Posted by Beverly on
October 18, 2008
Anyone who has ever put on a conference or other type of event will tell you, “It ain’t easy!” From the moment you decide on the huge undertaking, you have to be prepared for the unexpected, be ready to put out fires and learn how to wear many different hats—especially if you’re operating with a very small budget.
As a woman in business, I was inspired to put on a Business Boot Camp for Women conference. With the support and encouragement of Dr. Stan Fine–The Business Doctor–I went to work for several months in making this event happen.
Here’s what I learned in the process:
1) You can’t do it all: If you know you’re not an Event Planner, don’t give yourself a quick “how to” lesson because it won’t work. You may accomplish a few things but the experienced Planners know how to get things done that you may not. That’s because they get paid to do what they do and they want to do it well enough for you to use their services again or refer them.
Hiring an Event Planner can be tough if you’re operating with little or no capital so try to find someone who would be willing to accept cash and some type of barter exchange. You may offer a speaker opportunity at your event as well as a free vendor table so they may promote their business.
2) Promote, Promote, Promote: Although I have an upper hand when it comes to getting media exposure, I discovered even more ways to publicize my Event. Many local daily and weekly newspapers will post events for free. In my case they did a cut and paste of exactly what I sent them, which turned into a nice little write-up with a big, bold headline. Make sure you also utilize CraigsList and your online communities. Months before your event happens, you should begin building a coalition of connections in your area on MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Then you can start getting the word out through them.
3) Don’t count on your friends: Friendship is one thing. Business is another. Don’t expect your friends to promote for you or even show up for your event. If I stopped speaking to the number of so-called friends who didn’t support my event, I’d have to start all over again in making some new friends. Friends will disappoint you if you rely on them—so DON’T!
4) Maintain your cool: There may be times when people will get on your last nerve. They will promise to help you and then not do it. Sponsorships will fall through and things will start to feel overwhelming. You may want to scream and curse to release the mounting frustration but, whatever you do, don’t do it in public. There’s an old saying, “Never let ‘em see you sweat!”
After the Event is over, take some time to take a hard look at what went right—what went wrong and learn from the mistakes. Then you can scream if you need to—but not in public :)
5) Don’t promise what you can’t deliver: Last year, a friend of mine told me about a conference she went to in Los Angeles. This conference was supposed to be the launch of a nationwide conference tour. There was a lot of promotion around it with major sponsors and it was billed as the BIG event for the $397 registration fee. People deemed “major national speakers” were supposed to headline the event. After the event, my friend told me the conference was a BUST because the organizer did not deliver on any of the promises she made. I also learned sponsors were bilked out of their money and there were plenty of unsatisfied attendees. Bottom line: Don’t create hype if you can’t back it up with the real deal.
6) Quality not Quantity: Surround yourself with quality people who not only want to ensure your success, but their own success as well. They must see your vision and believe in it. That means finding speakers who see your event as a vested interest. They should feel they have as much to gain (or lose) as you do by participating.
Speaking of speakers, when looking for them, make sure you do your homework. If you’re doing an event that’s geared for a local audience, make sure some of your speakers are known by your audience. It’s you’re trying to reach a national audience, try to secure at least one speaker the majority of your audience will know.
6) Choose the right venue: It’s always hard to gauge how many people to expect for an event in the beginning. That’s why I recommend choosing a place that gives you a number of different sized meeting rooms. Always start out small and find out right up front if you can change the room size as the registrations pick up. What sense does it make to hold your event in a space designed for 200 people when you only have 30 attendees?
7) Learn how to measure success: When I planned my first event last year, I was extremely disappointed at the turnout. I lost several thousand dollars and went into a state of depression for a few weeks. But then I started receiving emails from the people who attended. They told me how much fun they had and what an impact it had made on their lives. That’s when I began to realize that the success of your event cannot always be measured by the profit margin in the end. If you’ve made a difference in the life of just one person—if they heard your call to action and decided to ACT—then you have truly been a success!
If you have any other suggestions on successful event planning, please share them.
Posted by Beverly on
October 13, 2008
How can you conduct business via voice mail—especially if all you’re doing is leaving a message? Good question. Dr. Stan Fine, author of the book Business Boot Camp for Women, says it all starts using the right words to ensure the person on the other end will call you back.
According to Dr. Stan, you can use these seven techniques immediately to dramatically improve your rate of callbacks when you leave voicemail. What you’re doing is enabling the recipient with enough detail and reasons so that calling you back just makes good sense.
1. Be brief and get to the point. Don’t begin your voicemail with small talk, jokes or other needless filler words. Your message may be one of many, so he may be tired of listening when he gets to yours, so get right down to business. Identify yourself and the purpose of calling.
2. Put the call into context. Say something immediately after your greeting that puts you and your importance in the mind of the listener. She may not remember you if you just met once or twice, so give her a reference. The listener is always thinking, “Who the heck are you and why should I return your call?” If they asked for the call, make sure you say so. Bad: “Hello Ms. Watson. I’m calling today to let you know of our great new line of…” Better: “Hi Ms. Watson. This is Karl Walinskas. We met last Tuesday at the Internet trade show in Chicago at my company’s booth, The Speaking Connection. I’m following up on your request to…”
3. Given the listener a reason to reply. What does the call recipient get if he gets back to you? Pleasant conversation? A special offer? Offer something compelling that makes the listener want to get back to you for his own good. Everyone wants to know what’s in it for me, so provide the listener with an answer to that question.
Bad: “I’d like you to call me back so we can discuss…”
Better: “I’m holding the cruise dates for 24 hours until I hear from you. Call me by tomorrow to book your vacation or plan something else.”
4. Time stamp the message. Most voicemail systems have automatic time stamps, but don’t rely on them. I never listen to them because the electronic voice is annoying, and many answering machines don’t have a time stamp. Let the person know the day and time you called and more importantly, when she can call you back. Provide a window for the return call that is accurate but not too restrictive.
Bad: “We need to talk on the medical account. Call me anytime to discuss.”
Better: “I’m calling on Thursday around 3 pm. I can be reached in my office tomorrow from 10 to 1 in the afternoon at 555-1212. Please call to discuss…”
5. Let the listener know how to reach you. Simple right? Give the listener a phone number for a return call and an alternate like a digital phone that’s always with you. If you’re never around and don’t have a mobile phone (like me for years), use the convenience of email technology to let her know an email address that she can reply to that you can be sure to get.
Bad: “Call me back so we can get to it.”
Better: “I can be reached at 555-1212 from 3-5 today, or at my mobile number of 555-2121 anytime. You can also get me through email at email@example.com I check it regularly.”
6. Provide Instructions. Tell the listener exactly what you want him to do. For business calls, discussion isn’t good enough. What is this person needed for? The “I need” phrase is the most powerful two words in the English language, so use it.
Bad: “Call me back so we can discuss the Warren account.”
Better: “I need your approval on the final contract to propose to Mr. Warren for the half-million dollar widget order.”
7. Explain the consequences of not calling back. This is a great call-return-getter that most people don’t use. Think of the cruise example earlier, with the implied consequence of losing the trip reservation unless a return call was made. If you can, be explicit.
Bad: “Honey, call me back about the groceries you wanted me to pick up.”
Better: “Honey, call me back to let me know if you wanted skim milk or whole milk. If I don’t hear from you, I’ll assume you found other nourishment and no longer wish for me to pick up groceries. Bye-bye!”
Ladies, a word of caution: Don’t try to come across as sexy or alluring. Just state your message firmly.
Posted by Beverly on
September 6, 2008
It takes a lot to run a business and I’m talking about more than just money. You’ve got to have a plan and the right mental attitude before you even get started.
Please enjoy this article from my guru, Dr. Stan Fine, author of Business Boot Camp for Women.
So you have a new business and you are worried. It all begins with you and how you think. I am sure many of you have heard about the Secret, a book and video on “The Law of Attraction. The Video and book don’t really tell us anything new it just reconfirms what we should have been thinking So let’s start our column with your mindset and what it take to be successful:
First let’s talk about how you think:
o A positive attitude is not accidental. Successful entrepreneurs know how to create a positive attitude and positive motivation for themselves. They don’t just wait for it to happen. That would be like wanting a drink of milk, then sitting in a pasture, waiting for a cow to back up to you.
o By the way, having a positive attitude is not the same as blind optimism. I am not suggesting that you ignore the challenges in your life. I AM suggesting that you just not dwell there. What do successful entrepreneurs do to develop and maintain their positive attitude?
o First, they know what’s important. They have carefully determined what counts in their business and personal life. Highly successful people have clearly articulated values for your business in the areas of: customer service, employee relationships, cash flow, productivity, image and growth.
I also believe that there are good business tips a person must have, which I am sure you do, in order to be successful:
o Being aware of what you say to yourself inside your head (self-talk) will help you adjust your attitude. Many people beat themselves up when things go awry. When you berate yourself and tell yourself that you are “stupid” or “useless” or “an idiot”, naturally you begin to feel negative about yourself, your business, the people around you and even life itself.
o Mistakes are the fuel of creativity. Everyone makes mistakes. Smart entrepreneurs LEARN from their mistakes and move on.
o Try positive affirmations in place of negative self talk. When things get a little tense, just say to yourself “I can do this” or “We’ll find a way to make this work” or “Let’s concentrate on a solution, not who caused the problem”.
Please join us for the first in a series of Business Boot Camps for Women on October 11, 2008 in Durham, NC.
Posted by Beverly on
June 25, 2008
What kind of shape is your business in? Perhaps you need some boot camp training to take it to the level you desire it to be. A newly released book titled Business Boot Camp for Women by Stan Fine may be just what you’re looking for to give yourself and your business a kick in the pants!
During his 40+ year career in business, Fine has become an authority and business consultant on sales and marketing business development issues. His entertaining presentations have made him much in demand as a speaker and seminar leader. During a recent conversation with the author, he confessed that his mission in life is to help women in business gain the necessary knowledge and resources in order to achieve their financial goals.
In his book, Fine takes us step-by-step into the world of competitive business and what one must do (or not do) in order to be successful. One mistake he says is made all too often is sending your prospects poorly written material. You may be good with grammar but not know how to write copy that inks the deal. The words you choose to present your business or product will influence someone’s decision to buy. If it’s poorly written your message will be lost and the nice, fancy paper you used to convey your message will end up in a waste paper basket or shredder.
You’re going to be hearing a lot about Stan Fine and Business Boot Camp for Women on this website so stay tuned—especially if your business needs to be whipped into shape!