Customers expect to be manipulated when it comes to companies trying to get them to buy something. So do the complete opposite, advises small-business expert Mike Michalowicz. "The marketing landscape is crowded, and prospects have become jaded by the clamoring of salespeople and special offers." he writes. Folks crave authenticity and honesty, and if you can do the opposite of what’s expected by being forthright, you’ll end up way ahead." (From "6 Ways Reverse Psychology Can Help You Close Sales," by Mike Michalowicz)
This month marks the 30th anniversary of TED Talks, the ground-breaking conference that brings some of the world's best minds and speakers on stage to discuss topics that matter most today. One of the secrets to getting a standing O when speaking? Not shying away from how passionate you feel about a topic, says Carmine Gallo, communications expert and author of Talk Like TED: The 9 Public Speaking Secrets of the World's Top Minds. "Passion is contagious, literally," he says. (From "Talk Like TED: The World's Best Public Speakers Reveal Their Secrets ," by Matthew E. May)
3. Hire a teenager.
American teens are facing the highest unemployment since World War II, which may create a future workforce without real work experience. Small-business owners can help shape the next generation by hiring teenagers. It also reaps benefits for them as well, writes OPEN Forum's Kelly Spors. "Some states offer employers tax credits for hiring young workers," Spors writes. "New York, for example, recently expanded eligibility for its tax credit for hiring workers aged 16 to 24." (From "4 Reasons You Should Hire Teens at Your Business," by Kelly Spors)
Everyone can stand to learn a thing or two from the well-oiled machines that are college basketball teams, writes Jason Brick. "In small businesses, when employees sometimes wear several hats, 'mission drift' can be a big problem," Brick writes. "It leads to poorly defined jobs, and jobs that aren't assigned to any particular team member. Take a lesson from the winning team of this year's tournament and make sure everyone knows his or her role(From "March Madness: 5 Things Entrepreneurs Can Learn From the NCAA Tournament," by Jason Brick)
Nothing can shake a customer's trust like knowing your business has hit some hard financial times. Reassuring them that you're still the right business for the job is a matter of trust, writes small-business expert Mike Periu. "Eliminate the risk" of working with you for them by establishing a delivery-based payment system, he writes. "Status reports, receipts and project updates are all examples of deliverables that give clients comfort knowing that you're working and that they haven’t given an advance to someone who isn’t responsible with money." (From "Is Your Rocky Financial History Turning Off New Clients?," by Mike Periu)
Although women business owners face considerable institutional barriers to success (e.g. venture funding only goes to 7 percent of businesses owned by women and a whopping 93 percent for men), when they are present, it means big wins for companies and the economy. Venture capitalists see more return on their investment when a company has a high concentration of women in management. (From "Why Women Entrepreneurs Matter," by Anthonia Akitunde)
Don't wait until the last minute to start thinking about your 2014 taxes, especially since tax bills will only continue to go up after this year. "Expect more changes in 2014 as Congress attempts to tackle corporate tax reform," writes tax blogger Kelly Phillips Erb. "Many of the changes that are being considered focus squarely on pass-through entities." (From "2014 Tax Changes: What Small-Business Owners Need to Know," by Kelly Phillips Erb)
The monotony of working at a customer support desk can lead to poor customer and customer service rep interactions. Make the experience more fun for your team by adding elements of play to their work. Adding leaderboards, badges and other game-like accents to the customer service desk led to some major improvement for one company: "The average speed at which employees answered call problems fell from about five minutes to less than one minute." (From "Play It Again: How Gamification Can Improve Customer Relations," by James O'Brien)
The first step to selling your idea as quickly as possible starts with determining what your goal is, writes sales expert Grant Cardone. "What is the one thing you want this person to do when the pitch is over?" he writes. The answer will shape how you shape your message from there on out. (From "How to Sell Your Idea in 20 Seconds," by Grant Cardone)
If you're having a hard time figuring out what's next or stepping outside of your boundaries, you may want to consider putting yourself in the hands of a capable creativity coach. These trained professionals can help push you beyond your stagnant ideas to find new growth opportunities for your business you've never considered! (From "9 Ways a Creativity Coach Can Help Your Business," by Vivian Wagner)
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