Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Business Email Culture: Manage It or Watch Your Profits Slide Away

Have you ever stopped to examine how do your employees use their email? How do they manage it, send it, and save it? The habits they adopt, both good and bad, can be contagious. Learn certain practices you can instill into your employees to create a positive email culture.

By Marsha Egan

Every time you let your email interrupt your productive work, it takes you an average of 4 minutes to get back on track. If in one day you let 15 emails derail you, you’ve just lost an hour of billable, productive time. Multiply that by every employee every day and you can see how office-wide unproductive email use can be an enormous drain on your profits.

Have you ever stopped to examine how do your employees use their email? How do they manage it, send it, and save it? The habits they adopt, both good and bad, can be contagious. Since email touches all of us several times a day, an office email culture evolves quickly.

Here is an example. A boss calls a meeting with 3 of his department managers. He sends an urgent email, needing a response within 15 minutes. One manager, who is working on an important project, does not have his email on, misses the request, and angers his boss.

This manager has just now learned that he cannot turn off his email, ever. But it doesn’t stop there; it rolls down the corporate ladder. All three managers now have “permission” to use email as an URGENT delivery system. They use it in their departments, and very quickly, the entire organization is infected. No one can turn off his or her email for fear of missing something vital. Employees become slaves to the “brinnng” and stop productive work anytime an email comes in.

This is just one example of email mis-use that plagues businesses. Think of the practices of copying everyone under the sun, just so you don’t miss someone. Or how about using email as a chat room with multiple recipients to resolve dilemmas? Or the slippery slope of using email to critique someone’s performance? One person does it, others do it. Culture is changed.

There are, however, certain practices you can instill into your employees to create a positive email culture. It requires strong leadership and change management efforts, but by following these methods, you and your employees will be able to reclaim more time, and improve your bottom line:

1. NEVER use email as an urgent delivery system. If the matter is urgent, pick up the phone or walk down the hall.

2. Have everyone turn off “Automatic Send/Receive” and set “Receive intervals” to a minimum of 90 minutes. If someone is expecting an email, he or she can always hit receive manually.

3. Move everything OUT OF your inbox. Your employees can manage their work better by putting emails in appropriate folders for easy reference later.

4. Make Subject Lines be VERY specific. By including details in subject lines, you will help others sort and prioritize their work.

5. Copy only the people who REALLY need to receive the email. Each superfluous cc will have to open and read the email, adding unnecessary tasks to their already full days.

Marsha Egan,CPCU,PCC, CEO of the Egan Group,Inc., Reading PA. An ICF Certified Professional Coach, she is an authority on email productivity. She works with forward thinking organizations who want a profit-rich email culture. She is the author of Inbox Detox and the Habit of Email Excellence,available on her website and last week in January is International Clean Out Your Inbox Week at

Sunday, January 24, 2010

10 Ways Showing Gratitude Now Can Increase Your Future Income

As busy businessowners, sometimes we forget to show our appreciation for our clients and customers. There are some simple ways to do this that will increase their loyalty and add to your bottom line at the same time.

By Alicia Forest

As we head into the season of giving, 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 warrants an acknowledgment. A nice card or personal note, or even a quick phone call, will make you memorable for sure.

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

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

How to Make the Most of LinkedIN

With over 50 million users, LinkedIN has become one of the most popular social networking website for professionals. LinkedIN just got valued at a little above a billion dollars with a maximum number of high profile executives and CXO’s on any social network.

By Nipa Shah

With over 50 million users, LinkedIN has become one of the most popular social networking website for professionals. LinkedIN just got valued at a little above a billion dollars with a maximum number of high profile executives and CXO’s on any social network. If you are looking towards building deeper relationships, getting more engaged and becoming an active member of linkedIN, here are some tips which may be helpful:

1. Be Visible – Add as many connections as possible. By adding connections, you increase the likelihood of appearing first in people’s searching when people are looking for something. People would rather work with someone in an existing connection rather than to look for a new provider.

2. Improve connectibility - Make sure that your profile is up to date and you’ve added all your professional details. Many people put only their recent company details in their profile and by doing so they severely limit their ability to connect with people. Based on your professional details, LinkedIN recommends you to potential colleagues whom you can connect with. Also, when a prospective employee or client searches, your name would appear in the list.

3. Connect with influencers – Use the data on LinkedIN to connect to influential people. The data will help you identify the networking events you should attend or arrange speaking engagements in good events. The detailed resumes on LinkedIN will help you identify people who share similar interests and you can connect with them. Influential connections can help you go a long way in your career.

4. Maintain connections – Most of the time we ensure that we make connections but don’t maintain them. Become genuinely interested in your connections, appreciate their activity and take the relationship to the next level. If you do not use the deck of cards collected from your networking event, your time and money have gone waste in attending the event. Get connected to all members on LinkedIN, share thoughts and discuss things. If you are running newsletters, it may be a good idea to get their email ids and put them in your mailer system. That way, you ensure that you communicate with them regularly. Don’t overdo it so as not to irritate people.

5. Contribute, Contribute, Contribute – Give away your best and the best will come to you! An old saying but still very effective in our digital world. LinkedIN answers are one of the best way to contribute to the network and gain visibility and credibility. Answer questions, respond to other people’s answers and if your answer is ranked #1, a badge will appear on your profile signifying that you are an expert in that industry. The LinkedIN answers do get ranked well in search engines like google and that is another way you get visibility.

Nipa Shah is the owner of Jenesys Group, LLC. Jenesys Group, LLC is located in Novi, Michigan, US. It is an end-to-end digital marketing company. It helps you increasing your online presence and raise your search engine rankings, visibility, and branding. It also helps driving traffic and generating leads for you through its customized search marketing solutions. Read Nipa Shah's articles to learn, have fun, and engage with Jenesys Group on various topics related to online marketing and businesses.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Solopreneurs: Strategy Change Is The Solution!

To win in the game of business you have to be willing to change strategies, a lesson that I have learned in my own business over the past three years. Let me share with you five tips on how you can change your strategy today.

By Suzanne Evans

There have been lots of new business lessons that the puppy has taught me over the last week, but none as big as tenacity. What the puppy wants the puppy will get, and not because he is bossy or begging, but because he is willing to use strange strategies. Giving up is not an option- strategy change is the solution. This made me think back on the last 3 years and building my own business. I realized I had done pretty much the same thing. To win in the game of business you have to be willing to change strategies.

You also must be comfortable with failing. Believe me, when the puppy fails his thoughts are not going to “how stupid can I be”, “I better give up”, or “this is too hard”. It’s all about- “what’s next”, “try again”, “change sides”, “change ideas”, “let’s get this done”. Many of you have tunnel vision in your are seeing one problem, one solution, and one strategy. Get out of the box- get out of the box today- just like I teach multiple streams on have to have multiple streams of approach for attracting clients and making money.

1) What do you need to STOP doing? It’s not bringing you business but you have some rule that you should be doing it? A referral group, organization, program, etc...eliminate one thing that is costing you time and NOT bringing you business.

2) Add one NEW element to your list building/business building strategy that you have not used before: audio, video, teleclass, networking group, article marketing, twitter, facebook, etc. Add one, but do it effectively!

3) Get consistent. Many clients tell me something isn’t working, but when I research I find they only do it on occasion or inconsistently. You must build consistency. Use this newsletter as an example- every week it comes. Every week- rain, shine, sickness, holiday because I want your to depend on me. I want you to trust me and I have to consistently show up for that to happen.

4) Change approach. I do this all the time and in the beginning of my business I had to do it even more often...I would run a teleclass and 2 people would show up. Yikes! Did I abandon? No. New approach...I would make it a point to ask 50 more people that I did the time before or change up the name or the topic. You have to zig when zagging isn’t working. To get to what the puppy wants he just changes sides. Goes under instead of over. Digs instead of climbs.

5) Give up the complaining. Business is hard. Life is tough. If this were easy- everyone would be doing it. So, when something doesn’t work- move on or change course. FAST. While you are complaining and feeling sorry for yourself I am out getting clients. I have a one -three minute rule. I get that amount of time to wish it had gone better, cry about the loss, or be disappointed and then it’s time to get back in the game and help people.

I am on a mission. Are you? I know I want to help people and I know I have a message… so I can’t complain or waste time- I gotta get to the people who need my help, so they will build strong businesses and in turn go help more people. This isn’t a job- it’s a movement. Are you leading one, too?

Suzanne Evans is best known as the 'action expert' and has coached hundreds of solopreneurs to model her multiple six figure business. Learn how you can help more people, make more money and have more fun doing what you love by signing up for your free copy of the 5-Part Mini-Course 'Awakening Your Authentic Entrepreneur' at

Friday, January 1, 2010

Positive Thoughts Lead to Success

Through studying successful men and women from the past I found that they all had clearly set goals and reviewed them daily. They began their upward trajectory to success early in the morning through some time alone. This is called the Golden hour. During this time we need to review our goals and state them as if they already happened. Everyone's success and life will start to take off at such a speed that they will have to put on a seatbelt.

By Helena Syptak

Many successful men and women from the past, as I found, had clearly set goals which they reviewed daily. They began their climb to success when they set aside some time early in the morning and spent this time alone.

I found that I need to feed my mind with positive ideas.

Supposedly, this is called the Golden Hour. The first hour sets the tone for the day. The things that I do in the first hour prepare the mind and set me up for the entire day. During the first half an hour or so of the day, I spend time to reflect on my present and future plans and goals.

There are some things that everyone can do on daily basis during that quiet time in the morning. Every time you write your goals again, you write them as if they already happened. This way you could write “I have made X amount of dollars”; “I have accomplished X”; “I weigh a certain number of pounds.” I have found that this exercise of writing and rewriting your goals everyday is one of the most powerful things I ever learned. It keeps me focused and keeps me in the positive mind set throughout the day.

Everyone’s life will start to take off at such a speed that they will have to put on your seatbelt. Everything is about building up and developing belief system until you finally reach the point where you are absolutely convinced that nothing can stop you from achieving what you set out to achieve.

No one starts out with this kind of an attitude, I did not. But I developed it using the law of attraction. Everything counts. No efforts are ever lost. Every accomplishment is the result of many small accompishments which go often unrecognized, but they are all attracted to you. The greatest challenge of all is for anyone to concentrate their thinking single-mindedly on the goal. Through this anyone can inevitably draw into their life the people, circumstances and opportunities they need to achieve their goals.

I have come to a conclusion that as you master yourself and your thoughts, you will start attracting ideas and opportunities to your life to help you to become wealthy and successful. It’s worked for me and for many successful people I know. It will work for you if you’ll begin today, now, this very minute, to think and talk about your dreams and goals as though they were already a reality. You will change you life once you change your thinking. You will put yourself firmly on the road to success and independence.

I am not saying that every wish, every thought will be granted to you. But this process will change the outlook you have on the world, on your circumstance and on your life. This will start attracting the positive into your life.

Here are two things I do every single day to keep my mind focused on my success goals:

First, I get up every morning a little bit earlier and plan my day in advance. I take some time to think about my goals and how I can best achieve them. This sets the tone for the whole day.

Second, I reflect on the valuable lessons I am learning each day as I work toward my goals. I need to be prepared to correct my course and adjust my actions. I need to be absolutely convinced that I am moving rapidly toward my goals, no matter what happens temporarily on the outside. I just need to feed my mind with positive ideas!

I would like to leave you today with one of my favourite quotes by Michelangelo: “The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.”

Helena Syptak has been involved in the home based industry for over 5 years. She has reached her top leader status through dedicated work, the support of some of the top income earners in the industry and through application of very simple step-by-step system. Today Helena herself supports and coaches many entrepreneurs. To find out more about Helena go to -