Dec 31, 2009

Move Your Money For A Better Economy

For businesses in America who are frustrated with the economy, I have a simple question:

Are you banking with one of the fourteen banks who were "too big too fail"?

You know which banks I'm talking about... they were responsible for the last great depression and once again, they were responsible for the recent collapse in 2008/2009, too.

Banks who are backed by the families named Morgan, Chase, Goldman-Sachs, etc., along with banks like Bank of America, Citibank, and, Wells Fargo, etc..

Are you going to continue to support the banking policies of these banks? If so, you might as well start wearing an "I love Potter" shirt every New Year to show off your allegiance.

If you're saying, "I love George Bailey" well then do yourself and your community a favor and move your money from the "big fourteen" to a regional, community bank. You money is insured by the FDIC, and you'll probably get better service, as well.

This concept is inspired by a post I read at the Huffington Post:

"The idea is simple: If enough people who have money in one of the big four banks move it into smaller, more local, more traditional community banks, then collectively we, the people, will have taken a big step toward re-rigging the financial system so it becomes again the productive, stable engine for growth it's meant to be. It's neither Left nor Right -- it's populism at its best. Consider it a withdrawal tax on the big banks for the negative service they provide by consistently ignoring the public interest. It's time for Americans to move their money out of these reckless behemoths. And you don't have to worry, there is zero risk: deposit insurance is just as good at small banks -- and unlike the big banks they don't provide the toxic dividend of derivatives trading in a heads-they-win, tails-we-lose fashion."
Can you agree to this principle?

Watch the video and then decide for yourself if this is a good New Year's Resolution regarding your money:

Per Huffington, please "watch Eugene's amazing video, then go to to learn more about how easy it is to move your money. And pass the idea on to your friends (help make this video -- and this idea -- go viral!)."

Moving your money from a "big fourteen" bank to a smaller, regional bank can be one way you can contribute to the growth of your local business community and help rebuild our economy the good, old-fashioned, American way.

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Dec 17, 2009

Predictably Irrational Offers Rational Pricing Ideas

Would you like choice A or B?

Human beings, when given a choice between: A or B
will choose the better of the two... or will they?

According to the research by Dan Ariely, author of  "Predictably Irrational", and an academic, people will actually not always make the right choice if influenced by a number of conditions.

For example, when presented with a slightly flawed "decoy" choice, which Ariely calls -A, the person will choose the choice that does not have the precondition flaw:

So A or B when presented with a slightly flawed "decoy" choice, such as A- or B-  when stacked together as A, A-, or B, the person chooses B, because A was presented with a flaw.

Or, when presented with the choice of subscribing to a journal and offered:

Choice #1:
A. Hardcopy subscription $29
B. Online Subscription $59

In choice #1, people typically choose "A" but when presented with:

Choice #2
A. Hardcopy Subscription $29
B. Online Subscription $59
C. Online Subscription + Hardcopy Subscription $59

In the second choice, people choose C considerably more than in the first example. In this case, choice "B" in the second option is obviously flawed, but people will choose C more often because they get something for nothing, in their mind (the hardcopy, in this case).

This is the argument and fascinating case study work shared in the book Predicably Irrational, by Dan Ariely.

The use of a "decoy" in pricing is critical if you wish to drive success of a higher-priced item.

This is also true if you set a precondition of a certain number in the suspect's mind prior to offering a series of numbers, they are more likely to think that number is "acceptable" as a price.

In addition, the use of zero cost items is essential in promoting a lessor quality item. Offer two of them with one free, and you drive sales.

So, in your pricing, are you offer just ONE price? Or, are you offering comparisons. Because, you see, people will buy based upon the COMPARISON guidelines YOU set. In addition, if you state a RANGE of VALUE prior to offering your price, the person buying will be associating value in that value range, and thus be more apt to offer or buy the pricing within a discount from that value.

For example, if you said "an offer like this, at our normal rates, would cost between $10,000 and $12,000" ut for this day only, you can buy at these special rates:

A. Offer A for $5,000
B. Better Offer B for $8,995
C. Both A and B for $9,995

In this instance, we're using three of the theories put forth in Predictably Irrational TOGETHER and thus, driving up both the likelihood that you'll sell the higher priced options B or C and also driving up the likelihood of prospects choosing option C - your highest profit offering. This is using the THEORY of FRAMING EXPECTATIONS with the THEORY of RELATIVE PRICING with the THEORY of DECOY PRICING. Another theory (not mentioned in Predicably Irrational but still a good pricing theory) is the THEORY of LIMITED AVAILABILITY. If people know they can only buy something TODAY, they rush to get it. It is like when K-Mart would run "Blue Light Specials" where the blue lights go on, everyone rushes to buy that item. It creates an "in-store" sensation that increases the odds people visit that store to get good deals. In this instance, it increases the odds they'll buy TODAY.

While some of these pricing strategies are already part of Cold to GoldTM, I'll be adding additional examples of ways to price products in the bonus "Marketing Maven Mashup" guide as we get closer to the online launch of Cold to Gold. Stay tuned...!

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Nov 4, 2009

10 Ways to Turn Failure Into Success

I once felt like a total failure when losses and lack of capital forced me to close my company doors (temporarily) and get a J-O-B. It was hard to do this - I'd spent hours and hours working on a product I felt could make my company successful. However, I hadn't yet learned the art - or science - of the launch process. As a result, my product launch failed, therefore forcing me to leave re-launch of my company for another day.

My Mother was kind enough to remind me of that early business failure when I told her about my upcoming launch of Cold to GoldTM. But Cold to Gold is different than that early launch failure in several ways. First of all, I'm not launching it until my list and JV program is in place and solidified. Sure, I'll be conducting sales training workshops over the next few months to teach it in person and know how the exercises play out to determine the viability for each of these techniques to be included in the launch videos. After all, it is important to have great product content. And, I'm taking how I failed in the past and using that knowledge to cover my bases in this launch to ensure success. Further, I've studied how other Internet Marketers launch products successfully and utilizing those techniques to launch Cold to Gold. Last, the content in Cold to Gold is unique - you can't get some of these techniques anywhere else - and from early reviews people are telling me this is "kick-butt" information worth more than I'm charging. Not only that, but my last two launches were considerably more successful than that earlier failure. I believe Cold to Gold, on the other hand, will be my most successful launch ever. Why? Because Cold to Gold is my Magnum Opus to selling - the world-class best of class techniques culminated from not just my failures, but also my SUCCESSES.

I know about success: I've gone from the bottom of the ladder to the top of the ladder with five different companies, and in the process learned what separates those who win from those who lose. I also feel that my failures have been turned into learning experiences to win the next time. And that is due to one simple belief:

Failure Isn't As Bad As You Think.

Or, put differently, even the Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers might win a Super Bowl again someday. (Sorry Raider fans, I couldn't resist, that was to jab a pal of mine who lives in the Bay Area!)

The reason why failure isn't as bad as you think, seriously, is because you can learn from these failures and use these experiences to craft your next SUCCESS. There are some techniques I've developed to ensure you can turn a failure into a success. I'd like to share them with you in this article. Interested? Here you go:

1st Strategy to Turn Failure Into Success: Learn from it.  Failure Is A Great Way To Learn.

In fact, if you're wise, you will learn from your failures, and figure out the things you *missed* the last time... the next time you won't make those mistakes, you will learn from the best, you will model your sculpture of your success...carving away what needs to be removed... shaping...honing it until what remains is the sculpture you most want to convey.

Until maybe you make a sculpture like this one:

After all, that's the sign of success, right? Thumbs up!

I'll never forget Mrs. Hirons, my Freshman English teacher. She would write an "R" on any paper with more than ONE error. She only gave an A for outstanding work. But more than that she would require you to rewrite the paper if you didn't spell right, didn't use proper grammar, and so forth. While I'm not a perfect writer even today, I'm probably a much better writer due to all of the failures I submitted to Mrs. Hirons and the papers I rewrote to get it right and receive an "A" in her class. So, don't get ticked when you get it wrong. Rewrite it. Do it over. That's the joy in life, you can do it again, only the next time with new information gained from the time you got it wrong.

2nd method to turn failure into success: TRY TO FAIL.

How about considering this: TRY TO FAIL! It is one approach that can actually free you of the fear of failure. Imagine if a salesperson actually counted their NO results as much as their YES results. I actually do this in my own call tracking. I track the percentage of success. If I see the percentage go up, then even though I may have heard "no" more often, if I also hear "yes" equally or more often, then I consider that a form of success. What's also cool about trying to fail is you don't have to worry about being perfect; after all, you're not trying to succeed. The funny thing is you just might succeed by accident using this approach.

3rd method to turn failure into success: TRY AGAIN. Don't give up! Learn from your mistake, then try it again with something new. The worst thing that can happen is you fail again, right? The best thing that can happen: you SUCCEED!! Hey- it's possible, believe you can, do it right, and you will!

The 4th method of turning failure into success: REFRAME your DEFINITION of FAILURE and SUCCESS.

Instead of seeing failure as SUCCESS = ME TRY = ME FAIL
Look at it as ME + TRY = FAIL + LEARN & TRY AGAIN (repeat until DO RIGHT) = SUCCESS

Success is now not an either/or proposition; rather, success is a destination accomplished THROUGH failure. In other words, you no longer need to avoid failure, but rather, EMBRACE failure. Just be careful you don't embrace it too much!

Here is an awesome video that reinforces this point:

5th strategy to turn failure into success: Choose winners for friends! 

Surround yourself with people who have failed, then went on to succeed, and you'll be more likely to succeed, too. Do you ever notice how successful people often hang out with other successful people? Who are you hanging out with? Are they successful? Are they wannabees? Are they doing what they say they'll do? Hang out with the people who have failed a lot and succeeded more than the average bear and you'll improve your own chances of success. Why? Because our NETWORK is what helps us become SUCCESSFUL. If I was an owner of a football team, the first thing I would do is make sure that my team was loaded with players who'd won a championship in recent years in several key positions. I'd make sure these were the type of players known to step up and take positions of leadership. After all, if you want to win a championship, it helps to have people who've been there, done that.

Try this exercise: 

1. Make a list of the ten (10) people who you hang out with the most.
2. Approximate the gross income of these people on this list.
3. Add the income up, and divide it by 10. This is probably what you make.

Am I right? Or am I wrong? Choose your mentors WISELY. Make sure they're playing at the level YOU want to play at and go for those people as your friends and start hanging out with the people playing at the level you want to be playing. To summarize, surround yourself with the most successful people you can.

While I'm at it, might I suggest the 6th strategy to turn failure into success: LEVERAGE YOUR NETWORK! The concept of LEVERAGE is key to building a house. I'll never forget how my Dad used pulley's and ropes to pull each framed wall up into position in our house. He used leverage to make it possible for two men and a few little kids to lift something that people normally could not lift. Leveraging your network makes it possible to do things that otherwise, on your own, you simply could not do. Rather than try to do all things, who do you know who can help? Leverage these key winners to help you win with your project!

Persistence matters. 

Consider these people who went down in history as "great successes" but looking deeper, consider their record:

George Washington: Lost 5 out of 8 major battles in Revolutionary War. He won the battle that mattered most: Yorktown. As they say, you can lose a battle, but don't lose the war. After his early losses, he suffered such despair and depression he almost didn't make it. In fact, the entire army was due to leave prior to the crossing of the Delaware. During that crucial week, Washington pleaded with his army to stay for one more month - that the impact of making a difference with their lives counted upon it. Then he learned that the British left a division of their army relatively unguarded at Trenton. After an opportunity to surprise the British at Trenton and later, Princeton, Washington's victory crossing the Delaware River in the hail, sleet, and cold night that Christmas week turned the tide of the war and enabled the American Government (through Benjamin Franklin) to convince the French to weigh in and help the American cause. It was largely due to the presence of French forces, artillery, and the fleet blocking the British escape, that presented Washington with the opportunity to win the war.

Thomas Edison, the great inventor, was fired at the age of 20 from his job at Associated Press for spilling sulfuric acid from a lead battery onto the floor (which subsequently dripped onto his boss's desk). He later went on to invent the phonograph, quadruplex telegraph, and the first commercially practical incandescent light. According to Wikipedia, several other light bulbs were invented prior, but failed to sustain light for very long. It took Edison about 10,000 tries to get the light bulb to be able to sustain light over prolonged periods of time before replacing the bulb. He later formed General Electric, which today is one of the largest companies in the world.

Ulysses S. Grant, a hero on the Northern side in the American Civil War, failed at every business venture he ever pursued (real estate agent, laborer, and engineer) before being the architect of the offensive strategy that eventually wore down and defeated the superb Army of Northern Virginia and command of Robert E. Lee. You'll note that Grant apparently developed skills from each area he failed at prior to his military career. He later used those skills to varying levels of success in his victories and campaigns at Vicksburg, St. Petersburg, and Richmond. Each of these victories included persistence, feats of engineering, and long laborious struggles to accomplish. So, in my opinion, the earlier failures of Grant's years in business later served a positive impact in his ability to lead an army and win a war. It was his success as a general which enabled him to become a future President of the United States.

After early success with the Apple IIE, and the Macintosh, Steve Jobs lost an internal political battle and got forced out of the company he co-founded. He later went on to fail on many levels with the NeXT computer; however, succeeded in developing an operating system that became the heart of Apple's new iMac product line upon merging back with Apple. He also bounced back with a wise investment in the success of Pixar, the animation company he later sold to Disney. I think the failures of Steve Jobs shaped his ability to know a "winner" from a "loser" with technology to the point of also spotting the opportunities with the iPod, iTunes, and the iPhone.

The 7th strategy to turn failure into success: Stand for a JUST CAUSE.

To quote Abraham Lincoln, who himself lost 6 elections and failed in business twice before becoming the 16th President of the United States of America:

“The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.”

In my own past, I've failed at one job, only to emerge victorious a year later in the next job. Why? I believed the job was a just cause. I was told by one boss that I couldn't sell my way out of a paper bag, only to have him offer me back that same job at twice the pay after having every account I touched become a client in the three months after he'd fired me. In the next job, I won a jet ski for my sales success, proving I could not only sell my way out of a paper bag - but all the way to the top of the line amongst a more experienced and aggressive group of salespeople.

I've now launched several products and programs, the most recent the SLO Winter Funk Festival, which broke even in year one (despite horribly cold and windy weather) and now, in year two, is attracting a very impressive board and volunteer staff who I believe can help turn this into a huge success this year. The SLO Jazz Festival ( will follow later in 2010. People are interested in these festivals because they are seen as a JUST CAUSE - something the community, at large, needs, to be more culturally hip and enjoyable.

The 8th strategy to turn failure into success: Keep ACTIVE. Faced with failure, the business leaders who WIN stay in motion. They quit the bad job, they separated from investors they conflicted with, they got up off the sidewalk and went back to work. Even in the situation where Washington lost numerous early battles in the Revolutionary War, he stayed in motion and constantly fooled his opponent as to where his army might be located in order to pick a place to fight when he might win. What works in battle works in business, too. Stay in MOTION. Then pick your spots to win carefully. It's true in sports, too! Ever notice how when a quarterback is just about to be sacked, but somehow escapes his tackler. Next thing you know, he's throwing to a wide-open receiver, because the defender thought the play was over! The quarterback and receiver STAYED IN MOTION!

This happened again during Game 4 of the current World Series on November 1, 2009, when the Phillies first kept in motion by coming back in the 7th and 8th innings with a run in each inning to tie the score at 4-4 after being down 4-2 earlier in the game. The Yankees began the 9th inning with two outs still tied 4-4. The next batter, Damon, was down in the count one ball and two strikes. It did not look good for the Yankees, as going into the bottom of the 9th in Philadelphia could result in a loss easily. However, Damon but battled back to get on base after fouling off several pitches. Damon then stole second and when nobody was covering third base he stole third, too! The Yankees kept the play in motion and ended up with three runs to go up 7-4 at the end of the inning. It was Damon's crucial at-bat that won the game, though. Their closer came in and finished off the Phillies one-to-three in the bottom of the ninth to win the game and go ahead 3-1 in the series. Although they lost game 5, the Yankees again kept it in motion by coming back to lose 8-6 after being down 6-1 early in the game. My bet: they'll win the series tonight - probably by keeping the ball in play every way they can and playing heads-up baseball. As my brother says "I like baseball because it is about the only sport without a clock determining when the game is over. You simply HAVE to get the guy out, or you lose." Therefore, baseball is also the ultimate game to watch to see how teams keep it in play, stay in motion, and keep active to stay alive and win games.

The 9th strategy to turn failure into success: GRATITUDE. Celebrate all small victories and even a few failures. It is okay to fail. I'll never forget the manager who SPIFFED (I believe SPIF stood for Special Performance Indicator Fund) a salesperson who tried something different, even though they lost the deal. They wanted to reward taking chances. Express gratitude through rewards, pats on the back, for EFFORT. People who try things and keep trying to improve ought to be rewarded when they DO succeed, too. I always love when a baseball team congratulates a PITCHER (normally not good hitters) for laying down a successful bunt to advance the base runners, even though he got out in the process. That's a prime example of this strategy at work.

The 10th and last strategy to turn failure into success is to either take uncommon chances and/or learn from those taking the chances. The people who are willing to try new things are likely to fail more often. But, they also discover new ways to win! Sometimes, by going for it, they inspire the rest of the team to go for it, too. Those willing to live on the bleeding edge are experiencing that blood for a reason. A friend of mine yesterday told me I ought to wear a shirt that says "been there, done that" because of all of my experiences in life and business. Another strategy is to follow those who live on the bleeding edge, then ask THEM for advice about what to do or not to do. You might limit your failures this way and increase your successes through the wisdom of someone else who has been there, done that.

In what way have you failed? Perhaps you need to redefine the failures of your past and find ways to incorporate what you did right, eliminate what you did wrong, and turn the wisdom from that loss into winning strategies in your future. For those who currently feel like a failure in the middle of this current market recession, let me remind you that many of the world's greatest human beings emerged victorious from periods of loss, downtime, or other catastrophe. I encourage you to do the same. Keep yourself in play, look for an optimum time to launch your strike, then strike with all you have, and you will win.

Copyright © 1999-2009 by ARRiiVE Business Solutions. Photos in this post copyright Weirdomatic. All Rights Reserved. SUBSCRIBE. Like it? Share on or Stumble Upon!

Oct 29, 2009

Using Tweetglide With Twitter To Add Traffic

I just downloaded this new Twitter App and it has already made tweeting a lot
simpler and less time consuming. The one thing I will warn you about is that the application contains a viral tool to add AOL addresses - I BLOCKED that part of the application as Kapersky felt it was a Trojan virus intrusion into my system and I agreed with that logic and have other ways to share products and links with my list of contacts than trusting an application to do it for me that I just started using. Just use your Kapersky and you'll be cool with the install.

However, once installed I feel that Tweetglide is potentially a valuable application to expand the way you might advertise, grow your followers, and also possibly monetize your Twitter accounts. It is released by Mike Filsaime, who is one of the top Internet Marketers in the world.

Get Tweetglide here

And the best part of it all is that by using it, you actually get free traffic
that can grow viral pretty fast.

Yes, there is a built in traffic generation feature that allows you to display YOUR AD inside of the app that ALL users will see. It's also a way to monetize twitter more... I've been investigating ways to maximize Twitter professionally and will continue to report on tools to monetize and grow your blog and online business with Twitter as I discover and use them, myself.

Check out how it works here, then start using it if you like it:

Get Tweetglide now: Tweetglide

Add ARRiiVE to your twitter here: ARRiiVE Twitter

Please let me know what you think of Tweetglide:
Thumbs up? Thumbs down?

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Oct 27, 2009

King Solomon's Wisdom and Building an Organization

I'm working on a new book based upon an article I published at AspireNow called "Great Leaders Series: How King Solomon's Wisdom Built a Kingdom" that I'll be rolling out along with several other books and workbooks this next year. Articles related to leadership, sales, and success are now published here at the ARRiiVE: Innovations In Business blog.

Have you seen the article on using King Solomon's Wisdom To Build A Team?

In the article, I bring up several issues and questions entrepreneurs face:
  1. How to align your organization for optimum chances of success?

  2. Where to focus your efforts to succeed?

  3. What way to gather resources?

  4. How to organize for selling and profit?

  5. How to eliminate strife internally?

  6. What type of partnerships to build?

  7. How to ensure your leadership role will last?

  8. How and when to inspire and celebrate?

  9. How to avoid extravagence to maintain bottom line growth?

  10. How to ensure longevity of the organization?

Yes, all of these questions are answered by studying King Solomon, who according to the Bible, was the wisest of men. King's Solomon's wisdom definitely shows in how he built his kingdom. If we are to learn how best to lead an organization, why not study the very best?

So, I encourage you to review the article on King Solomon. If you have any questions you'd like me to answer in the book that are not listed here, or perhaps to enhance or further investigate other aspects of Solomon's approach to leadership, please suggest them in the comments here at the ARRiiVE: Innovations In Business blog, or contact me directly.

(Note: above image provided courtesy wikipedia, Solomon and Queen of Sheba, by Giovanni Demin.)

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Oct 22, 2009

Are Sales and Relationships Synonymous Terms

I am talking to a bank manager about the possibility of creating a sales training program for her bank.

It's an intriguing opportunity, for several reasons. For one, she mentioned to me that she likes the idea, because her firm currently does not have any formal sales training.

"We call it customer relationship skills but same thing," she corrected herself.

"Is it?" I replied.

"Well, in the end, we want more business," the bank manager said.

This comment is causing me to think about sales in the way my client thinks of sales: where each sell is not really so much about the sell, itself, but about the relationship with each client.

Are sales and relationships synonymous terms?

You see, if the bank has built a strong relationship with you, any time you need to store money (most current "savings accounts"), transact money (checking accounts), save money (with "money market" accounts), or get more money (such as through loans) you will likely consider the bank where you handle your checking or savings account for that new transaction. Am I right or wrong? So, it IS about the relationship!

Imagine if banking approached sales from the perspective of "wham, bam, thank you Ma'am!" and just got their money and then got out, how would they ever succeed? Rather, the bank must deliver upon the promise of (1) being there, (2) offering good rates, and (3) offering outstanding service. If a bank does these three things, and does a better job of building relationships than peer banks, they are likely to grow.

There's more to it than that. The bank also has to offer unique banking products at the right time. But no matter what products they offer, if you don't know who they are how will they sell you anything? It starts with relationship!

But when we think of sales as a relationship building process, or even a "relationship" in simple terms, how else might that impact the way we approach the sales process?

When I consider how to answer this question, I realize that a bank relationship could be like any relationship we build with our friends. How do we form friendships? We find things in common, right? We do things together! If a bank is to be a friend, we must find ways to "relate" to each other. How many times to friends invite each other over or out to do things? With that being the case, banks ought to invite people over. Perhaps having an "open-house" for businesses. Or, participating in "Art After Dark" nights... or having "meet our new business" breakfasts. Anything like this would be valuable, from the relationship-building perspective.

What other things do we do to build relationships? Do we compliment each other? If a bank runs a newsletter, the bank ought to compliment certain customers. Perhaps awards for various things like innovation, creativity, good use of money, outstanding accounting habits, or other creative things like this would be valuable in the process of strengthening a relationship.

When do people need banks the most? This is another area I feel needs focus.

When prospecting, how would banks prospect? If I were a banker, I think I'd be looking for who moved to the area, for one. Or, perhaps, the bank could seek out families who just gave birth to a child. Maybe they could offer a "new child college fund" to parents in the area. Or, parents of kids entering 1st grade could be offered a "first account for a first grader" program. As we know, the earlier you start a savings account, the more that account will be worth by the time the child enters college.

I remember how Citibank built their credit card program by offering cards to college graduates. At the time, many banks wouldn't issue you a credit card unless you already had one (an oxymoron, huh?) and Citibank saw the wisdom in being the first bank to offer you a card, you'd likely keep their card for the longest time. It was true, I had my Citibank card longer than any other credit card.

These are all things I'm starting to think about regarding this program for the bank. What ways is your business unique? How can you relate it to other parts of life? This is how we must think when we are selling. Because sales and relationships can by synonymous.

Do you run a sales team? Are you seeking innovative ways to help your people succeed more?

Implementing a sales training program is a wise idea. The most successful organizations I've ever been part of or led always offer people who interface their customers training. It is a key to your success. I'm going to relaunch Concepts of SellingTM and Cold To GoldTM in the next month (November 2009), so stay tuned for ways ARRiiVE Business Solutions might assist you in this process.

Above photo courtesy SXC. Copyright © 1999-2009 by ARRiiVE Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved. SUBSCRIBE.

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Oct 21, 2009

Focus: Starting A Business

Utilizing the power of FOCUS is key to starting a company or launching a product successfully.

If you're an idea person, as many entrepreneurs tend to be, you're likely at some point to attempt starting a business. Hey, it's challenging, it's fun, there's a thrill in the success, and well, there's also a bummer downside. But, nevertheless, if that spirit is inside you, there's probably nothing you can do to fight the urge.

Now, if you're like me, an idea person with so many ideas it is hard to keep up with them all, then your biggest challenge in starting a business might just have to do with FOCUS!

Yep, I'm admitting it. Sometimes a blog is the best therapy. But, seriously, if you notice friends comment that you have ADD (attention deficit disorder) and/or say "maybe you ought to focus" you just might consider they might be giving you words of wisdom.

Starting a business requires FOCUS!

For example, when I launched my first website, AspireNow, I had someone tell me to focus on just one thing, and do it well. I ignored her advice. While some other websites launched at the same time as AspireNow thrived, AspireNow struggled in the early years. I think if I'd done a better job with my focus, I'd probably have succeeded with that website much sooner.

I recently helped an entrepreneur launch a large digital screen network in California. One of the challenges we faced was myriad ideas from the entrepreneur that caused distraction amongst the sales team and made it difficult to sell what we needed to sell. Again, this was an issue of focus.

If you focus properly on what must be done now to win, you will often succeed where others may fail. Do you need every bell and whistle? In 1901, Henry Ford founded the Cadillac Motor Company. This company tried to be the most luxurious car, with all the bells and whistles, and failed (although pieces of this company later bacame part of General Motors).

During a time when most automobile manufacturers were selling all kinds of odd cars, Henry Ford later chose to focus on ONE DESIGN, ONE COLOR, for ONE TYPE OF CAR (part of the reason for the color, black, was because Ford ran into a bottleneck producing paint that could dry fast enough).

Ford later became the number one automobile manufacturer in the world. Why do you think that was? I think it had a lot to do with focusing in on doing one thing and doing it the best.

How about you? What are you selling? Can you tell me in thirty words or less? When you tell me, do you know for sure that I will understand what you're selling? Are you focused enough to execute on that promise?

Henry Ford focused on producing one car so well his ideas on manufacturing automation became known by 1914 as "Fordisms" and today Ford is a $146 Billion company with over 200,000 employees, producing over 5.5 million automobiles.1 And, although Ford Motor Company is experiencing decline over the past ten years, part of their plan to get back to a top position is to simplify and re-focus. Do you think focusing might help you, too?

When Sara Blakely formed Spanx (initially a form of hosiery products for women without the feet), she created a number of product innovations, but mainly focused on creating a new type of hosiery addressing a market that wanted to wear hose to give them shape, but not hose with FEET. I'm sure if I was a woman, I'd want Spanx, too, because I hate having my feet covered!

(left: photo courtesy of Spanx.)

If you're starting a business, I strongly success you FOCUS on ONE THING and do it very, very well. Do it to the best of your ability. After that one thing is thriving, maybe then add on that other swanky idea. In the meantime, why not just keep an "idea journal" to store all this fancy thoughts?

If you're failing, re-write your business plan, and re-focus. With your new focus ought to come a rejuvenation in your success.

If you're not sure what to focus your energy on and where to direct your clients, let me ask you a simple question: "What do you want clients to remember you for?" In the case of Henry Ford, it was a great, simple, well-built car you could rely upon. If it's your website, it might be "a great, simple, well-designed site you can easily navigate" (with the added clarity of what "type" of site, for sure!).

See how you can simplify, build quality, price, and product into your description in as few words as possible. Then, run it by a few clients, or potential clients, and see how they react. Test it out. As your employees what they think of it. Get feedback, then focus on what you choose. Stay with it for an extended period of time, and prove you can succeed with what you know will win.

Let me know what you're going to focus on - I love to know what entrepreneurs are doing! If you're looking for someone to review your business and see how you might simplify, I'd be happy to help. Drop me a note and we'll schedule a half hour or hour for us to review what you've got going on. I've done it for others and their business thrived after these meetings, so I am confident you'll benefit, too!

In the meantime, make a sign with "FOCUS" as the key word. Cut it out and post it places (like the fridge, by your computer, in your car, etc.) to remind you of the importance of this key to success in starting a business.


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1 Ford information courtesty of Wikipedia

Sep 18, 2009

Best Time To Post To Twitter

As someone who advises people on their blogs, people often ask me "When is the best time to post to my blog" and now with the emergence of Twitter (micro-blogging) "When should I post to twitter."

I did a little research on Twitter and, yep, sure enough, it's pretty much the same answer for Twitter as for Blogging.

Best traffic days are TUESDAY through FRIDAY. If you post updates those days, you'll have highest exposure for re-tweets and shares, just like your blog.

Best time periods are between 10am PST and 2PM PST. This is because that's the highest period of people online to access your content, and their highest period of usage.

Now, that does not mean you shouldn't post during other times; however. I'll tell you why.

If you assume that the person who reads their blog posts and twitter updates is always online at 7:00 a.m., then you're assuming that everyone is a morning person. At the same time, if you assumed that the person who reads blogs and tweets is up at 1:00 a.m. because they're a night owl, then you'll miss the morning people. So, my advice is to post twitter tweets THROUGHOUT the DAY.

There is powerful software to help you post multiple times a day. It used to be called "" and now is called SocialOomph. Check it out - there's a PRO version that gives you even more control, and if you're going to be professional about sending email welcomes, and want to add other twitter management features, then upgrade and pay the money. Otherwise, the free version is fine for just tweeting later.

In addition, if you, like me, are busy and can't find time every week to add each follower to your twitter, one, by one, by one (tedious, huh) then I suggest you use Tweepular software, that let's you bulk add big chunks of Tweeps at a time. (Yeah, that's what they call Twitter users: TWEEPS). So, happy Twitting, Tweep!

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Sep 17, 2009

$190-Million Antibody

Are you working on an antibody? Perhaps you have a company focused on bio tech solutions, and either need help with your launch, business growth, or perhaps even an infusion of cash.

Whichever the case, ARRiiVE Business Solutions might be able to help. I'll share a crazy story that just might inspire you to contact me:

While updating my Facebook self help group (AspireNow), Facebook offered me a chance to type in "captcha" words proving I'm human and not a spam-bot. Normally, these words are totally random and mean little or nothing.

But these two words stood out like a total "aha" moment to me:

$190-Million Antibody

I decided to act upon this information. I posted a discussion group at AspireNow. And, now, I'm posting an ARRiiVE article inviting people working on antibody solutions to contact me.

Now, mind you, I've never worked on an antibody. I don't really know that much about science. In fact, science is probably my education weak spot (although I've been working to strengthen that knowledge). But, as someone who helps people launch products, companies, and services (see, this one stood out.

Perhaps a scientist is going to approach me in the next month, quarter, or year with an idea for an antibody that will help cure a disease or something. Or, perhaps a company will contact me to help them grow to the next level. Maybe they haven't launched yet, and need soup-to-nuts help to get off the ground. Whatever the case, $190 Million is nothing to sneeze at, no pun intended! Therefore, you're reading about it.

What random events of manifesting dreams are happening around you? Are you paying attention? Join my discussion on random events either over at AspireNow's Facebook group and share your experiences! Or, just comment on this article.

I know, it's a bit random and wacky, but isn't life like that sometimes?

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Sep 16, 2009

Twitter: They Just Don't Get It

Without naming names, here is evidence of what I'll call the most FOOLISH people on TWITTER, ever:

This chart was snapped using my trusty FastStone Capture software off a website called TWITTERHOLIC. In case you're wondering what this "list" is all about, well, it basically shows who has the most followers, friends, and who POSTS the most. I focused this shot on who posts the most. Now, you'd think the people who post the most would be movie stars, stations like NPR, or maybe even Yoko Ono (who does have quite a few followers for her peace movement). But no, the truth is, the people posting hundreds of thousands of TWEETS are random people and companies who I've never heard of before. They're probably using auto-tweet software to post that much, but regardless, with only 1 - 40 followers, doesn't it seem stupid to you to post that much? To have between 1 and 3,000 followers and tweet 500,000 times is nothing less than SPAM, in my opinion, and certainly not the way to market anything of value. Yet, the top 10 in the list of "top tweeters" all are between 1 and 5,000 followers, without exception.

You'd think they'd get, it, after especially the first 100 tweets or so. At least, after 1,000 twitter updates, they ought to realize that (a) yes, I have an audience, or (b) no, I don't and I'm talking to THIN AIR! Seriously.

If this is how your company is marketing, I suggest you fire your marketing director!

So, what is a better way to manage Twitter?

The people with the most success on twitter seem to use a ratio. I'll share it with you here:

1/5 to 1/10 for the average business person, Internet marketer and 1/1,000 the number of "tweets" to number of followers if you're a celebrity. That's it. If you're tweeting more than that, without building your list, you're likely not providing VALUE high enough to warrant the followers at the right levels. It's all about VALUE, right?

For example, a minor God of Internet Marketing, Frank Kern, currently has 1,576 tweets and 16, 817 followers (as of September 16, 2009). That works out to roughly 1/10 tweet to follower ratio. Chris Brogan, on the other hand, has 49,314 tweets to 98,184 followers. Roughly 1/2... okay, that skews my theory a little. But let's view a corporate account, like IBMdesign: 970 to 5188 or about 1/5... HP News: 1581 to 7436, or 1/6...

Now, how about a celebrity, like the #1 celebrity twitter, Aston Kutcher?

3,592,888 followers as of this writing. That, with a total of 3,366 tweets. Amazing, huh? That ratio is crazy: 1/1000. But, guess what? It is typical of celebrity tweet to follower ratios! I was shocked, too. They really don't have to work that hard to have people love them, do they! ;)

My friend Guy Kawasaki, a notable business author, speaker, entrepreneur, and former Apple Mac evangelist: As of September 16, 2009, Guy has 171,249 followers and 30,096 tweet updates. Again, there's that 1/5 - 1/6 ratio. And, I consider Guy pretty active.

Robert Scoble
is one of the most respected technology reporters. What is his ratio of tweets to followers? 23,733 tweets to 95,479 followers, or a .24 ratio. In other words, a 4 to 1.

You might be asking, "Why does all this matter?" Well, considering Aston Kutcher not too long ago gained his one millionth follower and Oprah, of all people, just sent her first tweet in the past year (although she already has over two million followers), there's a huge range of those using Twitter and those who couldn't care less.

Now, as for my theory of 1/10 to 1/100, well, ARRiiVE is not yet publishing at that ratio. One of the reasons is I've automatically "twitted" my blog posts without bothering to build traffic. The reason is because I only recently (as in today) decided to start targeting growing my twitter list. I'll mark this date and see if my strategy makes sense.

As of today, I have 93 followers and 183 tweet updates. Watch this change now that I've targeted adding twitter followers as an active campaign. I'll report in on the growth in about three to six months.

Okay, let's digress for a minute. If I say you're downright stupid to post 400,000 tweets when you only have 4 or 40 friends, why would I say that? Well, because you're wasting time. You're talking to nobody. And wasting time is almost always stupid. Time, after all, is our number one resource. Wouldn't it make sense to tweet to a huge list, say, at least 40,000, before tweeting 400,000 times? After all, doesn't it take TIME and ENERGY to post that often?

So, before twitting away like crazy, I suggest you build your list. But even before that, I suggest you RESEARCH the top tools to know how to best MAXIMIZE Twitter, especially if you're a corporate or celebrity twitter user.

Here's an excellent resource from Mashable regarding top 10 enterprise twitter tools:

Review each of these tools. Here they are, simplified:

1. Forrester social profile - learn the demographics of who follows your site:

2. According to the Mashable article, listen before you engage: Radian6 and Techrigy’s SM2 offer tools to help businesses find out where their customers are really talking. It’s important to figure out which social media tools your customers are using before you begin planning a social media campaign. Listen first before you engage."

3. Use HootSuite or CoTweet to give you the capability to have multiple twitter users feed content into one corporate twitter account. Also, you can use it to "test market" tweet topics to determine which topic best resounds with your audience. HootSuite also gives you the ability to schedule your tweets, something I'm a huge fan of because there are optimum days and times to tweet posts. HootSuite appears to be free, I just joined it today, myself.

4. For the desktop, the two most popular clients among enterprise users are probably TweetDeck and Seesmic Desktop, which also give multi-user tweet capability.

Make sure to read more about each of these at the Mashup article.

Regarding other ways to maximize your traffic (add followers), try these top five methods I'm using:

1. Target adding other people with huge lists. Why? Because Twitter offers a feature called RT, or "Re-Tweet" meaning, someone felt your tweet worthy to share with others. When followers RT your tweets, THEIR list gets exposed to your stream of posts, links, and updates, and then those followers can easily ADD you. It's as simple as that.

2. Follow me, follow you. Make sure you have an "auto-follow" feature added so that you automatically follow anyone who adds you. Why? Because people who use auto-adders often will un-list you if you do not add them. Why fight it? Just add them, it boosts the total number of eyeballs who MIGHT see your posts, and that is all that matters in the social media game of numbers, anyway, right?

3. Add value. How do we make our twits valuable? Well, it is like anything online:

  • Give information - how to, related "finds", tidbits relevant to your enterprise, ideally
  • Be witty or funny - people who make us laugh are attractive
  • Tell a story - believe it or not, your twits can tell a story if you use them effectively
  • Use clever headlines. If you don't know how to write good COPY, I suggest you either start learning how to write clever headlines, or hire someone who can.
4. Use a tool, like Twittergetter. Another powerful tool is to place a "follow me" or "twitter badge" on your blog or website.

5. Put a "" in your email signature, and many people will follow you that way, too.

Let me know how you're using Twitter with your social media strategy.

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Aug 18, 2009

Sell What Your Clients Need Most

If your business is struggling to make sales, you're probably asking your self or your sales team "What's wrong? Why aren't we making the sales we need to hit our objectives?"

The answer to this question may be varied, with such challenges as:
1. The economy sucks.
2. Our product is confusing to customers.
3. Our prices are too high.
4. They don't have the money.
and so on...

Are you buying the excuses? In most cases, the reasons why you've stopped selling have little to do with the excuses and everything to do with your PERSPECTIVE and FOCUS.

With the right perspective and focus, your salespeople don't have to be Pedott from the classic The Twilight Zone episode entitled, "What You Need", where Pedott is a salesperson who hands each character in the show exactly what they need to catch a bus, get a job, save their life, and so on.

For example, if you say "the economy sucks" you could stop putting out the same effort you did in an average or good economy, which would cause your business to stop selling even more than the lack of economy. If you run the numbers and the economy is truly affecting your business, then lower your expenses as low as possible to still make it with adjusted economy, and then continue as aggressive as ever because a down economy is an OPPORTUNITY for salespeople who are creative to capture larger market share from those who fail to respond and manage their business appropriately.

If your product is confusing, simplify it. Customers buy when it is SIMPLE and EASY. Again, this is a perspective issue. If you're educating the potential client and offering too many choices, narrow it down and offer them TWO or THREE CHOICES. But keep it SIMPLE.

If your prices are higher, that may be a problem, but more than likely it is a problem of the salesperson than the problem with your product. IBM routinely charges more for their products than their competition. How do they do it? By SELLING what their clients NEED MOST! For example, when a Chief Information Officer (CIO) of a large corporation is considering a new mainframe computer system, when comparing the choice of IBM versus competitor A, who offers the same mainframe (as far as speeds and feeds go) for less price, or competitor B who offers a better mainframe for slightly higher cost, or competitor C who offers a distributed computing approach across multiple computers for significantly less money, how is it that IBM wins?

The answer is that IBM sells what the CIO needs the most: PEACE OF MIND. You've heard the expression "They say nobody ever got fired for buying IBM." The reason for that saying is that the CEO has peace-of-mind that IBM will keep their business running if anything goes wrong. That's what matters most to the CEO, and that also is priority number one for most Chief Information Officers, too.

As CEO of a much smaller company, I can assure you that I'm quite unhappy when my business' server is down. If I cannot send or receive email, it is a nightmare. I can only imagine how the CEO of a larger corporation sees the dollar signs flashing by the thousands in his or her glasses when their system is down!

If you're selling a vacation package, what are you really selling that client's need? Most likely more time with their loved ones, better health, rejuvenation, seeing the world/exploring cultures, living the good life, and things like that, right? So, don't focus on the details of YOUR program, focus on the details of WHAT THEY NEED.

If you're selling banking services, what is it your clients need the most? Most likely, they want easy access, better rates, security that their money is safe, and so forth. I also like to have NO FEES. If I'm late, if I'm overdrawn, if I forgot to transfer that chunk of money from one bank to the other, whatever, I don't want to be penalized for it. I hate bank fees. If I were running a bank, I'd eliminate most of those fees! Maybe you charge more for a monthly account or whatever but find out what your client's need and sell them that solution.

In an interesting study on whether clients "have the money" or "don't have the money to buy" a company I worked with determined that clients "HAD THE MONEY TO BUY" over 80% of the time, but decided NOT to buy because of some other reason (the salesperson was either annoying, failed to listen, or failed to sell what they needed that interested them).

So, sell what your clients need most and see if your sales don't go up, starting right now.

Extra Bonus Video:

For fun, watch The Twilight Zone, 1st Season, Episode 12:


ARRiiVE Business Solutions offers sales training, acting VP of Business Development services, sales plans, Diamond-Circle and Sales-Diamond Team Structure models, and other marketing and selling related services. Contact info (at) ARRiiVE (dot) come for more details.

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Jul 23, 2009

ARRiiVE Radio: Rabbits, Deer & Elephants

The ARRiiVE: Innovations In Business Show is BACK!

Episode 76 - ARRiiVE Show - Rabbits, Deer & Elephants!

Mark your calendar:

July 29, 2009 at 5PM EST / 2PM PST (length 30 - 60 minutes)

It's back! Join Scott, CEO of the ARRiiVE Business Solutions, on the ARRiiVE: Innovations In Business Show, as he describes a way to make selling more fun through the concept of Rabbits, Deer, and Elephants he created from his Concepts of Selling sales training program.

About Scott: Scott is an author, speaker, and professional business development expert who is often called a master of the sales process, cold calling, and building sales teams. His background includes "Summit Club" levels of success with IBM/Lexmark, Data General, EMC2, DecisionOne, Sunterra (now Diamond Resorts), Worldmark by Wyndham, Elements Inc., and more. Scott currently helps organizations write business plans, build strategy, develop sales process, and launch products and services through a variety of marketing services. He also is the creator of the business and team models called Diamond-Circle and Sales Diamond models of business success.

How to Participate: Call (724) 444-7444, enter show 37798 # 1 #
Visit to participate online.

Look forward to seeing (hearing) you on the show!

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Jul 22, 2009

Symbolize Your Success: A Lesson From Nabisco

Business launch quiz of the month:

Q: What does a circle, a cross, and a four-leaf clover have in common?

A: They are the symbols held within the design on top of every OREO cookie sold.

To date, human beings have eaten over 18 billion Nabisco Biscuit Company OREO cookies. Clearly, Oreo cookies are a success, by any standard.

Does the recipe of the creme filled chocolate biscuits matter? Sure. But how about the symbols they chose on each cookie?

I recently read an article by Tima Vlasto (The Examiner), published July 14, 2009, that digs into a possible holistic secret to Nabisco's success with Oreo cookies. Tima claims the Oreo name, which possibly means "mound" or "beauty and goodness" surrounded by symbols of "infinity and unity" and the communication cross perhaps a "communicating a crusade" of "good luck" to each person who shares the fun.

I actually have another viewpoint on this important logo, which is originally comprising a cross-shape with two bars of unequal lengths (shaped in a pyramid) atop an elliptical-shaped circle.

First of all, Nabisco promotional materials (from Nabisco's website, according to Wikipedia) claimed that the logo represented "an early European symbol for quality; it may be derived from a medieval Italian printer's mark that represented 'the triumph of the moral and good over the evil and worldly.'"

You'll notice this logo of the double cross, with different lengths on cross-bars, and the circle, is in the Oreo cookie, but Nabisco replaces the word NABISCO with OREO in the middle of the Oreo cookie. But let's take a closer look.

First, the name OREO. According to the article by Wikipedia, the origins of the name can be traced to "gold" and yes, "hill or mound" and the Greek word OREO, which means "beautiful" or "nice'. So, the name offers a positive connotation.

Second, the circle, which surrounds the name Oreo. In the article, Tima mentions that a circle is a symbol of unity. That's nice, but when I study logos, I've always maintained that circles indicate change. In fact, the very shape of Oreo cookies is round, therefore, indicating you'll be changed by eating one.

But, digging deeper in studying circles, I found an interesting image:

In this 13th century image, you find the act of creation symbolized by the circle (as a compass). Keep in mind, this is an era where icons definitely held meaning for believers. There is also a pattern shaped almost like a mandala contained within the compass. I also noticed the halo, also shaped like a circle. So, the circle can have many mystical meanings, including change, circle of life, creation, and so on. A circle may also mean infinity.

The Patriarchal Orthodox cross, a symbol of holy Jesus, or the cross of Lorraine, an early symbol dating to Joan of Arc, became incorporated into the cookie as part of Nabisco's logo in the 1950's, some thirty to forty years after the original cookie was created to offer the British a more exciting cookie to dip in their coffee or tea. The symbol as I evaluate it means 'perseverance" which can certainly be said of both Nabisco (through Kraft) and Oreo cookies. They've been around now for a hundred years! It could also mean holy, as in saintly, but I wouldn't go that far as to say I'm a saint for eating a box of double-stuffs!

Then again, a conspiracy theorist's interpretation of that cross is the "Pontifical Cross of Lucifer which is linked with Satanism and [apparently] possibly Freemasonry" which is possibly partly true. Another video I've seen says Oreo cookies are "illuminati cookies" and shows the symbols of the crosses and connects them to masonic ceremonies. Upon my understanding of the bankers that rule this world, this assertion is possibly quite correct, as the founder of Nabisco was said to be a member of a banking family connected to the Rothchild family. However, the pontifical cross is equal-length bars and second, that cross is not necessarily representative of Lucifer, either. An analysis of cross symbols brings up religion and occult so that connection is suspect.

You could say a cross represents evil because so many heavy metal bands use crosses as "reverse" imagery today. However, I dispute that theory, as the particular cross on the Oreo is the Patriarchal Cross, which is the cross of the Orthodox church, a holy symbol. And, yes, although many of the founding fathers in America were said to be Freemasons it would have been popular for a business leader to join that organization, too.

The Freemason connection could mean that the founder of Nabisco was a Freemason and therefore plugged into the "big business" establishment of his day. Therefore, they were putting a symbol on their cookie to show they were part of the "in" crowd with the establishment, too. Big business is, well, big business for a reason. Looking at the clover and inverted clover patterns on the cookie, it is clearly possible that the "reverse clover" design on the cookie is actually a masonic symbol of the "Maltese cross" shown in this link. What relevance that has with eating a cookie is, well, questionable. Perhaps it was simply good for business?

The four-leaf clover is a symbol of good luck and definitely considered a rare find. However, there is a deeper meaning as I examine each petal, historically, represented hope, faith, love, and luck. I like that meaning even more. So, in eating each cookie, you could really hope to have the very best in life, right?

Last, a circle can represent unity. But a circle also represents "change" of some sort. So, by eating an Oreo cookie, you can expect the unity of perseverance, beauty, hope, faith, love, and luck, and hopefully to be changed by eating one.

I would say Nabisco was trying to combine symbols of holy, good, luck, business success, and health into their cookie, by evaluating all of the symbols used by them on this small wafer sandwich.

It is fun to study symbols. If you haven't studied symbols before creating your own business logo, I strongly encourage you to do so. Or, hire an expert to help you understand what symbols might best represent your own organization or product.

I've always loved Oreo cookies. And, as you know, with our Diamond-Circle model, ARRiiVE is on our own crusade to change the way business is done in the world - from a numbers, top-down oriented approach, to a holistic, inside-out approach in how we manage people. We're finding in the companies we help launch that the model works quite well when implemented properly. Find out for yourself: contact us to learn how to implement the Diamond-Circle model in your business.

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Jul 9, 2009

Why Losing Your Job Can Be Good For You

I just watched the Steve Jobs' commencement speech at Stanford from 2005:

One of the comments Steve makes is how when he got fired from Apple, it was a blessing in disguise. He points out at 7:15 "I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter into one of the most creative periods of my life. During the next five years I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the world's first computer-animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, and I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance, and Lorene and I have a wonderful family together."

Did you lose your job recently? During a recession or difficult time in an industry, many people struggling with losing a job, as companies downsize their employee payroll to make ends meet. You may be one of them. Then again, entire companies go out of business during those times. At other times, the position you occupied may not have offered the right fit you and your growth. Or, perhaps, you did not deliver up to your hiring process courtship promises. Whichever, don't fret, because that job is now your PAST. What's important is what you do TODAY and in THE FUTURE.

If you are doing what you LOVE, you will find a way to SUCCEED. Your work fills a large part of your life. So, do what is great work. Steve continues "the only way to do great work is to LOVE what you do" and encourages the graduates to keep looking, don't settle. I believe what we do must also provide HIGH VALUE to others. So, what do you do that you love and that produces high value to other people?

If you're reading this, you've most likely traveled far from graduation. You're perhaps thinking "what now?" Well, if you've had a great idea inside you, but have been sitting on the fence, wondering when is the right time to launch that idea into a business, perhaps now is that time. I made a similar choice back in 2001, when I left EMC2 and turned down a job with Hewlett-Packard that promised $18K a month to make $0 with AspireNow, my first company. It was a costly decision, but in the end, I'm happier, and everything I am doing now came from that leap of faith, and essentially losing that job opportunity then. AspireNow continues to produce passive income on a monthly basis, and ARRiiVE Business Solutions, which launched out of AspireNow, is now providing exciting business launch services to terrific clients.

Recently, I relaunched ARRiiVE Business Solutions as a full-time endeavor. This came from a "job" turning from a job into a consulting assignment. Now, I am free to do as I wish, but also still working with my previous company to help them continue to launch their software. However, this turn of events also freed me to help launch several new amazing and promising companies.

What can you do to turn a "lemon" of a job situation into "lemonade" in your life?

If you need help launching your business, I suggest you work with a coach or business launch specialist who has been there, done that, and been through the challenges of failure and success. Find someone with whom you identify, and start building a team. Believe in your dream, seize upon the hope of what you love the most, surround yourself with other successful people, and then go for it with all you've got within you!

ARRiiVE Business Solutions offers business development coaching, "acting" VP of Business Development/Sales, business launch creative marketing, and sales training services. To learn more call 805-459-6939 for an initial discussion about how I might help you with your endeavor, or email info (at) ARRiiVE (dot) com.

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Apr 14, 2009

Review: Using HUDDLE For Collaboration

I recently discovered a new tool for personal or business collaboration: HUDDLE.

Huddle is useful for online collaboration, project management, and document sharing using social networking principles.

The online collaboration tool Huddle offer you the ability to:
1. Organize a group or team more easily.
2. Brainstorm via the use of white boards (just as we would off-line).
3. Create, capture, and edit documents and valuable files.
4. Communicate effectively across teams. This includes leaving messages, and getting/giving approval for various tasts and projects.
5. Manage to-do lists.
6. Network more effectively off of your social networking platforms, such as Facebook and LinkedIn (the two I'm using the most, besides MySpace).

Huddle is an effectively simple online tool to help you maximize your interactions with projects and teams. Although Huddle offers each team member the ability to manage projects, easily share and store files (even really large ones) online, quickly create or edit Word and Excel documents online, have group discussions, and more. What I love about Huddle is the "white board" sharing space and ease of use. This makes so much more sense to me than Google Groups' reply to all function that is frequently misused by my band members. Huddle may also be used as a client extranet - something I'll be exploring for ARRiiVE Business Solutions.

For my work with ARRiiVE and AspireNow, where I publish information frequently, my team now posts their work for review on Huddle, where I can edit, suggest changes, and approve projects. I can connect freelancers to my core team and manage the entire edition from a single spot - critical for a small business like ARRiiVE and AspireNow.

I've been using Basecamp, but feel that Huddle offers more functionality for the money. As both a Facebook and LinkedIn user, I'd like to drive more functionality out of my networks. Huddle's add-on extension applications for those social network platforms just might be the ticket to accomplish that objective.

For my new charity, we can use Huddle to share plans, documents and photography with our partners, suppliers and agencies. We can brainstorm new ideas on a whiteboard and get everyone involved. I like that I can control the group by assigning user priveleges and track their actions. We'll eliminate wasting time, too.

I intend to use Huddle for ARRiiVE, AspireNow, and maybe even band stuff, although I use GoogleGroups and MySpace for the band, now.

Are you using Huddle? How is it working for you?

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Apr 9, 2009

Elements of Great Logo Design

I've been designing logos since founding back in 2000. I remember it started with an idea. After brainstorming on the idea, I started drawing logo designs by hand. I then worked with a graphic designer to turn the hand drawings into a usable graphic image. She added a couple of cool things. Then, once the logo was designed, I created the website. So many times, you can't really launch your product, service, or company until you have a solid logo.

Are you seeking a logo right now?

Elements of great logo design include the following features:

1. Instantly recognizable.
2. Appropriate.
3. Scalable.

1. Instantly recognizable. This is where most graphic designers get too fancy and blow it. They create something hard to figure out and therefore lose the audience. The image must be memorable to be a great logo. In order to be memorable, it usually must be SIMPLE. Too many logos clutter up what they're saying with too many elements of design. Keep it simple and people will remember the logo longer.

2. Appropriate. There are several aspects of "appropriate" that matter. First, the image and font convey the right "feeling" for the product, service, or company. By feeling, I mean the image conveys the right message. For example, technology often uses "shutters" or open spaces cut into the logo, such as with IBM. AT&T uses shutters. Banks often use rectangular images, with pillars, both of these shapes convey stability. We want to know our money is in a stable place, right? So, both of those types of techniques for those industries are "appropriate" for the logo.

3. Scalable. By scalable, the logo image ought to look good in color or black and white, and it ought to look good at any size.

My first logo design was AspireNow:

Many people commented how they liked the playfulness of the logo, as well as the shadow, which gave the image depth. I've been toying with the idea of updating this logo. What do you think? Will it stand the test of time or would it be wise to update this logo?

The latest logos I designed were for the SLO Jazz Festival and the musical band BODY:

The SLO Jazz Festival to me needed to (a) feel festive, (b) convey the words of the festival, (c) feel traditional, yet modern, and (d) convey music. So, I used the treble clef to convey music. The font conveys the feeling of a traditional festival. The SLOJAZZFEST.ORG font is more modern and feels fun. The logo could be printed in any color and still look good, too.
The key elements in the logo for the band, BODY, including conveying an image that left a feeling of the band being solid, accomplished with the square shape enclosing the D and Y; yet open, accomplished with the black on white part of the logo; yet not complete, as with the D not being wrapped in the black square, as bands usually change their music and songs over time. BODY needs to hold up to the test of time. In addition, the font and colors needed to feel contemporary. Black & White in a logo is both timeless and contemporary. I could just as easily put two other colors and I'm sure the band will play with that idea in the future. I'm currently working on an additional SYMBOL of just a body that could also be just as recognizable as this font-based logo. I'll share it when I get it completed from drawing into graphic form for computer (in process).

If you like the designs I create, why not see if I can help you with your logo?

I'm not the cheapest logo designer around, but I do tend to create images that leave a lasting impression, are appropriate and convey the right image and feeling, as well as scalable in both design and color.

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Apr 8, 2009

Successfully Launching the SLO Jazz Festival

We've been busy launching many new projects this past year. We've helped launch a software product, as a software as a service (SAAS), for Elements. We've also launched several new websites, designed a few flyers, created several logos, written a handful of business plans, and helped quite a few companies get more traffic to their website(s).

The most recent project and website I'd like to share with you is the

(above) SLO Jazz Festival ( official logo designed by ARRiiVE Business Solutions

We held our first event on March 13, 2009. It was called the SLO Winter Funk Festival and is one of only a handful of funk festivals across the United States - or even in the World, for that matter. The objective of SLO Jazz Festival is to build a world class festival and series of "awareness building" events throughout each year. These festivals are held in San Luis Obispo, CA (SLO).

(above) Magma Funk playing at the SLO Winter Funk Festival.
Photo Credit to Michael Ackerman

The next event for the SLO Jazz Festival will be the SLO Summer Soul and World Music Festival on June 13, 2009, at the Mission Plaza in San Luis Obispo. Details are available at The SLO Jazz Festival is planned for September 17 - 19, 2009, and will feature a "Beyond Jazz" "SWING Out of Summer" and "Hot Havana Night - Salsa" nights with dance contests and more.

If you're launching a product or service, why not contact us to determine if there is a fit for us to help you with your business launch:

1. Business Plan
2. Logo
3. Business Strategy
4. Flyer or Brochure
5. Website
6. Business Cards
7. Getting traffic (SEO) for your website
8. Building sales strategy and sales teams
9. General consulting

These are all organization launch services we've proven, time and again, to deliver for clients successfully.

We look forward to hearing from you about how we can help you launch your company, product, service, or organization!

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