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fourth quarter 2012

The Official Publication of Latin Business Club of America

7 Things Your Customers Can Do Better Than You

www.latinbiz.net

Breathe Life Into Your Business

How women will lead the economic turnaround


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The Official Publication of Latin Business Club of America

The Official Publication of Latin Business Club of America

EDITOR Editor Monica Puig Monica Puig editor@latinbiz.net

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editor@latinbiz.net

MAGAZINE DESIGN PublishEr BusinessRise The Official Publication of Latin Business Club of America Latin info@businessrise.net Business Club of America publisher@latinbiz.net www.businessrise.net

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PUBLISHER

Cris Ascunce, CAT Graphix, Inc. of America TheLatin Official Business Publication ofClub Latin Business Club of America info@catgraphix.net

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Contributing WritErs

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CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Gavin Berkey, Daniel Burrus, Frank Bucaro, Chia-Li Chien, E/The Luz Canino-Baker, Jennifer DelCamp, Environmental Magazine, Fea, Voss Graham, Mika Christian Hamilton, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter, ” Larry Robert Heber, Paul A. Herman, Jacobson, Bill Lee, Paul Mase, Michelle Mark Holmes, David Leonhardt, Patterson, Holly Petherbridge, Mark Aurelio Sandate, Jeremy Wilson Tamara Vaughm, Amy Wells STAFF PHOTOGRAPHERS staff William Bruce Franklin PhotograPhErs Joshua Stier Cris Ascunce, Joshua Stier, Modern Studios Rodolfo Barandiaran John Christie Photography CovEr: ©Norman ADVERTISING Pogson SALES sales@latinbiz.net onlinE at:

www.latinbiz.net advErtising salEs latinbiz is the official quarterly 305-573-1369 • sales@latinbiz.net publication of Latin Business Club of latinbiz is the official quarterly publication of America, a networking organization Latin Business Club of America, a networking dedicated promotetobusinesses within organizationtodedicated promote businesses Latin community, Latinos in thewithin Latinthe community, unite unite Latinos in our our business efforts, foster understanding business efforts, andand foster understanding between Latinos and other Americans. between Latinos and other Americans.

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INSIDE. . .

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8 Seven Things Customers Can Do Better Than You inside. . 10 Jeanette. Melian 12 Kim Kaplan 7 AnaWomen Remos: Brings her high power Circulo Turnaround to Television 14 How Will Lead the Economic 8 Become a sales superstar: 10 skills to Master 16 Breathe Life into Your Business 10 12 14 15 7 16 20 21

The seven Failures of Business Growth Latin Business Club of America Turns Seven Quality, Comfort and Style In Outdoor Furniture Empower Yourself Through Any Setback Message from the Editor HACE Launches A Latino Career Forum in Miami Marketing What is Social Entrepreneurship?

IN EVERY ISSUE. . .

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Security Finance issue. . . every Biz Ethics Real Estate Message from the Editor Small Biz Media Survivor Sales Security Travel Finance Earth Talk Real Estate Technology small Biz: small Business Prosperity in a down economy BizAuto Community Talk/Coffee Break latinbiz Networking Events Travel Biz Announcements/Earth Talk Technology/Law Networking

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messagefromtheeditor

Mahatma Ghandi once said “There are seven things that will destroy us: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Religion without sacrifice; Politics without principle; Science without humanity; Business without ethics.”

some believing that those companies will finally learn some ethics, that is, until next time they get caught.

The truth is that corporations don’t have ethics. Corporations only have policies, rules and regulations. These can be ethical, unethical ones, and ethics often times It is amazing to me that of all the topics remain undefined. The only way we can discussed in this magazine, the nasty expect corporations with ethical policies emails I receive are to criticize any type of is by insisting these are spearheaded by reference to business ethics or corporate ethical people. Corporate leaders who responsibility calling it an “idiotic concept” “do the right thing” just because they must and “bad business.” Why is ethics in business follow federal and state regulations are not such a controversial subject? Why is doing truly practicing corporate responsibility; as the right thing considered a business often, we find them skating on very thin handicap by some? Economists have regulatory ice on the pond named “Let’s see promulgated for centuries that companies what we can get away with.” To take true can thrive best when they are driven ethical responsibility, leaders must set forth by stockholders’ interest. We have seen true ethical corporate policies that do right plenty of times this “stockholders’ interest by their clients, consumers, employees, first” practice flourish at the expense of communities, and environment, surpassing employees and consumer safety, that the expectations set forth by government is until somebody blows the whistle or agencies. As times change with technology, lawsuits are lost by corporations leaving companies are finding more and more (L-R) Silvia Prado, Televisa Publishing, with Monica Puig and Mirjam Gernow of Latin Business Club of America at Hispana Leadership Summit

that government and stock holders are no longer the only ones they must answer to. The internet brought on transparency and a whole new meaning to social responsibility. Employees’ and consumers’ online postings leave little for companies to get away with. Success is no longer blindly applauded. It is painstakingly scrutinized under a magnifying glass, from CEO’s salaries to employee benefits to quick customer service resolutions. Consumers and employees are today’s stockholders whom CEO’s must appease. Business has become extremely personal. The long-term effects of this consumer and employee new-found power can be very positive in having businesses take social responsibility for the environment and the wellbeing of their employees and the communities they serve. However, we must be careful to not become corrupted by this power by making bogus statements or using intimidation to bring down companies that we feel have not satisfied our demands. Done right, we might just be reaching a new era of business ethics and corporate responsibility. Monica Puig Do you agree with Ghandi’s comment about business without ethics? Or, is English monetary economist Walter Bagehot’s statement that “Capital must be propelled by self-interest; it cannot be enticed by benevolence” closer to your views? How do you feel about the power of consumers and employees over corporations? Email me editor@latinbiz.net and let me know your views. Only include your name, title and company name if and as you want it published.

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cover story

7 Things Your Customers Can Do Better Than You They All Boil Down to “Sell Your Products and Services.” By Bill Lee

info@lee-consulting-group.com

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f you think your customers exist solely to “buy your stuff,” you are missing a huge part of the picture. Your customers are incredibly well equipped to market, sell, and even develop your products and services. Here are seven things they can do better than you: Attract high-value information from other customers. This “inside knowledge” of their peers creates stratospheric value. Facebook is the quintessential example. Imagine a traditional company that tried to generate the kind of information Facebook generates: real-time data on what movies people are watching, what restaurants they’re visiting, what vacations they’re taking, and what books they’re reading. Facebook dispensed with all the research most companies would have tried to dig up, and instead focused on letting customers provide it. Westlaw, which provides legal research services for law firms, is another example. It realized that its clients were interested in how they and the markets they serviced stacked up to other firms and markets. So Westlaw created Peer Monitor, which aggregates anonymized data on firms’ financial and operational performance, collected from participating clients with their permission— and this turned into a lucrative new business.

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Believably promote your product. It’s this simple: You’ve got something to sell. Your customers don’t. This makes them far more credible to other potential customers than agencies or internal employees. SAS Canada is a good case in point. The company was having a noticeable customer retention issue several years ago. Retention rates had declined from the high 90s to the mid 80s, which senior management felt the need to address quickly. SAS software was doing an excellent job of keeping up with customer needs. Unfortunately, the customers didn’t seem to realize this. So a small group within SAS, led by Wally Thiessen, built a team of 250 “customer champions” along with 50 “super champions” to spread the word for them. SAS saw that it would be futile for the company to keep pointing out how great they were. However, they knew that defecting customers might listen to what other SAS customers had to say. With support from Thiessen and his team, SAS customer champions established regular events in more than 20 major cities, set the agendas, selected speakers (and made presentations themselves), and stayed in touch afterwards via online forums and e-newsletters. As a result, retention rates rebounded back up to the high 90s.

Why would customers make such an effort? SAS customer champions certainly didn’t do it for rewards or prizes, a mistake many companies make with their customer advocates. Rather, they did these things because a) SAS software really was doing a terrific job, and b) getting the word out to their peers helped the customer champions build social capital. It increased their visibility in their professional community, put them in positions of leadership, and gave them access to insider industry information from SAS Canada that they could then share with other customers. Close the sale. Your customers make better salespeople than you do, precisely because they don’t have any (obvious) skin in the game. Plus, they can honestly say, “This product or service worked for me. It can work for you, too.” Marc Benioff realized the persuasive power of customers in the early days of building Salesforce.com. Lacking the multi-million-dollar budgets of competitors like Oracle and SAP, he relied instead on face-to-face meetings with prospects and customers in major city markets. He was surprised to find that prospects at such events were much more interested in talking with SFDC customers than with him and his executive


cover story team. And he was delighted to find that 80 percent of prospects who attended the events—and interacted with customers in such ways—wound up becoming customers themselves. That’s an amazing close rate for any offering. And unlike salespeople, SFDC’s customer salespeople didn’t require a bit of training. Understand buyer needs. Many leaders believe that customers can’t articulate their needs, much less develop ideas for products to satisfy them. This is just not true. A substantial body of well-established research has shown that many if not most successful innovations are customer-originated. In one compilation of studies of 1,193 commercially successful innovations across nine industries by MIT’s Eric von Hippel, 737 (60 percent) came from customers. That’s why companies that struggle with product development should consider looking outside to customer innovators. 3M’s Medical-Surgical Markets Division tried a last-gasp project in the 1990s to kick-start its consistently poor innovation record. It formed a team designed to bypass the internal innovation process and search for breakthrough innovations being created by outside ‘lead users.’ When the results were compared with ordinary product development projects at 3M, the differences were dramatic: Lead-user innovations achieved average revenue of $146 million in their fifth year, compared with $18 million for internally generated innovations.” Connect with your prospects (a.k.a., their peers). By nature, most all of us are open to creative new ways to affiliate with our friends and peers. On the other hand, we’re not that excited about getting close to companies—a mistake many companies make when they set out to form communities around their brand. (Let’s face it: Corporate logos and official spokespersons don’t exactly promote the warm and fuzzy connections that invite confidences!) The key is to figure out a way to foster a dialogue between customers and their peers that touches on issues related to your products. Procter & Gamble’s BeingGirl community for teen and pre-teen girls was initially formed to promote feminine hygiene products. Because P&G knew TV and print ads made its young audience uncomfortable, it enlisted experts to provide content. When this created little interest, P&G established forums so that girls could talk to each other about the issues and challenges of growing into young womanhood. Finally, the site took off. Girls from around the world were eager to get into the conversation—and P&G was able to market its products more subtly and effectively than before. The bottom line is that customers are more apt to trust and care about information when it comes from a peer rather than an organization. Energize your online and social media marketing. Many firms are getting nowhere with their web and social media marketing efforts. That’s often because they’re trying to adapt traditional marketing communications to these mediums. They need to get creative about bringing customers into

sional) customers who play a central role. An

The organizations that achieve rapid growth are those that don’t just think of customers as ‘buyers of stuff’ but as advocates, influencers, and contributors.

these programs. Intel, for example, credits well-designed customer testimonials and other customer content for an explosion in the creation of qualified prospective customer interest and inquiries through its oncelagging social media and web marketing efforts. The company can’t share the numbers publicly, but I can say that within a few years, it expects to bring in a significant percentage of all its new business through its website efforts and the key to this growth is content from its existing customers. In 2011, Salesforce.com cut traditional lead generation spending by 69 percent while increasing spending on customer videos (by 1,300 percent) and social media. One early result from that was an increase in contacts generated by social media of 400 percent. Help you penetrate new markets. When seeking to penetrate new markets, firms typically recruit some mix of local employees or agencies into their marketing and sales efforts. How about local customers? Microsoft has perfected the art of finding and engaging with local “MVP” (Most Valuable Profes-

example is “Mr. Excel,” who runs a website by that name, which on some days attracts more visitors than Microsoft’s own Excel page! Many companies would have issued a cease and desist order or filed a lawsuit. Microsoft embraces and supports such customers—now numbering some 4,000 around the world. These customers provide the firm with highly effective marketing communications and superb product testing and feedback. They also provide exceptional, and free, customer support—which has saved Microsoft hundreds of millions of dollars in support costs. Companies often say that ‘customers are our best assets; but most of the value of these assets lies fallow. Now, with the advent of social media and a global marketplace, more and more companies are starting to harvest these assets and are propelling their organizations to rapid and sustained growth.

Bill Lee author of The Hidden Wealth of Customers: Realizing the Untapped Value of Your Most Important Asset (Harvard Business Review Press, 2012, ISBN: 978-1-4221723-1-5, $27.00), helps organizations reinvent customer relationships and accelerate growth through the creation of engaged, passionate customer advocates and communities. He pioneered the concept that return on relationship is the key to organic growth in organizations of any size, public or private. Visit him at: www.lee-consulting-group.com

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bizfiles

Miami Native

JEANETTE MELIAN Helps Adults Redesign Their Lives

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ob concerns and the economy have affected life and work satisfaction for many adults. But, certified life coach, Jeanette Melian hopes to change that. Born to Cuban immigrant parents, Jeanette knew early on in her life that she wanted to be a teacher. She seeks to help adults in South Florida renew their personal goals, take action and fuel positive growth. “Negative thinking is the ‘gremlin’ in many of our lives,” said Jeanette. “But with help, adults can find positive energy and a renewed purpose. That’s why I created the Life reDesign course. For five weeks, I’ll serve as a coach, mentor and cheerleader for students who wish to turn their lives around.” Drawing from her own personal life experiences as a Life Coach, single mother, educator, leader, and business woman, as well as from her own transformational journey, she created, Life reDesign. The Life reDesign coaching program is meant to help its students live their lives with more passion, perspective and purpose. A former educator, Jeanette guides their transformations and provides the tools which allows them to improve their careers, family lives or relationships. In her workshop, Jeanette shows students how “Life is our classroom” and there are many lessons to be learned from the daily experiences we have and share as human beings. Jeanette helps them see that despite the obstacles in their way, personal transformation and a life of happiness are possible. Jeanette Melian limits her weekly group coaching sessions to twelve students. Among other thing, she helps her students change negativethinking patterns, increase awareness of their needs and purpose, let go of stress and anxiety, build healthier relationships and set boundaries, and be more present in the here and now. www.jeanettemelian.com


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bizfiles

KIM KAPLAN

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im Kaplan established a non-profit organization to raise funds and bring awareness to orphaned and impoverished children in Peru’s high Andes. Her foundation, The Sacred Valley Initiative, takes its name from the Andean heartland of these Quechua communities, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, outside of Cusco. Kim, what brought you to create The Sacred Valley Initiative? I first came up with Sacred Valley Initiative after a life changing trip to Peru’s Sacred Valley a year ago. While teaching yoga for the past 10 years in St. Louis, I ventured out to Peru’s Andes Mountains to explore the people, culture and ruins that deemed sacred to many institutions around the globe. The first two weeks, I conducted a tour through the high ridges. We ventured into homes of these descendants of the Incas. I was deeply moved by the poverty and the amount of orphaned and abandoned children living high above most of the globe. I stayed another four weeks volunteering as a physical therapist in impoverished disabled children’s homes. This experience, as well as a personal bound with the Peruvian centers, spoke to me to support these people and their children in a new opportunity. This perfect calling and collaboration with many other supporters enabled a return visit as an established non-profit organization to set up the infrastructure for what is now Sacred Valley Initiative. Supplying a group of needy indigenous abandoned orphans a home and life skills to help them flourish into healthy adults became a clear mission. How do you fund your organization? Funding for Sacred Valley Initiative comes in through the selling of Fair Trade items from our Weaving School for Orphaned Children set up in a weavers’ home on Saturdays, as well as items from Peruvian crafts purchased from local vendors.We have fundraising events planned, focusing on the children in various cities across the United States, as well as competing in the prestigious YouthBridge and Washington University Skandalaris Entrepreneurial Center for Social Entrepreneurship. Private and Corporate Sponsorship is coming forth to support our business model as well. Strategic funding from new resources can bring our organization to

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the necessary channels to execute the children’s homes we are raising funds for. Also, by leading spiritual, adventure, cultural and philanthropic travel groups, we will generate funds and build a strong avenue for sustainable funding and awareness building. What has your experience been in running your organization so far? My experience of running a social entrepreneurial organization is one that supplies me with great resources from all over the globe. It is about the team and key players that makes running this business a successful model in this sector. The more we reach out around the country with different people leading the efforts to bring in money and funds the more the organization will flourish. The efforts of others is key to my success as Executive Director of this organization. With my 10 years in Management in sourcing and product development in the Textile and Apparel industry coupled with my 10 years as a yoga teacher, I bring to the table a leadership that has best of both worlds consisting of corporate knowledge, International experience and a spiritual, heart based leadership model. I feel like everything I have done in my whole life has prepared me for this work. What have you done to grow your organization? Through reaching out to leaders in the yoga com-

munity with Yoga For The Children Events and collaborating with these leaders to tie in their efforts to promote the cause is one way we are taking yoga off the mat into the world. Another avenue that we are growing is collaborating with universities. The prestigious Washington University in St. Louis has reached out with their programs to assist and supply resources to support the growth of our mission by networking service, a social entrepreneurial competition, graduate student support and other opportunities to spread the word about our profound work in Peru. Leadership and board involvement will take the Fair Trade opportunity to the next level, while establishing solid framework with alliances in the wholesale and retail distribution channels, products will hit the market place this year in many cities across the US, as well as in Peru. Building alliances with the Latin American population and people, corporations, and foundations with Peruvian ties in the United States will also help drive this bridge of global awareness and support for Peru at large. What is the greatest advice you have ever received? Close the day with gratitude for what was in it. Begin anew every day, and open to your highest self with the intention to solve nothing, just allow the best part of yourself to thrive and guide you on your path supporting the greater good of all. www.sacredvalleyinitiative.org


cover story

How WOMEN Will Lead the Economic Turnaround By Michelle Patterson

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n the face of the recent Congressional Budget Office report asserting the U.S. economy could face further recession in 2013 amid a “fiscal cliff,” the role of women as business owners and consumers has become downright critical to the American financial system. “The recession-driven entrepreneurism boom has resulted in women launching their own businesses at twice the rate of men, making this demographic an economic force to be reckoned with,” notes Michelle Patterson, Executive Director of the California Women’s Conference (www.californiawomensconference.com), the largest working women’s conference in North America held September 23-24 with a star-studded speaker lineup that includes Gloria Allred, Helen Reddy, and Oscar De La Hoya. “Women are also the most dominant consumers influencing fully 85% of all household purchasing decisions, including half of products that would seem more oriented to men, such as automobiles, home improvement items, and consumer electronics. The impact of women in the marketplace must not be underestimated given the Bureau of the Census states that women currently outnumber men in the United States by six million.” With such incredible spending power in their hands, there are numerous ways women can help turn the economy around. Here are five key roles women will play: Entrepreneur: Charles D. Vollmer, the founder of Jobenomics, noted the potential women have as entrepreneurs to help the economy: “This is the decade of women-owned businesses. They have greater financial needs and incentives. There are more qualified women with some even serving as heads of households. These women have more opportunities, are highly educated, and have fewer cultural barriers.” From women creating businesses through crafts and their artistry, using sites like Etsy and Pinterest, to generate interest and build a following to women starting up all types of busi-

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nesses, including high-tech companies, consumer goods, and children’s wares, the female entrepreneur is generating innovative ideas and creating companies that are putting people to work and stimulating the economy through revenues. Talent Value: Statistics show nearly eight million jobs have been lost by men and, for the first time in this nation’s history, women now hold a majority of the nation’s jobs. In 2006, a database was created that measured the economic and political power of women in 162 countries. The conclusion was the greater the power of women, the greater the country’s economic success. Women’s talent in the workplace is beginning to be accepted by more companies that are looking for specific first-hand knowledge about today’s top consumer – women – and are recognizing the value of specific feminine traits that bode well in the corporate culture, including a nurturing attitude, open and ongoing communication, and a collaborative spirit, which are driving motivation and higher productivity. Advisor: Women are also now being targeted by boards to join and offer their insights about how women think and make decisions about purchases. Those that have added women as board members are also realizing greater financial success. Catalyst’s 2010 statistics conclude that companies with a significant percentage of women on their boards performed better than those with no women on their boards—by 84% return on sales, 60% return on invested capital, and 46% return on equity. As Monique Nadeau, President and CEO of the Hope Street Group explained, “[B]ecause women overwhelmingly hold the consumer purchasing power in our country, whether we’re talking about individuals or households, their understanding of the market allows them to start businesses with a high degree of insight about both their potential customers and competitors.” Consumer: Women are the most influential consumers. Contributing to the total $7 trillion in consumer and business spending in America, women influence 85% of all purchasing decisions,

including half of products that would seem more oriented to men, such as automobiles, home improvement items, and consumer electronics. The impact that women have on our nation’s market alone is substantial. For products related to home life, it’s been reported that moms represent a $2.4 trillion market. With so much buying power, it makes sense to target them and listen to what they want for themselves and their families. Mentor: Serving as mentors to younger women and offering guidance to help them on the road to success at an early age is breeding new generations of women who will sustain the economy once it recovers. Whether it is offering internships at their companies, speaking to young people in school and university settings, establishing scholarships to help female students or encouraging female employees to bring their daughters to work for a day, women can mentor those women who will lead the economic success in future decades and encourage a powerful proactive mindset in generations to come. With such a large impact, women are an undeniable factor in the U.S. economy. It’s been said in comic book lore that “with great power comes great responsibility,” but no truer statement has ever been spoken on the topic. It’s vital for today’s women at work and at home to be prepared, educated, equipped and empowered for the task at hand. Visionary and lauded business accelerator Michelle Patterson is CEO of EventComplete—a full service event management company. She also serves as Executive Director of the largest women’s symposium in North America: the California Women’s Conference (www. californiawomensconference.com) that has featured esteemed First Ladies, A-list Hollywood celebrities, and high caliber business influencers. Michelle may be reached online at www.eventcomplete.com


bizfiles


cover story

Breathe Life into Your Business Just as there are facts of life that affect us personally, there are facts of business life that affect us as entrepreneurs. Bill McBean shares seven facts he has learned over the course of a successful career to help you avoid common mistakes and steer your company in the direction you want it to go.

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oomed from the start–If you’re an entrepreneur or an entrepreneur-hopeful, it’s probably difficult to keep those four words from causing you to second guess your every move as you plan and run your business. They become especially hard to ignore when you consider the fact that less than 30 percent of businesses last more than 10 years, and most failures happen within the first few years of operation. The truth is, many things could go wrong: an ill-conceived business idea, poor planning, lack of capital, ineffective leadership, and more. In the high stakes world of running a business, those are the facts. In his new book, The Facts of Business Life: What Every Successful Business Owner Knows That You Don’t, Bill McBean teaches us how to build a strong, lasting foundation for our businesses. Below is an overview of McBean’s tried-and-true seven Facts of Business Life: Fact 1: If you don’t lead, no one will follow. At first, this statement seems mind-numbingly obvious. But often, “leadership” is one of those words that is thrown around by people who haven’t given much thought to what it looks like in action. According to McBean, good business leadership begins with defining the destination and direction of your company and deciding how the business should look and operate when it arrives. But it doesn’t stop there. It also involves developing and continuously improving on a set of skills in order to move your business from where it is today to where you want it to be tomorrow.

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What’s important to understand is without effective leadership your managers or employees have no idea what is important to the owner, what to manage, or what success and failure look like.

“What’s important to understand is without effective leadership your managers or employees have no idea what is important to the owner, what to manage, or what success and failure look like,” notes McBean. “In other words, in order to have effective employees, your business first has to have effective leadership, which has to include defining success and failure based on the eventual destination. Another important aspect of being a good leader is developing a company culture that’s expectations-based, and rewards those who meet and exceed those expectations. The good news about leadership is that the most important aspects can be learned, and it’s essential that owners do so.”

Fact 2: If you don’t control it, you don’t own it. Control is the owner’s management reality. If you don’t control your company by defining key tasks and dictating how they must be handled, and “inspect what you expect,” then you don’t truly “own” the business because all you are is an spectator watching others play with your money. “There are two overriding or macro concepts successful owners understand over their unsuccessful competitors,” explains McBean. “First, great procedures and processes need controls, and these in turn create great employees. This happens because procedures and processes operate the business, and employees operate the processes. This is one of those business basics that owners must understand to be successful. Secondly, don’t stop at pointing out what should be done and how. Also clearly state and emphasize that there will be consequences when standard operating procedures and processes aren’t followed. If you don’t do this, you’ll be ‘leading’ a group of individuals who follow their own rules and judgment, rather than a cohesive company working toward a common goal. Once again, this is one of those business basics owners can’t ignore.” Fact 3: Protecting your company’s assets should be your first priority. Were you surprised because this fact didn’t instruct you to first protect your company’s sales, profits, and growth? If so, you’re not alone. But the truth is, assets—which include both tangible and intangible assets—are what power sales, profits, and growth.


cover story Usually, owners and soon-to-be owners understand the need for insurance on assets like their buildings and equipment. In fact, bankers insist on insuring specific assets they lend money on like facilities, equipment, and sometimes even insurance on an owner’s life. However, successful owners don’t stop at protecting obvious assets. They understand the importance of every asset, because assets represent invested cash, which should be managed to produce exceptional and maximized profits. “Ignore this business fact and your company will underperform—if it can even survive the continual asset write-offs and write-downs, customer abandonment, and employee indifference,” says McBean. “I believe protecting both tangible and intangible assets to be one of the most underrated and underappreciated ownership issues today, and, if mismanaged, can be one of the most damaging. The key is to understand what all of your company’s assets are, and then guard them closely and work to maximize the profits they represent. Because if you don’t, they will haunt your business and cause financial pain when you least expect it, or want it.” Fact 4: Planning is about preparing for the future, not predicting it. Nobody knows what tomorrow, next week, or next year will bring for your business. But you can make educated guesses based on the most current, accurate information available as well as your own past experiences, and this should be an ongoing process. Effective planning, McBean asserts, is a mix of science (gathering pertinent information) and art (taking that information and turning it into a plan that will move your business from “here” to “there” over a specific time period). “Being able to plan better than your competitors can give you a significant competitive edge in the market,” he adds. “Ford Motor Company is a great example. In 2008 and 2009, its competitors, GM and Chrysler, ran out of cash and needed taxpayer bailouts to avoid bankruptcy. But not Ford, years prior to the credit crunch, Ford began to restructure its debt and raised billions as it continually added to cash reserves. Was this luck or good planning? Industry insiders will say good planning. The point is Ford knew, as you should, that planning is important because it focuses owners on what’s important and it prepares them for what lies ahead.” Fact 5: If you don’t market your business, you won’t have one. Maybe working to market and advertise your product isn’t your cup of tea. Or maybe you believe your product is so great that it should speak for itself. If so, too bad—you’re going to have to do it anyway. The bottom line is, if people don’t know about your product, you won’t be successful. “New business owners especially are nervous about marketing because money is already so tight at this stage,” acknowledges McBean. “But again, if marketing isn’t done, very little good will happen. You have to make the necessary effort to connect consumers to your company. And when you do, you’ll begin to see marketing as the invest18

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Being able to plan better than your competitors can give you a significant competitive edge in the market.

ment it actually is, rather than the expense that less successful competitors think it is.” Fact 6: The marketplace is a war zone. Every company has competitors, and if it doesn’t and it’s successful, it soon will. Successful owners know they have to fight not only to win market share but to retain it as well. That’s why McBean insists that you must develop a warrior mentality and maintain it for as long as you’re at the head of your business. “That’s because selling and sales in any industry is serious business,” notes McBean. “It’s take or be taken from. If that isn’t a business war zone, then I don’t know what is. In other words, in order to be successful and remain that way, you have to continually focus on the market, react to it, and fight for what you believe should be yours. If you don’t, your competition will win the war. The point being great marketing has to be followed up by having your company ‘on its game’ in order to capture every customer your marketing attracts.” Fact 7: You don’t just have to know the business you’re in; you have to know business. Yes, of course you need to know the inner workings and nuances of your particular industry if you want to be successful. But you also need to understand the various aspects of business as it is more broadly

defined, such as accounting, finance, business law, personnel issues, and more, and how all of these impact each other and the decisions you make. “Having tunnel or limited vision as far as business knowledge is concerned is akin to dropping out of high school,” says McBean. “In doing so, you limit your possibilities for success and how great your success could be. But at the end of the day, what is most important is not how much you know, but what you know and what you do with that knowledge. For example, it’s important to know what’s going on in your market, but it is just as important to know what to do with that information and how you can translate it into more sales and gross and net profits—something that can’t be done with limited business knowledge. And remember, it’s an owner’s responsibility to make sure what you’re learning is correct and relevant.” “Ultimately, I don’t believe that any entrepreneur can succeed—or at least reach his or her full potential—without knowing, understanding, and applying these seven Facts of Business Life,” concludes McBean. “It’s equally important to understand how these facts are interrelated. “For instance, being able to develop strategic plans or market your product will mean little if you don’t have a good grasp of business in general,” he concludes. “But I promise, if you commit yourself to understanding these facts while being prepared for their implementation to change as your business goes through its inevitable life cycle, you’ll be creating a best-odds scenario for success.”

Bill McBean is the author of The Facts of Business Life: What Every Successful Business Owner Knows That You Don’t (Wiley, October 2012, ISBN: 978-1-1180949-6-9, $24.95, www. FactsOfBusinessLife.com


marketing

Marketing Mistakes In Small Business By Chia-Li Chien

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n 2006, I hired a strategic branding firm to help me with a branding slogan, consistent messaging, collateral materials, website, etc. While it was a sizable expenditure, it was worth every dime. Why? Because their expertise strategically moved my business in the direction it needed to be going, along with timely implementation. Now, we are moving more and more into digital marketing. Small businesses often have a limited budget for marketing, if any budget at all. Most small businesses don’t budget for marketing or advertising and often become reactive to the newest trends instead of creating a marketing plan. Being a small business owner, I procrastinated integrating new digital marketing trends into my existing marketing strategies. And one thing I have learned about myself over the years is that when it comes to new marketing ideas, I either I take out a checkbook to pay someone to do it for me or I sit in the classroom and learn. I’ve done both and I can honestly recommend either. You must decide which one suits you and your marketing team best. I was told years ago that advertising is not effective for consulting or advisor types of businesses. I agree to a certain degree, yet, I still see many advisors who consistently advertise in their target market with great results. The key here is consistency. No matter which channels you use to push your message out, you need to do it consistently, over a long period of time. This is true for digital marketing as well. Although I am an advocate for Pull Marketing or In Bound marketing, the reality is you need to integrate push marketing consistently before you’ll get any pull or inbound results.

target audience. Your team also needs to know your audience and messaging to them clearly. MISTAKE #2: Jump at the latest and greatest tools too soon - It seems human nature is to react. Long term planning or strategically looking at things is not our nature. So before you jump into social media, SEO, or even on-line marketing, be sure you understand and know what you’re buying into, or most importantly, that it will produce the results you’re looking for. MISTAKE #3: Nothing is integrated - Your message is inconsistent from brochures, flyers, website, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc. You say many things, and your messaging comes across as inconsistent or not integrated. Without integration and consistent messaging, you will not create a pulling effect.

Here are 7 mistakes to avoid when directing your small business marketing team. Yes, I said TEAM. Don’t expect to be able to market your business on you own, unless are a marketing professional yourself.

MISTAKE #4: Doing It ALL yourself - For many small businesses, budget or cash flow is tight, so you end up being the CFO, CEO, CMO and janitor. Find out how much your time costs and look at your ROI if you manage your own marketing. For example, most social media tools offer free accounts, but your time is not free! Unless you are able to make very good contacts and form valuable networking groups, you may need to examine whether your time might be better spent closing deals or scheduling more appointments with prospects or servicing existing clients IRL (in real life).

MISTAKE #1: No clear objective or message to communicate - Have a clear target market - know who your audience is. Don’t try or expect to be all things to all people. Once that target market is well defined, find out what they care about, or their challenges, and help them. Without exception, all your communication efforts speak to that

MISTAKE #5: No ROI or measurement of all marketing regularly - After all marketing plans are in place and set, implement a method to measure your campaign results. Set your goals at the beginning of your campaign with percentages and numbers that are trackable, such as aiming for a 20% increase in prospects calls or a 30% increase

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in inquiry of services. Your campaign could be daily messages on a social media account. Those efforts may drive traffic to your website, but do they result in more click conversions? You’ll want to measure every aspect. MISTAKE #6: Not setting favorable sales conditions - I get very confused when marketing or technology firms tell me that we’ll increase traffic on your website or we’ll get you on the first page of a Google search. Okay, that is nice, but does it create a favorable sales condition? Take Zappos, which promises a 365 days return policy plus free shipping both ways. That guarantee sets a favorable sales condition, because as a consumer, you know you won’t risk losing money in the online transaction. Offers and promises of satisfaction also work in this way. MISTAKE #7: Not implementing regularly - You may have already made the deadly mistake of implementing a tactic only once and then moving on to the hottest and latest tools out there. If you’re spending money, time and energy in marketing, implement regularly. You gain momentum by doing little by little, and over time, you accumulate results. Regular implementation helps you improves your marketing efforts. Chia-Li Chien, CFP®, CRPC, PMP; Succession Strategies for Women Entrepreneurs. She is chief strategist of Value Growth Institute dedicated to helping private business owners increase the value of their firms. She is the award-winning author of Show Me The Money and faculty member of American Management Association. Her blog is named a top small business resource by the New York Times. www.valuegrowthinstitute.com


security

Developing Business Security Policies

By Paul Mase

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etting a well-defined business security plan is critical to the stability of any company or organization. Preventing theft and interruptions to your business operations cannot be achieved by security equipment alone, it must be complimented by a comprehensive business security action plan containing some of the specifics detailed below: STAFF INVOLVEMENT AND COMMUNICATION. Managing and communicating policies to staff is a big part of business security. For any policy to be effective it must be part of staff training, monitored, allow for staff feedback and employee input. Staff must be made aware of the expectations placed on them and made aware that their activities are being monitored. Having procedures in place for when an incident occurs is essential to stability and peace of mind. Consider what you would need to do if something went wrong, who it would need to be communicated to,

how staff would be consulted and how missing or damaged goods could be replaced. Having a tailored security system for your business will give you easy access to recorded footage which will greatly aide police and potentially lower insurance costs. MANAGING INTERNAL RISK. Internal risk factors to business security include loss of data due to stolen or damaged equipment, backup storage, and procedures for getting it restored. The overall aim is to minimized interruptions to your day to day operations. Some preventative measures for data loss or tampering include installing antivirus and firewall software on all company computers, knowing who has access to data, regularly changing passwords and setting internet access limits. It is particularly critical to protect customer data as the release of such information is extremely damaging to a company’s reputation. Testing backup and access restriction systems are very important; this is time consuming and generally requires some outsourced expertise.

LOST AND STOLEN HARDWARE. When a device that has company sensitive information on it or access to the businesses network is stolen or misplaced it is essential to take action as soon as possible to isolate your network from them—even if devices have password protection. Finding the right provider for your business’ security needs is difficult, but the loss of revenue, reputation and trust will be much more expensive in the long run if you fail to take precautions. When you secure your business, you protect vital data, staff and your customers. Eversafe Australia have been providing technologically forward security solutions to Melbourne Businesses since 1995. Eversafe offer a full range of tailored security Business solutions including; CCTV, Alarm packages, Camera packages, Security monitoring and Access control systems. www.eversafe.com.au

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finance

College Students Start Off Right: No Cash Advances By Holly Petherbridge

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each your children the right way the first time around in order to prevent a need for an online cash advance later. Sending a student off to college is a first step for them to learn about tracking finances and being accountable for what they spend. Credit cards often require cosigners unless the student has a job. Parents who start early with lessons on handling money will have an easier time keeping these young adults out of debt.

Make sure to shop around. The parent’s bank may not be the best suited for a college student’s needs.

Technology can keep financial newcomers up to date and better regulated on cash flow.

Cash advances are found online, in cash advance stores, through credit cards, banks and credit unions. Their easy accessibility has many struggling with additional monthly payments. The last thing any parent wants for their college student is to get them into debt before they start their career. A checking account is a great ways to start a young adult into the world of finances. It is a safe place to keep their money and can be accessed in multiple ways. The first step would be to find a financial institution which can be found at home and from campus. Many large banks have convenient locations in most big cities. Choosing the best one to fit their needs with as little or no monthly finance charges would be the next step. Does the young adult have any need for checks or would a debit/credit card be a better option for their personal use? Does the bank have a certain limit which needs to be kept to save from being charged monthly fees? What kind of protection is there for overdrafts?

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Find one which can be accessed online and has a local ATM for no fee withdrawals. The less money eaten in fees is the way to go for a newcomer. Online access can also be helpful when needing to add more money to the account. Parents could possibly deposit money into the young adults account in an emergency or pull from a saving. Online account will usually have low balance reminders. This is a good way to stay aware of balances getting too close to the zero mark. Financial newcomers do not need to make all the same mistakes as those in the past. Technology will keep them up to date and better regulated on cash flow than the days when everything was done by standing in a bank line or writing a check. Teaching young adults that any third party money costs money to use is a good beginning lesson. Having the option to use a credit card can be a thrill as well as a curse. Money spent is forgotten about and the balance climbs as it gets used here and there. Little purchases can add up really fast and if not paid off in full, the price you pay increases with interest payments. The sooner we learn to control spending to what we have, the less debt we may fall into. Online Cash Advances promotes responsible lending and borrowing. Lessons which are learned early in life will help to prevent a pile of debt which will create financial struggles for later. Spotya! Online Cash Advances are small short-term loans that can bring you quick cash in a time of need. We encourage responsible borrowing since these loans carry a quick payoff schedule. Visit www.spotya.com to find out more about our cash advance lender practices.


bizethics

E-T-H-I-C-S Spells Success By Frank Bucaro frank@frankbucaro.com

We are daily challenged to respond to the world around us. How and what we decide and the effect of those decisions, will dictate in many ways the return we can expect from those decisions. So what and where is your success? It lies within you. How do you spell success? E-T-H-I-C-S!Here’s why…

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= Experience. Experience is not what happens to you, but what you make of what happens to you. Learn from the lessons of life and use that wisdom. Values are caught not taught. Think back, who modeled those life values to you, that wisdom that stands the test of time? Identify those values and integrate them in every decision you make in life. The result is a person of true character that people admire respect and with whom, they want to do business.

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our business dealings.

Each time you interact with a customer, ask the question, am I making a sale or making a customer? Business today is NOT money, but how well you build quality customer relationships!

= Training. Train yourself to keep asking the question: “Am I doing the right thing, at the right time for the right reason?” This question will help keep you more ethically focused. If companies don’t train their people to focus on this question consistently, they leave themselves open to a greater chance of an ethical lapse or legal trouble. The more we train people to consider things from an ethical viewpoint, the better equipped we are for getting and keeping our business relationships.

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= Hindsight. This gives us that opportunity to, hopefully, look more objectively into the past in order to analyze, discern, and when necessary, make appropriate changes. Hindsight makes the wisdom of past experiences available to us to discern whether we have lived our values, acted ethically, and were “other-centered” in our business dealings. Our obligation is to learn, assess, and adapt to be more value based and principle driven in

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= Intuition. What does your “gut” tell you is the right thing to do? Be attentive to it as it affects all areas of your life. View intuition as your personal moral code, because deep down, you know what’s right and wrong! Tap this “gift” of self-reflection for it will lead to better decisions, which lead to better results!

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= Customer. Ask yourself, are you making a sale or making a customer? Whatever your answer is, is where your values lie! Here’s where people go “astray.” Your best advertising is word of mouth. Your worst advertising is word of mouth. What’s the difference? How you treat customers consistently and what is treatment based on is based on your values, your ethics and the focus of building relationships. This is what builds or destroys your reputation. Each time you interact with a customer, ask the question, am I making a sale or making a customer? Whichever is your answer, shows everybody what your values are! The bottom line in business today is NOT money, but how well you build quality customer relationships! If you focus on relationships, the money will take care itself.

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= Self Esteem. Good self-esteem, as opposed to ego, simply is this. Selfesteem is my perception of myself in relation to the world, not the world’s perception of me. The more positive one’s self-esteem is the more ethical one becomes. The best decisions are self-esteem “makers”, not self-esteem “breakers.” Self-esteem is basis of everything we are, believe and become. Remember that no one can make feel anything without your permission. Don’t give it to them! Own it and keep that power. Frank Bucaro is an ethics expert, who is a leading advocate-- speaking, training and writing-- on the benefits of ethics and the power of ethical leadership. Frank’s programs are challenging in contact, practical is application and entertaining in delivery! He can be reached at: 630483-2276 or frank@frankbucaro.com. More info: www.frankbucaro.com

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realestate

Miami Pending Home Sales Rise 15% Year-Over-Year

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he total number of listings, including single-family homes and condominiums, that pended* in Miami-Dade County during the month of August increased 15 percent, from 2,693 to 3,087, year-overyear and decreased nine percent compared to the previous month, according to the 25,000-member MIAMI Association of REALTORS and the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) systems. The number of single-family and condominium listings that pended in August increased 26.3 percent and 6.28 percent respectively compared to August 2011.

Dade County currently are one percent above what they were a year ago, up from 11,915 to 12,222, but 1.5 percent below what they were the previous month, down from 12,210.

“Pending sales in the Miami real estate market remain at historically strong levels, particularly when considering the current shortage of local housing inventory,” said Martha Pomares, 2012 chairman of the board of the MIAMI Association of REALTORS. “Pending sales continue to reflect strong demand compared to record sales levels in 2011. This activity is driving home prices to rise sooner and stronger than expected.”

Pending sales of single-family homes were 10 percent above what they were a year earlier, up from 4,941 to 5,435, and 0.5 percent above the previous month, when pending single-family homes sales totaled 5,407. Pending sales of condominiums were 5.5 percent lower than they were a year earlier, down from 6,974, and 3.1 percent below what they were the previous month, down from 6,803 to 6,587. “The Miami real estate market has experienced rising demand from international buyers over the last year,” said 2012 MIAMI Association of REALTORS Residential President Patricia Delinois. “Foreign buyers have been and continue to be an instrumental factor in strengthening the Miami real estate market unlike any other in the nation. As a global city, Miami will continue to draw demand from international buyers and investors long into the future.”

Total cumulative pending home sales** – including single-family homes and condominiums - in Miami-

Nationally, the Pending Home Sales Index, a forwardlooking indicator based on contract signings, rose 2.6

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percent to 99.2 in August from 101.9 in July, according to the National Association of Realtors. The index is 10.7 percent higher than the 89.6 index reported in August 2011. Increased pending sales are an indication of increased future sales. A sale is listed as pending when a contract is signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing. *“Pended sales” are defined as only the sales that pended during a particular month **”Total cumulative pending sales” refer to all sales cumulatively pending at the end of a particular month. The MIAMI Association of REALTORS was chartered by the National Association of Realtors in 1920 and is celebrating more than 90 years of service to Realtors, the buying and selling public, and the communities in South Florida. Comprised of four organizations, the Residential Association, the Realtors Commercial Alliance, the Broward County Board of Governors, and the International Council, it represents more than 25,000 real estate professionals in all aspects of real estate sales, marketing, and brokerage. It is the largest local association in the National Association of Realtors, and has partnerships with more than 100 international organizations worldwide. MIAMI’s official website is www.miamire.com


smallbiz

Benefits Of Partnerships For Small Business Owners

By Christian Fea

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here are many benefits to partnerships for companies of all sizes. However; for small business owners finding the right set of partners to help grow a business can be the best strategy available. Most small businesses have limited resources and staff available to execute business plans and strategies to reach target demographics. Partners can bring existing customers into the fold. A business that is new to an industry often needs the validation of other companies within the industry to really be able to break out and establish their own credibility. Partnerships with the right company can quickly elevate a small business when joining forces with a larger industry player. One of the leading advantages of a partnership for a small business owner can be the co-marketing capital that may be established. For the larger partner to see a return on their investment they may spend significant capital marketing and branding the smaller business partner’s product and services that otherwise the smaller company would not be able to afford. Finding the right partner that is capable of providing this type of benefit allows a small business owner to fill gaps in their marketing strategy and reach new customers in a more cost effective way than attempting to acquire new customers on their own. Access to People. A small business that is comprised of just a handful of people may not be adequate to properly sell and service a large customer base. Creating a partnership with a company that has a marketing and sales team dedicated to promoting partner products and services will allow the small business to focus on what they do best, creating innovative and quality products while their larger partner handles the details marketing and selling to customers. Making sure there is a smooth transition from sales transaction to servicing the new client is critical. With proper planning this can be done easily. There is nothing better for a small business than to have a handful of hungry sales people knocking on doors and making phone calls selling the product for a revenue share. Access to Capital. When forming a business partnership sometimes there will be a fund of co-marketing dollars set aside

for promoting the small business’s brand and products to the market and industry insiders. These types of co-branded campaigns are excellent in developing strong brand recognition within the industry. While these types of activities are usually not available when two small businesses form a partnership, it is certainly one of the best advantages of a partnership between a small business and Fortune 1000 company.

A business that is new to an industry often needs the validation of other companies within the industry to really be able to break out and establish their own credibility. Partnerships with the right company can quickly elevate a small business when joining forces with a larger industry player.

Every small business owner should evaluate what it is they are seeking from forming a joint venture partnership. Once this has been established then the goal is to identify the right partners that can help meet those objectives. Whether the your business is just looking for a huge rolodex of hot leads or needs support in developing brand awareness, each partner will bring a varying degree of assets and expertise to the table which should be evaluated on a whole in order gauge how successful the partnership will be. Every small business gains a positive impact from a good partner and should keep an open mind when approached about business deals that can help the company grow revenue. Christian Fea is CEO of Synertegic, Inc. A Joint Venture Marketing firm. He exemplifies how to profit from Joint Venture relationships by creating profit centers with minimal risk and maximum profitability. Join his Joint Venture Marketing Wealth Report at www.christianfea.com/jointventure-wealth-report.

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sales

Maximizing Your Price in a Soft Economy By Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter”

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stablishing maximum value for your price is never easy. In today’s volatile economy, it’s even more of a challenge. For most companies, costs are increasing, yet the ability to pass them along to the customer is fraught with numerous roadblocks.

The customer’s response to a price increase is rarely positive coupled with the usual line of objections that go along with it. In addition, there are the concerns that a competitor’s price may undercut yours or that the customer may choose to go down a different path instead of buying from you at all. As big as these issues are, they pale in comparison to the number one roadblock to maximizing your price point: the confidence of the salesperson. The main reason why companies do not capitalize on their potential revenue is because their salespeople do not have the confidence to ask for and receive the highest price point. If a salesperson is secure in what they are selling and in knowing how the customer will benefit from their products/ services, then they will be confident in asking for and getting the desired price point. The problem is that many times the salesperson lacks confidence in at least one of these areas, resulting in their inability to make their sales quota. To rectify this problem, it’s important to examine how the salesperson first developed a lack of confidence in their ability to maximize their price points. Generally, it stems from a sale they perceived to be lost because their price had been too high. On the surface, their assumption probably appeared to be correct. However, in reality, it just seemed that way because the right price-value relationship had not been established. If the salesperson had executed a proper sales strategy that allowed both himself and the customer to see the product’s/service’s true value, this could have been avoided. It needs to be communicated that in a B2B environment, the benefits are to both the buyer and the business they’re buying it for. In a B2C environment, the benefits are to both the buyer and to the person(s) who will actually use the product or service. When the salesperson and the customer understand this, it can help erase the uncertainty that the price may pose. Let me give you two quick examples. If a person works for a mega-global company and is buying widgets, he’d have 26

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The main reason why companies do not capitalize on their potential revenue is because their salespeople do not have the confidence to ask for and receive the highest price point.

no problem spending a little on them if he knew he was buying them from a reputable company that has experience selling to other mega-global companies. In essence, the customer is looking for confidence and is willing to pay for it. In a B2C situation, because the customer doesn’t want to look like a fool for their purchase, they want the salesperson to provide them with enough emotional benefit to allow them to convey to others that they made a great decision. In both situations, an inexperienced salesperson is going to lose the sale if they don’t take the time to use questions that encourage the customer to fully express their needs. In general, new salespeople often lose the sale shortly after they’ve stated their price. Thus, it’s only natural for them to believe that the price was the determining factor. However, when digging below the surface, the price was not what prevented them from closing the deal. Rather, they lost the sale because they didn’t ask enough questions to fully establish the needs of the customer.

Top-performing salespeople ask questions that allow the customer to elaborate on their needs and then demonstrate their listening skills by asking appropriate open questions and probing deeper with great follow-up questions. They use the information that they learn to better explain how their product or service can benefit the customer. In my 25 plus years of selling, I’ve learned that the customer’s real needs, hurts, and wants don’t often surface until you’ve demonstrated genuine interest in what their thoughts and goals are. Ironically, this means that you can throw out their initial comments, as it is rarely the need they are looking to fill. If you expect to base your price-value relationship on what you first hear, you’ll never come close to achieving your maximum price point. In summary, today’s economy is full of opportunities for top performing salespeople to ask really good questions that get customers talking. This allows both the customer and the salesperson to see, feel, and understand what their true needs are. When the salesperson can experience this across multiple customers, they will begin to develop the assurance they need to be able to confidently convey the maximum price point their company expects them to receive.

Mark Hunter, The Sales Hunter, is a consultative selling expert committed to helping individuals and companies identify better prospects, close more sales, and profitably build more long-term customer relationships. He is also author of “HighProfit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price.” To find out more, visit www.TheSalesHunter.com.


travel

INCENTIVE TRAVEL: Increased Sales and Better Relationships means more profits By Larry Jacobson larry@larryjacobson.com Incentive travel programs have a long history of helping companies grow their business through increased sales, build loyalty with customers, and earn incremental profits for the hosting company.

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ncentive trips to exotic destinations around the world were the norm during the 1980s and 1990s. Companies in nearly every industry took part: automobiles, auto parts, computers, garage door openers, spa builders, pool companies, tractors, sprinklers, lawn mowers; just about every other business you can think of sent their salespeople, distributors, and dealers on trips that were earned and paid for out of increased business to the host company. These trips were not boondoggles, but rather sales tools, and very effective ones at that. Customers clamored to be part of the group that would charter The Orient Express, hold a cocktail party on top of a glacier only accessible by helicopter, dance with the Kirov ballet in St. Petersburg, have their awards banquet in the same place the Nobel Prizes are awarded, take a private tour of the Vatican, perform their own concert in the Sydney Opera House, and the list of incredible events goes on and on.. Why did these incentive travel programs work so well? The answer lies in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. For those who took Psychology 101 in college, you already understand this concept. Here’s a quick review for you and an introduction for those who haven’t yet heard of this. As humans, we have basic physiological needs such as food and water. Once these needs are satisfied, we move up to safety needs such as security, employment and health. Next is our need for love and belonging, which include friendship and family. Once all of these basic needs are taken care of, we strive for esteem which includes achievement, respect

from others, confidence, and self-esteem. And lastly, humans need self-actualization like achieving our potential as individuals. It is esteem and self-actualization that drive us to achieve recognition of ourselves and from others. This makes salespeople and customers want, need, and strive to be on the trips. Spouse and partner recognition are also very important and falls under this category. Self-actualization, or in other words, “Why am I working so hard every day?” also drives people to want to be part of the winning group that is rewarded in such a big manner. This recognition does not come from awarding cash or merchandise. It is only being with one’s peers that provides the self-esteem and self-actualization. What are the primary goals that can be achieved by an incentive travel program? We already know a program can drive sales. Additionally, many companies run incentive trips just to build relationships with their sales force and customers. Think of it as the ultimate way of taking a client out to dinner. By building a special relationship, you as the sponsoring company earn the right to ask your customer or sales force to work harder for you when times are lean. If increased sales and better relationships aren’t enough motivation to run an incentive program, then calculate the profit % you make on incremental sales. Each dollar of profit made above and beyond your forecast has a higher % of profit built in because your overhead hasn’t changed. You set the goals and by doing so, you ensure enough profit is coming in to pay for the trip and will leave you with incremental profits. The bigger and more exotic the trip, the more you can ask from your participants. Will a dealer sell 15% more of your product for a trip to Orlando? Not likely. But announce a winter ski fest to Switzerland, charter private yachts in the Caribbean, or take over castles in Ireland and watch your sales climb. There are those that say in today’s economy, incentive travel needs more return on investment

(ROI) than ever before. Therefore, any incentive travel program needs more business content, more meetings, and more education. Wrong! These are merely sound bites to try to convince today’s new management that trips are justifiable and are not boondoggles. Those managers are new to incentives and haven’t seen how they have performed in the past. I have. I have seen customers buy more products, salespeople working on weekends, and distributors pushing a client’s products like the client had never seen before—all just to be part of an amazing journey to an exotic destination. After hundreds and hundreds of programs in just about every industry, I have never once experienced a failed program or one that didn’t lead to increased sales and profits for the client and better relationships with their customers. Incentive travel worked before for all of these excellent reasons and those reasons haven’t changed. It’s not necessary to fill your trip with education about your industry, your products, sales training, and other false pretenses for holding your event. Use incentive travel for the tool that is and let it work for you. Larry Jacobson is a veteran of the incentive travel industry. He is the founder of Creative Incentive Group and World Class Incentives and spent twenty years in charge of sales and marketing and was responsible for building these companies from scratch to tens of millions of dollars in sales. Currently, Jacobson is vice-president of sales and marketing for BenchMark Incentives (http://www.benchmarkin.com) and is a motivational speaker on the subjects of sales and leadership (http://www.larryjacobson.com).

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earthtalk

Hotel Industry More Serious About Sustainability By the Editors of E The Environmental Magazine earthtalk@emagazine.com / www.emagazine.com/subscribe

In recent years the hotel industry began to green up operations, but has it yet gone beyond leaving out little cards to encourage you to reuse your towels and linens?

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ome hotels and hotel chains take sustainability more seriously than others, but the industry as a whole has certainly become greener in recent years. Those little cards may seem like token environmentalism, but they can actually result in significant water, waste and cost reductions. The website Economically Sound reports that a 150-room hotel can conserve 72,000 gallons of water and 480 gallons of laundry soap every year by placing the cards in its guest rooms. The Marriott chain reported saving as much as 17 percent in hot water and sewer costs at its hotels thanks to implementation of its Linen Reuse Program.

Those little cards urging you to reuse towels and linens may seem like token environmentalism, but they actually result in significant water and waste reductions. The website Economically Sound reports that a 150-room hotel can conserve 72,000 gallons of water and 480 gallons of laundry soap every year by placing the cards in its guest rooms.

While many hotels and chains print up their own cards, thousands more purchase them from the Green Hotels Association, a nonprofit launched two decades ago to bring together hotels around the U.S. and elsewhere that share a commitment to the environment and sustainable use of natural resources. The organization’s Catalog of Environmental Products for the Lodging Industry contains a wide range of environmentally friendly energy- and water-saving products. For example, 500 laminated copies of the group’s bestselling card (asking guests to consider not having sheets changed every day) costs hoteliers just $200. Another example is the toilet tank fill diverter, which saves about 3/4 of a gallon of water per flush while remaining invisible to guests. The little gadgets cost hotels around $1 and as such pay for themselves in no time thanks to reduced water bills. The catalog also features dispensers that eliminate the waste of stocking every bathroom with soap bars and little bottles of hair and skin care products. Another group promoting a greener hospitality industry is the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), which works to improve the quality of tourism

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around the world. Under its Environment Initiative, WTTC aims to solidify a global vision on how the tourism industry can foster sustainable development. It has been especially proactive around the mitigation of carbon emissions and last year, along with the International Tourism Partnership (ITP) and 12 major hotel chains including Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott and Starwood, launched the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative, which aims to help hotels reduce, measure and communicate their carbon footprints. This is particularly relevant, says WTTC, for hotels’ corporate clients who want to quantify the carbon footprints of their hotel stays, meetings and events. Another positive trend is the Four Seasons’ 10 Million Trees Initiative. The hotel chain is celebrating its 50th anniversary by planting 10 million trees across the 34 countries in which it operates with the hope that the effort will help combat deforestation and global warming and attract more customers concerned about the state of the planet.

Beyond what the major chains are doing, eco lodges run by or in partnership with native people or tribes have popped up all over the tropics and beyond; examples include Guludo Beach Lodge in Mozambique, Africa and Posada Amazonas in the Peruvian Amazon. Staying at such a place is a good way to ensure that locals can benefit from tourism and not be tempted to pillage their region’s natural resource base. CONTACTS: Economically Sound, www.economicallysound.com; Green Hotels Association, www.greenhotels.com; WTTC, www.wttc.org; ITP, www. tourismpartnership.org.


technology

Look To Your Accountant For Technology Help To Avoid A Costly Mistake By Jeremy Wilson

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owadays, keeping up with the competition means staying abreast of the latest in business technology. Because technological advances are taking place all the time, and at a rapid pace, it can be tough to stay current. When seeking technology advice, many businesses may not think to contact their accountant for technology help. But increasingly, accounting firms are stepping forward as the logical source for advice on technology for businesses. Accounting firms that go beyond traditional accounting services to include performance accounting understand the role of technology. They are constantly looking for the latest advances in software and other systems to improve efficiencies and performance and use this information to help their clients. While you should consult your accountant for technology advice before committing to any particular software system, below are some things to consider: Bookkeeping Software Solutions. For the simplest needs, programs focusing on payroll and accounting may be all that your business needs. Most everyone has heard of QuickBooks by Intuit, which offers many levels of complexity. Another popular option is MYOB Accounting. Business Management Programs. Stepping things up a notch are programs that offer more features that help keep track of your business. These include: point of sale, inventory control, billing, and purchasing.

Accounting Applications Based on the Web. “The cloud” is becoming ever more popular as a source for accounting and other management systems, as it offers many advantages to the user. Your accounting system can be accessed anytime, anywhere, and by multiple users, as long as they are given access. It can be a great way to integrate your accounting system and your accounting firm as well. Follow up With Your Accountant for Technology Support. Choosing and installing your accounting software system is only the beginning. As with any new system, there is usually a learning period before things really start to run smoothly. You may want to consult with your accountant for technology support as well. This will take place naturally if you have decided to use a cloudbased accounting system. Taking advantage of the connection between your business and your accountant through the cloud can significantly increase efficiency as well as growth for your business. Selecting the right business accounting software can be a daunting task. By consulting with your accountant for technology advice, much of the anxiety and stress associated with the decision can be taken away. With more than twenty years’ experience working as an Auckland accountant, Jeremy Wilson has a wealth of expertise in his field. Find out more by visiting the Success Group at www.successgroup.co.nz


bizcommunity

Family AIDS Coalition at Century Bank

Pridelines Youth Services 30th Pearl Anniversary

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Kimberly Shenker- Bacardi’s Birthday Benefiting Food for the Poor

Teri’s 5th Annual Halloween Extravaganza benefiting God’s Innocent Angels Foundation for RETT Syndrome


latinbiz networking events Briza, Miami, FL

Casa Moderna, Miami , FL

Hilton Miami Airport, FL

Miami Springs Country Club

Miss Yip, Miami, FL

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Latin Business of America - 4th Quarter 2012  

Businessrise is proud to announce that we delivered the new issue of the Latin Business of America compan, for the fourth quarter of 2012.

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