Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Advertising: Relationships vs Business Decisions

Successful businesses know the importance of building and maintaining good working relationships, whether it is with partners, employees, business or trade organizations, the government, media representatives, vendors, consumers, or the community at large. A business must carefully balance the benefits of these interpersonal relationships and should never allow these relationships to blind their judgment especially when it relates to what is in the best interest of the business's continued success and growth

Buying advertising media based on interpersonal relationships is a common mistake made by many small businesses. This strategy throws the business's strategic marketing plan into the winds of chance in exchange for the warm and fuzzy feelings that come with doing business among friends. However, when the smoke clears the business has made costly advertising expenditures with little or no results and the long term negative effects may not readily be seen. Simply, the marketing / advertising expenditures have been made, the budget may or may not be busted, and the results may be none to little measurable penetration into the business's target demographic market segment.

Is buying media from a friend in the business always bad? No, however in order to choose the most effective media channels a business must first consider the audience or customer it is trying to reach. Developing a strong sense of the target demographics' buying and shopping patterns, interests and hobbies, entertainment and media choices for example will lend itself a tremendous benefit to making informed media buying choices. Once the advertising business has developed a strong sense of what media channels may prove to be the most effective it should try each a little at a time carefully tracking the results of each. Once this is complete the business will be able to make an educated decision on where to invest its marketing dollars, prioritizing expenditures into the mediums that have proven results for the business.

It is true that strong interpersonal relationships skills and the ability to develop and maintain good working relationships with a variety of people, businesses, and other organizations are imperative in today's business environments. However, the importance of a well designed and implemented strategic marketing plan can not be understated and is paramount to the business's development and longevity never taking second seat to friendship.

Business – A Dream Come True

Dreams do come true! What you put your attention on does become a reality – the dream of a business created by you is no exception. The dream of owning one’s own business subtly grows within until a person finds a way to let it sprout into fruition. As you look up and down any business street, or on the internet, you can see the truth of this. Few, if any, of these businesses were there forty years ago. Someone’s dreams came true.

Unfortunately, not all of these businesses are as fulfilling as the original dream. While working long hours for someone else as a technician, for an hourly wage, and possibly few benefits or holidays, people often think, “Boy, someday I’ll have a business of my own, and I won’t have to do this.” Then by some means they do acquire their own business and, without some careful guidance, they find they are now working even longer hours and making less money and have less vacations. They have developed into being their own technician.

There is no one to relieve them of the consequences of their decisions and obligations now that they are the boss.

How can one avoid this dilemma? By building a business that functions as efficiently as a franchise. By creating a model business that someone else could duplicate, which means putting each step of each process in writing. By building a prototype. The product itself takes second place to the process of how the business itself functions. The process rules the business, not the product.

Key elements of creating this type of business are: (1) quantifying everything! How many of this, how many of that, tracking in writing exactly what is going on (examples are how many customers call or come in during each hour of the day, which are the peak hours, how many customers turn right after walking in the door and how many turn left), (2) creating an organizational chart based on what needs to be done, not on who does it (building a company around personalities severely limits progress, even if it is ‘your’ personality), (3) be consistent (the same color scheme on everything – the web page, the letterhead – the vehicles – the uniforms – the paint on the walls – the chairs).

Build an image that stays in the customer’s mind. McDonald’s stands out as the prime example of the above. The image is consistent: they know exactly how many ounces of each item can be sold in one day, and which hours are the most productive. The turnover of employees boggles the mind yet the service is identical. And, from a McDonald’s in London, to one in China to one in Brazil, the customer expects exactly the same product.

The new entrepreneurial business with only one or two employees can be developed with the same precision. If it isn’t, the person playing the combined role of owner/boss/janitor will probably remain a technician with a shattered dream.

By working ON one’s business, rather than IN it, the new owner/boss can radiate success, have joyous time with his/her family daily, and even enjoy several vacations every year.

Build Your Buyers List

I recently spoke to a few people who wanted to get involved in wholesaling properties. Wholesaling properties is a great niche to be in because if you can find the right leads you will have no problems selling your properties and selling them fast. But before you can sell them fast you need to have a buyers list. A buyers list is one of the most important parts of a wholesalers business. When you are wholesaling properties you want to be able to flip them as fast as possible, and with a strong buyers list organized the right way this process becomes a whole lot easier.

What are some sources for buyers?

Your local real estate investment club is a great resource for buyers. If you are an investor it is absolutely critical that you know the investors in your area and have contact with them. When you meet them find out what part of investing they focus on and take note. Certain investors at your local clubs may not be interested in buying properties from other investors because it is not their particular concentration. But those that are looking for those types of deals are great. You know they are investors so your real estate investment clubs should be your first source for creating your buyers list.

Another source for potential buyers is from signs and classifieds. When you see any advertisement that says “We Buy Houses” or any other advertisement that is clearly from an investor, write down the number. When you get home call the number and just start talking to the investor. Find out what sort of properties they are interested in. Take notes on each conversation that you have and keep meticulous records

One of the best sources for a buyers list is your local section 8 office. Call your local office or visit them and get a list of the local landlords in your area. This will give you a large list of people who are active in real estate investing and are potential buyers. Again, once you have the list contact each investor and talk to them and try and get a feel for what types of properties they are looking for. On a side note, you may also be able to find a burnt out landlord that would be willing to sell you their rental property or properties at a discount. So not only can this step help create a buyers list but you may also generate a few good leads from this easy step.

Remember when you are collecting all these names to take lots of notes. Get each persons contact information and as much other information as you can. One critical piece of info is the email address. When you have a property and you have 100 emails of potential buyers, all you have to do is send out one email and you have reached 100 potential buyers in literally seconds. Regardless of the strategy I am going over next, this is a very powerful way to flip your properties very quickly.

So now you have a buyers list, what next?

The next step that I recommend is to sort your buyers list. The reason you do this is to take away a lot of the hassles you might face. If you have your list separated into an A, B, C, and D list; you will find wholesaling a lot easier. You're A list may be those that can bring cash to the table within a week. Your B list may be those that have pre-qualified for a specific loan amount. Your C list may be those who have not pre-qualified but you believe could be able to get the financing in a month's time. Then your D list may be those who you have no reason to contact because you don't believe they will be able to get the money from anywhere.

However you divide your list up, this process will help out because you simply progress down your list. Start with your A list then your B list and so on down the line until you have a buyer and the property is sold.

I have also found it helpful to have a website where you can put pictures and descriptions of your properties. This however is not necessary however due to a new program a good friend of mine has created where you can list you properties and anyone can view them.
I hope you have found this information helpful and you are able to grow your buyers list bigger than ever before.

Are You A Business Opportunity Seeker?

If you are involved in any type of multi-level, network marketing program, home based business, or other type of direct sales program, then you are probably interested in building your business using business opportunity seekers. These are people who have expressed an interest in a home-based business, extra-income opportunity, multi-level marketing, or entrepreneurship by signing up on one or many websites that match business opportunity seekers with the type of offering they are looking for.

There are also people who may not be interested in actually running a business of their own, but simply want to make some extra income working for someone else. In this instant, what they may be looking for is to get a second or part-time job. Those who are serious business builders are business opportunity seekers who want to be in charge of their own fate, and be able to make their own decisions on business matters, not simply do what someone else wants or tells them to do.

There are a number of list providers on the internet that specialize in gathering information on perspective business opportunity seekers, by asking them to fill out a simple form about what type of money making venture they are looking for. The lead company then compiles this information for sale to multi-level marketers (MLM) and other types of businesses who need fresh responsive leads, not just lists that have been circulated to thousands of people.

Making calls to these people will not be a positive experience because they have already been bombarded with calls from your competition. They dont want to hear what you have to say. On the contrary, actually speaking with a true business opportunity seeker is a refreshing experience, because this person really wants to listen to you about what you have to offer. Lead companies also sell pre-qualified leads that can greatly increase your efficiency and level of success. These pre-qualified business opportunity seekers have been contacted by the lead company to verify the type of opportunity they are looking for, so that they can be matched as closely as possible for just the right fit.

Business opportunity seekers have always been the primary target for any MLM, direct sales, home based businesses. It is not always possible to continue recruiting new people from your warm market only. At some point, all multi-level marketers must search for business builders outside of their group of family, friends, and co-workers to connect with those people who are just waiting to be found. So, are you a business opportunity seeker?

A Short Lesson on Real Estate

Where did the notion that men should buy houses for women come from? Some people say that this is based on our natural instinct. Like any other animal, parents want to protect their young for the continuation of the species. Anyway, asked that question because I wanted to know why business relating to real estate is suddenly making becoming popular. Before you had the buying and selling of properties. Now, with the widespread use of the Internet, we have real estate trading which is basically “I buy yours you buy mine” kind of arrangement.
The term real estate is used to refer to any property, which is permanently attached to land such as buildings and houses. Most people refer to it as real property but there are situations wherein the term real estate is used for the land and the building together while real property refers to the ownership rights of the land itself. On the other hand, the word real is used to categorize these properties as things as opposed to people. Records show that the idea of real estate can be traced as far back as 1666.
With the idea of personal property becoming more widespread, real estate has become a major area of business in the United States. In fact, economists claim that the reason for the recent economic slump is due to the lower revenue generated by this industry. In order for the US to get back on track, Americans need to view land and buildings as an investment.
There are many types of real estate: residential, commercial or industrial property. The most common transactions involve the buying and selling of residential properties such as apartments, condominiums and a duplex. Sometimes families who want to move to a different state finds it difficult to find dwellings on their own so they usually do a map search of the area they’re moving to so as to find any houses which are either for sale or for rent. This way, they get to pick the properties they want without having to travel yet, thereby saving time, effort and money. In some cases, people contact a real estate agent who can then give them a tour of the area so that they get to see the houses and to possibly bargain for the price of the property.
In US and Canada, finding property is easy because of the existence of the multiple listing system or MLS – a data base wherein real estate brokers can share information about the properties their clients are planning to sell, or in some cases, planning to buy. Most people who want to buy a house usually have no idea where to start so they call a real estate broker. When you do so, the broker searches the MLS to find details about the property. At present, there are about 800 different MLS in the US with new competitors like Google Base, Craigslist and Cribfinder entering the public domain.

10 Quick Things You Can Do Today To Improve Your Search Ranking

You know all that extra time you have to work on Search Engine Optimization? [A little sarcasm there] Actually, I tried to put together a list of quick things you can do that will help you move a little higher in your Google or Yahoo results.

1. Get listed in more search engines. There are tons of them out there. There are also many free services that will help you get listed. Or just set aside some time to get it done yourself. Here is a free search engine submission site that will let you cycle through the top 100 search engines and get your site submitted.

2. Get listed in more directories. Again, there are a lot of them out there. Look for higher pagerank directories. Improvingrank.com has some listed by pagerank. Look on the left side of the homepage.

3. Clean up your html and check your links. You want the bots to have smooth sailing through your site. Use the tools on W3c.org and have a real person check them over too.

4. Get a few more links to your site. Make them relevant and at least the same pagerank as you.

5. Make your page filenames descriptive and keyword rich. Naming your page new_page_1.html is wasting an opportunity to do some SEO. Use names that describe the content and keep the keywords flowing.

6. Check your Title tags. You can use 90 - 100 characters in the title, so add some keywords. We know Google looks at them, and so do many more search engines.

7. Check your ALT tags. Searchbots can’t see pictures. Make sure you have ALT tags on all of your pictures, and make sure they are descriptive and keyword rich.

8. Rewrite your URL (anchor) tags. Good anchor tags (the text between the http: and /a tags) reinforce the message and key words of your site.

9. Go post in a few forums and put your website in your signature. Forums are a great place to put one way links. And you can help somebody out at the same time.

10. Put together a text based sitemap and put it on your site. There’s a lot of navigation that spiders can’t understand, such as flash, forms, java and javascript. Putting together a text-based sitemap gives the bots a way to navigate around the site.

Fifteen minutes every couple of days will make a huge difference in getting your rank higher.