Most Recent Posts

// by Elaine Eisenman / Jul. 3, 2009 0 comments

Motivation Tips for CEOs

woman_yellow_couchWhile Helen of Troy’s face launched a thousand ships, it’s your face, as CEO, that’s capable of launching a thousand anxieties. Especially in times like these, your employees are looking to you for clues. In the absence of direction from you, they will piece together theories and those theories will always tend toward the negative. I’m often asked about the advice I give to CEOs for leading in times of uncertainty. Whether the organization is large or just emerging, the advice I give is the same:
  1. Communicate: Early and often
  2. Motivate: Be the organization’s cheerleader
  3. Deal: Be realistic and honest
Communicate: In the Absence of Information, Theories & Conspiracies Abound During times of uncertainty or turbulence, the CEO’s role is to minimize that uncertainty as much as possible. This means being as open and honest as possible about what you know and don’t know. And being equally transparent about what you can say and what you can’t. Nothing fuels anxiety as much as a multitude of closed door meetings and sudden changes in the ways things are done. But veiled information as well as information shared prematurely, damages trust. Once shaken, trust is not something a CEO can regain quickly or even completely. Motivate: Make C-E-O Stand for Chief Energizing Officer Have you noticed that the first word your employees think after you say “cost containment” is “layoffs?” Even the mere thought of layoffs kills morale and halts productivity to a point where layoffs may become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead, encourage and motivate your team to find ways to make your organization stronger right now. Engage them in problem-solving on how best to insure your company’s ongoing competitive strength. Ask for good ideas to identify unnecessary costs and new ways to delight customers. Being an active part of the solution is a double win for you—you’ll strengthen the organization and keep employees thinking in a positive direction. Don’t forget about your own motivation and demeanor as well. Our bodies are remarkable conduits of stress. If tension, anxiety, or angst emanate from you, it will be absorbed by your employees. Elaine Eisenman, Guest Blogger  View more posts by SCORE’s Guest Bloggers
Elaine Eisenman
// by Julie Brander / Jul. 2, 2009 2 comments

Ten Sales Incentives and Giveaways to Increase Business. 

In this recession giving something away can be an incentive for your customers to do more business with you. Some examples are:
  1. Giving a discount on sales…the more you spend the bigger the discount. An example is for every hundred dollars spent you get $10 off your next purchase.  The benefit of this incentive is to encourage repeat business and larger sales.
  2. Online purchases offer free shipping with minimum purchase amount.
  3. Department store cosmetic counters give away free samples with every purchase.
  4. Banks encourage you to open an account or refer customers for a cash bonus.
  5. Starbucks gave free coffee on Wednesdays knowing that people will buy other things.
  6. Sunglass hut is giving a free sunglass  cleaner and visor clip with purchase.
  7. Offer a frequent shopper card  for discounts or free product.
  8. Give a free gift with a minimum purchase amount.
  9. Offer a membership for $25 which gives customers 10% off every purchase for one year.
  10. Many large corporations are realizing that free gifts stimulate sales .  Always think about ways to generate more sales as without sales there is no business.  Look at what other companies are doing  and modify it for your business.
Share your sales incentives that have brought in customers.
Julie Brander
Business Mentor
SCORE New Haven
Julie has been a SCORE volunteer since 1997. She has 20 years of experience in business, starting a manufacturing, wholesale and retail jewelry company. After selling her business, she dedicated herself to helping other entrepreneurs start and expand their business.
// by SCORE Association / Jul. 1, 2009 3 comments

The More You Give. The More You Get.

istock_000005080189xsmallThis is the advice a SCORE volunteer shared with me. Every time you volunteer--you learn, grow, connect and share success. People often ask why do successful entrepreneurs and big-time corporate execs. volunteer as SCORE mentors for you. Here's why: "I can help entrepreneurs reduce risk and increase their chances for success." "I learn as much from my clients as I share with them. It's energizing to exchange ideas with the innovators in America." "To gather the knowledge of all SCORE experts and find the right tools, information and advice to help small businesses is a bit like putting together a puzzle. It's fun." "Together, entrepreneurs and volunteers are a unique part of this country. Where else would you find volunteers who give free and confidential advice, simply because they want to see you succeed. That's inspring." Want to learn more about volunteering? Learn more. Ready to get advice from a SCORE mentor? Ask SCORE online. Prefer to talk to a mentor in person? Find SCORE near you.  How has a SCORE mentor helped you? Share your story. Christine Banning, SCORE View more posts by Christine
SCORE Association

SCORE is a nonprofit association dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals through education and mentorship. Because our work is supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and thanks to our network of 11,000+ volunteers, we are able to deliver our mentoring at no charge and our workshops at no or low cost.
@SCOREMentors | Facebook | Google+ | More from SCORE

// by SCORE Association / Jun. 30, 2009 1 comments

Herm Rowland Reveals His Secrets to Sweet Success

Jelly_Belly_LogoIf you subscribe to SCORE ExpertANSWERS, then you saw that Herm Rowland of Jelly Belly Candy Co. is this month’s featured expert.  Herm helped grow his grandfather's candy business from a small, family operation to an industry giant. Why do you believe in the value of mentoring? Herm_RowlandI would recommend a SCORE volunteer for someone who is ready to listen and take advice from a person who has run a small business similar to yours in tough times. A SCORE volunteer helped our business, and he helped me personally. He did costing and developed an internal financial spreadsheet to show us where we were financially. He also helped us plan an expansion and secure a loan, and showed how we could increase sales through innovative ideas. He was the greatest! Find out how SCORE helped Jelly Belly succeed. Get more of Rowland's keys to success. Sign up for SCORE ExpertANSWERS. Jacalyn Barnes, SCORE View more posts by Jacalyn
SCORE Association

SCORE is a nonprofit association dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals through education and mentorship. Because our work is supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and thanks to our network of 11,000+ volunteers, we are able to deliver our mentoring at no charge and our workshops at no or low cost.
@SCOREMentors | Facebook | Google+ | More from SCORE

// by Marilyn Tam / Jun. 29, 2009 0 comments

In Work as in Life, I Live by Four Simple Principles.

These principles keep me on course and facilitate every business and social interaction I have. This last principle in the series is explained below. Principle 4: Die By Your Own Sword Fight for your ideas. If you are committed to your idea after diligent work and research, pursue it. Your banker/business associate/supervisor may have spent an hour listening to your presentation. And you have spent three months working on it. If you're right and you give in or give up, you’ll regret it forever. Whether you do it their way or yours, or give up the idea, you are held responsible anyway – so what have you got to lose? You’ll have more conviction and understanding following through on what you have spent months developing than on the quick detour that your banker/business associate/supervisor just threw in. Explain your position, incorporate the aspects of other people’s ideas which are sound and proceed from there. If the project was to fail, wouldn’t you rather get in trouble for something you did than for something someone else suggested you do? To live by these guidelines requires integrity, courage and collaboration. It's how I run my business and it’s how I run my life. It works. If you missed my preview posts, get caught up here: Principle 1: Tell the Truth Principle 2: Make Partners Principle 3: Make Big Mistakes

Marilyn Tam
// by Marilyn Tam / Jun. 26, 2009 4 comments

In Work as in Life, I Live by Four Simple Principles.

These principles keep me on course and facilitate every business and social interaction I have. This week's principle is below. Principle 3: Make Big Mistakes Small mistakes are the thoughtless things we all do when we're not paying attention. They are a waste of time and resources, and are neither instructive nor constructive. On the other hand, big, planned, highly organized mistakes are valuable. They usually turn out to be productive in the end. Big mistakes are sometimes the result when you take calculated risks. Making big mistakes is the occasional byproduct of making big strides. Big mistakes can only occur when you've planned and thought things through. You would have prepared contingencies in case your current strategy doesn’t work. If your carefully laid plan turns out to be a mistake, it may cost you. But it will also give you exactly the information you need to modify your strategy or change your course. You learn, you adjust, and you come back with a stronger, more impactful approach that works. In the long run, big mistakes are the best feedback we ever get. The most successful people in life are those who make the best use of their mistakes. If you missed my preview posts, get caught up here: Principle 1: Tell the Truth Principle 2: Make Partners

Marilyn Tam
// by Julie Brander / Jun. 25, 2009 11 comments

Here are Some Things I Learned in Business that I wasn't Taught in Business School.

Here are a few tips I have to share with you that I did NOT learn in Business school: 1. Look at your competition and learn from them. What are their strengths and weaknesses?  Look at like companies in other states and countries and observe.  You will always learn something that you can implement. 2. Sell your products or services many different ways.  Never hold inventory always think of ways to sell it and always make a profit.  Examples: online, storefront, wholesale, craft shows, home parties, corporate sales, incentives, joint marketing with another company as added value, and on consignment. 3. For a service business; always exceed your customers’ expectations.  To retain customers make it easy for them to do business with you. 4. Company image is essential: Uniforms whenever possible for a professional image, name tags, proper greetings and attention paid to customers. Know your customers names and nurture customer relationships to ensure that they continue to do business with you. 5. Always educate your customers.  Offer information about your products and services and know the competition.  Most customers compare products and services before they purchase anything. With product knowledge and a higher perceived value the sale will always be made easily.
Julie Brander
Business Mentor
SCORE New Haven
Julie has been a SCORE volunteer since 1997. She has 20 years of experience in business, starting a manufacturing, wholesale and retail jewelry company. After selling her business, she dedicated herself to helping other entrepreneurs start and expand their business.
// by SCORE Association / Jun. 24, 2009 0 comments

 Power Up Success with a Board of Advisors

istock_000004943862xsmallHow to Form an Advisory Board. Worksheet for planning an advisory board. Scroll down page and look for Advisory Board download. Social Betty succeeds with help from a mentor. Christine Banning, SCORE View more posts by Christine
SCORE Association

SCORE is a nonprofit association dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals through education and mentorship. Because our work is supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and thanks to our network of 11,000+ volunteers, we are able to deliver our mentoring at no charge and our workshops at no or low cost.
@SCOREMentors | Facebook | Google+ | More from SCORE

// by SCORE Association / Jun. 22, 2009 6 comments

Forbes Magazine “Boost Your Business” Contest

Between May 15, 2009 and June 30, 2009, submit a well written entry on your business. Entries must not exceed five hundred (500) words and must include the following: forbes_boost_your_biz1. a description of your business 2. a discussion of your business model 3. capitalization – how is your business funded? 4. differentiators – how is your business different from your competition? 5. years of relevant experience 6. your plan for using the prize to “boost your business” In order to qualify businesses must: 1. have at least one salaried employee, aside from the owner 2. be incorporated for five (5) years or less at the time of entry 3. be a for-profit entity 4. have annual revenues between $0 and $5,000,000 Prizes include: $50,000 in cash and $50,000 worth of advertisement According to Brett Nelson Entrepreneurs Editor of Forbes Magazine, "Forbes wants to celebrate gutsy small companies navigating this recession. Buoyed by a panel of experts, our contest aims to identify sound businesses with the most promise for growth--and to educate millions of other entrepreneurs on the hunt for capital." See official rules and entry information at www.forbes.com/byb. SCORE Association View more posts by SCORE
SCORE Association

SCORE is a nonprofit association dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals through education and mentorship. Because our work is supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and thanks to our network of 11,000+ volunteers, we are able to deliver our mentoring at no charge and our workshops at no or low cost.
@SCOREMentors | Facebook | Google+ | More from SCORE

// by Marilyn Tam / Jun. 19, 2009 1 comments

In Work as in Life, I Live by Four Simple Principles.

These principles keep me on course and facilitate every business and social interaction I have. This week's principle is below. Principle 2: Make Partners If you don't share, no one can help you. It's that simple. If you don’t enlist your colleagues, business associates, family and friends in your goals, they can't support you in your mission. In any interaction, there are always two sides: a buyer and a seller. All parties are there because at some level they want the transaction to occur. Find the common ground and engage the others in seeing the mutual benefit. Once all parties have ownership of the outcome, they will want a positive result. From that common ground, you can all work toward the same outcome – if you make them your partners. If you missed my preview posts, get caught up here, Principle 1: Tell the Truth.

Marilyn Tam