can delve more deeply into the thoughts and ideas of your favourite bloggers. Links to older posts, written by other bloggers, will also be greatly appreciated. While the previous postings may have a long and happy life through the search engines, it's time to take an adventure through some blogging archives.



A blog archive tour should begin with a favourite blog. Go to a blog where the writings and ideas are familiar to you. Hopping through archives can be enjoyed in several ways.

One technique is to travel systematically. Take each month, one at a time, in chronological order in either direction. By starting at the most recent posts, you can find some great writings and thoughts you may have missed. Beginning at the launch of the blog helps you to follow the writer in the blog's development.

Another search technique is the random click. Simply take a peek at any archived month in any order. The joy of discovery is unlimited as you uncover overlooked gems. Many of the posts in the archives will be new to you, but offer insights that can be unlimited in their value and reading enjoyment. Leaping from one month to another, purely by chance, can be fun and rewarding.



Once you have sifted through familiar blogs, and are comfortable with archive surfing, you can add new blogs to your discovery list. Along with reading their most recent postings, you can get to know other bloggers very well. The archives are a great place to learn thoughts and ideas from other great writers.

Blog archive posts can then be turned into your own posts. Simply link to and comment upon the slightly older than this week thesis. I am not suggesting simply using a link and a line, but to add your own thoughts to the discussion. Share your take on their presentation.

The synthesis of the posts can lead to some powerful new conclusions. You may even change your mind about an issue. Better yet, you may make a new blogging buddy.

Surf those archives today. Let the discoveries begin.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

 

The Velvet Hammer by Elaine Allison - Book review



The Velvet Hammer
Powherful Leadership Lessons for Women Who Don't Golf


By: Elaine Allison
Published: Oct 31, 2006
ISBN: 9780973906509
Paperback: 151pp
Publisher: Biblio Distribution


A velvet hammer is a woman who manages with grace and elegance, and who gets things done, is the philosophy of Elaine Allison, author of The Velvet Hammer: Powherful Leadership Lessons for Women Who Don't Golf. In her highly practical handbook for women managers at all levels of organizations, the author demonstrates how gender differences can be an advantage.

The key to success for women in management, says Elaine Allison, is the very gender differences between men and women. She writes that the brains of men and women are wired in different ways. As a result, women possess unique managerial strengths that elude many of their male counterparts. Not only are women generally superior at multi-tasking, but often at diplomacy, consensus building, and interpersonal relations as well. Instead of lamenting gender differences, the author believes they should be celebrated, understood, and embraced by everyone discussing leadership issues.



Acclaimed author and speaker Elaine Allison (photo left) sets out a series of 25 velvet hammer techniques for current and aspiring female managers and entrepreneurs. The management principles are arranged in an easy to follow manner, and are indexed for reference to employ on any occasion as required.

Combining the female management techniques with stories from her own business experience, the writer povides solid depth and background to the principles recommended. Whether it's her early experience as a young female guard at a men's maximum security prison, or managing former friends and peers at an upscale charter airline, the information is useful and readily applied to any business management situation.

For me, the real power of the book is twofold. First of all, the author provides solid evidence that women must adopt a leadership style different from that of the men in the business world. As she points out in the book's subtitle, women do not have to play golf to be effective managers. By embracing and using the gender differences provided through evolution, women can be highly effective and elegant managers.

The second strength of the book is the format. Providing self assessment charts and tests for women in management roles, Elaine Allison provides an accessible framework for diagnosing personal strengths and weaknesses. Along with the self study guides, the book provides a series of external websites, books, and resources for enhancing the effectiveness of managers of either gender. While the book may be written for women, the interpersonal skills concepts presented are useful for male managers as well.

I highly recommend The Velvet Hammer: Powherful Leadership Lessons for Women Who Don't Golf by Elaine Allison to all current and future women managers and entrepreneurs.

Your very success, as a women in management, may depend upon it.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

 

Carnival of the Vanities 239 at Silflay Hraka



The 239th edition of the longest running internet blog carnival, the well known Carnival of the Vanities continues at Kehaar's Silflay Hraka.

The carnival, and indeed the entire blog carnival idea, was born over four years ago at Bigwig's Silflay Hraka blog. It is now back home to Silflay Hraka, as Bigwig's brother Kehaar has assumed the reins with great results.

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, religion, humour, and business.



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

My post is titled "Contrarian thinking: Move away from the crowd" where I discuss how it's said that people think with a herd mentality. Almost everyone does or thinks in much the same way as the group, says this line of thought. If the concept of a thinking like the crowd is true, then you can be highly successful by going against what is perceived as conventional wisdom. If people are more independent in their thoughts, then you can be successful in gaining the numerous niche markets opened, by being contrarian to several crowds at once. In any case, thinking and acting independently will be your most profitable course of action.



The host says the preferred participation option is to simply enter at Blog Carnival.

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

When you send an entry to Carnival of the Vanities, or any of the many internet blog Carnivals, don't forget to link to the hosted edition. It's not only common courtesy, but helps to increase visitor traffic for all entrants. It also shows your appreciation of the hard work done by the host in preparing the post. Everyone shares in the benefits of the expanded Carnival readership.

Show the Carnival some linky love.

Next week's edition of Carnival of the Vanities appears once again at Kehaar's Silflay Hraka.

In the meantime, head on over to the Silflay Hraka 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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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

 

John Herman: Successful entrepreneurship with a smile - Blog Business Succes Radio

blog radio



Long time entrepreneur and bed and breakfast owner John Herman, author of The Innkeeper Tales, shares ideas for successful entrepreneurship and how to not fear failure, all served up with a smile, and how they can boost your business, as my internet radio show guest on Blog Business Success; hosted live on Blog Talk Radio.

The show airs live on Thursday, April 26, at 8:00 pm Eastern Time; 5:00 pm Pacific Time.

John Herman discusses how he has operated over 20 businesses and has helped in the sale of over 200 companies. You will learn:

* Why the knowing the cost of goods sold is so crucial to success

* How to make the right business decision regardless of the money involved

* Why failure is not fatal to you and your entrepreneurial career

* How to roll with the punches that life gives you and return even stronger



John L. Herman Jr. (photo left) (known as just “Herman”) is a business failure expert. Not because he fails in business, but because he knows why businesses fail (and some households, too).

Herman owned more than 20 companies: some succeeded, some failed. One became publicly traded, sold stock for 20 times the opening price, and soon went bust. Herman then ran a brokerage firm: he consulted with over 1,000 owners of failing companies. In effect, he was a “corporate hit man” for the banks: they would convince owners to hire him, to recoup their loan money. And he did it well — because he understood what the owners were facing. In fact, he was recognized across the country as an expert witness in corporate bankruptcy cases.

Herman’s two books — The Innkeeper Tales and Hermanisms — show readers why they need to face failure head on. His books also stress that what you can learn when something fails may be worth more to you than if the venture succeeds. And Herman delivers his message with a style unlike most business books: his books entertain you while they deliver true inspiring stories of individuals overcoming failure.

My book review of The Innkeeper Tales by John Herman

Listen live on Thursday at 8:00 pm Eastern, 5:00 pm Pacific time.



If you miss this very informative show, it will be available for download as a podcast for iPod, iTunes, and MP3 players; or play it right on your computer. To download this, or any other of my guest interviews, go to the Blog Business Success host page and click on Archived Segments. Once there, click on the podcast icon at the end of the episode description, to download the show free of charge for your listening enjoyment. You can also subscribe to the show feed.

Let's talk with John Herman and learn about business success and how business business failure is not fatal, and how his ideas will take your business to the next level of success, on Blog Business Success Radio.

Listen Live

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

 

Carnival of the Capitalists at Geek Practitioners Blog



This week sees an efficient approach to the travelling business show, recognized by one and all as Carnival of the Capitalists arrives at Marshall's business and technology blog known as Geek Practitioners Blog.

This week's edition of Carnival of the Capitalists highlights some of the best bloggers writing on the internet today, as well as some of the best and most popular entries ever to the Carnival.

Blogging topics presented include entrepreneurship, management, market trading, internet commerce, marketing, the national economy and personal finance.

As you would expect from Carnival of the Capitalists, there are many discussions of economics, marketing, business, and small business.

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; as well as some long time contributors.



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

My post is titled "Personnel surprises: Finding hidden talent" where I discuss how most companies have hidden talent resources they have yet to discover. Already on the payroll is often at least one person, who could be given more responsibility, in their job. Untapped abilities are everywhere on the business staff roster. The key is recognizing those diamonds in the rough, and polishing their skills to a lustrous sparkle.

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:

bizosphere -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!



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 Will Crawford's technology blog known as The Integrative Stream.

In the meantime, click your mouse over to the Geek Practitioners Blog
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 visit Carnival of the Capitalists and get into business for yourself.

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

 

Disaster prevention: Learning to bike ride



Like most children, you probably were given a bicycle when you were young, and were taught to ride. Of course, when you started out on your travels, a few falls were part of the learning process. When you fell off the bike, your parents told you to get back on the bicycle and try again. Soon, you learned enough about balance and control of the equipment to ride off on many adventures in your neighbourhood.

Business people fall off their career paths and business plans too. Events don't always go according to plan, and it's essential to figure out what went wrong; and why. Just like getting back on the bicycle, after a spill, it's necessary to return to the world of work and business. Of course, like getting back on the bike, you need to reassess of what didn't go according to plan.

Business plans going awry can cause an entrepreneur or manager to lose monry or even fall out of the business world entirely. As with any problem, it's important to know what went wrong, and how to correct the flawed plan and its execution. As with learning to ride a bicycle, where balance and control are required and must be learned, so too with business problems. If the fallen bike rider commits the same riding error, their end result will be more bruised knees and scraped elbows. The business person must also learn what went wrong and correct the mistakes next time.



Becoming a good bike rider takes practice to develop the necessary skills. Cycling also requires preparation for disaster, by donning protective equipment to prevent injuries. Helmets, gloves, pads for the knees and elbows are there for protection in the event of a spill. A bike rider must be protected from broken bones and sprains, as well as cuts and bruises. A business plan needs similar safeguards as well.

With business, it's also possible to practice, and have the business wear some protective gear, prior to the events taking place. Market research can be conducted to ascertain the extent of the market and the potential demand for the product or service. A weak survey result or focus group response can signal the need to return to the drawing board and seek out modified or different products and services.



A pilot project, on a very limited scale, is a great way to test a product or service. If the pilot project shows a very limited response, corrections to the program can be undertaken. Pilot projects are much cheaper, and require fewer resources, than full scale operations. A failed pilot project is not crippling to the organization, and can be rectified with relative ease. An alternative test idea can be substituted in its place.

As with falling off the bicycle, learning potential problems before they happen, and setting out new plans in their place, speeds up the learning process. Through planning and constant testing of ideas and systems, the business equivalent of skinned knees can be avoided.

Get back on that bike, wearing the proper protective gear, and learn to ride it the right way.

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The Innkeeper Tales by John Herman - Book review




The Innkeeper Tales


Author: John L. Herman
Publisher: HSB Press
Publication Date: February 15, 2007
ISBN: 978-097902040-7
Hardcover: 288 pages






A group of stranded business travelers whiling away the evening in conversation and storytelling, in the style of Chaucer's classic Canterbury Tales, is the premise of John Herman's The Innkeeper Tales. Combining entertaining characters, telling true stories of their business careers, the author provides a heaping helping of practical business advice for the reader.

Long time entrepreneur John Herman operated The Abercrombie Bed and Breakfast in Baltimore, Maryland for many years. An early spring blizzard found a group of storm stayed business people talking about their lives and experiences, all with the guidance and care of the author. The resulting collection of tales is not only a fascinating study of human nature, but contains insights into business that is not always present in more tradional business books. The narrative links keep the often hilarious entertainment flowing; and the business advice sparkles on every page.



John Herman's (photo left) masterful book is also more than the sum of its parts. Along with the enjoyment of reading along with the intriguing characters, is the glimpses into their personal lives. Told with often tragic and bittersweet directness, the rebirth of hopes and dreams echoes from each interwoven story. Lives rebuilt and reborn, told with a mixture of joy and sorrow, shows the human condition through the voices of the wayward travelers. Regrets are few, and the laughter is plentiful, as stories of families and businesses are shared among strangers.

The reader, along with learning business advice of the first order, discovers the brotherhood of humanity and the kinship even among strangers. After the evening of festivities, formerly unknown individuals share a comradeship and become friends, as if they knew one another all of their lives. John Herman conveys the sense of the power of the human spirit, and its ability to rise above adversity. With laughter and fellowship, the storm bound group becomes a microcosm of humanity.

Whether you are a business person looking for advice, or someone seeking guidance in the challenges of life, John Herman's work, The Innkeeper Tales, is a fine place to begin the quest. Take your shoes off and pull up an easy chair, and share an evening with a group of amiable characters, as they discuss business ideas and the joy of life itself.

You will certainly want to visit with the stranded traveling companions at The Abercrombie again and again.

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Friday, April 20, 2007

 

Preventing mistakes: Creativity to the rescue



All business owners and managers make mistakes. In fact, if no mistakes are made, nothing is being done in the business at all. Literally.

Fear that one's mistakes leads to immediate dismissal simply locks down the company. No one will suggest any new ideas, and will revert to covering the backs and keeping their heads down. Entrepreneurs should welcome innovation and fresh, creative ideas. Forward thinkers and innovators should be rewarded and encouraged to seek new solutions to the organization's problems. Mistakes will be made. The key is to keep the errors small, and to learn from the experience.

An innovative company seeks new approaches to the short and long term challenges facing the business. A leader encourages and supports the creative process and lets the creative process take form and shape. Once a solution is identified, the next step is implementation. Here is where many creative companies fall down. Moving the plan from the drawing board to the real world is often messy, and marked with smudges and crumpled paper.


In many cases, the plan is formulated and handed off to someone in the company with instructions amounting to no more than get to it. Of course, without an implemention direction in place, the best idea can flounder. Planning is a multiple part process, and it doesn't end when the blueprints are drawn up for building the perfect company. As in any building project, the blueprints are only the starting point. There is a lot of hammering to be done after the ink is dry.

After the creative team has set out the concept for the company, the next step in the creative process is a step by step system to make the idea work in practice. For the entrepreneur, this meeting of minds is designed to map out a course of action for the plan. Surprisingly, this crucial step is often missing from many business plans.

One technique for implementation planning is to start at the finish line. Picture the perfect outcome, with phones ringing from customers, sales people closing deals, happy staff taking care of business, and the profits entering everyone's bank accounts.

Examine the process in reverse, in a manner similar to a film running backwards. Follow those customers through their buying cycle, and how they arrived at your doorstep or website. Consider the vital technology that is in place at the end of your movie, and make plans for its acquisition. Count the number of people needed to make the production a success.



As with any plans, things can and usually will go very wrong. Have your team consider every possibility, no matter how remote. Yes, an asteroid could indeed go through your roof, so don't discount anything in the first disaster list. As with any creative endeavour, consider everything, and prune the list later. After your potential derailment list is completed, a second series of creative thoughts is needed. The purpose of this brainstorming session is to create contingency plans for each of the most likely disasters.

It's said that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Creativity goes far in preventing many mistakes from happening in the first place. Creative thinking reduces risk, and boosts your business.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

 

Carnival of Entrepreneurs 19 at RobertoAlamos.com



The Carnival of Entrepreneurs is open for business as it visits Roberto Alamos' online business advice blog known as RobertoAlamos.com. The Carnival is in its nineteenth edition with this latest entry into the business blog carnival cavalcade.

The entries include posts from leading business bloggers on topics relating to entrepreneurship and operating your own independent business.



I have an entry in this edition of Carnival of Entrepreneurs as well.

My post is titled "Personnel management: To fire or not to fire" where I discuss how business people have experienced employees who are perceived to be problems and a detriment to the company. The first impulse is to terminate that employee and rid the organization of a pariah. While firing may be necessary in some cases, letting an employee go is not required in every case. Every personnel situation is different, and should be treated on an individual basis.



The preferred participation option is to simply enter your best entrepreneurship post at Blog Carnival.

As always, don't forget to link to the hosted edition. It's not only common courtesy, but helps to increase visitor traffic for all entrants. It also shows your appreciation of the hard work done by the host in preparing the post. Everyone shares in the benefits of the expanded Carnival readership.

Next week's edition of Carnival of Entrepreneurs visits an as yet undetermined location.

In the meantime, head on over to RobertoAlamos.com hosting of Carnival of Entrepreneurs and enjoy the posts on offer.

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

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

 

Heidi Miller: Trade Show Success Secrets - Blog Business Success Radio

blog radio



Entrepreneur, trade show marketing expert, and blogger Heidi Miller (photo left), of Heidi Miller Presentations and the Talk It Up! blog, shares ideas for powerful trade show attendance as an exhibitor, a presenter, and a participant, can boost your business, as my internet radio show guest on Blog Business Success; hosted live on Blog Talk Radio.

The show airs live on Thursday, April 19, at 8:00 pm Eastern Time; 5:00 pm Pacific Time.

Heidi Miller discusses how to improve your trade show effectiveness, whether you are an exhibitor, a presenter, or as an attendee. You will learn:

* How to make more business contacts while at trade shows

* How to attract more visitors to your company show booth

* How to avoid mistakes that can cost you sales and customers

* How to follow up with prospects after the show is over



Heidi Miller (photo left) is a trade show spokesperson who has given hundreds of presentations and product demonstrations at trade shows all over the world in industries as diverse as medical, manufacturing, plastics, restaurant, housewares and education.

Clients report increased booth traffic and sales lead generation with Heidi’s presentations. Heidi has over eight years experience giving hundreds of presentations worldwide.

In her own words:

My philosophy: your products are my products! A presenter is a sales rep, the face and voice of your company.


Heidi is a former teacher and corporate trainer with a concise delivery and warm, personable style.
She is a technology friendly blogger and podcaster, trade show geek, and the author of Free Trade Show Tips.

Listen live on Thursday at 8:00 pm Eastern, 5:00 pm Pacific time.



If you miss this very informative show, it will be available for download as a podcast for iPod, iTunes, and MP3 players; or play it right on your computer. To download this, or any other of my guest interviews, go to the Blog Business Success host page and click on Archived Segments. Once there, click on the podcast icon at the end of the episode description, to download the show free of charge for your listening enjoyment. You can also subscribe to the show feed.

Let's talk with Heidi Miller and learn how better trade show presentations and participation will take your business to the next level of success, on Blog Business Success Radio.

Listen Live

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

 

Carnival of the Capitalists at Scatterbox



This week sees a highly selective approach to the travelling business show, recognized by one and all as Carnival of the Capitalists arrives at Steven Silvers' marketing and public relations blog known as Scatterbox.

This week's edition of Carnival of the Capitalists highlights some of the best bloggers writing on the internet today, as well as some of the best and most popular entries ever to the Carnival.

Blogging topics presented include entrepreneurship, management, market trading, internet commerce, marketing, the national economy and personal finance.

As you would expect from Carnival of the Capitalists, there are many discussions of economics, marketing, business, and small business.

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; as well as some long time contributors.



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:

bizosphere -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!



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 an as yet undetermined location.

In the meantime, click your mouse over to the Scatterbox 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 visit Carnival of the Capitalists and get into business for yourself.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

 

Incorrect information: Avoiding tragedy



All business people receive incorrect information from time to time. The mistaken ideas may range from simple errors in reading or calculations, to outright deception on the part of employees. The key for business owners and managers is preventing the weak business intelligence from crippling the business.

Bad information can hurt a business in more than one way. While the obvious results may include lower sales, lost or dissatisfied customers, or production and distribution problems. All of these are crucial issues that can damage a company seriously. They are also difficulties that can be corrected over time. Unless there is wilful damage inflicted, most problems are challenges faced by all organizations at one time or another. A more insidious and hidden problem may be a tightening of decision making and control by the owner or top management people.



In a misguided attempt to prevent any future problems, many entrepreneurs have a default position that appears in times of crisis. That standard response is to micromanage the organization and to take more decision making responsibility upon themselves. Instead of recognizing the mistakes happen, and that no one is infallible, the business owner centralizes decision making. Instead of gaining more control over the situation, the result is often the polar opposite.

In centralized decision making companies, no one makes any decisions, and relies on the official management approved response. While the control freak might believe the so-called by the book answer may be the only right one, spectacular disasters are the more likely outcome. Individual circumstances require judgement calls on the spot by staff people. In more cases than many people would like to admit, the prescribed official response may be the wrong one. Instead of solving a problem, a new one is created. Rather than risk their continued employment status, staff members rely on the book to cover their backs.



Delegation of decision making responsibility is a better option. Make certain everyone knows who is responsible for what decisions and choices. Allow a reasonable degree of flexibility for the many individual issues that don't fit the form. Employees who are empowered to make on the spot executive decisions will more often than not choose the right course of action. If they have to get approval for even the tiniest concession, they risk losing a customer. They also become robots, rather than thinking and productive workers. Empowered staffers are productive employees.

The ownership must accept that mistakes will happen. In fact, if no mistakes are being made, then nothing new or innovative is being attempted by the organization. Treading water for too long a time usually ends up in drowning. Let your employees take chances and discover new ideas. The information they provide may be flawed, but if the person understands that errors are part of life, they are much less likely to provide deliberately false data. Bogus information is a symptom of a centralized decision making organization. The employee is responding in a self protective manner, and that is not good for any company.

Instead of worrying about mistakes in information, encourage employees to provide the best and most honest data available. Be prepared to accept bad news, and encourage the staff members responsible to find solutions to the problem. Fear driven companies will only get told what the staff members think they want to hear. That staff fear can lead to tragedy and even bankruptcy.

Be open to potential problems, and you are more likely to hear innovative and profitable solutions.

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

 

Business ideas: Recession entrepreneurship opportunities



Talk of recession is appearing with greater frequency in the mainstream media. For most business people, any thought of possible economic downturn is a frightening prospect. Instead of lamenting that the world is ending, or entertaining similar apocalyptic fears, it's time to consider business opportunities that will arise during a recession.

The first thing for an entrepreneur to do, when considering business prospects for harder times, is think of what needs may emerge. Recessions mean lower employment levels, difficulty in personal and company bill paying, lower numbers of customers, foreclosures of homes and businesses, and a trend to cutting operating and capital costs. All of these scenarios present business opportunities for an entrepreneur. They are not simply profits from preying on hardship either, but are very often business and credit savers for others.



Unemployed people need assistance in finding new jobs. You could consider starting an employment agency, a life coaching service, a personal image consultancy, job skills training, or a resume writing service. Helping people become employed is a public service as you help other companies find talented staff people. A job is the best social program in existance, and a potential life saver for the person landing the new position.

Helping companies increase their customer lists and boost their sales success is a powerful form of consulting service. Working with business owners and staff on enhancing sales and marketing skills, improved public relations, and better customer service will boost the organization's bottom line. It will also keep people employed and even add more staff members. Along with sales and marketing advice, new idea brainstorming sessions could be offered to creative minded companies.



Homes and businesses will fall into payment arrears, and face foreclosure. Purchasing troubled properties will save the former home owner's credit, and provide business in the contracting industry. At the same time, unprofitable businesses are prime candidates for turnarounds.

Not only does the acquisition of a company save the organization from extinction, but preserves most of the jobs connected with it as well. Lowering operating and overhead costs, as well as improving accounts payable and receivable are all potential business services.

Many companies will elect to contract out many departments, ranging from accounting to law to personnel to marketing. A nimble entrepreneur will be able to pick up that work on a contract basis. Be sure to keep an eye open for entire departments being spun off of from major corporations as stand alone businesses. Many such opportunities for spin off acquisitions from corporations, along with the accompanying brand recognition and existing goodwill, will take place too.

Business opportunities for entrepreneurs are limitless, even during a recession. Don't let an economic downturn keep you from adding new business ventures to your own company. The money making ideas are just different from those in economic boom times. The cash flow spends just as well though.

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

 

Personnel surprises: Finding hidden talent



Most companies have hidden talent resources they have yet to discover. Already on the payroll is often at least one person, who could be given more responsibility, in their job. Untapped abilities are everywhere on the business staff roster. The key is recognizing those diamonds in the rough, and polishing their skills to a lustrous sparkle.

In every business, openings arise for new hirings all of the time. The usual response is to seek the ideal candidate from outside the company. While there are times when bringing in a new person to fill a specific role is necessary, don't overlook the talent already on staff. Promotion from within the organization might be a better long term approach. In fact, in many companies, outside hirings may be best utilized for filling entry level positions. By adding quality staff members at the bottom of the organizational ladder, and helping them to rise ever upward, they learn the company culture, internal systems, and become loyal employees.



Internal training and advancement are powerful incentives for most employees. People who understand that hard work, dedicated service, and quality contributions to the company result in advancement are better employees. Office morale will be much higher, and the sense of team work will be much stronger. The bonds between the employer and staff members are on a much stronger foundation for building with the long term in mind. Knowing that higher level positions are obtainable, and expected to be filled internally, enhances productivity in every way.

For many employers, however, the employee often becomes pigeon holed in their current job description. The skill set of the worker is thought to consist of what is seen on a day to day basis. Other untapped talents are all too often overlooked entirely. When all that is required to groom a person for a more responsible job is simply some training and encouragement, it's a tragedy that many companies never take that chance. Missed talent is lost opportunity for a business.



To discover those well kept secrets, it's essential for business owners and managers to talk to their staff members on a regular basis. Schedule regular individual discussions with every employee. While most staff meetings will focus on the current job functions, make certain that at least every three months a longer term chat is in place.

At that meeting, the topics should be long term employee career plans, training opportunities, advancement possibilities, and how the company can help in achieving those goals. Creating an atmosphere of trust, combined with confidentiality, can help uncover talents that have long been missed.

The best and most productive are very often long term committed employees. Be sure your company reciprocates with a committment to promotion from within, and to ongoing training and staff development programs. Include staffers from every level in creativity and brainstorming events. You might be pleasantly surprised at the talent right under your nose.

Think about finding the hidden talent in your organization. Your bottom line will never look better.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

 

Carnival of the Vanities 238 at Silflay Hraka



The 238th edition of the longest running internet blog carnival, the well known Carnival of the Vanities continues at Kehaar's Silflay Hraka.

The carnival, and indeed the entire blog carnival idea, was born over four years ago at Bigwig's Silflay Hraka blog. It is now back home to Silflay Hraka, as Bigwig's brother Kehaar has assumed the reins with great results.

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, religion, humour, and business.



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

My post is titled "Business blogs: Small business secret weapon" where I discuss how business blogs are a secret weapon for the small business owner. While perhaps not as dramatic as some of the high tech toys, employed by Batman or Wonder Woman style superheroes, a blog can provide an even greater impact. The power of a business blog is global in scope, providing unlimited power that would even make Superman raise an eyebrow.



The host says the preferred participation option is to simply enter at Blog Carnival.

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

When you send an entry to Carnival of the Vanities, or any of the many internet blog Carnivals, don't forget to link to the hosted edition. It's not only common courtesy, but helps to increase visitor traffic for all entrants. It also shows your appreciation of the hard work done by the host in preparing the post. Everyone shares in the benefits of the expanded Carnival readership.

Show the Carnival some linky love.

Next week's edition of Carnival of the Vanities appears once again at Kehaar's Silflay Hraka.

In the meantime, head on over to the Silflay Hraka 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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