Tag Archives: network

Confidence = “Business is booming!”

Sheralyn

I had a great conversation with someone recently. It was on the topic of “owning it.” We were each reflecting upon the fact that we operate a business that has more to do with creativity than any “perceived” solid, marketable skill. It’s easy for many of us to identify with what an accountant does or with the services a website designer can offer. For many of us, we also “know what we don’t know.” That is to say, I’m no good with numbers so I KNOW that I need an accountant to help me with that part of my business. But for those of us offering more creative type services, a typical response from many customers is; “I can probably take a stab at that myself,” or “I need to cut costs somewhere so I’ll (insert here – “get my friend to help” or “write my own blogs” or “take my own pictures.”) How is the budding entrepreneur in any of these creative type services supposed to market and sell to the “DIY” audience? By OWNING it! Own your skill set and service and most of all stop apologizing. Be loud and proud about the VALUE ADD that you bring to the table.

When you’re a writer for example, it can be hard to provide quantifiable evidence of your ability to add to a client’s bottom line. Is the increase in customer traffic due to great content or whizbang looking graphics or because the product or service is exceptional? If you’re a photographer, who wants to pay for your services when everyone has an iphone and thinks their shaky video is suitable for posting. The conversation with my fellow entrepreneur sparked an investigation into how creative people tend to sell their services and universally (from my admittedly unscientific research) it would appear that when we undergo the transformation from apologizing for our services to owning our strength and proudly speaking about our value to your business bottom line, that’s when people suddenly realize that YES they need you and YES, they should actually be paying you what your worth.

Owning your work is pretty simple. To “OWN it” means to be:

Out loud. To speak loudly and proudly about what you do and whom you do it for and that your fee is your fee. End of story. Project that you’re worth it and people will pay what you’re worth.

Original. Stand out from the crowd. Differentiate yourself from every one else.

Out in front of people. SPEAKING is important. Grab every chance you get to speak publicly about what you do. Seek out professional groups and opportunities to speak in front of others. Speaking lends credibility to what you do.

Own it also means:

Work hard. It’s true what your Momma told you. You get out what you put in and if you work hard and produce results for your clients word will get around.

Winning Attitude. Project confidence. Tell yourself every day “you’ve got this.” Confidence sells.

Write about what you do. Again, it’s about credibility. If people can see what you’ve had to say online you are positioning yourself as the expert and will be viewed as one.

Finally, own it means to:

Never underestimate your services and never undervalue what you do. You pay a contractor to complete a task in your home, why wouldn’t you expect to be paid for what you do? Content is valuable, artwork draws the eye to the page and a picture sometimes really is “worth a thousand words” so demand a fair rate and be open about what goes into the services you offer and why they cost what they do.

Network like your life depends on it. This doesn’t mean “selling” to folks, rather it simply means get out there and meet people, talk about what you do and treat everyone like a mutual referral source.

Without fail, the entrepreneurs I spoke with all said some variation of the same thing. The moment they stopped “justifying” their service and the price they charged and instead began proudly declaring: “Here is who I am, what I can do for you and the price you should expect to pay,” (in other words owning it) that’s when their business shifted. Change your mindset. Speak with confidence about what you do, project in your voice and actions that you are the “go to” expert and take on any opportunity to speak in front of groups.  Then sit back and watch your business grow!

“O.W.N. IT”

  • Out loud and out front
  • Original
  • Work hard
  • Winning Attitude
  • Write what you know
  • Never underestimate
  • Network!

 

As Owner and Principal partner of “Writing Right For You” Sheralyn is a Communications Strategist – working together with entrepreneurs to maximize profit through effective use of the written word. Looking for web content that works, blog articles that engage or communications strategies that help you get noticed?  Contact Sheralyn today. Sheralyn is also the mother of two children now entering the “terrible and terrific teens” and spends her free time volunteering for several non-profit organizations.

Sheralyn Roman B.A., B.Ed.

Writing Right For You

Communications Strategies that help you GET TO THE POINT!

416-420-9415 Cell/Business

writingrightforyou@gmail.com

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How to Network when Networking isn’t your thing

Sheralyn

You’ve opened your own business. You have hopes and dreams of hitting the big time or maybe you just have a vision, values and a commitment to a product that you want to share with the world. The problem is – you’re just not that comfortable sharing. You believe in your product and that YOU are the subject matter expert but talking to others makes you tremble in your boots. How do you overcome this challenge and get out there to meet, greet and network?

It all boils down to this: GET REAL and BE R.E.A.L.! (Be Realistic & Reasonable, Manage your Expectations, Develop a positive Attitude & Love what you do!) Too many of us spend far too long trying to be something that we’re not. If networking isn’t a strength, that’s fine. Some of us are experts at writing words and some are great at speaking them. Either way, OWN who you are and be proud of it. This one act alone will help boost your confidence. Getting R.E.A.L. is about acknowledging who you are and what strengths you have, then setting targets that are reasonable and realistic. When it comes to networking these first two elements are key: Be Reasonable and Realistic about your Expectations. If you’re a wallflower, don’t schedule a conference with over 200+ attendees as your first venture into networking. Rather, find something local, check in with your Chamber of Commerce or Small Business Enterprise Centre and connect with like-minded local entrepreneurs where there may only be 12-15 people in the room. Log in to “MeetUp” and search for groups that are within your specific market and consider attending one of these meetings just to observe how others in your field interact. If you work up the courage to engage even one person in conversation, distribute a business card or two, consider that the first step in your successful networking career! There are also many organizations that cater exclusively to networking for women and while cutting off 50% of your potential clientele is not a good long-term strategy, it is an excellent place to start and feel comfortable – in a nurturing all female environment. Before heading out the door on your first attempt, practice on family members, heck speak to the family dog or sit hubby or your best friend down on the couch and practice your pitch on them until it sounds right. Writing something down vs. saying it “in your out loud voice” are often two entirely different things so don’t just write a great intro for yourself, practice saying it out loud to see how it sounds.

Along with Reasonable and Realistic, make your first few networking experiences memorable by adopting a positive Attitude. This might sound simplistic but if you’re nervous going in it will show. Attitude isn’t just about the words you choose it’s how you carry yourself and the face you show to the world. Stand tall, put a smile on your face, project a positive attitude out into the room and you will receive it in return. Put your cell phone away and don’t rely on it as a crutch. I once watched a women at a networking event as she arrived, “reading” email messages, checked in, found a seat and cell phone still in hand, never looked up once. As others joined her table she would glance up briefly and smile but no words were exchanged. I purposefully approached to chat with her and it was obvious she was very nervous. I understand but never looking up and attempting to make eye contact or engage with others won’t help improve your networking skills. No doubt her overall impression of that networking event wasn’t positive but she did nothing to help herself. A positive “I can do this” attitude while you are at an event will help carry you through the event.

For women networking here are some other practical tips:

  • Ditch the purse or invest in a crossbody bag that keeps you hands free.
  • Find a small, easily opened case to hold your business cards and in which to store those you receive.
  • Put your cell phone away – unless it’s your kid calling from school or jail chances are you don’t need to take that call. Cell phones are a distraction and make it too easy for you to appear busy and not focused on the reason for attending in the first place.
  • Likewise – stash your coat, your nerves will keep you warm enough!
  • Networking isn’t about the coffee – make your goal to meet people first then suggest to someone you’ve just met “let’s grab a coffee and find a table.” It’s a great way to extend a conversation rather than fumbling to balance that coffee and extend your hand for a handshake when you are first introduced.
  • If you are more comfortable attending your first couple of events with another person that’s fine but agree to split up when you arrive. Maintain eye contact for mutual support and you can always join up later to sit together. You’ll have the confidence of knowing someone is there with you but the opportunity to meet other people too. You might even double your odds if you both meet others and mutually share the contacts and introductions you’ve just made!
  • Recently, someone suggested to me that you make a specific goal for yourself like “Meet three people” or “Exchange 4 business cards” and then you can leave. Having an objective before you head into the event will leave you with a feeling of accomplishment when you achieve it.

Finally, you hear a great deal about passion these days. That is – hopefully, if you are a small business entrepreneur trying to grow your business, you LOVE what you do. If you love what you do your passion will shine through and that’s going to help you in terms of your positive mental attitude and your confidence level when walking into a room for networking purposes. Here is the most important tip – if you LOVE what you do, fine-tune your introduction so your love, commitment and passion shines through. We’ve talked in this space before about your “pitch” or “elevator speech” or introduction. Whatever you call it, it will only work for you if it truly resonates and you are comfortable both saying it and believing it. In my Communications Course I talk a lot about the rule of 10 and this can be applied to your introduction as well as any other areas of your business. Take the time to identify the top ten words that best describe your business and what it is you want to convey to potential clients. Once those words are on paper, play around with them to create one short sentence that acts as a great introduction of yourself and your business. Most importantly – it should be a sentence that invites and encourages conversation through questions. I learned a similar technique several years ago while attending an event hosted by The Leadership Forum in Caledon. Conversation engages and encourages and is so much better then throwing a business card at someone hoping it sticks. Engaging in a great conversation is what just might lead to future business.

In the end, being R.E.A.L. about who you are will allow your integrity to show. Trust and integrity are an enormous part of why someone chooses to do business with you. If you are not great at walking into a room – that’s fine – practice some of these tips and be passionate about what you do and that will help significantly. Maybe even admit your fears when you’re having a chat – chances are, the person you’re speaking with might be feeling the exact same way!

As Owner and Principal partner of “Writing Right For You” Sheralyn is a Communications Strategist – working together with entrepreneurs to maximize profit through effective use of the written word. Looking for web content that works, blog articles that engage or communications strategies that help you get noticed?  Contact Sheralyn today. Sheralyn is also the mother of two children now entering the “terrible and terrific teens” and spends her free time volunteering for several non-profit organizations.

Sheralyn Roman B.A., B.Ed.

Writing Right For You

Communications Strategies that help you GET TO THE POINT!

416-420-9415 Cell/Business

writingrightforyou@gmail.com

LinkedIn / Facebook / www.writingrightforyou.weebly.com

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Four People Entrepreneurs Should Thank At Christmas

Praveeni

Christmas is the time to be thankful for the year that passed and look forward to the year ahead. As an entrepreneur you have many people that help and assist you in both your professional and personal life. It’s important to show your appreciation to those that support you. Here are 4 people entrepreneurs should thank at Christmas :

  1. Clients 

You wouldn’t be in business without your clients so show them you appreciate their business. A card wishing them well for the holiday season and thanking them for their business is a nice gesture. Sending a handwritten card as opposed to a generic printed card is better as it adds a more personal touch. If you wish you can send your clients a corporate gift such as a calendar, paperweight or even chocolates with your company logo on them. Make sure your gift is addressed to your client and try to avoid non-addressed generic messages.

 

  1. Your team

Most entrepreneurs don’t go it alone, there’s always a few people you rely on to make your business work. Whether it’s your web designer or your intern you still have people to thank for helping you run your business. Thanking your team by sending a card or gift will show them you appreciate the work that they do and help strengthen your business relationship. If you work very closely with your team on a daily basis you can opt for a more personal gift such as a favourite bottle of wine or some home baked cookies, the important thing is to let them know they are valued.

 

  1. Suppliers

Suppliers provide you with products or services that help you run your business. Christmas is a good time to thank them for their services. Although you are a customer to them, finding suppliers that provide top quality products and services isn’t always easy so you should show your appreciation of their work. This will encourage them to continue to provide you with good quality products and services. Suppliers will also remember you and be more willing to go the extra mile for you if you’ve shown your appreciation. As an entrepreneur you should always strive to maintain a good relationship with your suppliers.

 

  1. Supporters

Every entrepreneur has supporters that provide encouragement and motivate you to keep going. Supporters are people who are not directly affiliated with your business but are a part of your network. They can be friends, mentors, former teachers or even family members. As an entrepreneur you should show appreciation for the people that keep you going throughout the year. Opt for a more personal gift for your supporters and make it clear that your are thankful for their encouragement of your entrepreneurial endeavours.

 

Praveeni Perera is the CEO and co-founder of Professional Edge Consulting a corporate training company based in Ottawa offering training and coaching services to clients around the world.  She can be reached via WebsiteTwitterFacebook or her Blog.

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The Story Of A Networker

Kerry George (1)

In only three years I went from knowing nobody to becoming one of the most connected people in my region. I went from abject poverty to owning three successful companies. I couldn’t have given advice on how to effectively get one client and now I am sought after by professionals and start-ups from across Alberta. Would you like to know how I did it?

I got involved in business networking. That is the pure, simple, reality of it.

For 12 years I was a Pastor and as a Pastor I was in a bubble. My whole life was the church and the people in the church. My congregations were almost completely employees and the very poor. I did not know or understand business. I knew nobody who was a successful business person and I did not know even one entrepreneur. In 2011 I decided to make a change and start a business of my own. My company was an online marketing company and one of my first clients was Jim Messner who owned the Calgary Business Network. Jim impressed upon me the importance of building good relationships, exchanging business, working with people and not being aggressively competitive but being a person who always looked to add value. Jim is still an excellent mentor and a great friend.

I really tied into networking. I got involved and went to meetings and then one day when Jim couldn’t make it, I ran the meeting and discovered something powerful. Those who ran the event were seen as leaders and they got more business than those who just came as a participant! That day I wrote one deal on the spot and had two successful sales later in the week. As a result, I decided that I wanted to take part in running one of the ongoing groups.

After a year I had made a lot of new friends. My social media skills were helping me to also grow an online network and often when people would see me in person they would exclaim that they already knew me online. My reputation was growing and my life was changing.

In January of 2012 Jim decided to retire and spend more time in the US so he offered to sell me the network. I jumped at the opportunity and began improving the offering of the network. Within 12 months we had grown it by 300% and it was turning a profit and my influence was expanding. In November of 2012 I was approached by my largest competitor in the region to take their weekly networking clubs and add them to our business so in January of 2013 we acquired the Progressive Group of Independent Business lunch chapters. This year has been a whirlwind of successes as the entire network has taken off.

Today people will ask me why I believe our company is the best or why we believe we have such a great unique proposition and I tell them that it is because I was a business owner just like them when I got started. I did not inherit this network. I was a small business who needed new warm leads and referrals. I had a service to sell and I was struggling to survive just like most people who get started on their own. My biggest advantage was that I had good mentors like Jim Messner who helped me make wise decisions and showed me how to network properly. Today we train on many of those skills and offer them to others and that is why our network is making an impact. This is all about helping others succeed. When we help enough people increase their profit then we also enjoy the benefits of those relationships.

Networking works. When one invests time into themselves and into others it is a win/win for everyone!

 

Kerry George is the owner of the Canadian Imperial Business Network which is currently the largest business network in Alberta and rapidly expanding across the country. She is a serial entrepreneur/author and speaker with a zest for life and a passion to help others succeed in increasing their potential and their bottom line. Kerry has several publications and blogs that you can follow and welcomes most interaction online.

Twitter

@createloyalty2U

@CIBNtweets

@yycbiznetwork

Blogs

http://loyal2u.blogspot.ca/

http://calgarybiz.net/blog-3/

http://kidsincowtown.wordpress.com/

http://loyal2u.ca/category/social-media-2/linkedin/

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