BUSINESS PROCESS IMPROVEMENT

Video: Strategic Bartering

Barter can extend our cash reserves, increase our spending capacity, and help us attract new customers and opportunities.

Barter expert and author Karen Hoffman shares over 20 years of experience, including national and international perspectives on bartering. In her presentation and her book, The Art of Barter, she describes trades of just a few dollars up to those involving millions of dollars. While most people are comfortable using cash, layaway, credit cards or borrowing from a bank or family, she describes the many ways bartering can impacts our lives and can minimize use of cash and stretch the assets we have all while attracting new customers and opportunities.

In her presentation, Karen clarifies:

  • Ways we barter - direct one-on-one, a broker or barter company, trade dollars
  • Reasons we barter – to increase cash reserves, gain new customers
  • What we barter – goods, services, benefits
  • How to identify trade-worthy products or services
  • Communications when we barter – the importance of clarity and structure
  • Timing - when to introduce barter
  • Why to barter – incentives, networking, stretch goals and giving to the community

Making the impossible possible is a trademark of Karen Hoffman, often referred to as the queen of possibilities. In this presentation, she demonstrates the power of creating opportunities where they are typically not unrecognized.

Karen Hoffman is founder of Gateway to Dreams, an organization designed to connect and promote people so they can live their dreams and provide their valuable services to the world. Call her today at 314.503.6376 or email her at Karen@cityofexperts.com

Video: Marketing and Operations are Connected

Marketing expert Steve Smart turns chaos into order by helping business owners become profitable by focusing on what customers want and delivering it to them

Marketing expert Steve Smart is fired up when he can help turn chaos into order and help business owners become more profitable through creating structure around their content and processes. He opens this powerful program by stating that marketing and operations are strongly tied together. He asks the audience this rhetorical question, “What is marketing?” After offering several definitions, he suggests the following as useful to remember, “Marketing is everything involved in successfully taking your product to market.” It’s finding what people want and delivering it to them. He suggests a shift in perspective is needed.

Steve Smart reminds the audience that ideal marketing provides leads, then revenue and then profits. He says in order for this to happen it’s important to think of marketing holistically so that you attract leads, close sales, and make sure you are satisfying customers throughout the entire buying and service continuum.

Operations are inter-related to marketing because they intersect through:

  • Touch-points – these include every point of contact you have with your customers. Customers make choices based on how you impress them. You are always modifying, informing or reinforcing your impression on them. The related points of contact are important – they might include the product itself, the packaging, the billing process, and all phases od service. Ideally your touch-points help your clients feel a closer connection to you, making it more likely they will be loyal to you, refer you and make another purchase with you. In order to create operational touch-points effectively, you need to think of all the different ways you interact with customers, and then make one or more people responsible for each touch-point. You want to have consistent processes around this and be intentional for how you deliver on your brand promise.
  • Culture – this includes employees, customers and vendors. When you have a value-based culture where people understand the purpose for creating an experience at each touch-point, values customer satisfaction and embraces shared ideas, there will be greater creativity and collaboration on succeeding with your brand. Everyone shares, validates and executes on ideas, helping each your company to become productive and profitable.
  • Cross-functional teamwork – people outside your actual marketing department matter too. Together you communicate in word and deed a stronger vision, a better culture, and greater collaboration, enabling people to enjoy making contributions and creating buy-in. Other team members’ help you execute on new ideas and they have a fresh perspective to offer.

Steve Smart ends his presentation emphasizing the need to live your brand promise internally as well as externally. Intentionality helps everyone play a part of the process to deliver on the brand promise. You will be most successful if you put a structure in place to identify a list of all touch points and make sure everyone involved shares ideas, provides input and gets feedback afterwards to strengthen your values and service.

Steve Smart is helpful and believes in high customer satisfaction. He’s an expert at purpose and value-based marketing. Need help with your marketing efforts? Reach out to Steve Smart at srsmart@2qsolutions.net

Video: Effective Workplace Culture

Chris Torbit is a successful business owner with a growing, thriving business. He walks the talk, making culture and guiding principles a priority. He shares many stories about how he defines, clarifies and keeps his culture statement front and center with not only himself and his employees, he shares them with vendors and clients. In his presentation:

  • How to get started – clarify why you are here (mission), who you are (values) and how you express your mission through your vision
  • The importance of sharing with everyone your values and principles so you are matched
  • Spending time with staff to review purpose and values
  • Talk about mission and values at performance time
  • Firing clients and employees when their behavior is not aligned with the guiding principles
  • Distinguish your company by discussing your values-based approach
  • Reinforcing behaviors and values with actions and events
  • Expect resistance but stay the course with passion and purpose

Chris Torbit is a consummate professional who is wise enough to know that business is more than sales and marketing. He knows that having a values-based and purpose-driven business is key to sustainable and effective growth. To learn more about great business strategy or for help in selecting the best in phone technology, contact Chris Torbit at 314-801-6700.

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Hottest Graphic Design Programs

So you've decided to start a graphic design project. Great! But how do you get from your initial idea to a finished, printed product?

So you've decided to start a graphic design project. Great! But how do you get from your initial idea to a finished, printed product? If you decide to forgo the recommendation of seeking professional graphic design help, you are probably in the market for some software. It doesn't matter if you are trying to create a logo, banner, sign, or brochure, it can be difficult getting from the project's conception to the final product if you lack the proper tools.

SEO and website development expert Will Hanke speaks from experience and provides valuable information outlining today’s hottest graphic design programs, some known and some more obscure.

Adobe Creative Suite

Adobe Creative Suite is probably the most known graphic design package, and it contains a lot of different software programs including InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop. If you buy the entire suite, it will set you back a pretty penny. You do, however, have the option of buying individual components of the package. The following are some of the more popular components to help you with your project.

Adobe InDesign is great for making flyers and posters. It even has tools to help guide you in making your own brochure. The tools allow you to do a little bit of image editing, and help you layout your brochure and put text on top of an image.

Adobe Illustrator, on the other hand, is simply a program allowing you to create or edit your own image files. It is essentially a blank canvas and provides you with tools to sketch, paint, erase, and scale a picture. If you are a talented digital artist, then this is a must have for your graphic design projects.

Lastly, I imagine everyone knows about Photoshop. The popularity of this program is so immense it has become a verb in the English language! Still, this photo manipulation software is considered an industry standard by many, and can help you touch up photos before you send them to be printed.

Corel Software

Corel is a software company and a competitor to Adobe products. Corel Draw even has handy brochure templates, and can really save you time. Some people prefer Adobe over Corel or vice versa, but the important thing to remember about Corel products is they are comparable software products and provide almost the exact same features at a fraction of the price.

GIMP

GIMP, or GNU Image Manipulation Program, is part of the open source GNU project and a great piece of software. Software under the GNU license is free to use, copy, distribute and you could even change the source code. It's incredible because it competes with top image manipulation and graphic design programs, yet is still completely free! However, unless you already know how to use similar tools, you are going to need to learn a lot before you can use this program very well. Its learning curve is relatively steep.

These known and not-so-well known programs are great aids for many graphic design projects. Fair warning: they have a tough learning curve to them and some have a hefty price tag, so if you feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed creating your own logo or design, seek the help of acustom printing company. On the other hand, if you absolutely need to do the design portion yourself, these programs will aid you in making your idea a reality!

SEO expert Will Hanke is a Jack-of-all-trades and understands a spectrum of tools available to do a variety of tasks, including those related to graphic design. He informs readers by describing the relative strengths and weaknesses of each product outlined. For SEO and website development tips, subscribe to his newsletter or check out his blog.

Video: Clone Your Hard Drive

In this short but helpful video, marketing expert Steve Smart offers reasons why, when and how to clone your hard drive.

In this short but highly useful video, marketing expert Steve Smart offers compelling reasons why to clone your hard drive. He reminds us that while we back up our business files, we don’t consider the cost of a irretrievable hard drive. Reasons to clone your drive include:

  • We lose our programs
  • We lose our operating system
  • We lose our preferences
  • We lose special features we’ve downloaded
  • We lose our data and
  • We spend too much downtime replacing what we’ve lost

Steve Smart is helpful and believes in high customer satisfaction. He’s an expert at marketing. Need help with your marketing efforts? Reach out to Steve Smart at srsmart@2qsolutions.net.

The Best Kept Secret to Transition a Family Business

Family-owned and family-managed businesses account for 90% of all business enterprises in North America, more than 60% of America’s employment, 78% of all new job creation, and 50% of America’s Gross Domestic Product.

Paradoxically, only 30% of family businesses in America are successful passing the reigns to the next generation.

70% of family businesses do not make it to the second generation even though surveys indicate 79% of senior members want their families to retain the family business and 70% of the next generation shares these hopes.

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Feel You Always Have Too Much To Do?

Are you tired of sleepless nights, unproductive feelings of stress and anxiety, relationships constantly under duress, and not being yourself at the top of your game?

One of my earlier BLOGS pointed to the Tyranny of the Urgent and the importance of setting priorities in order to be happy, productive, and successful.

Why is it we have time to do things over, but not time to do them right the first time?

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Productivity Through Digital Contracts

Have you ever considered using an online e-signature service to manage contracts?

Every business requires documents to be signed.  If your company is still waiting for physical signatures and faxes, then you might be able to introduce a new workflow to save you time.  Imagine all the following scenarios in your business:

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