10 Ways Showing Gratitude Now Can Increase Your Future Income

by Alicia M Forest

Now is a great time to show appreciation to your clients and customers. Taking the time to give thanks to your clients will set you apart, increase loyalty, improve retention, inspire more sales, and deepen relationships that last long after the initial sale.

Here are 10 easy ways you can say thank you to your clients:

1. Greeting Cards

My husband often teases me that I should own stock in Hallmark for the amount of money I spend a year on cards. I love to send cards, for a specific reason or for no reason at all.

For business, you've probably heard of SendOutCards (and no, I'm not an affiliate or a distributor). I get a lot of cards this way, from colleagues, and it definitely deepens the relationship for me. And it is a super-easy way for you to do that with your customers too.

2. Personal Notes

I love to send personal notes too. I have specially designed notecards that I send when I just want to connect with someone after a particularly powerful coaching call, when someone makes an investment in Platinum, when I've made a special connection with someone in person, or when a client just needs a little cheer.

3. Invitations

One of the things you can do for your top clients is to invite them to a special event just for them. It can be a lunch or dinner at an event you'll all be at, or carve out a portion of your own live event to spend time just with them.

You can also invite them to special teleseminar or webinar where you offer them free content just for being your top clients.

4. Small Gifts

Flowers, books, a mug, or something more specific are all thoughtful gifts for clients. They can be sent for certain occasions or just because (that's actually my favorite way to send a gift).

5. Gift Cards

These days you can get gift cards for almost any product or service. Some companies, like Starbucks, offer having your logo or business name imprinted on them. Other ideas besides coffee include restaurants, movies, bookstores, office supplies and online vendors like Amazon.

6. Referral and Affiliate Rewards

Even if your referral or affiliate programs offer a commission on each referral, sending a personalized note along with it will go further in encouraging your network to continue to promote your offers into the future.

7. Reverse Referrals

Whenever appropriate, refer your clients and customers to others whom they will benefit from. Making this a part of the way you run your business will come back to you ten-fold as it shows the Universe your belief in abundance.

8. Customer Appreciation Days

Pick one day a year to designate as a Customer Appreciation Day to celebrate your clients. Make a special offer only to them and make a lasting impression.

9. Host Events

Host a gathering at the next event where your clients and customers are likely to gather. A Tweetup is a popular way to connect with both current and prospective clients and they are super-simple to set up and cost you nothing but a bit of time. You can also hold a virtual event anytime you want to bring your clients and customers together.

10. Life Events

Weddings, baby showers, major moves, book contracts, big speaking gigs, TV spots, or any other major event warrrants an acknowledgment. A nice card or personal note, or even a quick phone call, will make you memorable for sure.

In what ways are you showing gratitude to your clients and customers? Feel free to share below!

(c) 2009 Alicia Forest

About the author: Alicia M Forest, MBA, 6-Figure Business Breakthrough Mentor, teaches self-employed professionals how to attract more clients, create profit-making products and services, make more sales, and ultimately live the life they desire and deserve. For FREE tips on how to create wild abundance in your business, visit http://www.ClientAbundance.com
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Branding Basics for the New Year


by Kristin Marquet

Branding Simplified

Branding is a subset of marketing. Building a strong brand is one of the most important things an organization or person can do to increase visibility, build a good reputation, and become a trusted business. A brand is a symbol, design, name, or term that is associated with an organization, product, or person.

Consumers associate a brand with a certain identity for instance - Gidget, the Chihuahua for Taco Bell, Ronald McDonald for McDonalds, the Swoosh for Nike. Identities communicate messages, build credibility, and motivate prospects to contact and purchase from an organization.

Consider these tips when creating your brand -

Consistency - Marketing material tones and messaging (websites, logos, slogans, mission statement, brochures, postcards, sales letters, newsletters, advertisements, etc) must be consistent in communication.

Mission - A mission statement should tell who you are, what you do, and how you can add value to the marketplace. It positions your business in the market.

Community interaction - Sponsor a charity event or attend fundraisers. Join the local Chamber of Commerce to connect with other business people in your community

Cross promotions/strategic alliances/joint ventures - Get involved with non-competing companies are a good opportunity to expand your market

Publicity and the press release - Increase visibility whenever you launch a new product or service or a newsworthy event occurs

Ask customers for testimonials. Endorsements from customers/employees are powerful because they build brand credibility and trust

Electronic Media Kit - Add a media page to your website with where the business has been featured

Become an expert - Write by writing by-lined articles for industry blogs, websites, newsletters, newspapers, or magazines

Social media - Social media is becoming an essential tool to engage consumers. Join www.Facebook.com, www.twitter.com, and www.linkedin.com before the revolution is over.

Contact Kristin at km@marquet-communications.com.

Kristin Marquet is a regular contributor to the Secrets of Success blog.
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Women Entrepreneurs - The Secrets of Success


Guest Tracee Wright

Born in Hudson County, raised in Monmouth county and now living in Middlesex county, it is no wonder that Event Planner, Tracee Wright of Weddings Done Wright LLC Scotch Plains, NJ. www.WeddingsDoneWright.com is known for providing peace of mind to her clients. Tracee’s blend of sassy city chic, carefree shore fun, and suburban family values creates very special events for her clients and their guests. Weddings Done Wright is a full service event planning business specializing in sophisticated and elegant events. She has a passion for celebrating couple’s tastes by creating unique “wow” moments throughout their event.

Some of the unique “wow” moments included adding a cultural flair or a theme throughout the event. This creates a more intimate experience for her clients. For one couple, the Weddings Done Wright team helped perform a Sake sip to celebrate their Asian heritage. At another event, Tracee helped to incorporate a coin ceremony to bring in the Latin heritage of the bride.

After planning events for several years, Tracee Wright began Weddings Done Wright LLC in 2006. She joined the Association of Bridal Consultants and through their Professional Development Program attained the status of Professional Bridal Consultant TM. She is also a former co-director of the Central NJ Local Networking Group of the Association. This networking group educates other Event Planners with Central NJ. Past meetings included: education on etiquette, working with banquet halls and floral emergencies.

Tracee holds a B.A. from The University of Michigan and a M.B.A. from Rutgers Business School, Tracee was honored recently as an Emerging Entrepreneur winner from the National Association of Woman business Owners (NAWBO) Central Jersey Chapter. She has presented the Wedding Planning business to future entrepreneurs at Franklin High School in Somerset, NJ. Mrs. Wright will conduct a fireside chat with brides at the Behind the Veil Bridal Show in Jan. 2009 and is a presenter The Special Event Show in San Diego, CA in 2009.

Weddings Done Wright is a D├ęcor dealer for Party Rental Ltd and Cloth Connection & Invitation dealer with Encore Studios and Carlson Craft.

Weddings Done Wright LLC has been featured in the Courier News and is seen in NJBride, Brides.com and Chocolate Brides Magazines.

Mrs. Wright resides in Middlesex County with her husband and their two children.

www.blogtalkradio.com/coachdeb

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When Networking Check the Group at the Door!

By Julie Barnes

The starting of a New Year brings with it a time to reevaluate what is and what is not working for our businesses - networking groups included. When we first start our businesses we follow the golden rule of network, network, and then network some more. We ask colleagues to suggest groups to visit. The next thing you know, you are a member.

For home-based entrepreneurs, networking meetings are also a way to socialize and to have a fabulous lunch. It seems a lot of home-based entrepreneurs eat quite a bit of cereal for lunch. Entrepreneurs seem to take less time for lunch than in corporate America.

Here are a few tips to consider when reevaluating the groups that you belong to:

•Is the group a good fit for your needs?

Keep in mind that most groups will allow you to visit at least two meetings before asking you to make a decision on whether to join. It is essential to introduce yourself to as many members as possible when visiting. Exchange business cards. This will help you in remembering later. It is time to evaluate after visiting a couple of meetings. Set down and review who you met and what kinds of businesses are represented. If the group is filled with primarily corporate ladder climbers and your business targets small mom and pop’s, then this probably is not a good group for you to join. Besides, corporate ladder climbers and entrepreneurs just do not understand each other.

•What are the fees per month?

Take a look at how much becoming a member of the group is going to cost you. Most groups charge a yearly membership fee. Some also charge a monthly fee if you attend, especially if the group is serving lunch. You may find a perfect group that is free, but if they hold their meetings at a restaurant, keep in mind that the restaurant is hoping that you will purchase lunch in return for using the meeting room for free. Do not forget to add networking cost into your monthly budget. The cost to network can quickly start to add up.

•How many times does the group meet?

Some groups meet weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. Do you have the time to commit to the group? Most groups like members to attend regularly. Also, keep this in mind when deciding to volunteer for a committee position.

•Is all of this networking helping your business grow?

After awhile, it can seem like you are always running to a meeting or working on a committee project, but how is all of this affecting your business? When planning your schedule, remember that the average hour-and-a-half meeting will take double that out of your day. For example, if you have a meeting that starts at 11:30 a.m., depending on what your distance is from the meeting location, you will need to plan on leaving about 10:45 p.m. Most meetings have a set networking time before the meeting begins. The meeting starts, lunch is served as the speaker gives their presentation then the meeting is adjourned. By the time you get back to your office it is nearing 2:00 p.m. Take this average, multiply it by the number of meetings per month and you will learn the average amount of time you are away from your office networking. Has business improved? Are you making some great connections?
Remember that networking is all about building strong connections and friendships that in turn help you and your business grow.

Copyright © 2010 Julie Barnes and One Who Writes

Julie Barnes is a Freelance Writer focusing on her passions of entrepreneurship, women’s issues, and holistic health and wellness. Julie published “So You Want to Start a Business…Now What?” in December 2009. Julie lives and works in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, KS with her husband Ron and lovable dog Hank. You can visit her site at http://www.onewhowrites.com.
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Business-Building Lessons Learned in 2009

by Stacy Karacostas

I’ve talked to plenty of entrepreneurs who are just barely
eking by right now. One of the most common complaints I hear
from long-time business owners referrals alone are just not
enough anymore. What’s really interesting is that most of them
aren’t doing anything different to market and grow their
businesses, even though the marketplace has clearly changed.

On the other hand, I know plenty of small business owners
who’ve experienced unprecedented growth this year. I’m talking
growth that would be considered stellar in a good economy. Even
my own revenues have doubled again this year.

So, what are the successful entrepreneurs doing differently?
Based on my experience and observations here’s a list of 10
things successful small business owner are doing that you can
do to…

1) Forget about the state of the economy. Pay attention to how
it changes your prospect’s buying behavior, but don’t let the
gloom and doom get you down. If you sell products or services
that are truly helpful or useful there will always be people
willing to buy.

2) Offer something new. If people aren’t buying what you’re
currently selling, but they used to, that’s a sign something
needs to change. The knee jerk reaction is to simply cut
prices. But that devalues what you offer.

Instead try adding value by creating new packages out of
products and services you already have. Or updating a current
offering. Even better, bring something completely new to the
table…Hold a workshop, write an ebook, offer training programs,
delve deeper into a specific aspe ct of what you offer.

3) Stop guessing. Find out what your prospects, clients and
customers want then give it to them. Do this by surveying your
people in person, by using a short, written evaluation, or via
email using a no-cost service like surveymonkey.com.

4) Embrace technology. The World Wide Web is no longer the
Wild, Wild West, but there’s still plenty of room to make your
mark. And all the social networking tools make it super cheap
to market your business effectively. So get out there and give
it a go. You’ll expand your reach, get your wisdom further out
into the world, and maybe even discover it’s fun.

5) Build your list. Even before the Internet, business gurus
said “The money is in the list”. In other words, you need a
list of past customers as well as a list of prospects that you
keep in touch with. You can do this the old fashion way by
collecting contact info on the phone or in your office or
store, then sending out print materials. Or, you can do it the
modern way by having an awesome offer and sign up system on
your Website, then staying in touch via email.

6) Provide value. The days of the pushy salesperson are
going…going…gone. Nowadays people don’t have extra cash burning
a hole in their pocket. So they expect good value for their
time AND money. Focus less on selling your products and
services and more on how you can be a helpful problem solver in
all your marketing and you’ll get better results.

7) Embrace mixed media marketing. Silver bullets don’t exist
when it comes to marketing. Instead of focusing on one media or
tactic, create a strategy and plan that uses as many as you can
to reach your people.

I send postcards, letters and gifts, write a weekly < br />e-newsletter, host monthly teleseminars, post articles, audios
and video online, write a blog, go to live networking events
and more.

8) Keep learning. Times and technology are changing fast. It’s
up to you to stay on top of what’s new and what’s working now.
But you can’t do that if you’re always buried in your business.
So read a new book, attend teleseminars, and get yourself out
to at least one non-industry specific conference each year. I
attended two this year and they were so valuable I plan to go
to at least that many—if not more—next year.

9) Stop doing it all yourself. This is a biggie. The people I
know who have successful, growing businesses and fulfilling
lives have this figured out. This is even more true in the
Internet age.

Face it, you don’t have time to become skilled at doing
everything it takes to market, grow and run your business
—especially online. Eventually you’ll hit a wall, business
growth will stop, and you’ll be exhausted and burned out.

The solution? Even if you don’t have the money to hire an
employee you CAN afford a Virtual Assistant. Get one now and
have them help you revamp your Website, set up and manage your
blog or email newsletter, handle your social networking,
automate your marketing and much more.


©2009 Stacy Karacostas. All Rights Reserved. www.success-stream.com

Practical Marketing Expert Stacy Karacostas specializes in
taking the stress, struggle and confusion out of growing your
small business. Get tons of marketing tips and ideas, plus grab
a copy of her info-packed FREE REPORT “The 7 Deadliest Small
Business Marketing Sins…Are You Guilty?” at http://www.success-
stream.com.
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Martin Luther King Day - A Day of Service



How will you use the day to be of service to someone else? Perhaps you can share your expertise with a colleague, give your time as a volunteer or mentor a young person just starting out. Consider how can you be of service - not just on Martin Luther King Day, but everyday.

For those who would like to help the victims of the earthquake in Haiti, here are some reputable organizations that you can send your contributions to:

Doctors Without Borders
Tyler Perry Foundation
Wyclef Jean's Yele Haiti Earthquake Fund
AmeriCares
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Hitting Your Stride!

by Mariana M. Cooper

As we move forward in our new year we are full of reflection on past dreams, goals and accomplishments and revising them to meet our current desires and needs. It is so interesting to see how easy it seems to write the dreams and goals down yet when it comes to taking action many fall short. We have a tendency to work in fits and starts.

Like dieting it starts off with a bang and as soon as the challenge of the necessary discipline and hard work sets in along with temporarily having to give up our favorite treats we loosen the rules and eventually give up until the next attempt.

What is missing is sticking with something long enough to adjust to the new limitations and actually giving yourself the chance to get enough rewards to make it all seem worthwhile. In the beginning of any worthwhile endeavor there is a lot of letting go of the old and building the muscles for the new.

When it comes to starting a new business or bringing one already in place to the next level there is a period of time where it is JUST NOT FUN! It can be nerve wracking and yet exciting when we are not sure if something will ultimately work out or not.

The real goal is to stick with something long enough to "hit your stride." This is a term athletes use to describe that point when you have trained long enough to break the old habits, establish the new habits and build a consistent level of reliable performance with ease and EFFICIENCY.

Fits and starts are so inefficient. One week we work like maniacs, the next we sabotage it with self criticism, excuses and self doubt and we keep starting over again at the beginning, never allowing ourselves to find our balance and work efficiently toward our goals.

Why do we stop ourselves? I have found that my clients get stuck due to one of three things:

1. They don't know HOW to do something and then stop
2. They are afraid to do something and then stop
3. They feel uncomfortable with a particular process and then stop

Then there are the hidden reasons like

1. Feeling afraid of failure and then stopping
2. Feeling afraid of success and then they stopping
3. Letting the opinions of others dictate how they feel about what they are doing

I have not mentioned money here because to me that is really not an issue. It is the biggest excuse for inaction. There is ALWAYS something that you can do to move forward toward our goals that does not cost anything. Meditation is a good start. Invoking a 10 minute period of silence dedicated to receiving guidance on the next step is one of the most efficient and powerful things you can do for rapid success.

Then there is going to the bookstore and gathering information, attending networking meetings, interviewing someone who is successful at what you are doing and researching with google or other search engines.

When we actually do something long enough to get through the start up and hit our stride of consistency only then will we start to see the rewards that we truly want and need. The big pictures of success that we have sitting on our vision boards and chirp about with our affirmations are created from the day to day commitment to ourselves, the ones we serve and the courage to be true to our heartfelt work.

Taking the steps and putting one foot in front of the other is the most efficient way to walk across the floor and to realize our biggest dreams.

Whatever you decide to do stick with it long enough to "hit your stride" and get to the joy of success that you truly desire and deserve!


Author: Mariana M. Cooper, Aha! Moments, Inc. Intuition Expert and Mentor. For more information, products and services go to: www.trustyourahamoments.com
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Mastermind Success Group Starts on Jan 12th


**Only two spots left!!**

The Mastermind Success Group was created because I've been asked by many people how they can get the help they need to set and achieve goals, create their businesses, be mentored, find a new job, begin a fulfilling relationship - when you are in a supportive group setting you'll receive all the help you need to achieve those things while you get clear direction, steps you can implement right away, and the energy and support of a small group of participants.

"There is only one success - to be able to spend your life in your own way." -Christopher Morley

This mastermind group is designed to provide you with the tools you need to stay focused on your vision, even when things around you seem to be falling apart. Learn how to use the traits of successful professionals so that you can live a life of abundance no matter what is going on in the economy or the job market.

Don't stay stuck in anxiety about things that you cannot change. When you create your vision for your life and identify what your purpose is, you will never be stuck in lack, limitation or fear again.

"Begin within, your purpose has given birth to you." - Dr. Iyanla Vanzant

Being in a mastermind group with a small number of like-minded invidividuals insures that you will form meaningful relationships that will help propel you faster and farther. Don't spend another year wishing and hoping that things will change. Take action now.

By the completion of this mastermind group you'll have...

*A clear vision of what you want to achieve in your work, love, business - no more confusion over what is the right thing to do next - you will know what to do and you'll be ready to receive it

*Your major goals and a roadmap to accomplish them - no more writing them down then forgetting about them!

*Knowledge of how much money you really want and how much is possible for you to have - stop living in lack and limitation and claim your financial abundance

*A plan for finding your dream job or career - stop wasting time looking for a jobs that never materialize

*An understanding of what fears are holding you back and how to break through them - if you want to get free you have to discover what is standing in your way. What old stories are you holding on to?

*All sessions are 60 minutes and will begin at 8:00 pm EST

The group will run from Tuesday, January 12th Tuesday, March 23rd

Learn more here: http://www.dbaileycoach.com/mastermindsuccess.html and sign up today before the group is filled!
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Pitching the Media Correctly


by Kristin Marquet

It doesn't matter whether you're a seasoned PR professional or a newbie, you'll need to know how to pitch the media correctly if you want to get publicity, interviews, articles and write ups about your business.

With all the bad pitches and PR spamming, it is time to teach you how to do it the right way. By pitching the media correctly, you will see your name in ink in no time. Trust me, when I first started, I hadn't a clue as to how to draft a pitch, but now I've become a media professional.

• The first and most important things you need to have are patience and persistence. The media gets flooded with millions of pitches per day.

• You must know your story inside out and backwards before you even attempt to build a media list. Get every angel of the story covered by conducting interviews with the people involved, industry professionals, and any other research you can find. Pursue the story as the same way a journalist would.

• Create variations of the story for different media outlets, but don't embellish. Keep each variation concise and to the point because media professionals do not have a lot of time to review your story, if it is as long as a book.

• Research each contact at each publication you think would be interested in your story. Read the journalist's work to determine what he or she is looking for. Research and find out their writing style and contact preference. Keep a top ten list of the journalists you think would be interested in covering the story.

• Test your pitch with one or two journalists. You can email or call the journalist. Keep the pitch to three or sentences at most if you call. Keep in mind that most journalists preferred to be contacted by email.

• Offer an exclusive story to your preferred media professional. The more compelling your story, the better chance it has getting picked up.

• Most journalists get dozens of pitches per day, which is why good follow up skills are essential. You should follow up in a day or two after you sent the first pitch. It is very rare a story gets picked up with one pitch. If you haven't heard from them, then follow up with a phone call. Don't afraid of being annoying, just tell them you are working on a strict deadline. If they are not interested, they will tell you.

• If you did not have any luck with that journalist, let it go and re-prioritize your list. Continue moving along because the more persistent you are, the more successful you will be.

• If you want to strengthen and polish your pitching skills, start with the local media because they are more likely to work with newbies.

• Once you build a strong portfolio of press clippings for your business, you will be able to create a media kit and send it out to larger publications that may be interested in covering your story.

For assistance with developing a pitch, creating a pitch letter, and creating a media list, contact Kristin at km@marquet-communications.com. Kristin Marquet is a regular contributor to the Secrets of Success blog.
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Step Up

by David Neagle

I wrote before about the sly guises of opportunity. I’m returning to that today because it’s so important that you learn to recognize and take advantage of the opportunities that show up in your life.

When an opportunity presents itself, it comes cloaked in your situation or circumstance, your fears and insecurities. I can see the opportunity but you may be blind to it. I told you before that years ago the opportunity for me to move from $20K a year was around me for two years, but I couldn’t see it. It took my mentor pointing it out to me, but still I resisted for a while. Why was that?

When a cloaked opportunity shows up, it comes with a key. The key to turning the lock on that opportunity is the fear, insecurity or whatever it is you have to part with in order to step into the opportunity. It shows up as the very thing you want to avoid, which is whatever causes you pain.

For example, if you have been taught that money is the root of all evil, or that you have to be frugal, the opportunity will cost you money. If you have problems with rejection or ridicule, your opportunity will risk you being rejected or somebody being upset with you.

You will have to step out of security, whatever form that might take.

The opportunity shows up that way because you’re dealing with universal laws. You’re dealing with your purpose. You’re dealing with this desire that wants to manifest in your life, but it can’t do it to the benefit of humanity, which is what it’s designed to do, until you step up to it and move through your fears.

Otherwise, those fears, insecurities and hidden beliefs in your subconscious become like veins running through you that pervert what you manifest. Eventually, the enterprise or business ends up reflecting the hidden belief structure.

Let’s say a man’s business failed and he doesn’t understand why. The why was his belief that someone from his background could only rise so far. That belief manifested as what he saw as an insurmountable barrier. It created his reality and pounded away at all the trigger points within him until he backed off. He gave up because it became too painful to continue.

If he had understood that the only barrier he faced was internal, then he could have stepped through it. He would have realized that his fears don’t have to stop him and that he can rise as high he wants.

Now, additional fears or perceived obstacles would have continued to arise for him. If you have a fear, it will come up. But when you have the experience of moving through fears, you build confidence and you keep progressing. You stay on track regardless of the fear-based voices inside of you and the fear-based opinions of others.

That’s what Henry Ford did with the V8 engine. All the educated and experienced scientists said it was impossible. But Ford said, “I don’t care what your facts say. This is what will happen.” The scientists were limited by manmade knowledge. Ford was unlimited because he tapped into universal knowledge.

Like Ford, you have a choice. You can decide to step up. You can accept the opportunities that exist in your life.

You can decide, right now, to be the person you are meant to be.


© Copyright 2009 – David Neagle's Life Is Now Inc.
All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

David Neagle, Million Dollar Income Acceleration Coach, mentors entrepreneurs to quantum leap their current businesses past the 7-Figure income level in just 12 months. David invites you to download—as his GIFT to you—his legendary "Art of Success" 4-hour audio program. This audio series is a tremendously compelling and comprehensive program that demonstrates—once and for all—that Success has nothing to do with "getting" or "achieving", and everything to do with WHO we must BE to manifest our hearts' true desires. For an additional bonus, Text: success to the number: 85800
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