If you have ever considered starting your own business, you already studied the many aspects of it all. These ideas can sometimes keep your brain spinning.  If it is in fact nagging at your brain means that you should probably need to get started on seriously planning the ideas that you’ve been thinking of.   You need to research startup costs, operating expenses, and management requirements among other essential aspects.  It is absolutely important that you follow some basic protocols for planning when starting this business venture and proper execution is essential.  Owning a business is usually a lifelong commitment, so cutting corners is not recommended.

 

There’s a quote that says, “Good artists borrow ideas, great artists steal them.”  The secret to understanding this is that every idea is built from the concept of another.   You may have a wonderful idea but no idea is truly original.  Many times, your idea has been created already and is either being used and not exposed or sitting in another person’s brain.  Some of the greatest innovators believe that, for every idea you have, there are dozens of people who are pondering the same idea.  Consider this innovative, the Apple iPod.  According to Steve Jobs, this amazing device was a portable music player that was made greater by his company.  A starting approach for you to consider would be to research whether or not it already exists.  If it does, look for ways to enhance the product or service by making it unique.  You also need to consider whether or not the curators or other businesses are actually making a profit from the idea.  You want to change the world with your product or service idea but it is pertinent that you make a profit to do so.

 

When it comes to business, keeping a positive attitude is significant.  Your positivity must project throughout every area of the process from conception to delivery.  Every positive note will ultimately contribute to your brand’s image.  As the owner or creator, you must maintain this positive attitude.  Everyone will be watching, so your attitude can make or break your marketing plans.  You want to convey the message that your company is one that can be depended upon.  If you have confidence in your brand, your clients will have confidence in your company.

 

In the business arena, you will often hear that unhappy customers are your greatest source of education.  When people are satisfied with something they tell quite a few people; but when people are disappointed with something they tell the world.  Surprisingly, you can learn a lot from complaints and mishaps.  It’s sometimes hard to get honest feedback from your first group of clients.  These usually consist of friends, family, and colleagues.  They are usually best because they oftentimes tell you the unbiased truth.  Try to keep your clients’ needs at the top of your to-do list at all times.  Remember, your business is supposed to be a step towards making life better.

 

Technology has definitely changed the way we do business. The technological advances in e-commerce have also changed the way the vast majority of consumers think. The most successful of online ventures are willing to change with the times and follow these advancements. Here we will list some of the ways you can modernize your marketing approach with the purpose of attracting a bigger audience.

The customer is what drives your business. We all know this but understand that the consumer also wants personalized service which would allow effective connectivity. Basically, your sales and marketing approaches have to be personalized in order to meet their needs.  You need to connect also on a social level.  You should consider taking the necessary steps to understand your clients needs on a more personal level.

Consumers tend to swarm towards more innovative techniques when those same clients want to get all of their needs handled more effectively. Consider partnering with a marketing firm to help your clients make better decisions.  Effective partnering can add value to your business marketing.

Your company can conduct itself as a business portal for several products and services.  Yes, you do need a niche, but connecting with them within several areas offers new opportunities for growth.  For example, using your social media platform to inform them of sales, workshops, and webinars would benefit them and also connect them on another level.  You can offer networking programs with other professionals that would appeal to their needs as well.

Create and lasting experience for consumers because you don’t want a simple transaction. You want an experience that will allow your client to appreciate, purchase, remember, and come back to repeat the process.  Offer your services and products as a seamless transaction by discovering ways to make your business offer a more personal touch.  One simple way of completing this step is by offering multiple ways to contact you, whether it’s through a contact form, by phone, by email or by following you on social media.

Today’s worldwide consumer is socially responsible and they expect your company to be as well.  It is absolutely necessary that you engage your clients by utilizing blogs, videos, and your overall online presence in the right way.  You must post content other than business ads.  Give your audience stories, inspirational quotes, news, and an all around positively engaging experience regularly. This method done consistently would create loyalty among your followers.  Effective business marketing involves adapting to consumer needs.  The most successful of companies strive to respond to, meet, and exceed the needs of its consumers at any level.

 

Smart People Quiz

 

This is a quiz for people who know everything! I found out in a hurry that I’m not one of them.  Hopefully you’ll get more of them correct than the average person.  If not, you can just use them to impress your friends.

1. Name the one sport in which neither the spectators nor the participants know the score or the leader until the contest ends.

2. What famous North American landmark is constantly moving backward?

3. Of all vegetables, only two can live to produce on their own for several growing seasons. All other vegetables must be replanted every year. What are the only two perennial vegetables?

4. What fruit has its seeds on the outside?

5. In many liquor stores, you can buy pear brandy, with a real pear inside the bottle. The pear is whole and ripe, and the bottle is genuine; it hasn’t been cut in any way. How did the pear get inside the bottle?

6. Only 3 words in standard English begin with the letters “dw” and they are all common words. Name 2 of them.

7. There are 14 punctuation marks in English grammar. Can you name at least half of them?

8. Name the only vegetable or fruit that is never sold frozen, canned, processed, cooked, or in any other form except fresh.

9. Name 6 or more things that you can wear on your feet beginning with the letter “S.”
(Answers Below)

 


Answers:

1. Boxing

2. Niagara Falls (The rim is worn down about two and a half feet each year because of the millions of gallons of water that rush over it every minute.)

3. Only two vegetables that can live to produce on their own for several growing seasons: Asparagus and rhubarb.

4. Strawberry

5. It grew inside the bottle.. The bottles are placed over pear buds when they are small, and are wired in place on the tree. The bottle is left in place for the entire growing season. When the pears are ripe, they are snipped off at the stems.

6. Dwarf, dwell and dwindle

7. Period, comma, colon, semicolon, dash, hyphen, apostrophe, question mark, exclamation point, quotation mark, brackets, parenthesis, braces, and ellipses.

8. Lettuce

9. Shoes, socks, sandals, sneakers, slippers, skis, skates, snowshoes, stockings, stilts.

Is LOLWOT a legit writing opportunity?

Photo: tomcaraccio.com.au

If you’re looking for a site to practice your writing in hopes of gaining knowledge or earn an extra income, you may get a little frustrated. They are sometimes difficult to find. There are content mills which pay close to nothing and blogs that require an audience to earn money. Some of you may want a simple solution such as getting credit for what you’ve written at a moderate or consistent pace.

In my quest for discovering this solution, I discovered LOLWOT.  This site is in direct competition with sites like Bored Panda and Buzzfeed. LolWot has a platform, fortunately, that pays per article.  When I started with the site last year, the pay was $5 for a minimum 150 word article, $5 for a video article of at least 75 words, and $2 per item for list articles with a maximum of 20 items.

This platform accepted articles that were shocking, popular, historically interesting, funny and unusual.  They pay every week on Monday as long as you have a $100 minimum in earnings.  Each completed article has to undergo an editorial approval process before you can submit another. The site claims that the approval process takes between 12 minutes and 2 hours.

My first article was a list only because it had the potential of earning $40 each. Each list item requires a high quality photo.  I discovered that you have to know a little bit about photo editing because the photos have particular size requirements. I submitted a list article for review and moved on to the news and video articles.  Once I passed the preliminary requirements, I had $50 worth of articles in the editorial review queue.

The first set of articles were approved within 3 hours and I quickly wrote another set of each type. It seemed to be going well. Within 24 hours I had already met the minimum payout.  I noticed that the next set of articles took a considerably longer time to get approved. The following Monday was the day. Are they going to honor their word and pay? Sure enough, at 12:11am, the funds were deposited into my PayPal account. $180 was my first deposit since some of my articles were rejected. This of course got me into work mode.  I was thinking $80 per day would be a decent secondary income for doing 3 to 4 hours worth of research, writing and photo imaging.

I started feverishly checking my email and submitting a new article within an hour or two after each approval. However, the editorial review time was getting longer and longer.  Even still, I kept churning out content. My deposits were averaging over $100 every week for a while. One particularly busy week brought in $220. However, there was no deposit the following Monday. I checked again at the end of the day and there was a notice saying that the site was having issues with PayPal.  The funds finally arrived 4 days later but it made me a little leery.

At this time the editorial review process was taking days to approve rather than hours. Again, you cannot add articles until the previous ones are approved. This slowed down my writing and cut my earnings back to less than $100 per week.

Soon, the site added a note requesting only funny articles. A few weeks later they closed submissions for lists.  Only the $5 video and articles were available. Approval time was about 9 hours. At this rate it would take more than a week to earn $100. A few months after this change, they changed the list terms to only $1.50 per item with a maximum of 15 items.

I’m sure you realize I had lost interest after the payment issues. The last time I checked, they were only accepting articles of an NSFW nature at $5 per 150 word article. In answering the question regarding the site’s reputation, it is legit. The process is a little frustrating but if you’re interested, go to www.cms.LolWot.com, login with your Facebook account and check it out.

Creating an Impressive Business Luncheon

Sometimes it’s hard to understand our clientele. We don’t know whether to kiss up or dominate. But what we say and do pretty much determines how things will pan out. Will we get the account? That’s pretty much the important question here. Food is a universally effective sales tool. We use food on first dates, we use it at office parties, and we even sometimes use it as gifts. Some of us us actually re-gift the fruit cake so much that it actually rips through the packaging! Why not use food to land that next big account? I’m not talking about a huge conference with a lot of people. Try doing a simple business gathering for a small group of 4 to 6 people. Here’s a list for impressing those major clients with a business luncheon.

First of all, you should do a little research. Finding out the person’s lifestyle is just as important as their business track record. Without imposing, discuss whether or not they work out, if they like a certain type of food, if they’re a dessert fanatic, etc. This will also help you plan your budget in the long run. After you complete the first event, you can plan to repeat it every few months for other potential clients.

Invite the clients that you wish to impress as well as some of your most valued current clients. Keep in mind that they should have similar interests, if possible. The current clients will not only make you look good but will most often compliment your business verbally during casual conversations. Follow up with an email or phone call. If they have in fact said yes, give them a courtesy reminder to confirm the date and time.

Your display and ambiance should be inviting. Have a server or two, available. If you’re able to, rent or bring glassware and silverware. Try not to use paper or plastic. This can be really important for an earth-friendly possible client. The food should have its own individual containers. Use warmers for the hot food and make sure to serve the guests. Condiments should be displayed in covered containers, not packages.

Plan a reasonable menu. Your menu should be light but filling. Make sure to have options for particular allergies such as, gluten, fruit, nuts, etc. I’m suggesting chicken salad. Be sure not to hold the onions and garlic! If you’re heading back to the office these odors can be a little offensive and overpowering. A simple, but colorful Green Salad is suggested, using a variety of vibrant colors with spinach, cherry tomatoes, kale, radicchio, carrots, etc. No Iceberg lettuce! For the sake of the guests that do have allergies, cranberries, almonds, and such should be displayed as options for salads. Dessert should be light with only two choices, such as a slice of pound cake and slice of plain cheesecake. You may provide fresh strawberries or blueberries as an optional topping. No sauces or whipped cream. Beverages should include coffee, tea, iced tea, water, and lemonade. Please…no red punch!

Finally, if you like to kiss up as much as some of us do, have a small “thank you for your time” gift, nothing too bulky or overly suggestive. For ladies, it can be a small nicely packaged compact mirror or coin purse, but not too corny. Men usually like to grab and go so this can be a little tricky. It needs to be something that they can shove into their pockets. One of those tiny nail or mustache clipper sets may do the trick. With either gift, choose your packaging creatively so that you can insert your business card or a small note. Try not to use the obvious promotional items with your information printed on them. This small gift is sometimes more effective after the fact. By sending it as a thank you a week or two later, you rekindle the clients thoughts and sometimes persuade them to consider your company even more so.

This particular type of business gesture is a sure way to get attention. It is an unorthodox form of advertising and does take careful planning and a moderate to generous budget. If you keep it simple, keep the business conversation or presentation short, and use some ingenuity, you may just land the next Mark Zuckerberg-type account!