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  • 14 Mar 2017 6:25 PM | Anonymous

    If you’re considering launching your own business, this article is for you.

    Success in entrepreneurship requires a diversity of talents, a broad range of knowledge, a passion to succeed and an attitude that says "I can do it!" Nothing less will suffice. To help you on your way to that success, here are the top 10 strategies that will guide you and your company to entrepreneurial success.

    Strategy #1: MAKE MONEY DOING WHAT YOU KNOW & WHAT’S IN YOUR HEART

    If you’re considering starting your own business, know that 9 times out of 10 you will be more successful if your business focuses on something that you already do well. For example, if you’ve done meeting and conference planning for years for a major hotel chain, launching your own meeting planning business is a great idea. You’ve got the knowledge and the contacts, so you already are one step ahead. Conversely, if that same individual had decided to start a candle manufacturing company, the learning curve would be tremendous. They wouldn’t know the "tricks of the trade" of that industry and wouldn’t be using a great deal of the knowledge they had obtained in meeting and events planning. Doing what you know - or at least have some experience and knowledge in - makes a world of difference in how quickly you will succeed.

    What’s more, if it’s something that you know and something that you’ve already succeeded in, it tends to be "close to your heart." As an entrepreneur, you’re going to be working very long hours. Best to do something that you already value and cherish.

    Strategy #2: UNDERSTAND YOUR MONEY

    For all too many start-up entrepreneurs, their lack of knowledge about how their money "works" has been their downfall. Here’s a prime example: A career coach charges $100 an hour for her services and thinks she’s making $100 an hour. Wrong! If you subtract business overhead costs (e.g., phones, computers, office space, utilities, paper, office supplies), then subtract state, federal and FICA taxes, that $100 is much closer to $35-$40 if you’re lucky! To succeed in business, you MUST have a true understanding of how your money works, where it comes from, where you spend it, and what your bottom-line profits truly are. Unless you happen to be an accountant yourself, get an accountant now … before it’s too late!

    Strategy #3: EMBRACE YOUR CLIENTS

    Whether you call them clients or customers, they are the single most important component of any successful business. Without them, you have nothing … no matter how great your products, services or technologies. You must be available to your clients and must learn to embrace them in each and every one of your interactions (e.g., phone, fax, email, mail). You want them to feel as though you truly value their business (you do!) and that you will consistently respond to their needs and concerns (you will!). If your clients feel valued and cared about, they will be yours forever. What’s more, they’ll refer their colleagues and associates to you, allowing you to build a strong customer base without additional marketing and advertising costs. Referrals are, by far, your single best source of business and something which you should dedicate yourself to building.

    Strategy #4: BUILD A NICHE

    Businesses that tend to stand out from the crowd are often those businesses that focus their products and services in a particular market niche. A prime example is a law firm that specializes in real estate. Rather than being lost in the enormous number of general law practices, this firm stands out and has immediate market recognition as an "expert" in real estate law. In turn, they have a unique market position that attracts the specific clientele they want. What’s more, they have substantially less competition. A niche marketing concept will give you significant market visibility and, over time, build a substantial customer base. And, do not feel as though you have to limit yourself to just one niche. Consider two or three related niches and watch your business grow!

    Strategy #5: GET PUBLISHED

    If you’re published, people think that you’re an expert. It’s that simple. Whether a book or an article, it gives you and your business instant credibility. And, it’s so very easy to get published today. There are thousands, if not tens of thousands, of websites that are hungry for content. Sometimes they will pay; other times, they will not. However, the exposure and visibility you get is well worth the time to write a quick article. If you’re in the consumer products manufacturing industry, contact one of your industry’s professional associations to ask if they need an article -- for their website or newsletter. Before you know it, you and your business will come to be recognized as experts. Can you think of any better way to build your customer base and credibility?

    Strategy #6: NETWORK … NETWORK … NETWORK

    Building your market visibility, network of contacts and network of referrals is vital to your long-term success. You cannot rely on business just knocking at your door no matter how much you spend on advertising. Instead, you have to go get it … sometimes through direct sales calls; other times, through more passive networking channels such as participation in and/or leadership of your local chamber of commerce, local lead exchange group and other business/professional association. Consider sending a quarterly e-newsletter to your existing customers to share company news, introduce new services and products, and ask for referrals. Commit yourself to making 2-3 new business contacts each and every month, separate and apart from any direct selling and/or marketing activities that you do. These may be people you want to do business with and/or they may know others who would be interested in what you have to offer. Remember, the larger your network, the more visible you and your company will be, the greater name recognition you will achieve, and the more customers that will, indeed, come knocking at your door.

    Strategy #7: MARKET THROUGH MULTIPLE CHANNELS

    No single advertising, promotional, or marketing strategy works in isolation. True marketing and business development is a culmination of a diversity of strategies, tactics and actions that will generate clients from a diversity of sources. What marketing, advertising and promotional channels you use will depend entirely on your product or service, and the customers you are trying to reach. Your objective is to create a plan that integrates all of the primary marketing channels appropriate for your business (e.g., print advertising, brochures, Yellow Pages advertising, website, online advertising, targeted direct mail, public speaking, networking, incentives). When creating your marketing plan - for today and tomorrow - be sure to identify and develop ALL channels that will lead you to your targeted customer base.

    Understand marketing strategy to grow your business.

    Strategy #8: CHARGE WHAT YOU ARE WORTH

    Whether you offer a product or a service, it is essential that you charge what it is worth. Do not think for one minute that just by making your product or service the least expensive, that it will generate clients. In fact, it’s often better to be at the higher end of the pricing scale so that customers will understand the inherent value of your product. Consider two pairs of identical looking shoes. One pair is $49.95 and the other is $149.95. Which is better? We’re all inclined to believe that the $149.95 pair is better made, will last longer, etc. Use this same principle when developing your pricing schedules. Don’t be cheap … be the best!

    Learn more about pricing and packaging your services.

    Strategy #9: FIND BALANCE

    Learning to balance your entrepreneurial life with your personal life will most likely be a lifelong challenge. It can be extremely difficult to "walk away from work" when 1000 things are happening, but it’s time to go home, make dinner, care for your children, love your spouse and more. It’s a constant juggling act that you must work hard to balance. Try scheduling time for your family, friends and YOURSELF into your calendar, and realize that these activities are just as important to your overall success as is your business. A happy and healthy individual is a vastly more productive individual, able to meet constant challenges and demands, and move forward. The energy you get from interactions with family and friends, and the quiet time you devote to yourself, are rejuvenating and critical for any successful entrepreneur.

    Strategy #10: BE THE DRIVER

    The single best thing about entrepreneurship is that you have control! Of course, you’re accountable to your customers, employees, Board of Directors, investors and others, but, ultimately, you’re the driver. What a great place to be! The successes that you achieve will be those that you created, worked for and earned. You’ll tap into your abilities to be self-reliant and self-confident, able to make tough decisions, think independently and move your company toward action and success.

    Twenty years ago, entrepreneurship was a risky business. Today, it can offer you substantially more stability than any job you’ll find anywhere. No longer will you be subject to the downsizings and reorganizations of corporate America. As an entrepreneur, you’ll be your own driver and forge your own destiny.

    Looking for more resources to build your business? Check out our business development resource list.

  • 14 Mar 2017 6:17 PM | Anonymous

    As I sat down to write this article, I thought to myself, “How odd!” For years and years, I have struggled to better manage my time, but never felt as though I was very successful. I’m always juggling my time constantly sweating as I look at all the piles and papers scattered throughout my two offices, getting up earlier and earlier to get a jump on things, and telling my son to hold on one more minute. I haven’t had the feeling of being caught up in so very long that I’ve simply forgotten what it feels like. Sound familiar?

    I live by the “Manage By Deadline” style. What is due today? Tomorrow? Who have I promised to call? When’s the next book deadline? Will my paper supply last one more day? If I leave for my son’s appointment by 11 am, can I make it by 11:15? I think so, as long as I don’t hit any traffic lights! The pace will knock you down if you’re not careful.

    It dawned on me just the other day. I DO have a system for managing my time. I DO know how to prioritize. And, I can always do better. I’m sure that many of you feel the exact same way and can’t even find time to take a breath, yet alone get it all done. To help you better manage your time, projects, clients obligations, personal obligations and more, I’d like to share with you some of the strategies I’ve learned to use that have helped me juggle it all more effectively.

    Time Management Strategy #1 - Make Lists

    I make lists for everything. There’s my “major projects” list and my “get it done today” list. There’s a list of new ideas, a lengthy list of “got to remember for the conference” and a “voice mail message” list that I’m constantly updating. There are lists for errands, office supplies, administrative projects to be done and a few hundred others (or so it seems). I write it down because I’m never sure I’ll remember it a moment later. Bear in mind, however, that my notes are scraps of paper everywhere with no organized system. That would be ideal if you’re disciplined. I’ve never been able to take it any further than the scraps of paper.

    However, the REAL reason I write it all down is simply so I can cross it off. I just love that! What a feeling of satisfaction and completion. In jobs like we have, where it’s NEVER all done, having that sense of completion is vital to keep us all moving forward.

    Time Management Strategy #2 - Clear Away The Clutter & ORGANIZE

    I had a great experience recently. With the help of my assistant, we went crazy cleaning and organizing my offices. Most important, we threw things away. Yes, I was bold. I figured if I haven’t read it, used it, touched it or followed up on it in years, chances were I wasn’t ever going to!

    I cleaned out ALL (well, almost all) of my files. Was it really necessary to have bank statements from 2005 in a file cabinet? What about old client files I hadn’t touched in years or printing receipts from my company brochure from 4 years ago? Maybe, just maybe, I could put them in a storage box. My file cabinets sighed with relief and I could actually close some of the drawers!

    This was a tremendously rewarding process when it was finished. My “clutter factor” has gone from 100% to about 25% and I am so relieved. I don’t know how long it will last, but it was well worth the time. I recommend that you give it a try and you’ll feel so much better. It’s absolutely cathartic! But, be sure to get someone to help you for it will make the process faster and more fun. I never would have done it alone.

    Time Management Strategy #3 - Remove Your Obstacles & Take Control of Your Schedule

    Before you begin to organize your time, you must figure out what’s standing in your way. When you’re struggling to control your time, it seems as though either something is wrong with you or that “out of control” is simply the way of the world.

    Well, you can take control. Here are just a few tips:

    1. Don’t let your voice mail, email, and in-person interruptions control every moment of your day. Acknowledge them and give them plenty of your time. However, also reserve time during the day that is your time with NO interruptions, no matter what. Use this time -- 30 to 60 minutes each day -- to take care of what YOU need to take care of.

    2. Pick a particular time of day to do a specific task. If you have it scheduled, it will get done. If not, the day will slip away and chances are that it will never get done.

    3. If you have a really big project and can’t seem to get started, break it down into smaller pieces so that you can feel a sense of control in working it into your schedule and a sense of completion when it’s done (and you get to cross it off your list).

    Time Management Strategy #4 - Don’t Do It All Yourself

    You are only one person and, no matter what you may think, you can only accomplish so much. Be wise and use help when appropriate, whether it be to organize your office, manage your accounting functions, manage your client database, proofread all your resumes, or coordinate your marketing and PR functions. If you have other people who work for you or with you, great. If not, consider who you can get to help you with specific tasks and responsibilities. It’s doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

    Begin by making a list of the tasks you can get rid of and that someone else can competently manage. Then go get that person and delegate that assignment. Be sure to follow up that everything is being done the way you want, but “let it go” and move onto tasks that only YOU can manage.

    Time Management Strategy #5 - Lighten Up On Yourself

    Don’t beat yourself up! It took me years and years to be able to walk away from my desk, piled high with notes, messages, files and more, and not feel as though I was cheating. The reality is, that for many of us, we will NEVER get it all done. Learn to live with it, learn to juggle it and don’t feel bad about it. Once you stop feeling guilty and lift that weight from your shoulders, you’ll find much great satisfaction, not to mention the extra time you’ll have to actually get something done.

    Time Management Strategy #6 - It’s All In Your Head

    Be sure that your “out of control” feeling is indeed a reality and not a psychological phenomenon. Sometimes you can sabotage your own success and your best efforts to control your time. Have you ever considered that you’re afraid of downtime - those quiet moments when you feel overwhelmed by everything you haven’t done? Or, do you fear failure and find it easier to just keep going forward at a frenzied pace rather than look at what is actually going on? Maybe you’re a perfectionist who puts every ounce of energy into every task instead of learning to discriminate and allocate your time? Some tasks are indeed worth your finest effort; some just need to be done.

    Identifying, and then eliminating, what may be psychologically holding you back can be a tremendous springboard forward to your success.

    Summary

    If I come back to the central question of will I ever feel a sense of being on top of things and totally caught up, the answer is probably not. And, unfortunately, you may also find yourself in that situation. However, if we can all learn to dedicate some of our energies to better organizing and managing our time and resources, we will find satisfaction and experience a sense of completion. For me, that’s a tremendous motivator. Hopefully it will be for you as well.

  • 14 Mar 2017 6:15 PM | Anonymous

    By Wendy Enelow, CCM, MRW, JCTC, CPRW

    Selecting the appropriate form and structure for your business is critical. If you are to survive and thrive in our industry, which is as competitive as any other, part of your success will depend on the type of business entity you have formed and both the tax and non-tax implications of that decision. This article outlines the various business entities and key elements you should consider.

    NON-TAX ISSUES

    MANAGEMENT & ADMINISTRATION

    Proprietorships: Single owner; characterized by simplicity, flexibility and control

    Partnerships: General partnerships are not centralized; limited partnerships are centralized

    S Corporations: Centralized management, board of directors and corporate officers must comply with corporate legal requirements

    C Corporations: Centralized management, board of directors and corporate officers must comply with corporate legal requirements

    LLCs: Typically controlled by an operating agreement

    CAPITALIZATION

    Proprietorships: Limited to owners’ assets and loans

    Partnerships: Sources of capital expand by virtue of number of partners involved

    S Corporations: Can issue stock for up to 35 outside shareholders

    C Corporations: Can issue stock, bonds and increase borrowing capacity; however, in the small business arena, shareholders generally have to guarantee the debt of the company

    LLCs: Generally same as partnership.

    OWNERS’ LIABILITY

    Proprietorships: Unlimited liability

    Partnerships: General partners have unlimited liability; limited partners’ liability is limited to the dollar investment in the partnership

    S Corporations: Liability limited to assets in the corporation

    C Corporations: Liability limited to assets in the corporation

    LLCs: Investors’ liability generally limited (similar to an S or C corporation)

    TRANSFERABILITY OF INTERESTS

    Proprietorships: Assets can be sold but the entity ceases upon sale

    Partnerships: Transferable subject to partners’ approval

    S Corporations: Freely transferable by sale of stock

    C Corporations: Freely transferable by sale of stock

    LLCs: Transferable subject to members’ approval

    CONTINUITY OF LIFE

    Proprietorships: Finite life; ceases upon death of proprietor

    Partnerships: Terminates if 50% or more of interests are sold or exchanged within one year

    S Corporations: Indefinite life

    C Corporations: Indefinite life

    LLCs: Generally limited (like a partnership)

    TAX ISSUES

    TAX YEARS

    Proprietorships: Must use tax year of proprietor (generally, the calendar year)

    Partnerships: Must use tax year of partners or make Section 444 election for September 30, October 31 or November 30 year-end

    S Corporations: Must use calendar year or make Section 444 selection

    C Corporations: May select any fiscal year

    LLCs: Generally same as partnerships

    INCOME TAXES

    NOTE: Pass-through entities are NOT subject to income tax at the entity level. Rather, the owner or owners report items of income or loss on their individual income tax returns, resulting in a single level of taxation.

    Proprietorships: Pass-through entities

    Partnerships: Pass-through entities

    S Corporations: Pass-through entities

    C Corporations: Income tax is levied at the entity level and again at the shareholder level when retained earnings are distributed as dividends

    LLCs: Generally pass-through entities

    COMPENSATION & PAYROLL TAXES

    Proprietorships: Self-employment earnings; pay FICA and income tax in quarterly estimated tax payments

    Partnerships: Self-employment earnings; pay FICA and income tax in quarterly estimated tax payments

    S Corporations: Wage income paid to owners-employees; income and FICA and unemployment taxes withheld. NOTE: Quarterly estimated tax payments may need to be paid if corporate income is not paid as wages, since it is taxable at shareholder level.

    C Corporations: Wage income paid by owner-employees; income and FICA taxes withheld

    LLCs: Pass-through income; pay income tax in quarterly estimated tax payments

    If you’re still uncertain as to which type of business entity is best for you - based on your particular tax and non-tax considerations - it is advised that you contact a CPA who can offer personalized advice and guidance.

  • 14 Mar 2017 6:12 PM | Anonymous

    By Wendy Enelow, CCM, MRW, JCTC, CPRW

    What exactly does “Owning The Customer Relationship” mean? Simply put, it means that your customers are YOUR customers and they’re not going anywhere else. Whether deliberately or not, you’ve managed to build rapport, establish trust and capture that client. You now “OWN” that relationship and it’s yours to keep forever. Here’s how you can achieve that:

    • You consistently, unfaltering, dependably and intensely professionally provide quality services to your clients. No matter your area of specialization - coaching, counseling, recruitment, outplacement, placement or resume writing - the services you provide are consistently top-flight. There are no exceptions. You are committed to your business/organization and your clients.
    • You position yourself as a single-source provider to your clients and become their #1 job search resource. They know that you will always have the answer or you’ll find it. Your clients can trust in the fact that they need not look any further. You’re there to support them in whatever they may need to advance their search and their career.
    • You write and send client newsletters to maintain constant communication. You inform them of new information that may impact their job search or career, you notify them of new resources and you share new knowledge. And, while you’re communicating with them, why not use your newsletter for its real purpose - a marketing tool to promote you and your organization.
    • You maintain visibility within the market. You write articles, give speeches, appear on local radio and television broadcasts, and attend area business meetings. People either know you or know of you. They know about your services and they know your reputation. You are a part of the community that you serve - no matter how small or how large.

    Customer Service Is More Than Delivering Service

    Sometimes we’re so involved in delivering our services that “business administration” may drift to the back burner. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE! Remind yourself of the little things that are so very critical to establishing and maintaining your reputation.

    1. Answer each and every email message. I’m not referring to junk mail that you receive, but to every other piece of correspondence. Even if your message is a simple, “Got your note and will respond within 48 hours” or “Thanks for the kind words,” at least you are acknowledging the email and the person. Remember, the combination of good etiquette and immediate client response is a powerful tool!
    2. Answer each and every voice mail message the day you receive it, if at all possible. Even if all you do is call your client back to tell him that you’re overwhelmed today and can’t speak with him until tomorrow or the next day, you’re acknowledging that you got the message and that the CLIENT IS IMPORTANT.
    3. Acknowledge your “big spenders.” Ever have clients who just continue to spend money with you? First they want a resume, then they want coaching, then they want a direct mail campaign … it goes on and on. The respect that you will get with a handwritten thank-you note is worth thousands of dollars in advertising. Even better, consider a small, but nice gift at the holiday season.
    4. Always deliver on time. There are virtually no excuses for not delivering a client project on time. None! If you have committed to Wednesday at 2 pm, then the project MUST be done by that time, barring an unforeseen near catastrophe. And, a heavy workload is NOT a near catastrophe! If you begin to develop a reputation for quality work - but work that is consistently late - you might as well close your doors.
    5. Always be on time. If you have a client appointment scheduled for 11 am, be there and be ready. How many times have you sat in an office waiting for a doctor? With each passing moment, you became more annoyed. Is that how you want your clients to feel?
    6. The client is ALWAYS right. Your client has hired you to do a job for him. You can share your insights, make your recommendations, offer factual proof of what works and what doesn’t, but ultimately it is the client’s decision as to how to proceed. You can only do what’s “right” if the client allows you.

    These items barely scratch the surface of what’s involved in managing a quality-driven service business. If you are up to the challenge and able to establish a reputation for consistently superior service, you’ll reap the benefits:

    • Your name will become synonymous with high-quality service and excellence.
    • You can gradually increase your prices (and your profits) to keep pace with the demand.
    • You’ll position yourself as a leader within our industry and a mentor to your colleagues.

    Perhaps the greatest benefit of all will be the constant stream of referrals you will receive. Happy clients refer other clients who then refer others. If you are diligent, determined and consistent, your business and client base will grow without having to invest big bucks in advertising and marketing. Your clients will sell for you. All you’ll need to do is continue to provide the same level of expertise that has gotten you this far.

  • 14 Mar 2017 5:57 PM | Anonymous

    By Wendy Enelow, CCM, MRW, JCTC, CPRW

    INTRODUCTION

    For the past 30 years, I’ve been self-employed as an executive resume writer and career coach. Through those experiences, I gained a tremendous amount of information about what executive clients want/need in a resume writer and coach, and that’s the information I’m going to share with you in this article.

    CLIENT EXPECTATIONS

    1.       Executive clients want to work with a career professional who understands what they do – their industry and their profession. This is particularly critical during the sales process when you are “competing” against other resume writers, coaches, counselors, outplacement companies, etc. to get a new client’s business.


    During the sales process, you MUST communicate your knowledge of the client’s industry and profession. This accomplishes two things: (1) the client feels comfortable with you and believes that they’ve found the “right” person to help them; and (2) it gives you a tremendously competitive advantage in closing the sale. You can almost “hear” the client’s thought process … “This person not only appears to be a very well-qualified career coach but, JUST AS IMPORTANT, he/she also knows all about logistics, distribution and supply chain management!” You’ve just won that client to be sure.

    How do you so quickly communicate that information? It’s easy. All you need to do is ask the “right” questions and use the “right” keywords. Inevitably, one of the first questions you will have asked a new client is what they currently do for a living. I always ask … “Are you a sales guy, an IT guy, a general management guy …?” Once I have that information, then I’m ready to go. Here’s a good example:

     Suppose you’re a resume writer and you’re speaking to a Vice President of International Finance for a leading global corporation. As you’re explaining your services and how you work, you’ll throw in comments and questions such as … “The kinds of things I’ll want to know from you will relate to your experience and accomplishments in foreign exchange, foreign currency hedging, foreign government financing, global banking, joint ventures and M&A transactions.” If you say this to a prospective client, you’ve instantly connected yourself and your expertise to that client. I GUARANTEE they’ll be so impressed they can’t pay you fast enough!

     Also, be sure to use acronyms such as M&A (versus mergers and acquisitions) to further entrench yourself into the profession. I might have also asked the above client … “Have you ever been involved in an IPO transaction, led VC road shows or participated in an ESOP?” (IPO = Initial Public Offering; VC = Venture Capital, ESOP = Employee Stock Ownership Plan)

    2.       Executive clients want the price to be reasonable. Reasonable is a pretty vague concept, but consider the following. One of the most important elements in setting your pricing structure is your competition. If you’re in a small town, hundreds of miles from a major city and all of your competitors are charging $250 a resume, you’re certainly not going to charge $2500. On the other hand, if you’re in a major metropolitan area and the average resume price is $500 a resume, you’re certainly not going to charge $50 (I hope!).

     The strategy here is that you DO NOT want to be the cheapest. Most executives are NOT looking for the cheapest; they’re looking for the “best” at a reasonable price. If you’re the cheapest, the customer-perceived value of your product will be less. Conversely, you may not want to be the most expensive either. I always recommend setting your pricing right up at the top, just a notch or two below the most expensive.


    3.       Executive clients want the process to be easy and efficient. You want to create a “process” for doing business that is easy for both you and your clients. In years past, if I was speaking to a client for the very first time and they were anxious to move forward, I asked for a credit card number and proceeded immediately. If I had told that client that I’d have to send an agreement, worksheets, credit card authorization, etc., before we could get started, chances are likely I might have missed that opportunity. Perhaps the client would have changed his/her mind, decided to call a few other career companies and shop around, or whatever. My motto is … “Hit while the iron is hot!

    IMPORTANT: I would, of course, have my clients complete the appropriate documentation immediately after our conversation. I just wasn’t going to let them go while I had them “hooked.”

     You must then continue to work in the same efficient manner. No matter the specific type of career service(s) you are offering, if you are able to create a seamless process where the client is able to move from step to step with virtually no interference, then you will have succeeded. Set deadlines and stick to them, keep the flow of paperwork to a minimum, and attempt to eliminate much of the administrative detail that can both bog you and your clients down.


    4.       Executive clients want you to be their “job search captain” and guide them through the process at a strong and steady pace. Most often, executives want you to lead them through the process, whether that process be resume writing, coaching, counseling, outplacement, or any other type of career development or management effort. They know that they’re great at their jobs. Now, they expect you to be great at yours and they’re happy to follow your advice and your lead.

    In turn, you must exude confidence and knowledge in all of your communications with them. You must be decisive and direct with specific recommendations for action. These guys aren’t messing around! Tell them what to do and they will do it. Let them perceive you as a strong, yet compassionate career ally.

    Executive clients are a wonderful market niche, but not the only niche. Find a targeted clientele that you’re comfortable working with and then apply the above principles. They will work well with any client population.

  • 14 Mar 2017 5:55 PM | Anonymous

    By Wendy Enelow, CCM, MRW, JCTC, CPRW

    When people walk into my office, they’re always surprised (and sometimes, horrified!). For some reason, everyone thinks my office will be neat, clean, and well-organized. Well, that’s hardly the case! I live in a world of piles on the floor all around me, Post-It notes and scraps of paper everywhere, two large paper recycling bins that are always overflowing, and other miscellaneous items strewn everywhere. Yet, I know where everything is and the system works perfectly for me!

    Managing your job search is just like managing any other project and business. You must create an administrative infrastructure that will allow you to operate efficiently, productively, and with some order to it all. Helter skelter doesn’t work for anything you do, and particularly not your job search.

    Following are some strategies you might consider as you create a system to manage the flow of contacts, resumes, follow-ups, interviews, and more that you’ll need to “administer” throughout your search campaign.

    Technology is NOT the answer to everything, albeit an essential and tremendously valuable tool in your job search. In fact, conducting a job search without technology is virtually impossible in today’s virtual market. However, not everything has to be automated. One big joke between one of my techie buddies and me is my old-fashioned Rolodex that sits proudly on my desk. He hates it! I love it! Takes me two seconds to find a phone number. Instead, he wants to automate it, so every time I want to look up a number, I have to go to my PC, click on whatever program, type in the name and two minutes (NOT seconds) later I’ll have the phone number. Somehow, it just doesn’t seem too efficient to me!

    Create two working spaces within the same room. I use two desks - one’s my PC desk for all my writing, email, Internet research, etc. The other desk is where I talk on the phone, write notes, keep important files and do administrative tasks. The desks are side-by-side, so I can easily reach from one to the other, but they are separate and distinct workstations. It allows me to keep all the “stuff” I need to do on my PC separate from the “stuff” I need to do at my desk. Each desk has a priority pile of items that must be addressed immediately (along with lots of other to-do piles that are not as time-sensitive).

    Establish a schedule. Here’s what works for me. I write early in the mornings and handle whatever projects I have in the works. I then save the afternoons for phone calls and administrative tasks. I know other people who do the exact opposite and it works great for them. It is so difficult to be sitting at your PC, trying to write a cover letter and email a resume in response to a ChiefMonster job posting, when you promised three people you’d follow-up first thing in the morning or scheduled an appointment with your career coach for 9 am. Attempt to set aside quiet times each day to attend to whatever writing tasks you may have. I guarantee that your productivity will increase dramatically. However, remember that flexibility is vital. If you’ve established 3 pm-5 pm as your designated writing time, yet you’re invited for an interview at 4 pm, I recommend you accept the invitation!

    Prioritize your incoming email into three categories. I receive a great deal of email, probably an average of 75-100 messages each day. Each time I receive my incoming email, I go through it in three steps. First, I immediately delete all the unsolicited emails and Viagra advertisements(!), I then respond to those messages that will take under a minute or two to handle, and then work my way through the balance that require more than a quick thought. I figure for every 25 messages I receive, I handle better than 70% of them within less than 10 minutes.

    Touch it only once. Whether we’re talking about each day’s snail mail, your email, or folders on your desk, do something with it NOW and be done with it. When the mail arrives each day, I immediately sort it, throw useless information into the recycling bin, put bills in the “to pay” folder, and put everything else into its respective place or to-do pile. The less frequently you touch each piece of paper, or the less time you procrastinate about something you don’t want to complete but will only take 30 minutes, the more efficiently you will be managing your entire campaign.

    You probably have already developed some job search management strategies that work best for you. Try integrating some of the above into what you’ve already created and you’ll find that your search campaign will proceed even more efficiently. And, the faster you move forward, the faster and easier you’ll find your next opportunity.

  • 14 Mar 2017 5:52 PM | Anonymous

    By Wendy Enelow, CCM, MRW, JCTC, CPRW

    Successful entrepreneurs understand what it takes to win in today’s intensely competitive careers industry. It takes a combination of business savvy, expertise in client relationship management, and an enduring commitment to servicing and satisfying each and every client. Here are 10 basic concepts of entrepreneurial elegance that will give you and your business a competitive distinction and ensure that you’re on the right track to long-term success and profitability.

    1. Embrace Your Clients. The key to success in our business is the ability to build strong and enduring client relationships. To achieve that, you must understand the concept of embracing your clients - making them feel special, valuing their business, responding to their needs and being accessible. If your clients feel a sense of warmth and safety in their interactions with you, you will have reached a huge summit in your professional life. When those clients do feel special, they’ll be the first to tell their friends and colleagues how remarkable you are. Then, just watch as your phone rings, your email box fills up and people are "knocking at your door" for your services, expertise and support. Remember, your existing clients are your single best sales force!
    2. Be Friendly & Personable. People want to do business with people who demonstrate a real interest in and concern for them. And, the best way to show that is by being friendly, personable and down to earth, while always retaining your professionalism. Consider truly successful people you know and you’ll realize a common characteristic that almost all of them share is they are open and friendly. It’s as though they’re silently communicating, "Come up and talk to me. I’m all yours!" In turn, others are attracted to them, want to do business with them and want to be a part of their world. Be sure that you exude that same kind of genuine openness and approachability.
    3. Listen Well. Give each client, colleague, employee or whomever you’re speaking with - whether in person or on the phone - your full attention. If your caller hears papers rustling in the background, if you’re constantly putting them on hold to catch another call, or if you’re whispering in the background to other people, you’ve communicated that you’re not listening and you’re not interested. The prospective client will go somewhere else, where someone listens and someone cares.
    4. Create The "Right" Image. Often people don’t meet you; instead, they meet a piece of paper, a website or a business card. Therefore, it is imperative that the visual presentation and content of each be the very best that it can be. Invest in sharp-looking, upscale business cards and brochures. In fact, invest in a graphic artist who can design an image that reflects you/your business and is unique. Then, translate that same design to your website to ensure that all of your marketing communications are consistent and present the same image and high degree of professionalism. If you’ve been fortunate enough to actually meet a prospective client or business colleague, after you’re gone, no matter how positive the impression you make, the only thing that someone has to remember you by is your card and brochure. Let them make a strong and memorable statement.
    5. Create Your "Best" Voice Mail Message. We all know that voice mail messages should be part of your overall marketing strategy. If you can’t answer the phone at a particular time, at least your voice mail message can communicate the value and professionalism of your services. However, be sure to keep your voice mail message short and to the point. How many times have you placed a call and then had to listen to a message that’s 60, 90 or more seconds long? It’s as though it will never end and you’ll never be given the chance to actually leave a message. All too many prospects will simply hang up. Don’t let that happen to you.
    6. Respond Today! We all have days when things get out of control and we simply can’t get it all done. And, that’s fine. However, it’s not fine to not respond to each day’s voice mail and email messages. Even if all you can do is call or email a client to say that you’ve been extremely busy and can’t talk today (what time tomorrow would work!?), you’re at least acknowledging them and their importance to you. Make this a daily priority in your professional life, starting today and forever.
    7. Make It Easy For Someone To Return Your Call. How many times have you had to listen to a phone message two or three times to get the caller’s phone number? To ensure that you don’t do that to others, repeat your phone number twice - slowly and clearly - whenever leaving a phone message. In addition, don’t leave more than two numbers where people can reach you. When you leave three, four or more numbers, it becomes too much of a chore to track you down. Take advantage of the latest technology that allows you to link all of your phone numbers and make it easy for someone to return your call.
    8. Be Thankful. Clients love to be appreciated, and there is little in business that can mean more than a handwritten thank-you note. When an employee, a business partner, a colleague or an associate does something for you, send a handwritten thank-you note via snail mail, not by email. With the advent of email technology, online greeting cards and the like, the personal attention that characterizes thank-you notes has disappeared. There is NOTHING someone will remember longer than a handwritten note that you’ve taken the time to send just to them. Buy several packages of cards and keep them on hand so you can mail one at a moment’s notice.
    9. No Man (Or Woman) Is An Island. Entrepreneurial success is all about building partnerships, relationships, alliances and more. And, that never holds more true than when you’re talking about entrepreneurship. The successful entrepreneur is the one who surrounds him/herself with other talented people, realizing that the knowledge and energy to be gained from others will be of invaluable support to them as they continue to pursue their entrepreneurial goals and success.
    10. Build Your Own Community. Entrepreneurship can be lonely and isolating. As such, it is essential that you build your own support system (combination of personal and professional) to provide yourself with a sense of belonging and unity. The community that you build can provide you with much-needed camaraderie that most people (those that are NOT self-employed) get from work. Because most small entrepreneurs work by themselves or with just one or two other people, it is critical that they build their own support community because work will not directly provide it.

    The key to success in our business is the ability to build strong and enduring client relationships. To achieve that, you must understand the concept of embracing your clients - making them feel special, valuing their business, responding to their needs and being accessible. If your clients feel a sense of warmth and safety in their interactions with you, you will have reached a huge summit in your professional life. When those clients do feel special, they’ll be the first to tell their friends and colleagues how remarkable you are. Then, just watch as your phone rings, your email box fills up and people are "knocking at your door" for your services, expertise and support. Remember, your existing clients are your single best sales force!

  • 14 Mar 2017 5:46 PM | Anonymous

    By Wendy Enelow, CCM, MRW, JCTC, CPRW

    This article is a bit unusual for me. Rather than writing a “regular” article for you, I’ve created a new sales document that you can distribute to your prospective coaching clients. This piece shows them first-hand how vital your career coaching services can be to their personal career success.

    After you’ve read the article and understand its value to you as a sales and marketing piece, all you have to do to make it a useable tool for you and your business is to:

    1. Save the article in a word processing file.
    2. Type in your name and your company’s name in the “Published by” line.
    3. Reformat it to modify its visual presentation to your style (if necessary).
    4. Add in additional information if you have other ideas.
    5. Print copies.
    6. Distribute it (mail, in-person, fax or email) to your past, present and prospective clients.

    Why past clients? They may still be in transition, or in transition AGAIN, and in need of an experienced career counselor. What’s more, these individuals already value you and will be receptive to new services you are offering. And, don’t forget, past clients are your single best source for new client referrals.

    Why present clients? These clients are already in some form of career transition and will find immediate value in your coaching services. These are the clients you can service TODAY!

    Why prospective clients? Prospects tend to shop various career service organizations to research their services and fees. When they realize that you offer a wealth of job search and coaching services, you’ve immediately positioned yourself as a single-source solution to ALL of their needs. What’s more, you will virtually eliminate your competition!

    So, as you can see, using this sales material is quick and easy! Further, I guarantee that once your clients have reviewed this information, it will be abundantly clear to them how critical coaching services are to their job search. And, in turn, you’ll see an immediate (and, hopefully) dramatic increase in your coaching revenues.

    Note that this document was written specifically to sell coaching services as they relate to job search and career marketing. It would NOT be appropriate, without extensive editing, to use for marketing other types of coaching programs (e.g., life coaching, executive coaching, salary training).

    Click here to download the article as a Microsoft Word document

    CAN CAREER COACHING SERVICES BENEFIT YOUR CAREER?

    Published by (FILL IN YOUR NAME & NAME OF YOUR COMPANY)

    One of the most recent developments in the job search industry is the evolution of the career coach as an essential component for any top-level job search campaign. We hear about coaches in the media, read about them in resume books, and even see them on Oprah! Five years ago, coaching was a virtually unknown profession. Today, it is evolving at a phenomenal rate.

    Are you taking advantage of this new trend?

    Do you know what a career coach is?

    Could you benefit from the expertise of one?

    By definition, a career coach is a trained professional (usually someone in the counseling and/or professional job search industry) who will guide you through the complexities of skills assessment, job search planning, campaign development, career marketing and long-term career management. To determine the value a career coach would bring to you, go through the following checklist of information, answering Yes or No to each question.

    Career Assessment & Focus

    • Do you know “who” you are - professionally?
    • Do you have a clear understanding of your most significant skills and qualifications?
    • Are you clear about your career objectives?
    • Do your skills and qualifications match your objectives?
    • Do you know the type of position you are seeking?
    • Do you know what types of activities you do NOT want to engage in?
    • Do you know the industries in which you are interested and will be focusing your search? 

    Your career coach will assist you in identifying and assessing your qualifications, job preferences, likes and dislikes, immediate objectives and long-term goals. Your coach will help you evaluate your worth in the employment market and your value within specific industries.

    Career Change & Transition

    • Are you considering changing career paths, professions or industries?
    • Can you find an equivalent position if you make such a change?
    • Will you command the same level of compensation?
    • What skills do you have that are transferable between jobs and/or industries?
    • Do you feel as though you are going to be niched into your current industry for the rest of your career?
    • Do you feel as though you are going to be niched into your current profession for the rest of your career?
    • Do you know today’s “hot” industries and professions?
    • Do you have the “right” skills to transition into these high-growth industries?

    Your coach will guide you in identifying and evaluating all of your possibilities and provide you with critical market intelligence to formulate your job search action plan.

    Personal & Family Issues

    • Do you have personal or family issues that are directly impacting your job search?
    • Is relocation out of the question?
    • Is your spouse currently employed and not anxious to leave his/her position?
    • Is your age impacting your campaign results?
    • Are you tied to your current community because of out-of-work activities you’re involved in?
    • Do you have a physical disability that might be negatively impacting your search but has never impacted your work performance?
    • Are you depressed because your job search has not progressed at the pace you anticipated?
    • Do you need an advisor, a confidante or a job search partner?

    Your coach can be your sounding board, helping you determine how to evaluate and prioritize these issues in relation to your search, how to best overcome obstacles standing in your way and how to best position those issues to your advantage.

    Career Marketing & Job Search Management

    • Do you understand that the job search process is similar to the sales process?
    • Do you understand that YOU are the product you are selling and that you must effectively merchandise and promote the product?
    • Do you understand all of the different marketing channels available to you in managing your search - targeted direct mail campaigns, email broadcast campaigns, Internet resume posting services, Internet job posting services, specialty job lead reports and more?
    • Do you know which marketing channels are the RIGHT marketing channels for your search?
    • Do you know how to best optimize your networking contacts and results?
    • Do you know which advertisements to respond to and which to ignore?

    Your career coach can help you critically evaluate each and every available job search strategy, its value to your search, the risk/reward ratio of each and how to best integrate each program into your campaign.

    Interview Skills & Salary Negotiations

    • Are you confident of your performance in the interview situation?
    • Are you able to “sell” your accomplishments without sounding as though you are bragging?
    • Are you articulate and well-presented?
    • Are you comfortable in a “stressful” interviewing situation with more than one interviewer?
    • Can you quickly and easily accommodate to a new environment?
    • Are you an accomplished negotiator, confident of your ability to negotiate the “best” compensation package possible?
    • Do you fully understand the potential of various bonus structures and schedules?
    • Do you understand the value of equity participation and other non-traditional compensation models?

    Your career coach will help you develop and refine powerful interviewing skills, pushing you to perform at your best, communicate your value and earn a compensation package well beyond your original expectations.

    References

    • Will your references speak positively about your skills, qualifications, experience and track record?
    • Will your references say anything that could be potentially damaging to you?
    • Are your references the RIGHT references for you to use?
    • Do you know how to improve the performance of your references when they’re talking about you?
    • Can you make the reference-checking process easier for your references?

    If you know that your references may be divulging information that could be construed as negative, let your career coach teach you how to best overcome these situations.

    If you can answer “YES” to most of the questions and are confident in your ability to manage your job search, then you are reasonably well-prepared to move forward on your own. However, if you still feel the need for the expertise, insights and support of a career coach, don’t hesitate for one minute. These trained professionals can make a huge difference in the speed and success of your job search. If you answered “NO” to more than just 3-4 of the questions above, I would strongly urge you consider the value a career coach could bring to your job search, career performance and compensation. With years of training and experience, career coaches know what works and what doesn’t work, how to optimize your results, and how to help you land your ideal position. With your career coach at your side, you can move forward confidently and successfully.

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