Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Social Media Etiquette: Are You Developing (or Destroying) Your Online Reputation and Relationships?

Many service-based business owners are leveraging the power of social media in their marketing and brand communication strategies - which is wonderful to see.

Unfortunately though, there are some unscrupulous (or perhaps 'uneducated') users, who are not following social media 'etiquette ' and are therefore destroying their reputation and any chance of building solid relationships with their network.

When it comes to social media, whether you are a novice or a pro, here are 10 DO NOT's and 10 principles you should adopt to ensure you use these technologies appropriately in your online interactions.

When connecting with me on Social Media - DON'T:

1. Post inappropriate photos and/or comments on my Facebook wall or Twitter feeds.

2. Blatantly promote your products and services on my wall.

3. Send me an email about your upcoming workshop/event after having only just connected with me. We haven't had the opportunity to get to know one another yet.

4. Only post/write information about YOU and YOUR products and services. Just because I am connected to you, doesn't mean I have given you an open invitation to broadcast your promotions.

5. Tag me in a video/photograph/other post that has no relevance to me because you're only trying to get my attention. Guess what? You did, but for the wrong reason. I've just unfriended and/or blocked you.

6. Include my Twitter handle in a post to get my attention about your product or affiliate link. Again, you've got my attention but I won't be following you OR clicking through the link. Anyway, you've probably just had your Twitter account banned for spamming.

7. Ask me to tell me more about myself and the work I'm doing. This shows me you haven't bothered to read my profile, wall posts or feeds.


9. Send me an invitation to connect using the standard request provided by the technology platform. This indicates that you have not taken the time to read my profile.

[Note: I've been guilty of this myself so it's a great reminder for me too, NOT to do this].

10. Use disrespectful language; bullying tactics; or name calling when commenting on my wall. If you disagree with something that either I or one of my followers has said, that's fine - I respect your opinion. Please respect my opinion and that of my followers.

When connecting with me on Social Media - DO:

1. Be a relationship builder and show me that you care.

Show a genuine interest in what people are doing and saying and take the time to build relationships just as you would with any face-to-face interaction. People are more likely to recommend you, share your information with their network, or do business with you if they know, like and trust you.

2. Be respectful of others' opinions even if you don't agree with them.

Social media allows you to connect with thousands of people you would never have had the opportunity to meet if you were just relying on face-to-face networking. And, many of them will probably have different values and opinions than you.

Don't force your thoughts or beliefs onto others in a disrespectful manner - after all, your opinion is just that - yours. Instead be willing to be respectful of them despite the differences.

3. Be on-brand and mindful of the online footprint you're creating.

Everything you do and say reflects on you and your brand. Be sure that your posts, comments and interactions are of a professional manner and that you aren't creating digital dirt that could cause a prospect to 'not' hire you.

If you think something could be misconstrued or if you wouldn't want a prospective client to read it - don't post it! They'll surely find it, which may be the reason they hire your competitor rather than you.

4. Be a 'giver' and not only a 'taker'

Social networking is not all about taking and receiving but rather it's about sharing resources and passing on information that you know would be of interest people.

The more helpful and supportive you are in your interactions the more likely others will be willing to extend the hand of friendship and support when you need it.

5. Be honest in all your business dealings.

The technologies we have at our fingertips allow us to do business with people on the other side of the world without ever having to meet them.

Unfortunately, some people misuse these technologies by misrepresenting themselves and misleading people into parting with their hard-earned dollar.

Ensure that you manage all your business dealings with the highest of integrity, service and honour, and that your customers are happy to recommend you to their extended network.

Remember, when using social media, the information you share and your interactions should not be 'all about you'. Avoid blatant broadcasting and promotion of your products and services to your followers.

Rather it's about 'networking', sharing valued-added resources, showing an interest in others, providing support and assistance, and about establishing and nurturing a strong network of likeminded people.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

How to Build a Global Writing Business in 10 Steps

As a writer, you may find it a little intimidating to think about taking your writing business global, and it's certainly not a business strategy for the "faint of heart." In fact, with the competition springing up from writers all over the world - many of whom are willing and eager to work for what amounts to pennies on the dollar, you may wonder if there is even a market for your writing business in today's global market?

The answer is a resounding YES!

Having a global writing business gives your business a huge potential for growth and profitability - in spite of - or perhaps because of - the current world economy.

However, to be truly successful, you have to start by creating a global business strategy, because taking your writing business global is going to require an entirely new mindset and way of dong business.

If you're just starting out, you should add going global to your long-term strategy, and build your business locally and regionally, putting the "foundations" of your writing business in place first.

The "Foundations" of a Strong Writing Business

Let's talk for just a minute about what I mean by the "foundations" of a strong writing business and why they're so important.

Before you can compete in the global marketplace, it's absolutely vital that you build a strong foundation - in other words, you need to know and be able to communicate:

  • What type of writing business you have
  • Who your ideal clients are
  • What you bring to the table
  • Why you (rather than someone else)

You will be more successful in building a global writing business if you build a strong brand first. Being able to articulate who you are and what you stand for will make it easier for you to find your "ideal clients" - no matter where in the world they're located.

Understanding the Global Marketplace

As the owner of a successful writing business, you will discover there is an immense potential for both growth and profitability by going global - but there are also some pitfalls you need to be aware of and take into account - to increase your chances of success.

Thanks to the Internet of course, going global has actually never been easier. There are also a myriad of online tools available - such as internationally accepted shopping carts, invoicing software and Website or Blogs which make getting started simple and easy.

However, building a global writing business requires learning new ways of thinking, acting and promoting your business. Your potential clients in other countries may have different customs, concerns and even values when it comes to doing business. You have to be prepared to learn an entirely new business etiquette - and recognize and be sensitive to those "new to you" rules.

To truly succeed, you have to commit to taking bold action and fostering an international perspective and mindset. But at the same time, you have to be willing to adapt your current business process and mindset so that you fit in. Going in with the attitude that it's "your way or the highway" will definitely result in failure.

Here are the basic steps to take when you're ready to take your writing business global:

  1. Get Organized and Create Your Area of Expertise. Going global requires not only a new mindset, but you absolutely have to stay on top of your game. Put together a customer acquisition system. Create forms, promotions, write articles showcasing your expertise, start a blog. Get your ducks in a row before you start your global marketing campaign. This may mean you redefine or reinvent your writing business. (I don't mean lie, I mean creating an exciting new brand that works on a global level.)
  2. Choose Your Market: Decide what countries you'd like to build a presence in, and do your market research. Learn about the business climate, the etiquette, your target market, the industry, etc. Create an action-oriented business strategy based on your research, which
  3. Define Who Your International Customer Is. Just as in any campaign where you need to create a customer profile, it's important to have a strong picture of who your international client is, what they want, what they need and what's keeping them up at night. (This is also called the "Dominant Resident Emotion")
  4. Develop Your Marketing and Sales Campaign. Something many writers forget about (if you live in the USA), is that they don't have to be exporting tangible products, in order to benefit from free or low-cost government-sponsored trade shows, trade missions and international networking programs. Another idea is to look around for appropriate international associations or organizations that your international clients may be associated with - and become a member. And then, of course, online social networking opens up many new avenues for connecting with your clients as well.
  5. Set up a Schedule for Promoting Your Business, and Stick To It. Breaking into the global market is not difficult, but it takes continual and concerted effort. Don't expect to achieve your goals by doing a one-shot campaign.
  6. Insist on Excellence. When you get your first client, make it a business practice to always over-deliver and provide unprecedented professionalism. Delighting your clients will result in word-of-mouth referrals that will build your business faster than anything else.
  7. Have a Plan for Building and Expanding Your Business. Creating a global business means you have a plan for building your business. This might mean starting with one foreign country, or one industry in that country, and then expanding out over time. How you do this goes back to your strategy and what your own goals are. But be prepared to become a trail blazer.
  8. Get (More) Connected and Continue to Build Your Expertise. We have to face facts. As writers who want to compete in the global market, one of our biggest challenges is staying on top of the competition - the good, the bad, and the ugly. These days so-called writers, want to-be writers and out-and-out pretenders are coming out of the woodwork. While the Internet can help you build a rich and exciting and extremely profitable writing business, it also means that anyone can slap together a Website or blog and call themselves a writer. One of the best ways to counter these problems is to create stronger and deeper connections with your target market. Building your reputation as an expert in your industry or niche is another way. One way to do both: consider expanding your repertoire by offering online training, videos or teleseminars - and if you think about it, you'll be able to think of other creative ways to show up all over the internet as an expert.
  9. Use Your Business Plan as Your Own Personal GPS to Help You Stay on Course. Your business plan shouldn't be a static document that gets written once and then shoved into the back of a drawer in your desk. Your business plan should be the guidance system that keeps you on track for reaching your most important business - and personal - goals. So make it a part of your business strategy to schedule a time to look over your business plan and tweak it as needed so that you grow your writing business in a way that makes sense for you and what you want to achieve.
  10. Make Continuing Your Education a Part of Your Personal and Professional Mission Statement. In today's fast-paced and ever-changing global business climate, you absolutely HAVE to stay on top of your industry or niche in order to succeed - and help your clients succeed. But even more than that, continuing your education gives you new insight, ideas and tools to help you create a wildly successful and profitable global writing business and keeps you feeling positive, motivated and excited to get up in the morning, doing what you love!

There you have it. 10 steps you can start taking right now to build a global writing business. The Writer's Business Academy offers tons of free information, resources and tools to help you start building a wildly successful writing business right now...

Cell Phone Etiquette Training Needed

With the advent of modern communications, it is becoming increasingly more possible to reach anyone, any time, anywhere. Like any other advancement, cell phones have provided much more flexibility and convenience in communication between people, but there are often instances where this goes more than a bit too far.

The rules for communicating via a cell phone often violate long-established taboos for face-to-face conversations. In fact, cell phones are used to communicate in situations where even close proximity dictates any normal person should give the conversation a rest. Aside from the dangers associated with using a cell phone while driving instead of concentrating on the road, there are many other instances where people just cannot seem to resist answering calls that could easily wait for a better moment.

Perhaps there should be some rules of engagement associated with using the instant gratification of holding hours of conversations that otherwise should not take place. A simple rule of thumb might be to encourage people not to answer a phone, or participate in a conversation if they would find it embarrassing to hold the same conversation in person with the other party. Certainly, in a regular conversation, the surroundings significantly impact one's desire to talk with another person, so why should anyone wish to hold a business conversation in the middle of a bathroom break, with toilets flushing all around? Surely the other party can understand there are times when a person needs a little space to concentrate on other activities that require full attention.

The rudeness, lack of concern for what is happening around them, and temerity of cell phone users is legendary. Listening to people talking on cell phones while reality dictates a more polite or obvious focus of attention is commonplace, not to mention the astronomical increase in the number of "Hi, what's going on with you?" calling that people seem irresistibly compelled to make from their cells. If a person were shoved from a plane without a parachute, their last act might be to make one last cell phone call to say good-bye before hitting the ground. It can become difficult to discern whether an approaching stranger is speaking to you or someone on a cell phone. Maybe there should be a sticker people can put on their shirt to indicate FOCUSED ON REALITY or CELL TALKING to help those around them know more readily whether or not to engage in the exchange.

Recently, in working with a consulting client, I was asked to post a recorded conference call and demonstration session to the company's intranet site for open access to all company employees. When reviewing the material, there were several instances of toilets flushing, and noises indicating people were participating with cell phones while using the bathroom. I made note of these unpleasant sound bytes included with the presentation, but the leadership was happy to post the material unedited. For victims of cell phone compulsion, life must be difficult for those who cannot seem to find the time to eliminate, eat, sleep, entertain, be entertained, drive, work, or procreate without including a cell phone vigil as an over-riding priority to these activities.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Learn Table Manners and Etiquettes

Parents need to teach their children the proper table manners really early in their lives, if they want their kids to grow up displaying those manners and having great etiquette. Not having table manners or not being familiar with dining etiquette can be embarrassing for someone who is suddenly in a situation where the best etiquette is needed. However, if you've never learned proper table etiquette in a formal dining situation, it's never too late to learn.

If you know how utterly annoying it is to be seated next to an extremely rude person who is constantly spilling his soup on the table, splashing it in your face or on your clothes and making all kind of funny noises while chewing, maybe even burping or talking so loud everyone can hear him, you have been acquainted with a great lack of table manners and etiquette. Hopefully, the person just described is not you. If you can relate to this person, even partially, it's a swell idea to make sure you'll never be the person discussed after the meal, because you've gotten on everyone's nerves.

First things first, let's start with not being late, especially if you are the host, because this is absolutely unacceptable. You need to arrive earlier to make sure everything's in order and be able to greet your guests. As a guest, you should also be on time, but you are allowed to arrive late with the specification that you let your host know.

You don't have to buy any presents to the host of the dinner. A bottle of wine is quite pointless in a restaurant. Once you arrive as a guest, let yourself be completely guided by your host; let him or her tell you where to sit down and make sure you do only when the time is right, after the host sits down. Once you sit down, keep a straight posture without leaning back or forth. Meticulously place your napkin on your lap and use the outermost cutlery first, or according to your host.

Table manners and etiquettes ask for a lot of tact and delicacy when eating, cutting your food into pieces or sipping your soup. Don't make any noise, don't chew with your mouth open, don't speak with your mouth full (yes, mom had every right to nag you about it!) and don't place the used knives and forks on the table. Don't place your elbows on the table and don't eat too fast.

Business dining etiquette requires you don't use your cell phone to send text messages or emails while at the table. Excuse yourself politely and go take care of your urgent business matters in the hallway, for instance. One of the final guidelines on the list covering table manners and etiquette is to help your spouse out of her chair, say goodbye to your host and all the other guests and leave. As a host, thank the restaurant personnel and only then you can call it a night.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Business Phone Systems Etiquette - 6 Things to Do and 7 Things Not to Do When on the Call

Here are 6 Things To Do and 7 Things Not To Do when talking on the business phone system.

1. Always keep your guard up, not down whenever you answer the office telephone -- even if you are under a great deal of stress or in a hurry. Always take a deep breath, stay calm and use good manners. Good manners are good for business. In fact, you can get results much faster if you remember that.

2. Do treat a call with someone like an actual meeting in person (consider the call having a purpose and having an agenda).

3. Decide before you place the call what you will do if someone else besides the person you are calling would happen to answer the phone. Think if you would want to leave the person a message, go to their answering machine, leave them a voicemail, or call them back later.

4. Be punctual for a call that is scheduled.

5. Learn the names of the individuals who usually answer the phones. Keep track of the phone numbers of people you call frequently.

6. Speak pleasantly to the person on the other end of the phone.

7 Things You Should Not To Do

1. Don't ever type while talking on the phone, shuffle any papers, or talk to others at the same time. It only begins to suggest that you are not listening to them talk and that you feel other things are more important to you than they are.

2. Don't put the phone down real hard. If you must put the phone down, ease it down very gently.

3. Don't chew gum, food, candy or cough drops while talking on the phone.

4. Don't sneeze or cough, into the receiver. Instead, if you must sneeze or cough, turn your head and cover your mouth - as well as the receiver.

5. Don't bury the receiver into your shoulder or neck. Speak directly into it.

6. Don't just hang up if you happen to dial the wrong number. That would be rude. Explain yourself, verify the phone number so that you do not repeat the call.

7. Don't play the radio, TV or even work on the computer since it makes noise too with it's bings and bleeps. It can all be so distracting over the phone.

Etiquette and Other Rules During the Job Interview

During the interview process is isn't all about just what you say and how you answer questions. There is an unspoken criteria that revolves around how you carry and present yourself... it's your job interview etiquette.

Your business mannerisms can many times be the key decision point for interviews when the short list of candidates are so closely matched for any given position.

For example, you must be someone who is comfortable maintaining eye contact throughout the interview process.

During the question and answer process, it is certainly acceptable to break eye contact and glance away while you are gather your thoughts. But the inverse is not so true. If the interview is speaking to you, then you want to maintain eye contact with them and completely focus... even if the interviewer doesn't maintain constant eye contact.

This not only sends the message that your are completely focused on the task at hand, but it is also the respectful and polite posture to assume.

During the interview, under no circumstance should you be chewing gum or even sucking on a mint. If you want to freshen your breath before the interview, get that done ahead of time. Don't even greet the receptionist with anything in your mouth.

Whether you agree with this being rude or not... it is, at the very least, distracting.

Make it a mental point to remember your interviewer's name after you are first introduced to them. Then use conversationally as you would anyone's name... just don't over do it.

In fact, if the company contact person tells you the name of the person who will be interviewing you, then by all means, when you greet them, call them by name.

And by all means, personally thank them by name for their time at the conclusion of the interview.

Manners, etiquette, and class go a long way in getting yourself remembered as part of your interview and this might just be the edge you need when all other factors with your competition are too close to call.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Business Etiquette - Social Graces For Business Places

It seems that almost overnight, rapidly evolving technology has completely changed the where, when and how of conducting business.  Instant messaging, 24-7 contact and unlimited access are setting new rules for the way we interact with each other. It's fast and furious. Unfortunately, professional etiquette is changing too, and, in some cases, not for the better. While the occasional faux pas may be overlooked in the general hurly burly of modern business, doing the right thing is still a memorable way to move from ordinary to exceptional. Etiquette, or netiquette, will be the subject of a future debate.  For now, let's review five ways to be polished and professional when meeting face-to-face.

  • POLITE AND QUIET IN THE BEVERAGE LINE: While you are in the drink line don't speak unless spoken to. This is not the place to open a conversation. Unless, there is an obvious problem that you can solve, just be patient and polite. Be prepared with your drink order so that you don't hold everyone up and you have mastered the beverage line "p's and q's".
  • EARLY BIRD GETS THE ROOM Regardless of the type of event, you should always arrive on time.  If there is a buffet, it is wise to arrive early. Have something to eat and drink - but not before it is officially opened - and then work the room. Your goal is to meet and greet, not eat and greet.  There is nothing very appetizing about giving a prospect 3-D visuals of yourself chowing down a toppling plateful or,worse, sharing a sticky handshake.
  • HOLD THE ONIONS, GARLIC AND SPINACH This networking opportunity has been well planned on your part.  You know who you want to seek out and what you have to say - in ten seconds or less.  Don't let your preparation go to waste because of a blast of garlic or onion breath, accompanied by a charismatic smile, complete with spinach greens. No matter how enticing your benefit statement is, it will be lost if you become a walking billboard for the buffet table. It also goes without saying that you won't choose the sticky buns, melting chocolates or greasy chips.  You want to leave your impression on your prospects' minds not on their hands.
  • GET YOUR JUST DESSERTS The very best time to network is around the dessert table.  The mood is relaxed and almost everyone will welcome having your full attention. Of course, you won't be gorging on goodies, although you may make suggestions for others enjoyment. This isn't the time to take the spotlight. In effect, the way you handle yourself in social settings will set the tone for how you handle business dealings.  If you're all about being first in line, filling your plate and double trips to the treats, it may say more than you want to reveal about your personal working style! Now is the time to demonstrate your respect for others, while enhancing their networking experience. You're both there for the same reason: to make new connections. No sales, no pressure, no monopolizing of precious time.
  • ALWAYS CONSIDERATE You may forget which fork to use or the correct protocol for introducing dignitaries, but if you always remember that good manners means making sure that the person you are with is feeling comfortable and respected, than you can't go wrong. Always consider others' feelings first.

By practising these five simple rules your business etiquette will reflect well upon you.

Thanks for tapping in to: "Business Etiquette: Social Graces for Business Places"

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Cultural Mistakes You Should Avoid in India Business

Most of the people you, a foreigner, would be interacting with in your India business speak good English and they would likely be wearing Western style clothes. They would have most of the same consumer products city people have all over the world nowadays. But don't let this fool you, as India is an ancient culture, which has many contextual rules of behaviour and etiquette.

Though etiquette and business behaviour in India is not so radically different from the Western style as business behaviour is in Japan, Korea of India, there are significant differences. The good news is that most of these behaviours and mindsets can be learnt if you do your homework before meeting the Indians. Here are some quick guidelines.

The golden rule is: Be always sensitive to the context.

When doing business with India, never -

  • Make the other person lose face. Though this is not as serious as the Chinese face saving Gei MianZi(, it is very important. Avoid shouting at an Indian or reprimanding her/him in front of peers.
  • Accept every 'yes' as a real yes. Learn to recognise the "NO" as Indians don't say NO directly, unless it is a crucial issue.
  • Lecture about poverty, dirt, bribes and social ills to Indians as they might interpret it as condescending coming from a foreigner. Indians are proud of their rich history and appreciate intelligent discussions with mutual respect, so avoid preaching about democracy, social equality and women's rights etc.
  • Get nervous over frequent interruptions, digressions or bargaining in meetings and negotiations.
  • Expect quick commitment as all decisions take time and may involve people not present in meetings.
  • Never use your left hand for eating, serving, or taking food or in fact handing over or accepting things. The left hand is considered the toilet hand and thus taboo.
  • Address business partners by their first name unless given permission to. Seniority is important to the Indians especially if you are dealing with a State owned enterprise or government body. Indians are more informal than other Asians and in some sectors the atmosphere may seem very egalitarian and informal.
  • Get upset when someone asks personal questions about your age, marital status, income, and family background.
  • Buy the same gifts for everyone in the same organisation. You need to show respect according to rank and seniority. Buy better gifts for the senior managers instead of buying the same for everyone.

In addition to the above rules of behaviour, a genuine understanding of the other's position, an appreciation of the other's culture and achievements goes a great way towards A forming a long-term give and take two-way relationship.

As in business with other Asians, doing business with the Indians is difficult if mutual trust and respect have not been achieved. Try to make this your main focus. Gaining mutual respect is the key to managing relationships with the Indians. When you gain the respect, you have the foundation for a long-term business relationship.

Business Etiquette in Russia - Tips For Novices

Doing business in Russia can be a whole new experience even for a professional exporter who has done dozens of foreign deals before. Russia is where West meets East and it's a place which was cut off from the rest of the trading world for decades, from the non-socialist part of it anyway.

So what do you expect when you have your first business meeting with a Russian partner?

Well, the first meeting is the first test of your professionalism, credibility and expertise. Make sure you have the other side of your business card translated into Russian, so your title shows the position you hold within your company. Come to the scheduled meeting on time. Although punctuality may not be a strong point of your Russian partner, you simply cannot offend them by turning up late.

Good speaking skills and a well-prepared presentation are important. Although some Russian business people speak English, it's always best not to take chances and hire a professional Russian interpreter as well as get any documents you are going to discuss translated into Russian. Apart from helping you both with any communication problems, it also shows flexibility and willingness on your part to go that extra mile.

Negotiations can be tough. Russians don't give concessions easily and expect the other part to make allowances first. You do not need to give in immediately as, like everywhere else, it's a two-way process and you just have to go with the flow a bit. Russians rely on their intuition a lot. Sometimes they go with their fifth sense rather than be influenced by a fancy presentation. But there is no such thing as instant decisions, of course. Building up a working relationship can be a long process.

Any meeting may well end up with an invitation for a drink or a meal. Turning it down would be very rude. If you for some reason can't drink at all, it would be good to give a credible reason, health problems, for instance. Invitations to dachas (summer houses) or banyas (bath houses) normally happen at an advanced stage of a business relationship and are a sign of trust and good friendship.

On a more general note, Russia is all about the people you know and who knows you. It's vital to have good contacts as they can take you so far and remove a lot of barriers on the way. It's beneficial to have contacts up the chain as they can put you in touch with a decision-maker you need to talk to, avoiding unnecessary talks to lots of people who are not authorised to make those decisions you are after.

Respect Russia and all Russian and it will pay back.

10 Tips For Getting the Most Marketing Benefit From Your Business Cards

Business cards are among the least expensive marketing tools a business person has at his disposal, yet they are typically very poorly used, if they are used at all. Here are some tips for maximizing the marketing power or your business cards.

1. Carry your business cards with you at all times. This sounds obvious, I know, but you would be amazed how often a business person doesn't have business cards on hand when they are needed. Even if you manage your contacts through your PDA and you love to "beam" your contact information to others, still keep those business cards in your wallet, business card holder, pocket, briefcase, and car.

2. Make sure your employees, spouse and close associates also carry your business cards with them. I have picked up more than one client who learned about me through a conversation with my husband, who reached into his wallet and handed over a business card.

3. Hand out a business card as you introduce yourself at meetings and networking events. Not only do people appreciate seeing the name they just heard, but putting a business card in someone's hand as you introduce yourself engages three senses while you have their attention (hearing, sight, and touch). The more they are engaged, the more likely they will remember you, which is the point, remember?

4. Consider having your photo printed on your business card. People like to see who they are working with. Seeing your picture later will help them remember you. Also, it has been documented that seeing a photo on a business card and a website tends to help people develop trust faster than when they don't see a picture. If you are concerned about your appearance, do something about it or get over it. Touch up your rough edges with some photo editing software if you must, but get your face out there!

5. Be creative with your business cards. Of course, you want to make sure that your name and contact information are legible, but you should use the opportunity to express a bit of who you are with your business card. Maybe you can do that through a creative use of color or your logo. Perhaps you will want to add a unique slogan. Consider a double-sided card design. I saw a card recently with contact information on both sides. I saw another with a web address on the back. The back is also a good place for a catchy slogan.

6. Leave cards behind when you call on someone who is not there. Write individual notes on these cards to make them more memorable and personal. Be sure to use the other person's name n your handwritten note.

7. Hand a card to the secretary when you arrive for an appointment. This will help her get your name right when she notifies her boss that you are there. It also makes sure your contact information is in the hand of the person who will probably be entering it into the data system. By the way, business cards are the business descendent of calling cards, small cards with the visitor's name on them, which were used to announce the visitor to the person being visited. Presenting a card when you arrive for an appointment demonstrates a little class and etiquette.

8. Include a business card in greeting cards you send to customers or prospects. Especially if your business card has your photo on it, this will help them remember who you are, and remind them of your contact information. If they misplaced your card, this is a way to get it to them again without forcing them to ask for it. Also include your card with gifts you give to clients.

9. Look for opportunities and appropriate places to leave your cards behind for others. The right places for this will depend on your business and target market. You can ask business owners to allow you to leave cards in a holder on their counters. This is particularly appropriate if you have a complementary (but not competing) business. Also, don't be afraid to leave one or two laying around here and there (on bulletin boards, near ATMs, etc.). It's a good place if it is somewhere where your clients or prospects will be.

10. Use your business card for ads in newsletters and local publications. The term "business card size" is a common term for one of the sizes of ads available in most publications. You don't have to use your business card for the ad copy, but if you have a good business card (photo, nicely designed, easy to read), why not?

There are many ways you can use business cards to help market your business. Don't be stingy with your cards. Hand them out freely. Personalize them with notes. Don't assume that just because you gave someone your card in the past that they still have it, or that they transferred the contact information before misplacing the card. You will undoubtedly see a rapid return on your investment as you begin to use your business cards more.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Five Tips on Business Etiquette for You

As I was reading a recent article on business etiquette, I could not help but find the advice a little old fashioned. It talked about excessive praising and keeping your personal life to yourself. I wondered how many people are so intent on following proper etiquette that when you meet them, they seem to have no personality. That inspired me to write five tips to making successful connections on your next networking meeting.

Tip #1: Be prepared - I always treat networking events as fact finding missions. For me, there is nothing more interesting than to hear others talk about what they do and how they do it. I understand that this approach will not work for you. Whatever you want to do, be sure that you have a purpose and that you know what you are doing. In other words, if your idea is to meet as many people as you can, your strategy will be very different from someone looking for strategic alliances. Set your intention, plan your strategy and stick to it.

Tip #2: Praise only when you mean it - There is nothing more annoying to me than false praise. And yet, many etiquette experts advice you to praise lavishly and specially when in a crowd. People can smell pretense and you want to stay away from looking like a fake. If you like something, say it. If you don't, keep it to yourself. If someone asks you and your opinion is not favorable, make sure that your state your point without hurting anyone's feelings or sounding arrogant. Whatever you do, don't spend the evening praising everyone on everything from what they are wearing to their correct use of grammar and everything in between. Trust me. It will come back to bite you later.

Tip #3: Keep the bad stuff private and look for common ground with the good stuff - We all have personal lives. Having different interests is part of what makes us unique. Many experts agree that proper etiquette means excluding your personal life from the conversation at all costs. I disagree. I do believe that we don't want everyone to know about the bad stuff that can happen in our lives. However, how are you going to find a new job if everyone thinks you still have the old one. If you want to move, how will you find out about the great new condos if people think you want to stay where you are. The important thing here again is not what you say but how you say it. Stay away from sounding like a whining, complaining brat and just make a clear observation about how things are going.

Tip #4: Being connected is more important than being perfect - It always makes me laugh when I see the ultimate in advice - Be organized - like it is the most important thing you can do. I am not talking about a mess everywhere, cars you can barely sit on or a purse that holds your entire life story. I am talking about normal behavior. Every once in a while, you are going to misplace your keys. Some days, your hairspray will not hold. Maybe one day, you will spill red wine on your white dress. To me, it is more important how you react to life little surprises. People that always have to be perfect, have a tendency to be more interested in how people see them than on what people actually have to say. I would rather have a conversation with a person who spilled some soup and is very interesting than with a person that looks perfect on the outside and hides some demons in their closet. They remind me of American Psycho for some reason. Don't be perfect, be personable.

Tip #5: Be yourself - The other four tips were a lead in to this. Nothing is more important in business and in life than to be yourself. Concentrate on the positive aspects of your life, figure out how to say things honestly and politely and have a good time. Networking is about establishing connections. Nobody wants to meet a person at a meeting only to find out they are nothing like that in real life. Let's face it, it takes a lot of energy to portray an image all the time. Better be yourself and let those that like you become part of your life.

Email Etiquette Courses

Email is an effective communication tool for the office, for work with busy clients, for contact with vendors and to stay in touch with friends and family. We use it so much that we are becoming lax in our emails, and the brief nature of text messaging has eroded the remnants of etiquette we once had in our emails.

Communicating brief tidbits of information for efficiency is a good thing, but the short, blunt nature of these communications can cause misunderstandings, hurt feelings and even damaged work or personal relationships. Email etiquette courses can help you learn how to avoid these pitfalls. Use these simple tips to effectively use email for personal and business communications.

No matter how brief the email, carefully monitor your tone in every communication. Your attempt at brevity can often come across as curt or demanding. Consider the difference between: "Don't do that," and, "Can you wait to do that until we have a chance to talk about it?" It takes slightly longer to type, but trying to smooth over ruffled feelings if the first example is taken the wrong way is far more time consuming.

Maintain a professional tone in your emails constantly. This seems silly when you are emailing your spouse from work, but email is far from a private thing. Email etiquette courses recommend that you never put something in an email that you would not be proud of if it showed up in a newspaper. If you do not put it in the email, you never have to worry about who sees it. Save the really personal information for a more private form of communication.

Use correct spelling and grammar and avoid abbreviations, "text speak" and emoticons (the animated smiley faces) in your emails. Your emails are a reflection of you: your professionalism, your intelligence, and your level of education. Write emails that use the basic rules we all learned in elementary school. Your fifth grade teacher will be proud, but more importantly, people will take you as the serious professional you want to be perceived to be.

Email etiquette courses also advise us to use caution when attaching files to emails. Computer viruses are such a threat that many people refuse to open an attachment from anyone. This is not paranoia as some viruses distribute emails from an unsuspecting person's account with an attachment that infects the computers of the recipients. If you need to send an attached file, ask the recipient first or at least give them a heads-up before sending the file.

Finally, email etiquette courses recommend leaving the "To" line of the email blank until you are ready to send the email. Why? This way, you can never accidentally hit send before you are completely ready. Get the email ready for the recipient to see and then put their email address in the "To" box. This will eliminate sending messages before you have a chance to spell check, proof read or calm down.

Develop These Sure Fire Ways To Attract Good Business Ideas You Can Start Today

Wouldn't you like to have a surefire way to attract good business ideas whenever you need them? Perhaps after reading this article you can! But like the old saying, not everything that glitters is gold. Not all business ideas, no matter how good they may look or sound at the time, will turn out to be 'good' ideas as at first thought.

While there is no magic formula as such, are there steps you can follow to help you find your best and ideal moneymaking business idea? I think there are:

Unfilled Gaps

  • A good business idea can come from what you are currently doing. Perhaps an idea could come from a job or business you are already engaged in now or from somebody else's job or business.
  • Have you found a gap in the feature or benefit of a product or service?
  • Could it come from a passion of yours or an interest or from something you saw? In all, is there something you've identified such an unfilled, or poorly filled, gap in the market?

Unmet Demand

  • Before you decide on the product idea ask yourself if there is a demand in the market?
  • If so, how will your product or service be better? Have you identified your idea's USP? Does it solve a problem or a need in some unique way? In other words, what's so special about your product or service as opposed to existing competing ones?
  • Is your product justified? Is it serving a purpose for your market? Is it a time saver?

Unfair Advantage

  • Do you know who your direct competitors are? If so, do you know what their S.W.O.T analysis is? If you do, how will you use that analysis to outcompete them?
  • Size does matter in marketing. What is the size of your potential market?
  • How will you reach this intended market? But more importantly, how can your market reach you?
  • Do you know where to position your product in the market? In other words, have you identified your target market? This must be a market you know will need your product and are willing to pay for it.
  • Identify its competitiveness nature and figure out if it's going to have a healthy profit margin.
  • Is your target market a mature one or one that will have potential in the long-term?


  • If the demand for your product or service idea is weak, the product may fail. This is because if the demand is low you may need to sell larger volumes to compensate revenue.
  • Will you have, or can you buy or bring in, experience or the expertise needed to service this market?
  • Most importantly is the viability factor. How much will your business cost to get started? Where will the money for the startup costs come from? Your funding or business capital must sustain the journey right through the startup phase. Do you have enough funding to sustain the early stage of your business until you generate a profit?

A mindset that attracts good business ideas

Good business ideas can appear from any source and at any time. Usually it's when you least expect it. That is why your eyes and ears must be trained to expect ideas from just about any situation if you are to attract good business ideas.

Your ideal idea may come from quarters that are totally unrelated to where you are at and from what you might not expect. Remember that original ideas are sometimes born by combining 2 old ideas to make a new one!

Because new ideas will pop up from the most unexpected sources you must always be prepared to capture them when they do pop up. Have a notebook handy or record it down on your iPhone notes or into an audio file that you can collate later into a permanent ideas file on your computer. Can you imagine how rich with ideas this folder would be over time?

So be on the lookout. The next person you meet could lead you to a million dollar idea. The next conversation you have might lead you to a world sort-after product idea. The next ad you see on TV might just lead you to something so new, the market will fall over themselves to get it!

Would you like a few ideas to get your right brain working? Here is a list of business ideas I hope will inspire you to create a few new ones for yourself:

  • Adventure Eco Tourism
  • Off-site Advertising Copywriter
  • Lead Generation for Small Businesses
  • Business Plan Writer For Medium Size Businesses
  • Ezine Publisher For Businesses
  • Fashion Fundraiser
  • Gourmet and Gift Baskets
  • Grant Proposal Writer
  • Asian Herb and Spice Supplier
  • Import and Export Business
  • Translator Services
  • Limousine Hire Service
  • Intimate Apparel Sales
  • Master Chef Classes
  • Medical Transcription Service
  • Mobile Dry Car Wash
  • Men & Women Dining Etiquette Classes
  • Beauty & Image Consultant
  • Music Coaching
  • Mystery Shopper For Medium Size Business
  • Newsletter Production for Clients
  • Parenting Guidance
  • Pet Fashion & Accessories
  • Ancient Recipes Cooking
  • CV & Resume Writing Service
  • Workplace Safety Consultant
  • Self Publishing
  • Organic Food & Health Food Catering
  • Clothing and Accessories Coordinator
  • Color and Image Consultant
  • Ethnic Dance Instructor
  • Seniors Exercise Classes
  • T-Shirt Design
  • Outsource Website Development Service
  • Press Release Service

While I know you will seek professional advice before embarking on any of the ideas you've read here I am sure these tips and ideas will give you a sound strategy of your own to develop surefire ways to attract really good business ideas whenever you need them.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Online Internet Business Opportunity - Finding the Right Opportunity

Finding the right Online Internet business opportunity takes commitment, diligence, and wisdom, as well as common sense. Whether you want to begin an Online marketing business, a home based Internet business, or get involved with a MLM business opportunity, you need to know:

1. WHAT Internet business opportunities are available

2. WHERE to search for the right opportunity

3. WHEN is owning an Online home based business a good investment

4. WHY some network marketing opportunities may not fulfill their promises and lead you astray

5. HOW you can make honest money by using a proven training system

The author's desire is that you will find the right Online Internet business opportunity that meets your own particular desires, needs, values, and your hopes for a brighter and successful future.

WHAT Internet Business Opportunities Are Available?

For the sake of sounding redundant, business opportunities are everywhere! Just go to Google or any search engine and enter keywords pertaining to your business goals. I will not place many keywords here because this article is not about keywords for search engines. However, for this demonstration, let's use, "online home base business opportunities" in the search query. This is your first step in your search.

WHERE Do You Search?

Do you want an Online business opportunity in a particular niche? Do you have a unique interest or skill that you see yourself monetizing? When you have done your initial keyword search, search in areas of your interests. You most likely will succeed when you have determined an Online Internet business opportunity that "fits" your personality or skill sets. This is not a fast rule though. Marketing Career Network is a possible place to search. They claim to be "a recruitment resource that aligns employers with professional marketing membership organizations."

WHEN Is Business A Good Investment?

An investment in any Online Internet business opportunity is good when you have the drive, commitment, and sustainable desire to work like you have never worked before, and you know you can make a profit in a reasonable amount of time.

WHY Is Trust Important For the Right Opportunity?

Trust is important when searching for a business opportunity because, plainly stated, you will be investing your time, talent, and money in the business. It could be home business marketing or Internet marketing jobs. The fact is you need to know you can trust the company, people, leadership, and system you are getting involved in. Be very wise and do your due diligence to find the right business for you. Otherwise, you will realize it has become a very costly mistake!

HOW Is It possible To Make Honest Money?

It is possible to make honest money in an Online Internet business opportunity, even when many scams exist out there on the Internet. Look for one that does not promise you a "get rich" scenario.

So, your work is immense, yet will be rewarding if you choose to follow these steps. With desire, commitment, and your dedication to a healthy business etiquette, you will find the right Online Internet business opportunity for you. This author did and he is blessed because of it!

Business Etiquette - How to Handle Those Who Are Grieving

All of us will have to encounter those who are grieving at some point in our lives. It might be people close to us or people we know through work or other activities. Regardless, it's an emotion that we will all experience personally and will all encounter in others. Guidelines on how to handle those who are bereaved can be valuable. Here are some excellent dos and don'ts:


  • ignore the situation and refrain from bringing it up.
  • offer empty platitudes: "It's for the best," nor "At least he's out of pain now."
  • ask, "Is there anything I can do?" nor say, "Just call me if you need anything."
  • make a casual inquiry and breeze on by. "Hey, how ya doin'? See ya..."
  • say, "Don't cry," when the bereaved gets teary. Don't try to deflect her tears, or even to turn off your own. 
  • send a sympathy card without your return address and or your last name, if there's the remotest chance the bereaved might not be sure of your identity by a first name alone.
  • be afraid of touch. Giving a hug or simply touching someone on the arm or hand is a powerful form of compassion.


  • call the bereaved just to see how s/he's doing.
  • send a card or note. They are touching gestures. A few well-chosen, handwritten words are immeasurably moving.
  • make specific offers. Someone who is grieving is usually too distraught and distracted to think of asking someone for help, so extend an offer and make it specific. "Let me take you to lunch," "Do you need me to care for your kitties while you're gone?" "Can I water your plants?" "Why don't I come over this weekend and help you go through Jane's things?" Offer to baby-sit. Bring over some baked goods. Take the person to lunch. It will more than likely be gratefully accepted.
  • ask the bereaved open-ended questions: "How are you doing?" "Tell me about your loved one."
  • be a good listener. Listen reflectively, which means respond in ways that let the person know you have heard what she said, and have some empathy for what she's feeling. When the bereaved says, "Oh, it's hard," respond by saying, "I know it must be." If she says, "Oh, I seem to be okay today," reply with "I hope so." Tell her you care. 
  • allow and accept silence when you inquire after the bereaved's well-being. He may have a hard time formulating his thoughts into words. Honor the silence and don't fill in the space with empty prattle.
  • let them cry. A lot of people are uncomfortable if someone cries. But just letting someone who's grieving get teary and choked up, without trying to change the subject or even make some awkward attempt at comfort, can help in the healing process.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Cubicle Etiquette For Offices

Office cubicles can breed contempt rather than teamwork. Being respectful and considerate of co-workers can resolve many of the issues that result in conflict in the office.

Guidelines For Cubicle Etiquette:

Respect the boundaries of a cubicle. Imagine it having a door. When entering knock on the side wall and wait to be invited in. Don't barge into the cubicle and interrupt the other person.

Refrain from being the office Prairie Dog. Don't stick your head over the cubicle and call to others in the office. If you have to speak to someone else in the office either call them on the phone or walk over and talk to them.

Don't loiter outside of someone's cubicle if they're on the phone. Come back later.

Avoid helping yourself to anything in another person's cubicle. This includes the stapler, candy, etc.

Odor knows no boundaries. Refrain from eating at your desk. Eat in the lunchroom. Keep cologne and aftershave to a minimum. Nails should not be painted at work. Practice good hygiene and keep shoes on just in case your feet smell.

Sound travels. Use an indoor voice in the office. Loud conversation and laughter can be distracting for others who are trying to work.

Answer your phone after 2 rings. Never use speaker phone. Turn your cell phone on vibrate. If you like to listen to music use a headset.

Don't make distracting noises such as gum popping, throat clearing, crunching on food, or talking to yourself.

Personal calls should be made outside of the office.

Mind your own business. Don't eavesdrop. If you hear a conversation don't repeat it. Never answer questions you overhear from other cubicles.

Keep the decor of your cubicle professional and tasteful. Avoid items that can be offensive to others. Your prized possessions can be an eyesore to others.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Proper Phone Etiquette - 5 Tips for Business Phone Etiquette

The telephone can be the most convenient invention ever, or the biggest intrusion. It all depends on whether you are the caller or the receiver.

When we call a business contact, it's because we want to connect with them to get or give information. But when we receive a phone call, it may be interrupting important work or a meeting. It imposes the caller's attention on us.

With proper phone etiquette, you should sound professional even if you are being interrupted. Here are 5 tips for proper phone etiquette.

1. The person you are with should always feel they are the most important. If your phone rings during a business appointment, or while you're talking to someone on the phone, let your voice mail take a message. When meeting with colleagues, if you are expecting a call from your boss, let the person know why you have to answer it.

2. Don't interrupt people when they are on the phone. If you walk into a colleague's office and he or she is on the phone, wait until the conversation is over. This seems obvious, yet many people fail to do this.

3. When someone interrupts you during a meeting or when you are trying to meet a deadline, don't let them ramble on and then cut them off. Politely tell them right away that it's not a great time for you to talk, but you'll be happy to call them back. Take their number, and be sure to call them back when you said you would.

4. Don't begin with: How are you today? Unless the person knows you well. You'll be dismissed as a telephone solicitor.

5. Never assume that someone knows you by the sound of your voice. People are busy and distracted, and you can create embarrassment. Leave your first and last name, and your complete phone number, whenever you call.

Email Etiquette: The Challenges of Communicating Internationally Via Email

We all want to be polite don't we? Especially in business. As such, etiquette is very important in our business lives as this helps us all stay "polite," keeping us all happy.

However, etiquette only works when we share the same ideas about what is right and wrong. Communication at the best of times can be difficult, but when you add in the fact that there is no face-to-face contact, as in the case of email contact, it can get even trickier. Add onto that the fact that you might have different cultures, people with different languages, in different time zones and you can see why getting your etiquette right, could be a small challenge.

Fortunately though, it's a problem that can be overcome.

Read on for a few tips, and anecdotes about international email etiquette in our interconnected world.

Email and Language

Let's start with language shall we and that's a right old minefield. So much business is carried out in the English language but it's not exactly the easiest to master is it? Spelling and punctuation can cause so many problems, dont, sorry don't even get me going on how to use the apostrophe.

The Queen's English?

Getting words mixed up is another obvious problem and time for what I promise is a true story. I received an overdue press release from an overseas book publishing company and the sender apologised to me for "any incontinence caused be the delay." A simple mistake by someone whose native language isn't English and it was about three years before I deleted that email.

Preventing confusion when 'speaking' English via email: it is easy

If English isn't the language that you are used to communicating in then the resultant emails you send out can be pretty confusing. Clear language and the prevention of confusion are paramount, again I've dealt with clients who respond in broken English and the fact I'm not totally certain what they mean is a recipe for disaster.

Take this for example, "we would like to discuss the option to intent you offered of distribution." Are you totally sure what the client is trying to tell me? The clues are there so I simply read through the sentence a few times, remembered the problem at hand and just about worked out what he was really trying to say. If I still wasn't sure then I'd have simply replied and asked for clarification.

Another method is to simply send questions that can be answered either "yes" or "no." Cutting out the possible misunderstanding BEFORE IT CAN OCCUR is the key target here. Ah, yes that old adage; prevention is better...

Culture and Emails

Then there's the culture to contend with. The movie 'Lost in Translation' may have been an entertaining romp but it's no such thing in the business world. It's not just the language that can be different because in some cultures even the format of the email is different. Some leave out the name of the person the email is being sent to and just go straight into the message. That's not how I've been taught to send emails, particularly important ones but that's their culture so I have to adapt to it.

Try not to use slang in your email because that work colleague in Madrid might not have a clue what it means. The same goes for puns, idioms, joke-phrases and definitely for swear words. You're trying to conduct business not start World War III. Some cultures may be formal and want detailed emails but others may be satisfied with "yes" or "no" answers.

Words and phrases can have different meaning in differing cultures so be careful. What if I told an American client I had some faggots in the freezer and I can't wait to eat them for my supper. An English client might ask for an invite but in the States they'll think I'm both homophobic and the next Hannibal Lector.

Are emails really that straightforward?

Sending emails seems such a straightforward way to deal with business clients wherever they reside, but it can be more complicated then you might think at first, and in business even the tiniest of misunderstandings can cost you money, time or even business contacts! So, get your email etiquette polished today!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Wedding Announcement Etiquette - Etiquette For Wedding Invitation

Weddings are full of unexpected challenges. The quaint little chapel you have your eye on may not accommodate your large number of guests. If you are having a destination wedding, the wedding site could be too expensive or too far for some loved ones to attend. Do you invite these individuals anyway but lower your expectations. Not at all. What you do is send a wedding announcement.

So what is a wedding announcement and what is the appropriate wedding announcement etiquette? This is what this article will teach you.

A wedding announcement is mailed the day of or a couple of days after the wedding. This is to be certain that the one receiving the mailing does not believe it is an invitation to your wedding. The wording of the announcement should prevent this error as well. Typically, wedding announcements are sent to family and friends that were not invited to the ceremony for whatever reason. Wedding announcements can be sent to business associates as well. Your business associates may need to be notified of an address or name change. Individuals who are your friends but not close enough to you to receive an invitation to your wedding should be sent an announcement. If you are fortunate enough to have the ability to invite everyone you want to the wedding then there is no need to send wedding announcements.

Who announces it if you do want to send out wedding announcements? Wedding etiquette says there are two ways to do this. If the wedding is hosted by parents of the bride or groom it is most appropriate that they should do the announcing. Even so, it is acceptable if the couple makes the announcements. If you and you mate eloped, this is the case.

If you and your mate eloped, the wedding announcements may include a post wedding reception. However, by sending a wedding announcement, be sure that it is not portrayed as begging for a gift. The announcement in these cases should only be informative.

The announcement wording should be in the past tense and it should be clear that the wedding has previously taken place. Similar to invitations, the announcement should state when and where the wedding took place. You may want to include a new address card as well.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

How to Start Your Own Wedding Invitation Business From Home

How to start your own wedding invitation business from home.

You love the whole wedding planning and you enjoy the energy that comes from all of it. So why not make a business out of it. Making wedding invitations is not difficult. It isn't even that expensive. You can start with a few basics and build on it. There are only a few things you need to start.

You will need a good printer. I recommend an Epson printer. The best reason for using this is that you are getting a very good quality print. It uses a waterproof ink, it is more durable than most. These are inexpensive too. I have bought Epson printers for years. I even prefer them to laser because, I have found laser print will offset sometimes. Since you can purchase these ink jet printers for around $100 they are perfect.

Now for the software. I recommend starting with Microsoft Works. It is inexpensive and you may even have it on your computer now. It has basic features. You can even set up a data base and do envelope addressing with it. That could help you to promote your business. People love the envelope addressing.

How to start your own wedding invitation business from home is easier than you think. Now we have gone over the printer and the software. Now it is just learning to use it and starting to promote yourself.

You should learn the proper wedding invitation etiquette. This will help to put the proper wording on your announcements. The more you learn on this the better authority you will become. You may even try to come up with some of your own wordings. Casual invites are popular now and some future brides love the idea of having a funny verse to announce their special day.

Theme weddings are popular so you can make some sample invites and use those for ideas for your brides to be. Getting a some samples together will be a good start. Put them in a notebook for advertising. Once you learn to print your invitations you can choose to add special papers or details that will make them even nicer. Again this will come as you learn and earn.

If you look in your area you will probably find some wedding fairs, wedding stores, or other outlets that you can find brides to be at. You can even promote yourself online. There are lots of avenues to take.

These are a few things to keep in mind. I hope you know more about how to start your own wedding invitation business from home. There is a lot of opportunities once learn the basics.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Helpful Tips on Business Gift Giving Etiquette in Latin America

Being prepared for an international business meeting requires information and knowledge of what will be discussed or presented at this meeting. A nice social gesture when meeting an international company for the first time, usually, is giving a gift. Take the time to research local customs before making a purchase, though, as some countries find it insulting to receive a gift. Knowing what to do before you go will not only show that you cared enough to learn about your destination's etiquette, but may also open up all kinds of new doors and opportunities for you and your company.

Many multi-national businesses and their governments have very strict policies when it comes to business associates accepting gifts. Many Asian countries are concerned about corporate corruption and see gift giving as a bribe, so holding off on gift giving until you get to know the company and its policies may be a good idea. You should know that in Malaysia, most businesses require you establish a working relationship with them before giving a gift. Even here in the United States, our government sets a $25 spending limit on how much a business gift can cost.

An important fact to know about Latin American culture is that it is predominantly patriarchal, and very rigid divisions between work and home exist. Men are in business, and women are at home. If you happen to be visiting Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia, Chile, Nicaragua, or Peru make sure you familiarize yourself with the current affairs and political dealings that are going on within those countries and avoid any discussions about these subjects for it most certainly will destroy any business dealings you hope establish with any companies therein.

When first meeting prospective business clients, handshakes are important so be firm but brief, and always make sure you keep constant eye contact throughout the handshake. When shaking hands with a woman, remember to be courteous and allow her to extend her hand first. Expect the person you're speaking with to stand close to you and look you in the eyes, don't move back or break eye contact because you could offend the person talking to you.

Below are some social taboos you should be aware of since using any of the following gestures can cause problems.

1. The "OK" sign made with your forefinger and thumb is an offensive gesture in Brazil.

2. Placing your hands on your hips in Argentina means you're signaling a challenge.

3. Raising your fist to your head in Chile is a sign of Communism.

Latin America enjoys the business lunch and they are usually pretty long, at least two hours or longer. Dinners are considered purely social events and start late at night, usually around 10:00 or 11:00 pm. When at a social dinner, remember to keep your hands above the table at all times when eating and always pass food with your right hand

Gifting Etiquette in the Workplace

Gift giving is a universal way to show your respect and appreciation for someone's companionship or their contribution to your life. But in the workplace, the etiquette of gifting is somewhat more complicated. You might want to thank your employees or your biggest clients for their performance or patronage, but it can be a challenge to choose something appropriate. On the other hand, you might not know what to give to the boss or coworker who seems to have everything. What are the rules of workplace gifting?

"Should I Give a Gift?" A Word about Corporate Policies
First and foremost, you should check with your company handbook or HR department to determine whether your company allows gifts. Some businesses forbid gift exchanges, while others encourage the practice. Make sure you follow the rules set by your office to avoid embarrassment.

Next, consider the unspoken boundaries in your workplace. Is a gift really appropriate? If you do choose to give something to a work associate, always make sure to present it professionally and deliver it in person, if possible. Short notes are also advised for corporate gifts - a brief thank-you or friendly wish for the holiday season is best.

Cash or a Gift?
When you're choosing a gift for a boss, coworker, or superior, this is an easy decision: always give a gift, rather than cash. But the choice is not as clear-cut when it comes to gifts for employees.

While a promotional gift with your company's branding is nice-especially if it's a useful item like book ends, a clock, or clothing that the recipient is likely to wear-cash is more useful. This is especially true during the holiday season or in workplaces where budgets are tight. But a cash gift may remind employees that they're not being paid enough, or make them feel unappreciated if the amount of your gift is smaller than they expected. How much cash is enough? How much is too much? It's a very subjective and dicey area.

While there are benefits and drawbacks to cash and other gifts, it's easier (and usually less expensive) to make an impact with an elegant but practical corporate gift.
When in Doubt...

If you're considering a gift for your boss, coworker, business associate, or employee, it's always good to err on the side of caution. You're better off giving a "safe", politically correct gift than to risk a gag gift or more personal present that might offend. It's important to keep work boundaries in mind when choosing gifts, and maintain the decorum and respect you'd like to see in the office every day.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Effective Business Card Design For Financial Advisors

Financial Advisors have a certain image that they need to portray, and that really comes across in the business cards that they hand out. Financial advisors need to show their conservativeness, formality, and stability, along with the reputation of the company they represent.

The business card design is so important in this field because you are dealing with money, and people are very concerned about where their money will go and what kind of profit they can make with it. This is a huge business, and there are thousand of financial advisors to choose from, so the first impression can be a huge factor in whether they choose you. The design should be both bold, and traditional. You want to show them that you can invest their money wisely while taking a little risk to ensure more profit. There shouldn't be any bright colors or pictures, just confident lettering and possibly a small clip art design. A financial advisor wants his or her business card to say they do the job with self-belief and reliability.

If you do have a picture, it should be of the company logo. The brand name of the company is what many people look for when choosing a financial advisor. The larger the company the more trust consumers tend to have. Color business cards are the way to show off your style and innovation without deterring from your position of investing their money. The colors should be strong but not bright. A deep blue, or forest green shows status and importance without seeming arrogant or trendy. When investing money consumers aren't looking for new trends over the long run, they are looking for permanence.

When putting information on your business card design take into account what type of financial advising you offer, and whom you are giving the card to. For the most part financial advisors are looking for more people to invest with them. Include the words of the company logo, and the company name and address. Don't put information that you don't need. Although it should be full, you don't want the business card to be overwhelming. Fonts are also important on a financial advisors' business card. Again, they should show reserve in your business, but they should portray the type of investing that you do.

More important in the financial world then even the business card design, is the way you hand out your business card. In this day and age people tend to give out business cards like a deck of cards, by flipping them across tables. The correct etiquette is to hand them out before business meetings. Hand the person the card with the readable side up, with a thumb on the upper corner so that they can immediately read the card. When receiving the card, have the respect to read it in front of them, so that not only can you see what it says, but also you can put the card with the face. This may be your only chance to earn their business, so make your business card count.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Etiquette of Sending Business Gifts

Corporate gift giving can be a touchy issue. Most people-in particular those with a keen desire to keep to the boundaries of ethical business practices-are not entirely certain where the line between professionalism and over-familiarity lies. And, while it's not exactly brain surgery (most experts will tell you to simply exercise common sense), there are a few considerations you may want to bear in mind before spending a thousand dollars on a business gift you may regret having sent.

Is it Okay?

Gifts are our way of expressing appreciation, but when it comes to professional relationships sometimes, there are rules that we must abide by. And, these are not just unwritten rules, but they are actual guidelines. Some corporations enforce a strict policy barring their employees from accepting gifts of even minor value-try tipping the bag boy at your local supermarket sometime and you may just find this rule filters down to all levels. Therefore, it's important to research a company's gift policy prior to sending a physical token of your appreciation in order to prevent unnecessary embarrassment or a potentially uncomfortable situation.

Give it Serious Thought

Although most of us like to subscribe to the notion that "it's not the gift but the thought that counts most," some careful consideration of what gift to send should be given, especially if the recipient is of a different culture. The last thing you want to do is send a Christmas-themed floral arrangement to a company based in Mumbai or a non-kosher gift basket to the head of a company in Israel.

Different Types of Gifts

Choosing a business gift for a single individual is difficult enough without having to take into consideration what to give to an entire team of people. Depending on the size of the company doing the gift giving as well as that of the company on the receiving end, sometimes it's proper to express appreciation by sending gifts to every employee. Naturally, the value of the gifts should be proportional to the number of gifts being sent. Depending on the recipient, every situation requires a slightly different approach.

  • Gifts to the Client - Regardless of the length of the professional relationship, business gifts should be kept just that: professional. Corporations celebrating milestone anniversaries of partnerships have been known to send gifts, ranging from gift baskets for executive-level recipients to desktop trinkets for an employee force.
  • Gifts to the Boss - Regardless of the occasion being celebrated, gifts to the boss should always be delivered as a group effort. Gifts from single individuals should be discouraged as inappropriate for obvious reasons. Nobody wants to be accused of trying to butter up their boss and increase their chances of promotion by showering them with gifts. And, no boss wants to be put into that kind of situation.Gifts to the Individual Employee - Quite possibly the touchiest of all business gift giving scenarios is the gift from the boss to the individual subordinate. In such situations, only work-appropriate gifts should be given (again, a no-brainer that only requires exercising common sense). And, if flowers are involved, it's vital to avoid conveying the wrong message. Seasonal floral arrangements, plants, or gift baskets are strongly recommended over more personal gestures, such as roses.
The Forget-Me-Nots of Office Life

Despite any reservations you may have about the propriety of sending business gifts, there are some unofficially recognized dates that shouldn't be overlooked. The consequences of doing so could result in hurt feelings, and might inadvertently create friction in your work environment.

  • Administrative Professionals' Day (also known as Secretary's Day). Celebrated on the Wednesday of the last full week of April, this unofficial holiday dates back to 1952 with the creation of National Secretaries Week. It has evolved into one of the most recognized workplace events second only to birthdays and federal holidays. During this time period, it's customary to give minor gifts, such as time off, flowers, candies or dinner vouchers.
  • Boss's Day (also known as National Boss Day). Celebrated on October 16 (or the weekday closest to it, anytime the 16th lands on a weekend), this unofficial holiday has spread in international popularity. Although not as fervently celebrated as Administrative Professionals' Day, it continues to rank high in popularity, in particular, among those who appreciate the efforts of their workplace superiors. Although gift giving is acceptable, it's always best to follow the etiquette rules that dictate gifts should be given as a group effort in order to avoid the appearance of employees trying to outdo one another to win their boss's favor.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Business Trip Etiquette - Don't Make This Trip Your Last

Because so much of the business world is international these days, more people are going on business trips than ever before. To ensure that you represent your company that best you can, there are some etiquette rules you should follow every time you travel. Representing your company in a positive light while traveling is where the etiquette begins. You have to remember that you are the face of your company during your trip. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember this, especially after hours. You have to be able to control yourself. If you are tempted to do something that you would never do at work, you cannot do it on a business trip.

In addition to behaving professionally, it also is proper business travel etiquette to be as polite as you can to everyone you meet. This even includes the air staff if you are flying. Even if they do not know the company for which you work, you still want to be polite. It will be good practice for when it comes time to do your business. Because you are meeting most of the people on your trip for the first time, you do not want to offend someone, and then later find out they are the person with whom you are meeting. That only will end badly because they could file a complaint with your boss. A good rule of thumb is to assume that everyone you meet is who you are supposed to meet.

Another smart business trip etiquette rule to follow is to research any customs that the country may have where you are traveling. If you do not check these out, you might end up insulting a person or even an entire company. You actually could get fired because it could blow an entire deal or relationship. Some of these customs could be related to dining, while others are the proper ways to introduce yourself. It also is proper etiquette to avoid racking up large bills at restaurants and bars. The only time it is acceptable to foot a large bill is if it is during a business meeting.

It also is proper business travel etiquette to be on time and to dress professionally for every meeting or dinner. Even though it might seem like a vacation every now and then, you have to remember that you are there to work. You need to dress as if you were at work. It also is unacceptable to discuss politics or religious beliefs while on a business trip, unless of course that is your profession. You do not want to offend anyone because it could jeopardize your business position, as well as your company's deal. As long as you remember you are there to work the entire time you are traveling, and to not mistake it for a vacation, you will be well on your way to being a business travel pro.

Business Etiquette Fuels Relationships

In today's increasingly culturally diverse home business environment saying or doing "the wrong thing" are even greater than ever before. During times today it is historical that four generations who lived through World War II, Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y are together. Each generation has its own style of communication which differs considerably and can cause a multitude of chaos and confusion. Business etiquette principles on all levels must be master as quickly and thoroughly as possible in order to avoid the serious ramifications of inappropriate behavior, bad judgment and insensitivity to others.
Experience and intelligence are no longer enough when it comes to succeeding in a home based business. The years you have spent refining your business skills must now be enhanced by the use of business etiquette. Business etiquette fuels relationships and prevents lost opportunities by helping you to adopt the social strategies, professional polish and confidence. It is necessary to understand and respect others when you are trying to build a relationship with them. Business etiquette is the act of helping you when developing a bond between clients and colleagues. Manners will also help to give you the competitive edge.
Have you ever forgotten a person's name after being introduced? Have you ever forwarded an e-mail to the wrong person by mistake and not realized it? These could possibly damage your reputation and effectiveness as a business owner and can reflect unfavorably on your company. Listed below are three courtesies to remember when on a speakerphone:

  1. Tell the person on the other end that they are on a speakerphone.
  2. Identify each person who may be in the room.
  3. Remember to tell them why they are present during the conversation.

Also listed below are three tips when leaving a voice mail message:

  1. Remember to pause between your first and last name when leaving a message.
  2. Be sure to spell difficult names slowly.
  3. Leaving your phone number at the beginning and end of your message.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

"But I Sent You An E-Mail About It!" Time To Reconsider Your E-Mail Etiquette

How often do you hear that? Not only are we missing communications, but many of people are getting sloppy with their e-mail. In the days of pen and paper letters, we never would have made the errors that we see daily on professional electronic correspondence.

When e-mail first hit the company I worked for, in 1994, my department was taken into an empty room. Jeff, our top IT guy paired us up, each partner holding one end of a sixteen foot rope. We stood across from each other with our ropes intersecting. Jeff took ten pieces of paper folded in half so they could hang on the rope. By now, I was feeling pretty ridiculous participating in yet another time wasting, corporate "team building" exercise. Jeff explained how e-mail moved throughout the LAN (local area network) sliding the pieces of paper across the ropes, some taking a turn to a new rope, some clogging up at an intersection.

Thirteen years later I'm glad I had participated in that drill. On top of that visual understanding of e-mail traffic, I remember Jeff's instructions on e-mailing procedures and etiquette.

E-mail is not better than a conversation.

E-mail is not faster than a phone call.

E-mail will not replace #1 or #2.

Company e-mail is not private or a privilege.

Don't put anything in an e-mail that you would not want your boss (spouse, children, best friend) to see.

Any e-mail that that goes back and forth more than three times probably needs a personal, two-way conversation either on the phone or in person.

The In-Box is not a filing cabinet. Read it, act on it, file it in a permanent file and delete it.

Here are a few more:

Change the "Subject" to reflect the new topic in a reply.

Don't use "Emoticons" like ;-) in professional correspondence.

Spell out acronyms or cryptic abbreviations as in text messaging

Spell check and proof read, especially professional emails

Don't send very personal e-mails on company e-mail. Even if deleted your message can be resurrected and may affect your career.

And the most important:

If it's really important, time sensitive or getting heated, call don't type.

Linda Henning- Image Works Publishing -http://www.imageworkspub.com

Music Performance Etiquette

This is a short list of some things all performing groups should strive to do when sharing the stage with another band. When my band opened for a larger group a few months ago, we didn't realize the other group didn't have the same on-stage manners we did. Here are some tips I came up with in the aftermath of our gig.

1. Introduce yourselves prior to the show if you don't already know each other. Chat it up - get to know one another. The business of music is much like any other business - relationships matter.

2. Stick around for the other group's set. I really mean this. For starters, if you're in a small venue, it helps to fill the place up. Secondly, it's just plain rude to leave, and thirdly, you avoid embarrassing yourself by showing up only for your set and then not being able to comment about the other band during your set (if they happen to play before you). If they're playing after you, it's also prudent to stick around and listen. They will notice, the audience will notice, and the venue staff will notice. And heck, they might be really good, too. Finally, you may learn something about them, which could save you some embarrassment due to ignorance down the line

3. This is really an add-on to the last point. If you have friends coming to see you, encourage them to stick around for the other groups too. They'll hear some great music and playing for a bigger audience is considerably more satisfying than just playing for the venue staff and the sound guy.

4. Make sure you're actually performance ready. By that I mean well rehearsed. I was originally really excited to hear the band we opened for. Unfortunately, they were poorly rehearsed, out of tune and in general not very good. It may have been the one time I was glad we were the opener, because I'm not sure I could have opened my set by saying "Wow, I really enjoyed that last group!"

5. Finally, acknowledge the other group. ESPECIALLY if they have opened for you. They are a huge asset to you, either way. Other performers bring other audience members who may just like your music too, which means your fan base just got that much bigger.

Happy Playing!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Autoresponders, Email Etiquette and List Serve Participation

If you participate on a list serve for your industry or academic efforts you may wish to consider using your secondary email address if you have an auto responder, which alerts the other party that you are out of the office. Nothing can be more aggravating to other list serve users than to get five replies that; So-in-so is out of the office until Monday.

Some of the worst culprits of this are the professional parasites in our society, civilization and business world. Lawyers, accountants, government workers and such; why do they do it if they know that it upsets everyone? Well, it is simple, they could careless about anyone but themselves.

Lawyers are the worst and most self-serving when it comes to auto-responders on list serves. It seems every weekend or 3-day weekend this silly auto responder shows up and tells us all that they are out of the office? How disrespectful to the group. Little do they know they end up looking like horse's rear-ends.

It makes sense if you have an auto-responder for your profession then use a different email address when signing up for list serves and have a little respect for others and prevent yourself from looking like such a moron and scumbag. Consider all this in 2006.

Business Plan for Internet Marketing

Continued success in online business lies in proper planning - both long term as well as short term. Internet marketing has a huge impact on a wide range of businesses. New business owners fail to understand that just creating a website is not enough. In actuality, planning marketing strategies and implementing them successfully is important for a business whose highest income comes from online marketing.

Effective marketing plan starts even before the website is ready. After the marketing plan is ready, you know exactly what your website should include, what are customers expecting when they depend on internet purchases as opposed to actually looking at the product in a store. You can then plan your products and services and support to be provided via your website.

1] Clarity in business objectives is very important as it gives you a direction for effective marketing online. It also makes planning and strategizing in the right direction easy - hence bringing you closer to achieving your objectives.

2] Identifying the target market is equally important. Thorough market research results in successful implementation of the internet marketing plan. Use good market research techniques to attract potential customers and conduct surveys to find out what exactly is the customer psycho in the target market.

3] Keyword analysis is a must and should be done with the help of many free tools available, like Google Ad words etc. to improve the search engine ranking of your online marketing site.

4] Thorough competitor analysis is as important as market research. Check out the traffic they receive and their processes. Study their strengths and marketing approaches so that you know your stand in the market competition and can plan your progress accordingly. Focus on what you can do for the customer that your competitor is not currently doing! This helps boost your sale.

5] Use different mediums in marketing such as email, search engine paid inclusion, etc. to increase the popularity of products and services which reach a larger customer base. Give your customers reason enough to buy your products/services or switch to your products/services.

So, developing as well as implementing an effective marketing plan is the great way to speed up the success of the online business. Ensure that your website reflects your unique selling propositions. Make the appearance of the website professional such that it builds trust and instills confidence in the minds of visitors thus increasing the ratio of website visitors to customers. Speed of loading the page and downloading any graphics, multimedia should never be compromised on, navigation should be easy and testimonials real. Lastly, the contact details must be accurately provided and any enquiries responded to by utmost business etiquettes in mind.

A well planned and well organized business brings maximum return on investment and well planned marketing strategies bring returns much more than what you initially invested!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Everything You Need to Know About Invitation Etiquette

Invitation etiquette is there to help you when you have to make important decisions about party invites and the type of information to include in those. Certain rules need to be followed in order to get the message across in a classy manner.

This etiquette affects each aspect of the invitation - the time of sending, the content, the visuals and the style. These are the important aspect you need to know when making up your mind.

When to Send the Invitations?

The first aspect of invitation etiquette involves the date and most appropriate time to send out the invites.

It all depends on the type of event about to take place. A birthday party demands little time for preparation - the invitation could be sent a week in advance. Parties that ask for more preparation - baby showers, bridal showers or anniversaries need to be announced several weeks in advance.

You should also think about where guests are coming home. Are people going to fly in, are they coming from distant places? In case guests are supposed to make travel arrangements, you should send the invitations very early.

A general rule of thumb is that very official events demand invitation sending at least six weeks prior the party.

What Information Must be Included?

Etiquette affects the type of information to be included in the party invitation. Creative elements can be added but a number of important elements have to be included regardless of the type of party.

A typical invitation contains a creative element or an announcement at top. This element can be modified to correspond to individual needs and the overall tone of the party.

Beneath, you will have to include all the essential information that guests will need in order to come to the party. This information includes day, date, address of the venue and directions, RSVP information, gift preferences, dress code and party theme, if you are going to have one.

If the venue is difficult to find, you should also consider adding a small map alongside the directions. Include a telephone number that guests can use to get more directions or to ask questions.

Appropriate Tone and Visuals

The tone of the writing and the visuals are also subjected to an invitation etiquette. Moderation is of key importance. Keep it well-balanced and intelligent.

The tone should correspond to the party theme and the type of guests invited. A younger gathering calls for a more informal tone. Business and official parties ask for well-structured, intelligently written and formal wording.

Visuals that you choose need to enhance the written information. They should remain subtle. Overpowering visuals will interfere with the message and will look inappropriate. Have one main highlight and get other elements to supplement it.

Punctuation and Grammar

It is a must to keep the invitation free from typos, grammar and punctuation mistakes. This rule applies to all types of invites, regardless of the type of party or event you are organizing.

Mistakes reveal sloppiness and lack of attention to detail. Getting all party aspects to be impeccable could be difficult. You have many organization steps to worry about and to perfect. Yet, the invitation is the first thing that guests see. A mistake there will spoil the impression you are trying to make.

Etiquette is designed to help you and to give you general rules to follow when planning a party. You are free to make interpretations but try to achieve some of the basics that etiquette asks for.