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Posts tagged ‘Brand’

Tips To Network Successfully

I’m so excited to lead a new networking chapter in Fairfax, Nexco. It was founded by a great group of businessmen whom I consider friends, and I’m honored to have been chosen to be the voice of this particular chapter.

I’ve done a lot of networking over the years, and I hear people say all of the time how much they hate networking. I disagree. I think networking can be fun, and quite beneficial if done right.  Follow these steps to not only enjoy networking, but to do it successfully as well.

 

First off, remember that networking is not about you landing a job/client. It’s about gaining information from a business and giving enough information about yours in order for them to use that as a stepping stone. It’s a means to an end, not the end.

 

When you enter the room, first go to those you know. It will make the transition easier, especially if your nervous. Plus, those you know, know you best, and may already have met someone they think would be a good referral for you.  When you meet someone, don’t make it all about you. Networking is much like dating; it’s an opportunity to get to know them and in turn, for them to get to know you. This is where you gauge whether there is a connection between your businesses, or possibly between them and one that you know.

After a networking event, reach out to those you wish to continue a conversation with. Ask them for coffee within 2 weeks of meeting. This way, the conversation stays fresh, and any topics that were hot or would be considered leads will still be warm when you meet.

Before you meet, do research on the business you’re meeting with. You want to look invested and interested in what they have to say and to offer. By being educated, they may be more interested in connecting you to other professionals as well.

 

Now, for that pesky “I hate networking” feeling of yours. Make yourself a promise to go to x number of networking events (tomorrow’s event is a great start!) and to make X number of connections, and when you do, reward yourself with whatever small thing makes you happy. Part of what makes networking so overwhelming is, well, the actual events are overwhelming. But, as I say, the only way to eat a whole elephant is to take small bites, so relax! Think of this as an adventure, and a positive path to your success!

 

Join me tomorrow at Brion’s Grille in University Mall in Fairfax from 11:30-1pm for some great networking with local businesses!

How Instagram Can Help Build Your Audience (Even If You’re a Service-Based Company)

Yes, I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted a blog (sorry about that!) I’ve been so focused on building the businesses of my clients, I’ve ignored my home, I’ll try to be better, I promise.

I’ve been on quite a journey these past few months. Some amazing things have been happening in Chez VersaTel Solutions, which I can’t wait to share with you (soon enough). Within this journey I’ve also become aware of things that I had taken advantage of and really didn’t realize until someone else mentioned it. What am I talking about, you ask? Instagram of course!

Originally, I joined Instagram because it was new and I could see the potential of the benefits of marketing through this new social media platform-I didn’t really know how just yet, but I liked it! Eventually, my pictures became less about the food I was eating and more about the meetings I was having. I’ve received more interest than I thought I would get just for snapping pictures at meetings and events I attend. It’s made potential clients turn into real clients, and garnered enough interest to make me busy enough to well, have to let my blog go (at least for a little while).

How can Instagram work for your business? In various ways. Take a picture before a meeting to show you are out and about; snap a shot of your work environment to give people an insider’s look; if you’re attending a networking event, take shot of the event and make sure to hashtag it. If I can make office management exciting, believe me, so can you.

If you sell products, this is a great forum in which to show off your wares. Take pictures of your products being created, of your products being delivered, or, if you deliver them yourself, take a picture of your happy clients. Ask your clients to hashtag your business, or if they can tag you if they post a picture of you or your products.  There are so many ways to take advantage of Instagram; its a matter of making use of it.

Here at VersaTel Solutions we want to help you get your business, your products and your services out there to people you otherwise wouldn’t be able to reach. Contact us to learn more about what we can do for you; if you’re on Instagram, follow me: http://instagram.com/sevanastone

Or, if you’re on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/versatelsolutions

Or Twitter: https://twitter.com/Versa_Tel

Daydream Your Way To Success!

As a kid, my mom must have visited the principal’s office and seen my teachers more often than she did my dad.  I was considered disruptive, and inattentive; talkative, and incorrigible. As the years went on, school became more difficult to focus on, and I got so stressed out by the whole thing, that I skipped out on my SAT’s. I figured I wouldn’t be able to stay focused long enough to take them (which I wasn’t), and it wouldn’t matter anyway because I was too stupid to go to College. That’s what all my teachers said, so why shouldn’t it be so?

 

Fast forward to my current business that supports my short attention span and allows me to flourish in my scattered focus. At any given time I have Pandora playing, two screens open, and am working on both a marketing piece, and someone’s books while paying attention to my 2 year old and making sure he doesn’t try to escape via the high backyard fence (which he’s tried a time or two).  I’ve always worked 2-3 jobs, and where many say multi-tasking doesn’t work, I disagree. I think it’s a case by case issue. I actually can’t do one thing at a time. Finally, there is evidence to support this. So many people become depressed by their jobs; bored with their lives, and have mental breakdowns when their strictly timed lives are disrupted.

 

This is no way to run a business-much less your life. Find a creative outlet for your brain, and give it a rest every now and then to keep from burning out. Just as you need to take a walk around your office, home, or outside every hour, you need to give your brain a break too. Every 20 minutes, try to look away from your screen, and every hour try to stare at something other than spreadsheets-like a Yahoo front page, PerezHilton.com; whatever tickles your fancy.

 

Believe it or not, doodling has helped many of history’s greatest thinkers to achieve their goals-think Steve Jobs or John F. Kennedy. These nonsensical sketches help unlock creativity, enhancing recall and lighting up neural networks that allow for cognitive breakthroughs. Think about the things you did as a kid to get through your lessons, and which ones worked best. your brain now is the same a your brain then. The paths you used to tap into the deeper part of your brain are the same, you just have to use the same directions/patterns to get there.

 

You are a genius, if you allow yourself to be. You are the only thing standing between you and your success. Don’t think you have to believe what others say you are, nor do you have to follow a pattern of life because that is what is expected of you. No, I didn’t take my SAT’s, but I did go to College (for a bit anyway), and found that my brain was better used in different ways. Once I started to believe in myself, and less in what others wanted me to be, I found a whole new pattern of life that has brought me so much success so far. Why question it? I’m just going to enjoy the ride….

 

 

How To Find Your Dream Business

I had a lot of dreams when I was little. I thought I was going to be all kinds of things. As I grew, I started to define myself and let the stars glaze over my eyes, not really allowing myself to tap into what I really should become-opting to climb the ladder of fame instead. Not that that’s not a legitimate dream, mind you, but it’s not exactly a realistic one, you know.

 

It wasn’t until I experienced some serious downfalls and lost almost everything I had-both tangibly and personally-to strip away to the core of what was inside of me all along. Once I discovered who I really was, and who I’d always been, I decided to ditch the idea of following someone else’s path; expecting someone else to define me, and began sketching the outline to the definition of ‘me’. My company was born from that, and I’ve never looked back. Starting a business is scary and exciting. There’s more to it than just saying ‘I own a business’. Having a plan and truly listening to your inner voice will help you slowly build the bricks that make the foundation that your company will securely rest on.

 

Unsure of where to start? Here are steps to use as a guide to the rest of your life:

 

Make A List: The only thing standing between you and your dreams is YOU. Don’t discount all the things you are good at, and those things that fascinate you. Make a list of all the things you enjoy and step away from it. Come back to it in a day or two and see if you can connect the dots. For example, I’m slightly OCD-I strive on lists, categorizing; everything has its place. I’m also slightly ADD-if I’m not doing five things at once, I start to malfunction and lose my juice. Concentrating on one thing for long periods of time doesn’t bode well with me. Which is why having multiple clients whom I do completely different things for all day long works beautifully for me.

 

Check It Twice: When I wasn’t sure if there was a name for what I enjoyed, I Googled it. You know what I found? Well, not much. However, there were tons of people who did certain facets of what I could do, and I gleaned tons of information from their blogs and sites. Research your potential business ideas to find out if there is a market; what your potential competition offers, and whether it’s worth your time and money.

 

Narrow It Down: You’re going to find there’s a ton of information-maybe too much. Start narrowing down the things that really perk up your ears, and those that seem a bit daunting. Once you’ve narrowed it down, you should have a clearer picture of what your company will look like and become.

 

Ready, Set, GO!: This is the scariest part of all: opening your ‘doors’ for business! This is your dream, and it’s your job to keep your dream alive, and by dream I mean business, and by keeping it alive I mean staying in business! When you start to doubt yourself, brush it away immediately; you wanted this, and you are going to make it happen! Once you put that kind of energy out there, it finds itself back to you tenfold. Believe in yourself, and everything else will fall into place. As the great Henry Ford once said, “If you think you can, or you can’t, you’re right.” Now, go make your dreams happen!

Understanding Crowdsourcing and How It Can Help Your Business

Crowdsourcing has gained a lot of momentum recently, mostly because of its effectiveness. Don’t understand what crowdsourcing is? As Bryan Kramer on SocialMedia Today puts it “Crowdsourcing is a new way to collect a community and financing that you can use to bring any project you could imagine to fruition. Whereas the old method of raising money and collecting data involved things like taking out loans or wooing random participants in paid focus groups, the internet has changed the landscape completely and makes it easier to access millions.”

 

Here’s a simple way of looking at it (albeit a pretty dumbed down version, but follow me here): Someone really wanted Betty White to be on SNL, so they started a petition, and it gained so much buzz that voila! Betty White landed on SNL. A T-Shirt company wanted to be known for their awesome t-shirts so they started a fanpage on Facebook, asked people to advertise their shirts for them in exchange for graphics ideas and some pretty sweet tees. People sent in ideas, got a free t-shirt, thus a successful t-shirt company was born.

 

But how do you make crowdsourcing work for you and your brand? Will it, rather work for you, and how much is it worth to you overall? Well, for starters, you have to roll up your sleeves and be willing to work for it. This  type of marketing blends focus groups with street teams, so ask your fans for their opinions and then give them something worthwhile for their time. Think of your brand and who it would benefit. Is it a seasonal item? Is it a tangible item? You’re a small business, and people always want to help the little guy. Use this to your advantage, and set small goals.

 

We live in a world where people have less and less time to spare, so if you’re going to take any time from these people, it better be worth it. Share your story, make yourself tangible, and transparent at the same time. People respond to this, and your story will make an impact. Your audience wants to have an emotional connection with your brand or service, so give it to them. They will feel better in the long run knowing they were a part of someone’s success, and know you will pay it forward just by getting to know you.

 

Social media has stretched the boundaries of creative marketing, and crowdsourcing is a result of that. If your brand or service has value and a great story to go with it, your audience will be eager to buy in, talk about, promote, and share it. There’s nothing better in a business than ‘Rocky’ story-humble beginnings to true success-and there’s no one who won’t back you or your brand’s success.

The Customer Isn’t Always Right-How To Deal With A Disgruntled Client

I know this is a touchy subject, but I have to say it “sometimes, the customer is wrong. Very wrong.” There. I said it. I’m not taking it back. Moving on.

Of course, as a business owner you have to do your best to achieve customer satisfaction, and this is what you teach your employees as well (provided you have them). Giving your customers a great experience, and having them share their experience is the bread and butter of your business. But, what do you do with a client who is clearly in the wrong? Do you suck it up and give them what they want, or do you stand firm on your policies at the expense of a disgruntled customer?

Firstly, you must be sure you document all communication with any client-good and bad. If there becomes an issue that has gone above an easy resolution, you can look back at your documentation to be certain of where you stand. Always be courteous and respectful-yelling back at  a client is only going to be more fuel for their hateful rants, and reflects poorly on you as a brand and as a business owner.

 

 

 

Be sure you are timely with responses. If you lollygag even a little, this customer is going to use it against you, which is the last thing you want! Be timely, be available as much as possible, and be certain you are conveying the utmost professionalism.

Lastly, if this client is having a technical issue, or an issue with a return or just needs support, do your best to clear any issues that are within your power. Sometimes, clients are upset over something you can easily rectify. If  you can take care of it, or you can send a support person (or put them in touch with a support person), do so as quickly as possible to negate any unfavorable actions.

However, if you’ve done all that you can, and this client is still not happy, you have to ask yourself whether or not you can still help them. If this customer has gotten belligerent, abusive, unreasonable, etc., you have to cut your losses with them and take your chances. You have to tell them you can no longer help them and hope they are able to resolve their issue on their own. Or, you can offer to connect them with another company who may be able to assist them. It’s never OK to allow a customer to personally attack, threaten, or belittle; to expect something you cannot offer, or to expect something outside of the realm or scope of the issue itself.

Yes, it’s important to take care of your customers and support them, however, it’s also important to protect the integrity of your company and your employees. Showing them you stand beside them even when a customer’s issue is unable to be resolved will show them you are a strong leader, with a strong brand.

10 Of The WORST And 10 OF THE BEST Words To Use On Linkedin

Image representing LinkedIn as depicted in Cru...

Linkedin is fast becoming the preferred social networking platform for many businesses and brands. With the audience at Facebook being made up mostly of consumers, Linkedin offers an alternate arena for B2B businesses. Regardless of the forum one uses to market their product, services, or company, it’s incredibly important to say the right things, and make certain it’s understandable. For example, I found this sentence on the web: “In the face of the down economy the strategic, disruptive approach is to identify influencers with extensive experience in creating problem-solving results.” huh?

So many professionals are clamoring for the consumer’s (including businesses) attention; it’s difficult to say the right words that will ring in the appropriate ears. In saying this, here is a list of the WRONG words to use when describing yourself, your company, your brand, or your services:

  1. Motivated
  2. Results-oriented
  3. Extensive experience
  4. Team player
  5. Problem Solver

 

These words are redundant and don’t draw a clear picture of who you are and what your brand is capable of.  You want your reader/consumer/audience, to know who you are and trust your brand before becoming a client, so give real life examples; use words that truly describe you and your brand.

  1. Creative
  2. Effective
  3. Organizational
  4. Innovative
  5. Responsible

There are businesses out there that are truly ‘creative’ by posting videos or strong updates that showcase their knowledge in their field. Being vague and using words that don’t truly describe you will cause the reader/potential client to look to your competitors. So, now that you know what words you shouldn’t use, what about the RIGHT words to use? Here’s a list of action words you should be using to truly describe who you are:

  1. Created
  2. Increased
  3. Reduced
  4. Improved
  5. Developed
  6. Researched
  7. Accomplished
  8. Won
  9. On time
  10. Under budget

Also, use verbs and nouns specific to your industry to showcase your familiarity and knowledge of your base. Remember, to truly garner more clients and build your business, you must involve yourself in more than just Linkedin, and more than just social media. This is a great start to give others insight in you and your brand. Now, go to your page, and change out those overused words before one more person passes you based on what you say; not what you meant.

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