The Top 10 Mistakes You Can Make to Ensure You Fail in Your Network Marketing Business

This article uses a tongue in cheek approach to point out mistakes that people make in the direct selling industry every day that is detrimental to the success of their own business. Below are ten common mistakes made by people who decide they want to own their own direct selling business and they are not listed in any specific order of importance either.

1. Lie and disrespect everyone around you (Honesty and respect).

If my lips are moving, I’m lying. This product cures every disease on the planet and on Mars. Trust me.

Truth in “who” you are and “what” you do is the foundation of the direct selling industry. You become a personal brand and represent a company, and organization, and a product line. By lying and treating people poorly casts a shadow over you, your company and the industry and people will judge everyone else they come in contact with in this industry with disdain.

You have to be the shining light for all to see that this industry is a legitimate business. People will join you and work with you instead of running the other way. Your reputation and the company’s reputation must pass the TEST so that your business grows.

2. Do not Market your products.

Now that I won my own business people will flock to me and hand me all their money and I don’t even have to get up off my lazy boy chair.

Marketing, meeting with people, or telling others about your business is the only way people know you exist. You have to get the word out about what you do and what you offer. If you choose not to do this portion of your business then you are doomed. You are just as doomed if by chance you don’t know how and are unwilling to learn just the same.

Some key examples of marketing.

  • Prospecting
  • Networking
  • Referrals
  • Word of mouth

3. Closed (do not speak with anyone).

Go away, we’re closed. Come back tomorrow.

Your hours of operation are extremely important. Why would you own a business and not open your shop? How does this apply to me? If you are not speaking to people about your business, then your business is closed. If you are not selling what you offer, then your business is closed. Get the point?

Bottom line is: Closed mouth is a Closed Business. When your mouth is open your business is open.

Word of caution: Do not vomit on everyone about your business. Learn how to work your offerings into conversations without body slamming people right away with your sales pitch. Slapping someone with your pitch before you even know who they are or how you can help them is wrong. You have to build rapport and trust as people buy you before they buy your product or business.

4. Sell for a loss or give away the store- no profits.

Don’t worry I will give you a home boy discount. I will cut you a break and pay for your products myself so you can keep coming back and basking for more.

Undervaluing or devaluing your products is not a smart move. A lot of people will offer their products at wholesale cost or even at a loss in order to attract and keep customers. The problem is that you, more than likely, do not sell enough in volume to make a profit. Businesses that don’t make a profit don’t stay in business very long.

In addition, you tell your customers that your products are overvalued and you don’t believe they are worth the suggested retail cost, and if you don’t value the cost then your customers won’t value the cost either.

5. Do not Re-invest back into your business.

Why should you put money back into your business operation? Answer… Operating Costs.

When you sell your products and you spend the money that’s not a good thing. You should set aside the money so you can buy more products, attend trainings and events, and purchase development materials for your own personal growth. When you manage the money from your sales the right way you should never have to use money from your personal accounts after your initial investment. If by chance you are not doing so, start right now. Set up your business budget with a separate bank account as you do not want to co-mingle your business funds with your personal funds.

6. Hire a ton of people.

I need a personal assistant and a driver now that I’m a big hot shot business owner. I’m CEO of my own company!

When starting out you should have no or few employees to help you in your business. In fact, don’t consider hiring for your business until you hit certain levels of success and you have steady income from your business that supports the decision of having employee support.

One are you might consider outsourcing is your personal chores. Hire neighborhood kids to mow your lawn, or delegate that to your children if they are capable and teach them how to operate their own lawn care business.

7. Don’t pay your bills and taxes.

Pay your bills. Nuff said! Hmmmph!

No joke, make sure you pay your bills and on time so you eliminate late fees. This is an area that will help you reduce and eliminate your personal debt. Focus on building your business so that you can set aside some of the money to help pay those bills. Make sure you counsel with a successful leader in your success line so they can guide you and help you to not mistakes that will in turn hurt your business and slow down your business growth.

Taxes – pay your taxes: Self-employment tax, federal, state, and local. Where applicable pay your sales tax as well.

8. Stop learning (Closed mind).

I don’t need that stuff. I’m the smartest person I know. Just ask me, I’ll tell you I’m right.

You should schedule time daily for personal development. Improving your skills or understanding is a must if you want to lead others. No one wants to follow a dummy. Ignorance is a detriment and can only be cured by you spending time reading books and listening to tapes, cd’s, and web/pod casts. Attending your support organization’s or company’s events is very valuable and important for your growth and the growth of your entire team.

If you are the only one in your organization right now, you won’t be for long. At least that’s the goal of not to be the only one in your organization. You must be able to lead yourself if you are to lead the many. Personal development allows you to relate to as many people as you possibly can. Leaders are readers and help others to see the value in personal development.

9. Don’t schedule your time (I’ll work it when I work it).

Come and go as you please, ignore your family time and play video games all day. Wasting time is a primary enemy for this industry.

As an employee we are accustomed to a time structure we must follow. You are mandated when you are to arrive at work, when to take your breaks and lunches and when the work day ends. By the time we get home, most of us don’t want to follow a schedule unless we want to watch our favorite program on TV.

You must work a calendar into your life. Set aside all the time you cannot work your business. This includes work, church, family, volunteering, and any other time that you cannot absolutely use to dedicate to your own business. Then find the time in your weekly schedule when you can dedicate to working and building your business. Hint: You are going to have to give up some TV and video game time until you are making enough money to where you can buy back time from your job.

10. Break the law; don’t follow your company’s policies or code of conduct.

Who wakes up and says today I’m breaking the law?

Keep in mind that your company may offer products in other countries. Also keep in mind that ignorance of the law of another country is no excuse and do not assume what’s legal in your host country is legal in another country.

Make sure your company has authorization to operate in a specific country before you start selling your goods there. Packaging, compensation, marketing, and distribution are all examples of key areas where laws differ drastically from one country to another, and if your company does not have an official operation in place for a specific country than don’t focus on building your business there.

In addition, make sure you know what you can say versus what you cannot say during conversations and presentations. You cannot make or guarantee income claims or health claims. You cannot diagnose or offer cures for disease or health ailments unless you are a certified medical professional.

In conclusion, evaluate your own business and your mental attitude you have relating to each are discussed and see what changes you can make to improve your likelihood of success. No one can guarantee your success and by following this article as a guideline does not guarantee it either. However, by ignoring the basic fundamentals that allow success you almost guarantee your failure. Who wants to improve their chances of failure?

Coffee and direct selling is a perfect match. You don’t have to educate or teach people about coffee. Healthy coffee is even a better product line. People can keep drinking their coffee and now receive better nutrition. They can enjoy and experience a healthy full flavored organic coffee that has over 150 antioxidants infused into very cup with its herbal ingredients.

Business To Business Blog Sites – Capturing Top Internet Real Estate

Capturing and developing real estate has been good short and longterm investment strategy for many savvy investors. What I have found is most successful business to business blog sites are also capturing and controlling certain pieces of internet real estate called keyword searches. When these keywords are requested by a user, the search engines will have categorized and indexed content that best meets the search requirements, a formula known as algorithm, and deliver most relevant information to the individual requesting information. If your blog is top in the search engine rankings it will be your content and information that will be delivered for easy access and reading.

In my experience, prime real estate on the internet can be just as valuable as downtown space in Manhattan when monetized properly. Location is just as important for your business to business blog as it is in real estate. Success for an online marketer and blogger lies in how many people can find them on the internet. Obviously the more people who view their content the more followers and eventual brand awareness and sales they will have. I know those who blog for business that are not great communicators of the written word but do wonderful as a result of high page rankings. High page ranking is the real estate all online marketers wish to capture. Eighty percent of business to business blog success comes from search engine optimization and cross linking strategies that are not readily known by the average blogger.

6 Solid Reasons to Have a Business to Business Blog

1. Low Capital Investment – and minimum fees to maintain site. The only real investment is your time used for blogging. This gives back a high ROI for blog for business owners.

2. Time, Freedom and Flexibility – if you start out part-time with your business to business blog you can have your blog sizzling in as little as 60 to 90 days following a consistent step by step blogging system. Increasing your business through blogging can provide you with choices over time on how much you want to work or how little you want to work. No more missing your children and grandchildren’s little league games, school plays or family birthday parties because your current work schedule does not allow time off. You can now be in control of your own destiny.

3. Free Training and Education is available that will show you step by step how to set up your business to business blog for maximum Search Engine Optimization and build a campaign from scratch.

4. Blogging Communities or Networks are available where your posts are placed on the front page of the network and indexed according to industry and niche for easy identification by search engines for ranking. These blog networks have a vested interest in helping you succeed.

5. E-commerce – covers nearly all industries on the internet. Setting up a blog for business strategy eliminates saturation possibilities as there are so many niche products and industries to market. The world is your oyster. Pick any affiliate program to market and receive both initial income and residual income. Or simply continue to build your current business to business blog sites promoting your current company or product line, you are in control and can monetize for local, national or international traffic and business.

6. Income Earnings – can be substantial through blogging when you monetize your blog for Google AdSense as well as affiliate products. Substantial monthly incomes are being earned. Diversification of your marketing is a solid and profitable strategy.

If your company is currently blogging for business or looking to begin a blog for business site, you must focus on capturing as much real estate on the internet through popular keyword searches as possible. There are a tremendous amount of opportunities to create real wealth on the internet today even more so than have been in the past. Ranking an article and blog page is so much easier than ranking a website ever was. It must work, as you are reading this article. If you truly have a desire to take your company to the next level consider a business to business blog where you can tailor your message to an individual niche market as well as to mass audiences.

10 Questions Small Businesses Should Ask When Hiring An IT Service Provider

Based on the premise that small- and medium-sized businesses oftentimes lack specific criteria to go by when seeking to hire an IT services provider for their everyday Information Technology needs, the following list is a handy “cheat sheet” that addresses 10 main questions businesses should ask a potential IT service providers when seeking and comparing IT services:

1) What specific hardware and software products, packages, and offerings does your IT company provide or resell that would make our business more effective and productive?

  • For example, if you’re a small business, certain phone systems will work better, and are licensed to work better for, small businesses of approximately 100 employees or less. Some even have constraints down to 50 employees or less or have constraints about how many locations they can service at once. Once the potential IT service provider tells you of the specific products they resell or offer, do your own online research and find out what the world wide web has to say about the differences between major communications companies and the appropriateness of their products for certain business sizes. Some communications product providers have initially aimed their products towards large-scale businesses and may only now be breaking into the realm of providing products that meet the needs of small and medium business. Each product, whether it’s a VoIP phone system or data backup hardware, has clearly stated constraints for number of users and business size before more upgrades or additional licensing are required. You’ll be in the know ahead of time, before hiring an IT service provider, if you “do your homework” on the products they intend to resell to you.

2) Of the services, hardware, and software you’ll be providing, will any of them actually lower our Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) in the short-term or the long-term? If so, how?

  • For example, installation of a new VoIP phone system may certainly produce a high initial cost, but when you consider that once installed, the new internet-protocol phone system will save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in long-distance calling fees and between-site calling fees, that initial cost may be well worth the long-term savings. Moreover, new mobile phone apps and other unified communications methods and media are currently changing the way small and medium business do business by allowing your office phones to be duplicated on your mobile phone as if you’re never out of the office, or by streamlining your overall client communications to come to one place, saving you time and money, especially if your business requires you to be out of the office, in the field, or traveling often.

3) What is your fee structure and how is it advantageous to my small- or medium-sized business?

  • Fee structures come in many shapes and sizes, and those that are right for large enterprises are most often not right for small- and medium-sized businesses. While buying into an “incident-based” fee structure may be tempting in that you only pay for each occurrence of an IT problem, the unfortunate backlash of that fee structure is that, in their own attempts to make more money, some IT service providers may not create a solution that is a long-term fix for your problem. In fact, the IT provider may purposely only do enough to solve or “work around” the problem in the moment of the incident instead of creating an IT environment that prevents future incidents. In other words, on an “incident-based” fee structure, an IT company is actually monetarily encouraged to fix problems in pieces and not as a whole so that there’s another future incident waiting just around the corner that the IT company can be additionally paid for at a later date. This point begs for an answer to the next question:

4) Is your approach to IT solutions a reactive or preventative approach? Is it your approach to deal with our IT issues separately as they arise or to deal with our IT issues holistically?

  • A move within the IT industry from “a la carte” problem fixing to holistic solutions begs the question of whether an IT service provider is simply a reactionary entity that comes to fix problems as they arise or if they’re looking at the “big picture” of your business’s IT needs. Instead, many IT service providers and savvy businesses today are realizing that cost savings increase when the IT needs of a business are examined and troubleshot as a whole, preventatively. As a simple example, instead of performing data recovery after the crashing of one employee’s computer, a holistic IT company would have saved time and money by creating a monitored data backup plan with the hardware and software to perform backups well before someone’s computer crashes. As another example, instead of upgrading a business’s network whenever the size of the company increases due to a few new hires, a holistic approach would examine the projected growth of the company and request to implement network changes that can handle the growing workload before multiple potential hires are officially working and before company growth becomes a network-overload issue. A holistic approach does require though that an IT service provider conducts periodic assessments of things like how well your servers are functioning, how overloaded your network is or isn’t, and whether security and data backup practices are continually effective.

5) How will you solve IT issues that need immediate fixes before downtime negatively affects my business? Will you be responding remotely? If so, what happens when a remote fix is found to not be possible? Do you have someone in our local area that can respond on-site if necessary?

  • An IT service provider’s reaction time is crucial to your business experiencing as little downtime as possible. While remote fixes to your computers and your networks are often a cost-efficient solution for both your business and for the IT service provider, if there’s a server issue, you may oftentimes be in need of an IT professional that can be on-site to fix the problem hands-on. For businesses like stock brokers that use their computers to conduct real-time monetary transactions on a daily basis, excessive downtime can lead to a large loss of profit on behalf of clients that can then become upset and question your business’s validity. Avoid this problem by having a plan with your IT service provider ahead of time that notes exactly how much reaction time will be allotted for. If your IT company cannot be on-site within, say, an hour, you may want to consider another provider that can be there even quicker. This would mean contracting for services with a local IT provider, or at least contracting with a distant IT provider that has service professionals in strategic cities that are either close to or within your city.

6) How will productivity and cost-savings be shown? Is your IT company able to quantify the gains created by changes you’ve implemented within my business?

  • A periodic report sent either electronically or on paper, should be something your potential IT service provider can produce without a lot of effort. That’s because if they’ve chosen the proper products to boost the productivity of your business, and they’ve taken an initial baseline of the business’s productivity, quantifiable gains and losses should be easy to illustrate in a “productivity report.” This means a report that will answer questions like: how much faster is the server working after our recent upgrade? How much money are we saving per month now that we’ve upgraded to a VoIP phone system? How much faster is the website loading now that we’ve addressed latency issues? How many more calls can our business receive and handle simultaneously now that we’ve added more phone lines? How much more protected from outside and inside security threats are we now that we’ve implemented network security products and building surveillance cameras?

7) How are data backups implemented by your IT company? Do you provide emergency monitoring of our servers and networks? What happens in the case of a security breach?

  • A reputable IT service provider will be wise to perform periodic assessments of data backup systems and actually verify that those backups are working by attempting to retrieve random sets of data in a real-life application, such as pulling up accounts payable documents from three months ago and seeing if they can be opened without incident on an accounts payable employee’s computer. If the files are backed up but won’t convert to data that’s readable (i.e., if it reads as coded nonsense), then that’s a sign that data backup may be being performed but may not be accessible or usable when retrieval actually needs to occur. In addition, your networks, servers, and even your business’s buildings aren’t only under threat during business hours, so many IT providers provide 24/7 monitoring that shows up on an “on-call” IT phone that gets handed off between knowledgeable IT employees who can be “on call” throughout the night and respond quickly even if a server fails at 3am.

8) How does your IT company ensure the internal and external security of our networks, our websites, our VoIP phone system, our online admin areas, our passwords, and our building?

  • Though all of these security services may not apply to your small- or medium-sized business, those that do beg these important security questions. Proficient IT service providers can easily answer all of these questions by sharing with you what products and methods they implement in order to uphold the security of your business. They may recommend high-resolution security cameras, policies that ensure only administrators have access to crucial areas of your network, methods of storing passwords that aren’t on a sticky note in someone’s desk, and of course, firewalls and security software that ensure your website is hacker-proof. If the IT service provider you’re interviewing doesn’t have a quick, tried-and-true solution to your specific security needs, you’re better off finding a provider that does.

9) What certifications, qualifications, and most importantly, what experience does your IT staff have that will benefit my company?

  • While a common standard of having Microsoft and phone-system-brand certifications is common amongst the staff of many IT service providers, the real question is if any of the IT service provider’s employees have gone above and beyond to obtain not-so-common certifications and qualifications that make that IT service provider more of an expert in certain areas than the next. More importantly though is whether their experience matches and goes beyond their certifications. An IT professional going through a training course to obtain a certification is great, but oftentimes applying that knowledge in the field is a whole different ball game. Many IT service providers have decades of combined experience amongst their employees and have also kept current on applicable certifications, which is the type of pairing of education and experience to look for. If your server goes down, you’ll want an IT professional responding that fixes serves all the time, not one who’s checking his textbook for the next troubleshooting step.

10) Probably the most important question to ask, beyond obvious considerations of available products, potential costs, procedures, and so forth, is to ask: Is your IT company a good fit for my company, and if so, how?

  • IT service providers are usually accustomed to servicing certain business sizes or types. Oftentimes many small-city providers are dealing mostly with small and medium businesses while others within larger cities are mainly accustomed to working for large enterprises. You’ll want to match your business with an IT service provider that has a host of solutions tailored just for your business size. In addition, your business type is also a factor in that there’s a big difference between the IT needs of a stock broker whose commodities and sales are all online as compared to a retail store that holds a lot of valuable merchandise on a sales floor with glass front windows as compared to a large, barley marked warehouse that’s piled high with boxes of expensive equipment. The stock broker will need heightened online and network security while the glass-front retail shop may need heightened security cameras placed outside the building while the warehouse may need heightened security inside the warehouse and a strong server for mass inventory data. Ask potential IT service providers if they’ve ever serviced the type of business or a similar type of business as yours and if they answer “no,” you’re going to better off with an IT service provider that’s accustomed to working with your business size and type.

Therefore, following up on the premise that small- and medium-sized businesses oftentimes lack specific criteria to go by when seeking to hire an IT service provider, this list of ten basic questions will certainly have your business moving along the right path towards choosing an IT service provider only once for your business instead of going through several providers before finding the right one. This 10-question list is your small- and medium-sized business guide to honing in on the most qualified IT service provider because of its ideal fit with your business.

Advantages Of Hiring Business Development Consultants

People looking to start a new business have a lot to consider. They need to develop a good marketing strategy, start attracting clients, and put together a host of other things. This is where a business development consultant can help immensely. These consultants can help a business get off the ground and flourish. There are many benefits to hiring business development consultants.

What is a Business Development Consultant?

This type of business consultant specializes in aiding new business owners. They help in a variety of ways including client development and business start-up. As a consultant, these individuals can also formulate a good marketing strategy and help to market a business’s brand.

Overview of a Consultant’s Services

New businesses have a lot of challenges they must overcome. Development consultants can guide these businesses to success by formulating plans that cater to their specific needs.

Getting new clients can be very difficult for a new business. Consultants can help a business create an effective marketing strategy to bring in a lot of new clients.

Increasing Professionalism

Businesses that utilize websites or that have any sort of printed materials can benefit from the guidance of a consultant. The consultant can look over the writing on the website and fix mistakes or make changes to it that will increase the professionalism of the writing. Error-free, proper writing helps attract clients because they are more likely to trust a business that’s professional and capable.

Lead Generation

Business consultants are able to fulfill the needs of any type of business. For instance, a business that sells products needs to be able to effectively generate leads. A business development consultant can generate leads and also show employees how to do the same. Under the guidance of a consultant, any type of business can flourish.

Closing Deals

Another way a consultant can help a business is by teaching its employees the valuable skill of closing a deal with a client. Many employees may already have one good strategy to help close a deal, but business consultants can reveal several ways to do it effectively. Every client is different, so a strategy that works for one client may not work for another; business consultants have several strategies that will work for most clients, and they can teach businesses all about each one.

Branding Assistance

Another great way business consultants can be an asset to a company is by helping them with branding. Some businesses make the mistake of changing their slogans or logos. This is a bad idea because it can confuse clients. A consultant will help a business avoid these potentially costly mistakes.

Consultants also help people decide upon a logo or slogan that will let potential clients immediately recognize the services they are offering. A good slogan and logo can make all the difference, and consultants will help businesses create the best ones possible.

Consultants can even help a business decide upon a good name. A business name needs to stand out and catch people’s attention without being confusing. Business consultants are very creative and have a lot of experience, so they can be a fantastic asset to any company that needs help deciding upon a name, too.

With so much experience and knowledge, business development consultants can help any business flourish and also avoid costly mistakes.

The Three Biggest Lead Generation Mistakes Small Businesses Make And How To Overcome Them

If you’ve been looking for simple, proven and tested, step-by-step methods for generating more leads for your small business, then this article may just have the answer. Firstly, I want you to stop for a moment and think about all the advertising you’ve seen over the past week.

How many of those actual ads can you name? Researchers estimate that over the past seven days, you have been exposed to as many as 117,000 ads based on national averages. So out of 117,000 ads, how many can you name?

If you’re fairly attentive, you may be able to come up with 3 or 4 specific ads… but I’ll bet that’s because you probably see those ads over and over… week in and week out. Let’s face the facts… repetition works. When you see any advertisement multiple times every day you’re bound to eventually begin to recall the ad. But now answer this question.

What few ads you do remember, how many of their products or services have you bought? Because I have a passion for marketing I tend to go online and research for well accepted ads. Take for example a series of ads from online trading company E*Trade which uses babies to promote their products. These have a massive audience on both TV and YouTube. They even had one during the Superbowl. I think they’re a scream. But… I don’t have an E*Trade account. Never have, never will. Why should I?

What benefits do they offer me as a potential buyer of online trading services that any of the hundreds of other stock trading services offer? See my point? Does a smart-aleck, wise-cracking baby have any relevance to online stock trading whatsoever? Of course not. So why does E*Trade continue to make these commercials? Believe it or not, there is a reason… and by the end of this short presentation, you’ll fully understand what that reason is.

Businesses today are led to believe that all they have to do to build a successful business is create some type of attention-grabbing form of marketing and they will generate leads at will. Nothing could be further from the truth. And that’s just in the area of marketing. What about generating fast cash flow? EVERY small business needs to generate fast cash flow. So how do you do that as a small business owner? What about generating profits? Generating more cash flow is great… but not if you don’t get to put any of it in your pocket at the end of the day. How would you like the answers to all of these problems?

In this article I am going to reveal to you the three biggest lead generation mistakes small business owners make… and outline how you can overcome them.

Here are the three mistakes. Mistake #1… they fail to get professional help. Mistake #2… they don’t know the fundamentals required to successfully market their business and attract as many new clients as their business can handle. And mistake #3… they have no idea how to use their marketing to generate immediate cash flow. Let’s explore these three in depth, and show you how you can easily and systematically overcome each one of them.

Mistake #1… small business owners fail to get professional help. Can you name me just one professional athlete who does NOT have a coach? There aren’t any. Tiger Woods actually has a total of 9 coaches guiding him in everything from his golf game to his financial investments. But do small business owners really need professional help? Remember the TV ads we previously discussed? Those ads are created by “professionals.” Unfortunately, those professionals have no clue what they’re doing. Everything they’re doing in marketing and advertising today is wrong! But let me prove that to you right now.

If you currently use any form of marketing such as a print ad, brochure, postcard, flyer… or for that matter… your company website, take it out and look at it carefully. And if you don’t have any form of marketing right now, take out a sheet of paper and sketch out what you think would make for an effective ad for your business. It doesn’t have to be anything formal or fancy… just create a basic outline of the ad and where you would locate the various elements on the page.

Now that you have your ad… or a mock up of your ad sitting in front of you, let me provide you with the little known secrets that produce more leads than your business can handle. 99% of all marketing professionals DON’T know the lead generation secrets I’m about to reveal to you. This information is so powerful and compelling, it will position you in the top 1% of all lead generation professionals today. This example will show you why every small business owner should acquire our step-by-step roadmap as they start to generate leads for their business.

Here’s what a true marketing professional will know… and help you implement into your marketing. It’s known as the “marketing equation.” This marketing equation will let you quit competing on price… and let you start selling your product or service for what it’s really worth. You will drive in more leads and increase your advertising response by 10 to more than 100 times. You will convert a higher percentage of those leads and dramatically increase your number of sales. You will get a bigger bang for your marketing buck. The bottom line is this you will literally create a profit faucet that you will have TOTAL control over.

First, you MUST understand what marketing is supposed to do. Its purpose is actually three fold. Its first job is to capture the attention of your target market. Second, it must give them the hope that reading or listening to your marketing will give them enough information to help them make the best decision possible when buying whatever you sell. In other words, train and teach them how to recognize the true value of your product or service… and conclude that you… and you alone… offer the best value versus your competition. Marketing’s third job is to lower the risk of taking the next step in the buying process… and if necessary… continue to educate the prospect regarding the value you offer.

Marketing that accomplishes these three objectives will result in your prospects and customers coming to one single conclusion, that they would have to be an absolute fool to do business with anyone else but you, regardless of price. It’s estimated that as many as 96% of all small businesses fail within their first 5 years. The main reason for this tremendously high failure rate has to do with the lack of expertise when it comes to generating leads and making the phone ring.

Most small businesses don’t know anything about those three things that marketing is supposed to do. But there’s also an additional problem to consider. Most small business owners use a tactical marketing approach instead of a strategic approach. Let me explain.

Running an ad in the local newspaper… sending out an email or direct mail letter… airing a radio or TV ad on a local media station are all examples of tactical marketing. Now don’t get me wrong… the newspaper, radio or direct mail can be successful marketing channels… If your marketing message is powerful and compelling. But that’s the problem… the message is the strategic side of marketing… and yet, it’s the most neglected.

This distinction between strategic and tactical marketing is huge and one you need to be acutely aware of anytime you start talking about generating more leads. Many companies mistakenly assume that when you talk about lead generation, you’re automatically talking about tactical lead generation… placing ads, sending out mailers, joining a networking group, attending tradeshows, implementing a prospect follow up system and so on.

They fail to realize that the strategic side of the coin, what you say in your marketing and how you say it is almost always more important than the marketing medium where you say it. If you fail to make this distinction, then you risk becoming jaded towards certain forms of marketing and advertising that should be a part of your tactical plan, but you eliminate them from consideration because they haven’t worked for you in the past.

When lead generation results are less than optimal, small business owners tend to almost always blame the marketing medium… like the newspaper the ad ran in or the postcards they sent out. They blame the tactical part of the plan… without any regard for how good or how bad the strategic messaging in that marketing piece was. People often say things like, “we tried radio and it doesn’t work for our kind of business,” or “we sent out 50,000 pieces of direct mail and only generated 3 orders. It just doesn’t work.”

Just because it didn’t work, don’t assume that it won’t work. Most people don’t have the evaluation skills or the know-how to judge whether poor marketing results from poor strategy or poor tactical execution. This is where our step-by-step roadmap can generate more leads than your business can handle.

For example, most small business owners rely heavily on platitudes in their marketing. They say things like – we have the lowest prices… the best service… we’re family owned and operated… we offer convenient hours… the best value… not to mention that we’ve been in business since 1431 B.C. Look at your own marketing that I asked you to acquire or create earlier. How many platitudes did you use in your own marketing?

By the way, this is NOT your fault. Small business owners have been conditioned to think this is the proper way to market their businesses… since most advertising follows this same pathetic marketing formula… including the Fortune 500 types.

As human beings, we’re all after just one thing when we buy something… the best deal! Unfortunately, when you use platitudes in your marketing, there’s absolutely no way to tell who is actually offering the best deal. Everyone says they have the lowest prices, the highest quality and the best rates. So who do you believe? There’s only one way to know… and that’s to research every single business that offers what you want to buy. How many of us have the time or patience to do that?

So most of us just automatically assume that everyone is pretty much the same, and therefore we default to calling on the business that offers us the lowest price. When you can’t communicate the true value your business offers, you’re doomed to forever compete on price. Our marketing equation will change all of that for you forever. It’s going to be the backbone of your strategic marketing plan. It’s the foundation on which everything else we build for you is based. Let me give you a quick overview and then spend some time going through it with you in detail.

A proper marketing equation has four main components. First, it must interrupt your prospects. It must get your qualified prospect to pay attention to your lead generation marketing. Simple enough to say, but a lot more difficult to pull off in real life unless you understand what you’re about to learn here. The interrupt is done through your headline if your marketing is in print… or it’s the first thing you say if your marketing through radio or TV. The second component is engage. Once your prospect is interrupted, it’s critical you give your reader the promise that information is forthcoming that will help the prospect make the best buying decision possible. In other words, it must help facilitate their decision to pick you over anyone else. This is the job of our subheadline.

The interrupt is our headline that highlights a specific problem that your prospects are looking for a solution to… and the engage is our subheadline that promises them that you offer a solution to the problem we mentioned in our headline.

The third component you need to include is ‘educate’. Once you have interrupted and engaged your prospect, you have to give information that allows them to logically understand how and why you solve the problem they’re facing. This is accomplished by giving detailed, quantifiable, specific and revealing information. This is typically done in the body copy of your ad. When you educate, you need to reveal to your prospects the important and relevant information they need to know when making a good decision, and that your business… and yours alone… provides it to them. The interrupt and engage hit the prospects emotional hot buttons. Educate is the logic they need to justify picking up the phone and calling you.

The fourth and final component of the marketing equation is your offer. Now that you have interrupted your prospect based on problems that are important to them… engaged by a promise of the solution… and they’ve examined the educational information that makes your solution real and believable… the last step you need to take is to give them a low risk way to take the next step in your sales process. You do this by offering a free marketing tool, such as a report, brochure, seminar, audio, video or something that will continue to educate them. Your offer will allow your prospect to feel in control of their final decision to call and buy from you.

So your marketing equation is interrupt, engage, educate and offer and together they equal market domination. Now here’s the problem. Most marketing today only contains two of these components. They interrupt by throwing something at you that’s either familiar like Tiger Woods… or unusual like a monkey or talking pets. Sometimes they like to use both, as in the case of the E*Trade baby. Then once they grab your attention, they make you some type of offer such as “call now for whatever.” They have left out the engage and the educate, and marketing seldom succeeds when that happens.

In fact, the only time this type of marketing does succeed is when you can afford to run the ad over and over nonstop for an extended period of time. Plop, plop, fizz, fizz… melts in your mouth, not in your hand… and the burgers are better at… have literally been rammed down our throats by Fortune 500 types. After hearing these slogans thousands of times, of course we’re going to remember them. But how can a small business owner like you that doesn’t have a billion dollar marketing budget successfully market your business. The answer… you can’t… UNLESS you follow the entire marketing equation.

And finally the third biggest mistake small business owners make is that they have no idea how to use their marketing to generate immediate cash flow. When you follow this marketing equation in every form of marketing you do… from your business cards to your company website, the financial results are instantaneous and immediate.

So in conclusion, the three biggest lead generation mistakes small businesses make are #1… they fail to get professional help. #2… they don’t know the fundamentals required to successfully market their business and attract as many new clients as their business can handle. And #3… they have no idea how to use their marketing to generate immediate cash flow.

The above marketing equation contains the fundamental components for instantly making your phone ring and positioning your business as the dominant force in your market. It provides the marketing foundation that will enable you to generate immediate cash flow. And small businesses can use this information as a minimum standard when seeking out professional help for their business.

Starting With the Right Legal Business Type, Sole Proprietorship

When starting your business, one of the things you will need to figure out is the legal form you should register your business as, in order to ensure that you are operating with the correct business profile and level of financial protection to suit your precise needs.

Though not a lawyer, having worked in several countries, across 3 continents, I have picked up a few things that I suspect will prove helpful in your decision making process, and would suggest that you consider some of the following issues carefully.

To start with, in all the countries I have worked, it was clear that there were usually a combination of 3 or 4 legal business types used to legally conduct business. And for the most part the similarities were significant.

The most common of these business types is a Sole Proprietorship. And though these may known by different names, in different countries, they are essentially subject to the same rules, regulations, financial protection and taxation.

So, when considering this business type it is good to be aware of essentially three key features that typically govern this type of legal business form.

1. You are personally liable for the debts of the business

With this type of legal business type, you are the business. This means that the bank can take your house in lieu of a debt incurred to conduct business. If you get sued for something you did wrong in your business, you also stand to loose your personal assets, including your house and car as they are all on the line.

From an operational perspective it means that bank accounts will be in your personal name, as if you had no business. Notably in most countries it would be possible to register a trading name, which you could attach to your bank account in order to receive checks in the name of your business, however it is still you that are on the hook.

One thing to keep in mind though is that even though operating your business as this type of entity exposes you to personal liability, in most countries where this is a serious risk, you are able to insure against liability from suits. And when it comes to debt, the upside is that you can use your personal credit history to conduct business cheaper, which if managed well, should never really prove to be an issue. Just pay your bills and all will be fine.

2. Your business is taxed as if it is you.

Simply put the profits from your business are treated as personal income, and you would declare it as such. You are also able to deduct most of your personal expenses, that relate to your business, from your taxable income, which might mean that if you work from home, a part of your living expenses could potentially be deductible. Essentially the business is you, and for the most part the expenses you incur to earn a living are treated as tax deductible expenses.

3. You are unable to sell the business, you can only sell the assets.

Though for the most part this will not prove a significant issue, it is important to realize that since you are the business, you cannot sell the business. You are able to sell the assets of the business, which may include trading names, stock, customer databases etc. however you have to be aware that to transfer the debts and liabilities of the business, you have to specifically contract that into the sale. And even then it does not necessarily resolve all the issues that may potentially arise, even after the sale of the business.

Here are some of the benefits of this type of business:

1. It usually costs nothing or very little to set up or register.

2. Business operating costs are considerably lower than the other available legal business forms, e.g. your accountant and lawyer will likely cost you significantly less, because things are just simpler.

3. It is easy to setup, and you can start operating your business very quickly.

4. As mentioned above you can rely on your personal credit history for conducting business so this will, initially at least, make things a little easier.

5. It is easy to close down as you simply stop doing business. There is usually little or no cost to shutting down this type of business, except of course for liquidating the assets and paying off debts and liabilities.

In a nutshell, if you are looking to operate a small business with little risk of someone suing you, and you are fine with putting your house up as collateral for your business debt, then this might be the one for you.

And though personally I do not prefer this type of business, either way I would suggest that you do take the time to discuss this with your accountant and lawyer before making a decision.