May 25 2010

In HANDWRITING? (What a novel idea!)







     For those of you out there who can still actually write with a pen and paper, consider yourself in possession of a unique skill (even if your handwriting resembles the scrawl of your favorite nearby brain surgeon, or your neighbor’s cocker spaniel . . . probably can’t tell them apart! Uh, the writing).

     And you can be assured your handwriting is a skill that’s underused, especially if you own or manage a business or are in professional sales. I lump those entrepreneurial and sales careers together because if you own 0r manage a business, you sell. And if you’re in sales, you own or manage a business.

     So here’s the thing: AIN’T NOBODY WRITES NOTHIN’ NO MORE.

     Don’t believe me? Just look around and what do you see? PCs, Laptops, Cellphones, BlackBerries, Strawberries (Oh, sorry). You really have to search to find a pencil behind some one’s ear anymore, and fountain pens? That’s like discovering a pygmy tribe living in midtown Manhattan.

     Think about the times in your life when you’ve seen business people step up and do something unique, something different for their business or their customers or their employees or their suppliers, and you think to yourself: Self! That’s an idea I wish I had though of first because no one else is doing it.

     Well, here you go — a great new, FREE idea for you that I GUARANTEEwill make you stand out from your competition, regardless of whether you’re a farmer, a rocket scientist, a realtor, a proctologist (okay, well maybe not a proctologist), a website designer, an undertaker or wedding planner, an accountant, a lawyer (though I don’t distinguish much between a lawyer and a proctologist), a retailer . . . you get the idea.

     Dig out that old pen you forgot about; find some nice (unlined) notepaper that’s been collecting dust in the back of your desk drawer. Practice a few freehand swirls of ink on your local newspaper, which is not much good for anything else these days, and get ready to fire off some genuinely appreciative notes to present and past customers/clients/patients who have been particularly supportive of you or who are especially interested in you and/or your business products and services.

     You will get more attention and more mileage out of 100 personal handwritten notes, than you will out of 500 emails or 1000 text messages, or 5000 Tweets. I won’t even bother to waste your time with a visit to the dim prospects offered by US Postal Service incompetence no matter how great you think your direct mail campaign is.

     Do I guarantee these numbers? Of course not. But I absolutely guarantee — given the exact same message — a handwritten, personalized, hand-addressed and hand-stamped note will outperform all the solicitation glut that’s pouring out of our computerized lives. All you have to do is think of what to say, then say it in your own scribble. Oh, and Hallmark cards don’t do it either. Their commercials make you cry maybe, but their words are not your words, and they are machine-printed.

     Besides that no one else in your marketplace is doing it, what makes this idea so outstanding? People like real. Spill on the ink and it will smear. If your writing is great, great! If it’s crummy, great: what other messages do your customers actually work at trying to read? Say what you think. Say what you feel. Keep it short and sweet. But DO it. I promise you’ll be amazed at the responses you get!   

 Comment below or Hal@BusinessWorks.US 

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You! God Bless America, and God Bless our troops “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson]  Make today a GREAT Day!

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Jan 04 2010


“We cannot afford another


year like last year, and survive!”

                                                                                                             –A farmer, a doctor, and two retailers

     Whether America’s Federal Government is small business ignorant, or small business hostile –and surely it has proven to be at least one of these — makes little difference.

     In the end, you need to accept that politicians with zero business experience surrounded by advisors with zero business experience are on the cusp of running America’s businesses into the ground.

     Accept it, dismiss it, and get on with life.

     Why? Because this isn’t football. The more energy you expend worrying and fretting about the opposition — the more attention you divert from growing your own business — the less effective, less productive, and less efficient you and your people become.

     This isn’t football. It’s rape. Over-dramatic? No.

     Small business people are being violated every day by political zealots who haven’t a clue about the daily outpouring of blood, sweat and tears that go into owning and operating and managing and growing a business.

     We are about to be overrun by a healthcare reform plan that forces increased government control on our lives, even to the point of imposing fines on those who don’t buy in and that force us to see providers we don’t choose.

    This so-called “healthcare” plan in fact addresses just about every subject under the sun except healthcare. And it fails to foster (or even acknowledge) the necessary lifeblood of effective healthcare reform: free market price competition. Oh, and we’ll all be paying for it for decades. 

     We are looking at a cap and trade plan that forces increased government control on our lives, even to the point of preventing us from selling our own homes unless they measure up to expensive and meaningless government imposed standards. Oh, and we’ll all be paying for it for decades.

     We are days away from an utterly meaningless Senate jobs bill which pumps up government jobs and puts some totally confusing tax-credit bait on the end of the fishing line for all those small business owners who have nothing to do except pour through paperwork trying to figure out how to qualify (or who will have to pay through the nose for CPAs and tax attorneys to do it for them).

     Maybe small businesses should get subsidized for creating work for CPAs and lawyers?

     So, what’s the way out?

     There’s one way out and very little choice involved. Here’s the solution: Charge forward with your head down and work your butt off at customer cultivation and customer service. Remember how you felt when you started your business or manager job? Kinda like that.

     What else? You need to take even more innovative approaches to developing your products, services, markets and ideas.

     Anything more? Yes, you must continually add value to everything you sell.

     And, above all, you need to do whatever is necessary to maintain high-level trust and integrity reputations with every customer, prospect, associate, employee, vendor, referrer, visitor, and community you serve … with every encounter, every day.

Your personal authenticity and the authenticity of your business will rise above the tumolt and threats and deceptiveness and empty promises. And when you succeed for yourself, you will be succeeding for many. 

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More on 2010 “LEADERSHIP”? Come visit me and comment on my Guest Blog post at TBD Consulting’s Jonena Relth’s site

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Reply Hal@BUSINESSWORKS.US (Subject: “Blog”) or comment below. Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You! Make it a GREAT Day!  Blog FREE via list-protected RSS feed OR $1 mo Amazon KindleGreat 2010 Gift for GRANDPARENTS:

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May 02 2009


“It Don’t Matter To Me!”


     That song title should be your answer (aside from the ungrammatical “don’t”) to any question about who’s to blame for this economy. All that matters in the end is what you are doing about it for your own business or professional practice.

     Whether you’re a doctor, a retailer, a small-size manufacturer, a distributor, agent, or service provider, it’s time to take a hard look at how you are dealing with your current spending plans. This, for example, is NOT the time to fold up the sales and customer service training rug and store it in the basement. Besides the fact that basement-stored rugs attract mold and mildew, there are better solutions.

     Check in with your local community college or adult education program for an inexpensive training option. Or, do it yourself! Or round-up a team of masters or doctoral students from a nearby university to put a program together for you.

     Many internship programs across the country award academic credits for firsthand real-life experiences. A combination of business and education or psychology majors should be able to package a good motivational training program for your business. Some training is better than no training!

     Just be sure you present such a program in the right light and discourage over-the-top expectations. Help your people to see such an occasion as an opportunity to foster idea exchanges and teamwork, instead of setting up training quality judgements. Point out that what they will get from any program is what they end up putting into it.

     Speaking of motivation, remember that small frequent rewards (like family entertainment arrangements and lunch invitations) are more meaningful in the overall scheme of things than high-priced permanent rewards (like salary/benefit increases).

     Look at ways to promote your business without having to bite the media advertising bullet that will undoubtedly break a tooth if not your wallet. is a terrific free site to register with and post free news releases and newsy photos — every day if you like!

     People are selling everything under the sun on Twitter these days. Also for free. You need tenacious endurance to make Twitter work for you, but it will if you will. Didn’t tenacious endurance get you to where you are anyway? 

     Are you asking people in your family to help you with certain tasks that will help free up your time so you can be more focused on sales, for example? Maybe retired Uncle Harvey wouldn’t mind at all coming in a few times a week to do some light cleaning (in exchange for some sports tickets or a couple of dinners out) to help offset custodial service fees?

     Cover the tax-deductible cost of some business books for your college student son, daughter, neice, nephew, or cousin in exchange for some office, fieldwork or factory floor interns? Combine expenses with neighboring businesses? Shared transportation and shipping costs, even direct mail postage, advertising, clerical and website maintenance sharing are possible.

     Think it out. Tough it out. But stay focused in the process, and stimulate your OWN budget!    

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      . . . I’m open to your input anytime: (”Businessworks” in the subject line) or comment below. Thank you for visiting. Good night and God bless you! halalpiar  # # # 

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