Happy New Year 2012

ā€Ž”What the New Year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the New Year.” ~Vern McLellan

Happy New YearThank you for being along for the journey this past year. Your business and your friendship are more appreciated than you know.

Watch this space – as well as our Facebook Page,Ā Twitter account or free eNewsletter – for announcements of some of the big changes we’ve been working on during the last quarter – our own plan for “bringing more to the New Year.”

I look forward to having the opportunity to help youĀ do the same!

Remember to celebrate responsibly, for the future is full of promise.

Your Can of Corn

Are you concerned that the products and/or services you offer are being commoditized – that is, reduced down to a “price list” – andĀ that is becoming the determining factor as to whether or not a prospect decides to do business with you?

The problem I see with many businesses in the current economic climate is that they feel compelled to compete on price alone. And when money is tight, this is an easy trap to fall into. In their heart of hearts, every business owner fears that they might push their prospects into the arms of the competition by charging what they’re worth.

The irony is, that’s precisely the kind of thinking that directly contributes to lower sales and/or profitability. Let me explain. (more…)

Steve Jobs May Have Left Us … But He Left Us a Lot

Life is undeniably different for all of us because of this man. Quite a legacy, unlikely to be equaled by many others, ever.

My favorite quote from Steve Jobs:

“You’ve got to find what you love … the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” ā€“- Steve Jobs

Rest in peace, Steve.

 

Creating Your Own Economy

Let’s hear it for those creating their own economy through online work!

Recent online articles from Inc Magazine, Kiplingers, and Entrepreneur validateĀ what I’ve been saying for the last several years: location-independence is the way to go!

It’s not just the shape of things to come – it’s the shape of the way things ARE! I may have been the pioneer of this lifestyle among my own colleagues and peers, but this is clearly emerging as a worldwide trend and I believe it’s here to stay. Over the last couple of years, I consciously transformed my own business for location-independence, and now 90-95% of my business activities take place in the virtual world.

The intelligent use of available technology saves time, travel, and money – for both me and my clients. Here’s how:

TIME: No one needs to travel to a meeting. When a simple conversation will suffice, I utilize phone calls, email and conference calls. Does everyone at the meeting need to reference certain documents? In those instances, I prefer GoToMeeting, which lets us share documents on each participant’s computer screen. And I find Skype video calls to be a great way to conduct face-to-face (F2F) meetings.

Another benefit of the location-independent lifestyle is that, even with clients in different time zones, time itself becomes less of a factor. I can (and do) easily adjust my workday to accommodate my clients’ time zones and deadlines. My “office” is wherever my laptop and smart phone and I happen to be, and it doesn’t necessarily open at 9 AM and close at 5 PM Eastern. I can be on a conference call at 7 AM or working on a client project at 2 AM (typically not in the same day, of course!) – all the better to take advantage of a gloriously sunny afternoon by the sea, which I often do!

And working from home means never having to say you’re sorry you came to the meeting in your pajamas – although, if Skyping, I do recommend dressing at least the top half of your body šŸ˜‰

TRAVEL: Like many service businesses, the services I offer cross geographical boundaries. I can as easily serve businesses and individuals here in the northeast as those in southern California; I can serve folks in the U.K. as easily as those in the States.

What does that mean to my clients? I no longer have to jump on a plane, train, or into an automobile to meet with them. No airfaire or train fare, no ground transportation, no hotels or meals. No gasoline, tolls or parking fees. And, of course, no time lost getting to the meeting (all of which is always figured into a professional’s fee, whether it’s itemized or not).

MONEY: In addition to the travel expenses mentioned above, let’s not forget the even bigger expense of hiring an in-house professional to do what I do. When you hire an employee, you take on the added expense of office space, furniture and supplies; office equipment such as a computer, printer, cell phone, etc – perhaps even a company car. And “salary” does not even come close to defining the true cost of hiring; there’s also the cost of health benefits, paid time off, payroll taxes, bonuses and a retirement plan to consider.

Am I a believer in the online economy? You bet I am!

So … what is your business doing to make it easier for prospects and customers to choose working with YOU?