Friday, February 26, 2010

Business Intelligence

There are many ways to improve the performance of your business. One of the most popular ways today, is to make use of the whole plethora of tools known as BI or business intelligence. Using business intelligence gives you the ability to be one step ahead of the competition. This short article covers some of the issues surrounding implementing BI.

By Graham Baylis

There are many ways to improve the performance of your business. One of the most popular ways today, is to make use of the whole plethora of tools known as BI or business intelligence. Using business intelligence gives you the ability to be one step ahead of the competition. It is of course vital that you have a properly thought out business intelligence strategy in place before you begin.

Preparation is the key to success in anything and this is especially so when setting out your business plan and future goals.

How Can BI Help Your Business

So how can business intelligence help your business? At some point in their careers, most business owners have found themselves completely in the dark about facts and figures of how the business is going, how much stock there is and what state the cash flow is in. The problem is that the business is growing, you are working ever more hours just to keep everything moving and you haven’t got the time to spend going over all the facts and figures, so it is all a bit vague and approximate until you find yourself either with too much stock and not enough cash, or not enough stock to fulfil an important order.

Know The Facts and Figures

You need to be able to have all the facts and figures available whenever you need them so that you are fully aware of what is going on at any time. This is where dashboards, analytics, CRM software, performance management, olap, data mining, data warehousing etc come into their own. All the information you need will be at your fingertips when you need it. You will need to find a good business intelligence company to help you set up exactly what you need to operate your business. They should be able to tailor the correct software to your requirements and only give you what you actually need.

Know Your Data and Keep Your Business Ahead

By having all the data to hand, you have a greater chance of getting your business ahead and staying ahead. All the information can be broken down to whatever you want, so if you need to see how certain lines are selling, how a particular branch is doing or how your customer services are coping, you can find this out with ease. That way, you can promote slow moving stock, further train staff where needed and make sure that all your customers are kept happy.

Up to date information and data is vital to the running and management of any company, now with business intelligence, you can have the tools that will make this easy for you. This will give you more time to devote to running the company rather than chasing facts and figures and better still will allow you to make decisions based on fact and not on gut feel.

Graham Baylis has been in business for many years now and understands the importance of Business Intelligence. BI is all about making sure that a business owner knows what is going on in their business. This is just what Contemporary a leader in the field of Business Objects offers. Training, hardware and software can all be provided. See for BI advice and information.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Repetition is the Key to Sales Success

Don't wait for your boss to put you on a sales training program. Don't wait for your sales results to fall off a cliff. Don't wait until it's nearly too late to start. Start now and make regular sales training practice of your selling skills part of your daily habits. You'll be amazed what you can achieve from a mere 15 minutes a day practicing your basic sales skills.

By Gavin Ingham

Copyright (c) 2009 Gavin Ingham

“Repetition is the mother of all skill.” ~ Tony Robbins, author of Unlimited Power

In sales seminars and sales training programs I often talk about the difference between sales skills and sales techniques…

Sales techniques are something external to you, they are something that you hear or that you know. Sales skills are something that you own, they are yours through hard work and practice. And, what’s more, they won’t abandon you in even the toughest of markets.

When I speak at sales conferences many salespeople sit back, cross their arms and ask for “the advanced stuff”. They tell their boss that they don’t need sales training because they already know it, they’ve heard it all before…

Take open questions as an example. Any salesperson with more than about 5 minutes selling experience knows what an open question is - a question that requires more than a “yes” or “no” answer. We all know that open questions start with the words what, where, when, why, how, who which. But how many salespeople put undue sales pressure onto their clients by asking (self-centred) closed questions when they should be asking (well constructed) open questions?

“Most salespeople” is the correct answer.

The ability to ask great questions is one of the critical skills for being a sales superstar yet most salespeople fair badly at best in this area. Think back to the first time you were taught about open questions. Did you understand it? I’m guessing that you did. Let’s face it, it really isn’t that complicated is it? Most salespeople hear it, think that it makes sense and move on. They hear it, they acknowledge it but they never practice it. They get it intellectually but because they never practiced it, it never becomes a skill for them. It never becomes something that they own.

Put under pressure in a sales meeting or in a cold call, and with the adrenaline flowing, they revert to type asking controlling closed questions and “forgetting” to ask carefully constructed open ones.

As Robbins says, “Repetition is the mother of all skill.”

* If you want to be a great golfer you need to practice your swing, over and over.
* If you want to be a great pianist you need to practice your scales, over and over.
* If you want to be a great at anything you need to practice it, over and over.
* If you want to be a great salesperson you need to practice your sales skills, over and over.

If you are a salesperson and you want to outsell your competition and win more clients fast, you need to create an ongoing sales development program for yourself that includes regular practice of all of the sales training basics.

Don’t wait for your boss to put you on a sales training program. Don’t wait for your sales results to fall off a cliff. Don’t wait until it’s nearly too late to start. Start now and make regular sales training practice of your selling skills part of your daily habits. You’ll be amazed what you can achieve from a mere 15 minutes a day practicing your basic sales skills.

If you’re a sales manager, sales leader or business owner then you need to think about how you can help your sales team to practice their core sales skills regularly. One-off training is not enough by itself. You need to create ongoing sessions and exercises for them to participate in, both individually and as a team.

Not convinced it’s worth the effort? Not convinced you can get the same results? Not convinced that you buy into this whole practice argument? What would Tiger Woods, David Beckham and Johnny Wilkinson tell you to do?

I rest my case.

For more sales training tips, tricks and strategies visit now. Blogs, articles, podcasts, videos and a free sales newsletter.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Why Being A Two-faced Leader Is Okay

Effective leaders must be able to demonstrate competencies in both interpersonal skills as well as a focus on results. They must have high levels of self-awareness, be able to read situations and other people well. They must also be able to use their own emotions in an intelligent way. They must be authentic and demonstrate core personal and organizational values, not just talk about them.

By Phillip Ralph

Copyright (c) 2009 Phillip Ralph

Jan, a respected leader in a bank, was considered to be a results-driven, no nonsense type of leader. She and her division always met their financial targets. In fact she was one of the few of her peer group who was able to achieve this quite remarkable feat. Everyone knew that Jan could be hard with her people, sometimes downright aggressive, but it was largely overlooked because she made her numbers. In conversations with Jan, she openly acknowledged that she knew she wasn’t well liked and that some people had problems with her style. Jan’s justification for her actions was that the Chief Executive didn’t seem to have a problem with it so why change?

Just because the CEO didn’t seem to have a problem with it didn’t mean it wasn’t a problem - there was a cost in adopting her style of leadership. Many people hated working for her and in her division. In fact, turnover was higher than any other part of the bank, with many talented people leaving altogether. It was also getting harder and harder to fill positions within the division, with many people opting to work in other areas even though those areas really didn’t make the most of their knowledge, skills and experience. Engagement scores had also just about bottomed out, indicating some serious problems in the division.

Jan was demonstrating results-driven leadership alright, but it was to the detriment of her people and in the long term, the organisation. In fact, Jan was not results-driven at all, she was numbers driven. Numbers driven leaders are often seen as results driven and good for business, however they are hardly ever good for business in the medium to long term. They effectively burn people. They fail to balance the pragmatic and necessary focus on results with the necessary second face or dimension - people. It is a cliché to say that people are an organization’s most important resource - but even this statement misses the point - people are your organization, not just a resource!

Effective leaders - or more to the point - true leaders - are able to build relationships and high performance teams in service of organizational goals, not despite them. Long term sustainable performance requires people at all levels of the organization to be engaged and focused on the job at hand. They need to feel like their opinion counts, that they have a say in how things are run, and that the organization does have their interests at heart, not just ‘hitting the numbers’. Jan is a leader - and unfortunately there are many - who just doesn’t get it. Jan operates within a command and control framework which is really a carryover from the industrial paradigm where as a society we learn to manage ‘things’ effectively (the mass-production of cars is an example). Unfortunately though, people don’t like being managed and controlled like things - they require a far more sophisticated approach at one level - and far more simple approach at another level.

People need to be able to feel the values and good intentions of those in formal positions of authority. Employees need to know (and see) leaders serving those in the organization who actually do the work - usually those closest to the customer. Senior leaders exist to make others more successful, not the other way around!

Leaders like Jan understand their role to be to get results with what they have, rather than creating additional value for the company through building meaningful relationships, creating high performing teams, and enrolling everyone in the journey. Leaders who are ‘two-faced’ (with a focus on results and people) are not warm and fuzzy with their heads in the clouds. Quite to the contrary in fact - these leaders know how to surface and manage conflict constructively. They create safety for people to talk about the real issues, no matter how uncomfortable this may be at times. In fact, effective leaders sometimes provoke the system, for example a team, to overcome inertia. The must vaunted former leader of GE for example, Jack Welch, talked about when he first arrived at GE, his new management team had an air of ‘superficial congeniality’. In other words, it was an ineffective team that thought being nice to each other was being a high performance team. To provoke the system, Jack Welch used to throw some hand grenades, metaphorically speaking of course to surface the real issues.

A member of our team did this recently with an entrepreneurial not-for-profit organization we were working with. The consultant said to the team, ‘I think you’re more interested in making money than the reason you purport to exist - helping those most in need’. Now, it needs to be said that the consultant didn’t actually believe this statement, but what do you think happened? Firstly the CEO went red in the face and launched an attack on the consultant, closely followed by four more team members. After a few minutes, one courageous (real) leader stood up and said, ‘While we may not agree in the room, the fact is that many people in our organization believe this to be true.’ This then generated a whole debate the team hadn’t had before in its history - and one that generated some very positive outcomes. A simple example was that the CEO realized that many of the ‘good news’ stories were not being told - those stories where the organization had gone beyond its charter to provide great client outcomes, at great financial cost to itself. The problem was that no-one knew about it except those in the executive suite. As a result, the team started to focus on being able to tell stories - not fictional stories, but real live examples of how and where the organization was living its mission.

So in summary, effective leaders must be able to demonstrate competencies in both interpersonal skills as well as a focus on results. They must have high levels of self-awareness, be able to read situations and other people well. They must also be able to use their own emotions in an intelligent way. They must be authentic and demonstrate core personal and organizational values, not just talk about them. Leaders like Jan must be able to build and maintain relationships with factions or groups with different interests and agendas to her own. This is the work of real leadership, and to that extent, is ‘two-faced.’

"Phillip Ralph helps organizations, teams and individuals, create breakthrough performance that will make all the difference. Leaders create the environment and context for people to fulfil the mission and goals which in turn impacts culture, employee engagement, and ultimately, organizational performance. To find out how Phillip can help you and your organization achieve success please go to:" =>

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Which of These 3 Self Defeating Mistakes Are You Making?

In the quest for creating and/or manifesting more money in their lives, I see many people making the following mistakes. Most of the time, they are not even aware that they are doing it, at least not consciously. So let's take a look at 3 of the most self defeating mistakes people make, and then what to do instead.

By Veronica Hay

In the quest for creating and/or manifesting more money in their lives, I see many people making the following mistakes. Most of the time, they are not even aware that they are doing it, at least not consciously. So let’s take a look at 3 of the most self defeating mistakes people make, and then what to do instead.

Mistake #1 - They get busy figuring out how they are going to make it (wealth) happen for them. They try to think of ways to save money or work more hours in order to get more money or come up with a plan of action. In short, they get in their own way.

What to do instead: Allow. Allow. Allow. Start from the end desire. Write down what it is you are wanting to have /create and then allow the universe to bring it to you. Do only those things that you feel guided / inspired to do in the direction of your goals/ dreams. Those things that feel good, and you will be led one step at a time to your destination. Remember, focus on the end result / desire, not how you are going to get there or where it is going to come from. Don’t put limits on yourself or the universe. Stay open to possibilities and delightful surprises along the way.

Mistake #2 - They feel safe “playing small”. Playing small is comfortable. Playing big would require them to move out of their comfort zone. It may require that they put themselves out there and that can be a scary thing, so they procrastinate, or avoid or delay and do whatever it takes to put things off, for just another day, or another week, or another month, or another year, or another lifetime!

What to do instead: Decide to, as they say, feel the fear and do it anyway? Take small steps in the direction of your dreams. Do one small (or big) thing every day or week that you have been afraid to do and keep moving forward with that. Pretty soon, you will begin to feel less and less afraid and more and more confident and exited about your life as you begin to see your victories and accomplishments take shape.

Mistake #3 - They focus on what they don’t want. They are caught up in their own story of lack and limitation and they talk about it constantly to themselves and to others. They speak about how they can’t make ends meet, lament about how they are so tired of the struggle, and moan about how depressing things are. The more they do this, the more stuck, powerless and frustrated they feel.

What to do instead: Simply really! Focus on what you DO want. Choose wealth and tell yourself that nothing else is acceptable. Think, speak and act as if you are already wealthy now. Imagine your life the way you would like it to be. Start by being grateful for all of the abundance of blessings you already have in your life and focus on those. Gratitude opens doors! It paves the way to wealth and prosperity like nothing else. It can line your pockets with gold and fill your bank account quicker than a New York minute.

And if you would like some help in allowing more prosperity into your life, then I invite you to claim your free instant access to our Wealth Without Limits - Self-Improvement Series - Lesson 1, as well as many other goodies and bonuses when you visit: You will find a free uplifting audio and inspiring video there for you to use as well. From Veronica Hay - The Prosperity Poet

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Recession? Who Cares? Your Business Can Still Be Successful

In every economic downturn, entrepreneurs have created successful businesses through the combination of seeking new opportunities, getting creative and taking action. Specific examples of companies and what they did to succeed serve as an example for entrepreneurs today.

By Barbara Roemer

The media reports are full of bad news about the economy on a global, national and even household level. Predictions abound on if another severe downturn like the Great Depression will begin, and if it does, when it will start and how long it will last.

Turn off the news and think about this: Consumers do not stop spending in a downturn; they just become more selective on where to spend their dollars. They look for what appears to be a better deal, whether it is better pricing, better customer service, a special add-on, easier sales process, and more.

Even during the Great Depression (that began in 1929), consumers were still spending. Companies that survived, and even thrived, got creative and took action. Here are just a few examples from that time period:
* Kellogg and Post were once pretty close competitors until the Great Depression. Kellogg came out swinging, with heavy marketing; Post took the no-growth strategy - thinking they needed to save money and not spend it. Kellogg overtook Post, and Post has never caught up. A similar situation occurred with Chevrolet and Ford. Chevrolet increased their marketing and had a large market lead over Ford for many years.
* Proctor and Gamble began a huge branding campaign by being the first company to sponsor radio soap operas, which was a significant form of entertainment and relaxation for listeners. Their name became a household word and remains so today.
* Bixler Jewelers, credited as the oldest jeweler in America, saw a drop in customer traffic and decided to open a free lending library in the store. This increased their traffic, helped to maintain customer loyalty, and little by little, their sales improved and they are still in business today.
* A.E. Schmidt was a billiard table manufacturer when the Depression hit. They diversified and sold janitorial supplies to restaurants. They also sought new markets for their billiard tables, approaching the US government about the need to provide inexpensive and positive activities for those in government work camps during the long, boring evenings when they weren’t working – and billiards became one of the top activities at those camps.
* Cornell Iron Works was a specialty ironworks provider. In the Depression, they broadened their market so that they not only made specialty railings, grates and stairways; they also made plain metal siding for delivery trucks and security doors.

Some entrepreneurs saw opportunities that others didn’t see during the Depression, and took them.

During the Great Depression, most brokerages had either closed, or were afraid to take on new clients. This left many people, who still wanted to invest in the stock market, with no place to go. Howard Buffet (the father of multi-billionaire Warren Buffet) recognized this need and opened his own brokerage to fill the need.
* Walt Disney knew people still wanted entertainment, and provided it at a low cost through animated cartoons.
* Ever hear of Monopoly? The rise of this game occurred as another form of cheap entertainment. A small investment for the Monopoly game became a way to see hope in the future, and as players developed their money making skills, they could pretend they were real estate barons.

There have been severe recessions since the Great Depression ended, and during each one, new and existing businesses were built to great levels of success.

Two companies that began business in a recession are Domino’s Pizza and Toys R Us. They thrived by using new marketing models. Domino’s Pizza created a marketing campaign that no other pizza company had: if they didn’t deliver the pizza within 30 minutes, the customer did not have to pay for it. Toys R Us transferred the warehouse store concept to selling toys - a first for that niche.

A very short list of some other companies that started business during economic downturns include: Wrigley Gum, UPS, NewEgg, Super 8 Motel, Microsoft, Symantec, Nantucket Juice, Zippo Lighters and Hewlett Packard. These companies are giants, and are well-known by multitudes!

What are the main keys to success in these examples?
1. GET CREATIVE with marketing, business models, product diversification and positioning, and,
2. SEEK the opportunities that others do not see, and,
3. TAKE ACTION, because of, and in spite of, the economic news.

Don’t get caught up in the fear that is being propagated on the news channels. Instead, focus on what you can do to create you success, regardless of the current economy.

For free resources, including a free report "Top 10 Reasons Entrepreneurs Fail, & What to Do so YOU SUCCEED!" visit . Barbara Roemer uses her advanced education and certifications, and over 20 years of experience to guide others on the path to creating a fulfilling and successful business life.

Monday, February 8, 2010

How to Become a Facebook Marketing Star

Ever wanted to know how to make the most of your Facebook marketing? Check out this article for all you'll need to know.

By Leon Hill

If Facebook marketing is something you’ve tried for your business, you’ll know the power of it and possibly, how some people are gaining thousands of new visitors per day because of it.
The thing is that most people try, though most of those end up failing before they achieve success.

In this article I’m going to go over a few ways you can make sure you get the most out of promoting your business on Facebook and really start bringing in the cash.

To begin, you’re going to need a decent number of fans or Facebook friends to effectively market your product or service. Of course, there’s no point in starting to promote a product or service if you have no fans. The good thing is, there are a few ways of getting more.

Firstly, you can send out loads of friend requests or messages and hope that you get some people who reciprocate. This can take a little time to implement, though it is a tactic that’s extremely effective. Just make sure that when you decide to do this, you target people in the same industry or interest group that you’re in. Once you manage this, you should be able to easily start marketing to them and bringing in the dollars.

But if you want to get fans or friends even easier, there are places on the internet which will allow you to buy them. To search for them, simply search on Google.

Next on the list, when you start your marketing efforts, be sure to remember not to spam your fans—this is extremely important. The thing is that people are doing this more and more regularly. However, it’s really not going to do your business any justice if you do the same thing.

A good guide that I use is to only send out one promotional message on Facebook per day. While for some people this might not seem like enough, any more than this and you might lose fans.
But one tip that you can utilize here is to see when the vast majority of your fans and friends are on and send your promo message at that time of the day.

When you finally begin making some cash, the best advise I can give is to invest some money in having a company design an app to further promote you. It is an absolutely powerful way of promoting your business service and getting loads more traffic to your site.

Well, that about ends my article on Facebook marketing tips to help you build your business. All that’s left to do for you now is to actually get out there and begin implementing these strategies.

For more great Facebook marketing advice, check out this site for the best Facebook marketing information you'll find anywhere else.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Free Business Card Design Tips

Is your business card an ineffective necessary business expense or a valuable addition to your marketing arsenal? How about a business card that actually generates business, a lot of business!

By Patrick Gunning

Why free business card design tips?

To make a point! Free offers attract Customers and keep their attention!

But how does that apply to business cards? Shouldn’t business cards give customers the contact information about your business!

Wrong! Business cards should give your customers a reason to remember and use your business, if not it will end up in the trash!

What would you rather have?

A business card that tells customers how to reach you…
Or… a business card that seduces new customers and referrals to your business?

Free offers – Discounts – Yes, Coupons are still the most effective advertising tool ever designed and you probably already use them!

The best free business card design tips are a headline, an offer and an address, that’s all you need! No doubt you’ve seen those punch cards handed out by sandwich shops, ice cream parlors or the dry cleaners. In fact, you might even have one in your own wallet. These business cards did the trick, they kept you coming back!

Most businesses never think that their business cards could and should use the same technique! It works like magic! You’ll see them in the car, on the refrigerator, at work on the desk, but not in the trash!

Think of your business cards as personal sales ads instead of information!
Simple phrases like “call now for _____”, “with this card, buy one get one free or “this card is good for _____” can out-perform any standard business card and multiply the amount of business per dollar spent.

Most importantly, every time you hand out the business card, verbally make the offer. Tell your prospects exactly why they should keep that card handy. If you’re handing out cards to your targeted market you’ll be amazed at the response you get.

Oh… dump that slogan and replace it with a headline. Promote a benefit that your company offers over the competition - maybe a guarantee, your superior selection, your promptness your hassle free techniques or your price match policy.

We’re not done with your free business card design tips. You know the benefit that your customers respond to the most. That’s what you want to print directly below your company name. It’s what they want and it’s what you deliver!

Your business card is an advertising investment that should reap a return! Imagine how you’ll feel when you start to see those little wrinkled up cards in the hands of your new customers!

Note from Small Business Advice Daily:
1,000 color, double sided, high gloss, 14 pt (very firm) business cards for as low as $29