A FULL DAY OF PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT & MOTIVATION

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why I recommend it daily.” Zig Ziglar

If you’ve ever heard me talk, you will know that I am a firm believer in the power of continual personal development, gratitude, and networking as key growth engines for growing your business and turbo-charging your career. On November 13th, you can join me for a day of personal development and motivation. Please come as my guest (for free)! You’re Invited to a day of motivation, personal development, random acts of kindness and entrepreneurial opportunity!

When I was growing up, my family used to make fun of me for reading all the time, and once I entered the workforce, I switched to business books. As a matter of fact, I am a bit of a personal development junkie. I read at least two business books per month (this month, I read Stay the Course by Adam Packard, and am currently reading UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging by Scott Stratten).

If you would like to join me, just shoot me an email and we’ll get it all set up. I’d love to have your company and am happy to contribute to the growth and development of those in my world!

I WANT TO HEAR YOUR STORY

If you have ever heard me talk at a speaking event, then you know something about the passion I have for my topic. So this summer I have been working on writing a book, pouring my passion into the pages of the soon-to-be-released personal branding book that has a working title of Turbo-Charge Your Career. I’m so excited to be able to have a new way to share this information with you. Whenever I give a personal branding talk, invariably someone comes up to me at the end and says, “Where’s your book?” And now I can say, “It’s coming!”

I have been working on a draft of all the principles that I talk about, but I want more. I want to know how the information I share has impacted your life. If something that I said influenced your business, your job, or your career, I want to know about it. Please let me know how gaining a greater understanding of your personal brand has helped you, and you could end up in my book!

COME TALK WITH ME ABOUT BRANDING AT THE CT EXPO ON JUNE 10TH!

If you will be in Connecticut on June 10th and would like a day of inspiration for your marketing efforts, come to the 2010 CT Expo. I’ll be there, participating as a branding expert with a panel of other branding professionals, including Jody Ferrar of The Perfect Promotion. Click here to learn more about the great sessions on social media, marketing, sales success, and business best practices and business growth.

There will be great information sharing and tons of networking opportunities all day long. Registration is free, so there really isn’t any excuse for you not to join us!

Hope to see you there!

STOP TRYING TO DO EVERYTHING YOURSELF!

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When I give talks about personal branding, I encourage people to figure out what it is that they are good at, what their core competencies are, what the activities are that bring them the most joy, where they add the most value. We refer to this as “breathing,” doing things that seem so easy to you. These activities, these qualities are a natural part of our personal brand and the strengths upon which we can build a successful career.

But then there’s the other stuff … those things we’re NOT good at, those activities that we seem to struggle with, that take us forever to do because we procrastinate, avoid or otherwise drag our heels. Database management, mailings, on-line coordination, blog postings, ad design, website updates — all tasks that are necessary … but maybe not your forté. Is it costing you business? Maybe you haven’t accepted that offer to give a speech to a roomful of your best prospective clients because you don’t think your slides will look any good. Maybe you need to get your brochure done and out the door. You’re happy with the copy, but you keep fiddling with the design because you don’t like what you came up with on your own. Maybe your brilliant speech hasn’t been transcribed because you don’t have time (or you know that it will take you forever to transcribe it yourself). OR, maybe you’re not spending enough time bringing in valuable new clients because your time is being used to complete these non-billable tasks yourself. Stop it!

This is where a virtual assistant can help. I’ve used a virtual assistant for over two years to help me with presentation development, brochure development, website development — even this blog and newsletter! If you hit a wall and you just can’t take it anymore, I can highly recommend Holly Koziol as the best virtual assistant EVER (in fact, I was the one who insisted she use that name for her business). Check out her website, and then contact her to discuss how she can help you too! You’ll be glad you did!

THANK YOU FOR BEING PART OF OUR WORLD

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During this holiday season, we would like to pause and thank you for being a part of our world. We are so grateful for all the wonderful people that we work with:

 

  • Clients who give us great challenges to tackle
  • Business partners with whom we have created invaluable alliances
  • Colleagues who provide opportunities for us to shine
  • Resources both internal and external who instill excellence in everything they do
  • Mentors who guide us in growing the business and finding more people to help

May this holiday season be blessed with all good for you and yours.

We know that 2010 is going to be your most prosperous year yet!

Merry Everything
And
Happy Always

From Beacon Marketing

BUSINESS LESSONS FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON

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I love this time of year, from Thanksgiving to Christmas right through to the new year. It’s a wonderful time of reflection and celebration, a time to look at the year that has been, be grateful for the good already received and maintain (or re-acquire) a mindset of expectation for progress in the coming year.

While this is fairly universally understood in our personal lives, it is a good blueprint for our professional lives as well. There are several holiday “tasks” that can help grow our business, if only we will do them.

Holiday Task #1: Be Grateful

Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful for what we have experienced in the past year. Certainly, the pilgrims were grateful for the harvest, to have made it through the difficulties of establishing their colony and working to thrive in a seemingly hostile climate. Are you grateful for the year that has just past? Certainly, economically, this year could be seen as a hostile climate in which to conduct business. But don’t forget to take a moment and be grateful for what you did have, for what you did accomplish.

Beacon Marketing is now over two years old, and we are so grateful for the fantastic opportunities that we have had, such as:

  • Helping a leader in the toy industry continually identify their strengths and understand the economy’s implications for their business
  • Motivating literally hundreds of professionals to greater personal performance in finding their own Signature for Success
  • Guiding a two-year old start up through an overhaul of their branding strategy, complete with new logo design
  • Teaching leaders in public relations, insurance, the toy industry and many other walks of life what the value of digital branding is and communicating social media best practices
  • Coaching an executive to that next level of exposure, performance and ultimately, promotability
  • Redesigning a non-profit’s web presence for greater navigability and higher impact in their world
  • Increasing exposure for a company that helps youth marketers reach their kid target audience in schools
  • Identifying growth opportunities based on consumer insights for a property-driven “kid” company

Holiday Task #2: Recognize Where Your Good Comes From

No matter what brand of spirituality you celebrate, whether Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa or something else, the December holiday season provides an opportunity to actively acknowledge where good comes from.

That same exercise can be done in your business. Where does the good in your business come from, and have you paused to appreciate that goodness? Usually, the growth in our business comes from a combination of several areas:

  • Enthusiasm for our product or service from our customers & consumers
  • Excellence delivered every day by our employees
  • Value provided by business partners
  • Investors who believe in our success

Take a moment to think about where the good in your company has come from, as this will set you up for the next “holiday” task (and don’t forget to thank those involved in providing you with that goodness!).

Holiday Task #3: Set a Plan for More Growth

New Year’s resolutions abound, providing a time to look forward with an expectation of more good in the coming year. How will you achieve your goals? If you did Holiday Task #2, you will know what you did right in the past year and will have identified areas upon which to grow for 2010. Build on your strengths and go out from there. Whether you are looking at the year from a personally professional point of view (how can I grow in my career?) or from a business standpoint (“How can we grow the business 20% in 2010?”), setting objectives based on current assets and planning to take advantage of business opportunities in 2010 is a vital part of actively managing your brand and your business.

I think most people in the business world are eagerly anticipating the arrival of 2010 with the belief that “it couldn’t possibly be worse that 2009.” Regardless, take some time in this holiday season to reflect on what DID go right and what can you build on for 2010. Be grateful for what your business experienced, identify where your strengths come from, and plan expectantly for progress in 2010.

If you’d like some strategic help in setting and accomplishing your goals, please know that we stand ready and willing to help! We’ve got a team of experts in many fields, ready to apply their own special brand of excellence to your business.

Happy Holidays!

PRESENTATIONS: EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED

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For most people in marketing, speaking in front of a crowd is a typical part of their job. As a matter fact, most marketers LIKE giving presentations, because it gives them an opportunity to showcase their knowledge, connect with other people and share ideas. Presentations should be a fun part of your job, but are you prepared for anything that could happen?

Last night I gave a talk to the Social Media Club of New Haven. They had chosen a more social venue than usual and since it was a hot day, the door to the “have a Healthy Heart” café was left open during the presentation. It’s certainly a sign of the times, because in the middle of my presentation, a man pushed another man in a wheelchair into the café and interrupted the meeting asking for donations. He described, “ I’m living over in “Tent City,” and I’m just trying to get enough money to buy something that I can cook on the fire. Please help me; please, please, please.”

Well that was a first for me. The people in the audience looked a little shocked and were not quite certain what they should do. Fortunately, the restaurant owner handled the situation, and we were quickly able to go back to our conversation. All needs were met, including the needs of the man in the wheelchair.

While we were able to get back to our meeting peaceably, it brings to mind a skill that is necessary for anyone who is presenting.

Be prepared.

You must be prepared for anything to happen during your presentation. One of the most common things that happens to me is that there are issues with technology, so I’m always prepared to give the presentation with no PowerPoint. A friend of mine, Kathy McAfee, teaches presentation skills and advocates going “PowerPoint free.” While I don’t go that far, I respect what she has taught me–that you need to be able to speak on your own, without any props. She has taught me that props can be a great addition to a presentation to increase impact and help people “get” your message, but if the technology were to shut off in the middle of your meeting, could you handle it? If somebody came in and interrupted your meeting, what would you do? If there’s a fire drill in the middle of your presentation, how would you handle the situation?

The answer to most of these questions can be found in the admonition: be prepared. Just know your material. If you know your material so well, it won’t matter whether you have the slides or don’t have the slides. You’ll be able to speak on the topic off the top of your head. Sure it may be more compelling if there’s a visual that goes with it. But you should be prepared to present without PowerPoint. If there are interruptions, be gracious, be firm, and then carry on with the presentation.

I have also learned not to apologize too much. When you apologize, you are wasting time. Move on with the material. Everyone understands that “life happens,” so carry on.

Hopefully, all your presentations will be smooth and brilliant, but if you find yourself with a panhandler in your midst, be prepared. Expect the unexpected!

FLEXING YOUR CREATIVE MUSCLES

51b+6feuUZL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_In a discussion with a client about creativity and how to inspire more of it, I suggested finding ways to spur others to think outside the box and see beyond what one normally sees. I referred them to a book called A Whack On The Side of the Head by Roger von OechIt’s full of great exercises for stretching your thinking, but I’ll give you just one example here. 

 

 

 

How do you turn this:

 

VI

 

Into a seven using only one stroke of the pen?

 

By adding a line as such:

 

VII

 

Now, how can you turn this 

 

IX

 

into a six, again with only one stroke of your pen?

 

By putting an S in front of it as such:

 

SIX

 

or by making it an equation like this:

 

IX6

 

This exercise shows how easy it is to get into a rut. We get complacent looking at something one way. By introducing the “VI into VII” problem, we are drawn into a mindset of Roman numerals, which limits us for the “IX” problem. In order to find creative solutions, we must force ourselves to step back, start over and attack the problems anew. With fresh eyes, we will see new solutions, and that is when creativity and innovation happens.

 

What problems are you facing that require creative solutions? If you’d like some fresh thinking, give us a call! We’d be happy to help.

DREAM YOUR DREAM

51EbR5fLG5L._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_I read The Dream, by teen multi-millionaire and internet entrepreneur Gurbaksh Chahal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a quick read and has some interesting themes in it, mostly advice for entrepreneurs. Here are a few ideas I got from it:

 

  • You have to have a vision for what you want in order to make it happen
  • A good idea, well executed, is worth a LOT
  • Take advantage of marketplace trends to fuel speedy growth
  • Don’t give up: If you have a passion, follow it
  • Surround yourself with positive, caring people who want you to succeed
  • Sadly, many people in America are still prejudiced
  • Sometimes you need to make yourself look different than you really are (give the perception of a bigger office, more clients, older, more experienced, less ethnic) in order to make the sale
  • Continue through the failures (and there will be failures—that’s a natural part of growth and success)
  • You need a team of “ A” players to help you
  • Family support is a rock-solid foundation from which to build
  • Once you have money, others will try to find a way to take it from you
  • No matter how smart you are or how much money you have or don’t have, people do stupid, whimsical things when they are 18-25 years old (like buy a Lamborghini on eBay without knowing how to drive a stick shift car!)

 

Reading the book sparked some on-going conversation about the difference between success and failure, goodness and greatness, etc. There are several other books that address this topic, notably Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, in which he postulates that if you put in 10,000 focused hours on something, you will be great at it. All that “practice” allows you to take advantage of opportunities when they come along.

 

What do you think breeds success? Practice? Opportunity? Luck?

 

I’m interested to hear your thoughts.

 

INTERESTING ARTICLE ON TEXT MESSAGES

 

The LA Times ran a fabulous article yesterday about why text messages only allow 160 characters for their messages.

 

The short answer is that the guy working on SMS (short message service) technology in the mid-80’s had to figure out a succinct way to communicate due to limited available bandwidth at the time. This had to be standardized across multiple cellular phone systems. They settled on 160 characters after reviewing postcard notes and Telex messages (popular “back in the day”).

 

The reason Twitter is only 140 characters is that they leave 20 characters for someone’s name to be added to the message.

 

Very interesting article. Check out the whole thing here.