Author Archives: Janine McKalister

About Janine McKalister

Janine is a full time communications tutor at an Australian international college. She commonly travels to Asia and provides consultancy services to C-Level executives at some of Asia's leading companies like Samsung and Lenovo.


Cost Effective Public Relations For SMBs

You might have to invest a few extra cash in marketing your business, and this is particularly difficult when cash is hard to come by. However, there are various means for which you could secure free business PR that are proven to work.  Here are a few of the ways of gaining free PR for your small business.

1. Establish your expertise

You can greatly utilise your expertise in marketing your business. You could really be great in doing something else. All you need to do is establish the fact that you are extremely good at what you do. Write articles and submit them online, write an e-book, attend speaking engagement, anything that will back up your claims of expertise.

2. Utilise the power of the media

Make connections with the local media. Establish good relationship with them. Extend enough effort to feature your small business in all local media outlet. Introduce them to your business’ background, nature and advantages. Make them a part of your business’ important activities, such as pilot opening, anniversary and any other important details. Make a catalogue of the entire media outlet in your locality, and every time your business engages in something important, let them know through sending a press release. You may also post your media releases to any free PR websites for an additional exposure and coverage.

3. Offer something relevant in return for significant details

Collect as much information as possible. Ask for important details like name, address and contact number, among other things so you could include them in your network for future reference and business opportunities. In return, you may offer something relevant to your customers for their cooperation, such as your authored e-book or newsletter. You may also find it helpful to gain the collaboration of other businesses with the same target bracket as you do. You may exchange relevant information, thus increasing your market universe.

4. Make good use of the web

You need not be a tech savvy for you to greatly utilise the benefits of the internet. Make good use of its usage. Take advantage of it. It will greatly impact your business if only you employ the many uses of the internet. Social Media sites are really good breeding ground for fledgling businesses; you can use this medium to reach out to hundreds of customers, either current or potential.

5. Stay grounded

You have to keep improving your new-age techniques of marketing without neglecting the proven old methods. Do not be limited in your approaches. Diversify! Associate with people from your industry and make solid connection with them. Hand out your business cards. Stay in contact with your clients and customers. These may be the ways of the old, but these are also proven to work.


Easiest PR – Personal PR

First impression matters especially if you are meeting possible clients. You are not getting another chance, so make the best out of it the first time. A personal PR could be your answer.

There could be a great possibility that first impressions are true. The image you project at first meeting could be interpreted as your general characteristic by clients. You have to protect the image you have especially when you are in business where you get to have so many opportunities of meeting professional people the first time.  Because your image is your ticket towards building a much needed credibility, you must take good care of it. Every single gesture and actuation you deliver is subject for interpretation, so you need to act appropriately as to what the circumstance requires. First impression impacts your business in a great way, so make the best of yourself while you’re at it. In the eyes of your potential clients, you and your business is interchangeable; when you project yourself a lousy image, you are sending a message that they will be venturing with a lousy business. Therefore, project yourself the best and the most appropriate way, develop your personal PR.

Your image is the gauge other people will measure you and your business. You cannot deceive them into believing that you are not really what you are showing them at the moment. It is impossible to let them know you run an environmentally conscious business when you do not even dispose your wastes properly. No matter how trivial, people will notice every off-handed remark or gesticulation you make. Potential clients will pretty much use their first impression of you in evaluating you entirely.

Building a healthy image will definitely work to your advantage. Make an effort to evaluate yourself, and do a personality makeover if need be. Your manner is your message to others about who you are without uttering a single word. If you dress smart, if you smile a lot, if you always make sure to make it on time, then you are sending a message that you are great to work with. Your business skills may not necessarily be enough to bring your business into a higher level; learn the skill of personal PR as well.

  • Make every effort to project a professional image even to the slightest detail, from your business communications down to your logo
  • Be smart. Dress accordingly. Neat grooming will do you good.
  • Be cordial, warm and friendly to everyone no matter their station in life. Develop healthy and proper manners.

Use fear to build your Confidence

Fear is a natural human instinct, even the bravest and most experienced feel fear, and the only difference is how well it is handled. Fear can even be used as a catalyst to do something great, as a stimulant to want to be better.

I have come to witnessed someone spoke in court with the excellent confidence that one glance of him would make someone think his gift is in-born. But the truth is, he was just like anyone of us, he started as a terribly speaker, he trembles in front every time he speaks. His fear overwhelms him when he stands and speaks. But instead of succumbing to the paralyzing effect of fear, he rather did the opposite. He used fear to stimulate him to become better. He went out of his way and learned the required techniques of public speaking. He desired to be better, and so he became way better than he was. He grabbed every opportunity to test his newfound confidence and skill, and then fear gradually become lesser until he was able to conquer it.

He might have stumbled and made a few mistakes as he learned but all the while he makes his leaning greater; he never wavered. He conquered his fear by fear and so succeeded.

We have a tendency to procrastinate towards conquering fear. But fear stays as fear when we do nothing about it. We have to make an active stand on overcoming our worst fears. Fear keeps us from being the best that we are designed to be. So to help you with overcoming fears, it might help you to repeat some Positive Words and Affirmations:

Speak Positive Words

  • I will conquer my fear
  • I will not be deterred by fear in any way
  • I will not procrastinate, I will do it now
  • I will improve my skills, I will become better
  • I will seek people’s council and wisdom
  • I will make mistakes my stepping stone towards progress
  • I will exhaust all possible ways to improve myself
  • I will never be conquered by failure
  • I will succeed at all cost
  • I will experience growth and progress along the way

Speak forth Affirmations

  • I am successful in everything I do
  • I am as brave as any of the great heroes
  • I am as skilled as the greatest artists
  • I am poised for all the great possibilities
  • I am loved
  • I am secure
  • I will live to be a blessing for others

You get to choose your own affairs, you choose your fate. Success do not happen by accident, it is always by choice. Therefore, when fear grips you, choose to be confident instead. When you feel like giving up, choose to strive harder instead. Choose to become better than dwindle in frustrations. Choose to be confident.


Complaints Resolutions – Promote Your Business

Customers who plunge into purchases that result to unsatisfactory performance dread the moment when they have to notify the shop they patronized because more often than not, poor post-sales customer service handling is what is expected.  Breakdown of an item do happen, albeit rarely.  But if businesses learn how best to handle these rare post-sales customer issues well, threat can actually turn into opportunity for return businesses from the complainants themselves.  Here’s a short sample of how that can happen.

Last winter, a blogger client decided to shell out $170 to have a fire grate made in his new home.   After installation, the customer was satisfied with his purchase.  Craftsmanship appeared impeccable, functionality and operations, smooth.  But after only twenty fires, the whole device started to lose shape, bend in several places and eventually conked out.   Generally, this would instantly be concluded as a bad purchase and will result to irritation and dissatisfaction.  Coming from an active blogger, this can spell disaster and bad publicity for the shop and the product itself.

Fortunately, the client is a sensible man. He has professed he generally avoids conflicts at all costs.  Placing the problem in the back-burner, so to speak, for a couple of weeks so as to delay the eventual confrontation of the problematic item, the client finally realized he should take it back.   “Sorry, mate, our guarantee only extends to 14-days” or “Sorry but you shouldn’t have kept using it” were the standard parroted words expected.  One cannot really blame him for expecting those.

Upon placing the complaint formally on the counter’s shop, lo and behold, he got the surprise of his life!  How so?  The fellow who received his concerns promptly apologized for the item delivered and immediately laid out a resolution plan complete with timelines.   Instead of referring to the client as a “mate,” the shop fellow pleasantly referred to the client by his first name on his apology immediately striking a more personal, professional connection and at the same time, pacifying the irritation and offering a resolution that would be done within two days!  The end result? The problematic fire grate was fixed on the same day at no extra charge.

Now that is what you call Impeccable Customer Service Handling.

How you handle customer complaints can create an opportunity to promote your business.

Clients acknowledge that although products are supposed to deliver what they promised in their unique selling propositions, problems do arise and mistakes do happen.  From the business owner’s perspective, the learning here is how best to handle situations like these when they arise so as to ensure continued patronage and understanding from their business providers.

The blogger client who was pleasantly surprised of the experience did, as expected, blog about the whole thing.  In his online article, he swore he could tell the fellow who handled his complaint resolution had no formal training in corporate customer service.  However, what set this fellow apart from his peers is that he took ownership of the business, exercised wise judgment, and did what seemed right.  In business-speak, this bright fellow listened to his customer’s request, offered a reasonable resolution, provided a sensible timeline and delivered.

Don’t get it wrong: good customer service handling does not mean giving in to every whim and fancy of complaining customers.  Admittedly, there are moments when clients are simply unreasonable.  But in every situation, there is a solution.  The only message this article wishes to imbibe is that good customer service handling, especially post-sales, is another important selling experience a client must enjoy.  Have a good ear for listening, be sensible and mature about your options and deliver promptly.  The last of these elements is as essential as the first: delivery.  After all, nobody likes to be delayed. Nobody likes to wait. Prompt action not only delivers but it also seals the deal.

How businesses handle customer complaints reflect how clients will look at them for similar future requirements.  Handled well, these once irate customers can turn into loyal, happily raving patrons.  Search for that blog of the fire grate blogger client – he has sworn he’d buy another fire grate soon at Flash Weld in Mornington, Victoria.


Proven Ways of Developing Your Power of Possibility

You have an enormous faith in yourself that you could do great many things, and then suddenly you hear voices telling you that you could not. Does it sound familiar? Do you hear voices that inject doubts and negativity? You have the power to shut them all off!

I always thought I could give as much knowledge about Leadership as any other Leadership experts. I know that I have all with me my needed ingredients to be as effective as anybody else. But then the annoying voices start whispering thoughts and words that make me curl and fold. The voices seem to gain strength every time I resolve to reach my true potential. It makes me feel small and unworthy. It seems to have all the right reasons why I should not aim high. It never stops in pointing out what I lack; that I would not amount to anything worthy. It injects fear and worries. The little voice of disappointment is only good in one thing, to disappoint you from gaining confidence and eventually succeed in achieving your goals. You have the power to not listen to its lies. Here are a few steps to help you combat the ill effects of the voice:

  • Invite the voice to state all its reasons and opinions, and then take time to think over maybe he has a point.
  • Write down all that the voice said to you. If it injects doubt then write down what specific doubt is it referring to and the corresponding reason. This way, you allow yourself to gain a better understanding of your capacity and your limits which you could use to your advantage.
  • Talk back to the voice. Make conversation with it and deal with it as if you are really talking to a tangible being. Thank it for the help, and that because of him you gained a far better perspective that would have taken you longer if you were left alone to your own devices. Make a resolve to craft valuable resolution about the things that need improvement.
  • Start making decisions that impact your way of life towards achieving your goal and making things possible. Believe that you are capable of achieving anything that you ever thought of achieving. Do not concern yourself about the impossibility; just think that you can do it.
  • Project a healthy image of you in your mind. Make a goal of achieving that image. If you wish to become a successful leadership guru then you better start imagining yourself standing on stage giving lectures upon lectures on countless numbers of audiences. Your reality starts in your mind.

By thinking positive, you create positive outcomes. By thinking that everything is possible, you make every bit of your goals possible no matter the circumstances. Your mind has the power to make things into being. If you think of becoming physically strong then you will indeed become strong. If you dream of ever becoming a successful businessman then indeed your dream will be yours. That is the power of possibility.


Start Your Business, Be Confident About It

In every venture, either personal or professional, confidence is an effective yardstick for success. The performance of your business is directly proportional to your expectations and your confidence on meeting those expectations. I believe it is worth your while and mine to discuss a few of pointers about the importance of confidence in starting a small business.

The first thing that comes to mind when starting a business comes up is whether you have the capacity to run it, or even start one. You could be overwhelmed by the tremendous pressures even way before you had your first day of business. It is the tendency of the human instinct to formulate ungrounded fears based solely on unfounded facts. When you fear even way before you move, you lose. Your analysis of what happens in the future keeps you from making bold moves in the present; which is definitely detrimental to your fledgling business.

Before I had my own copy write business, I took a tremendous amount of time deciding whether I am really good enough for it. For days, I kept seeing reasons why other writers are better than me. I was hopelessly on the edge of giving up my aspirations merely because of my own imagined fears. Thankfully, there was one person who told me to get hold of myself and start gaining confidence in my own abilities. He said I should start out by being clear with my goals, vision and capacity. I need to be clear on what specific fields do I really want to flourish. Once things are already clear then I already began building up my confidence, which is a lot easier because I already have a strong foothold about issues at hand. My confidence started to climb unprecedented heights until I realized that people flock to me to hire me to write for their websites. That was just quite amazing for someone who started out without strong self confidence.

I became very good with what I do which probably the reason why people trust my ability to do their work for them. When potential clients approach me, they see a clear terms of what they expect from me as much as they are also crystal clear of their obligations to me as being my clients.

When you have clarity on your skills and your abilities, people get the sense that you could do a certain job seriously wonderful and worthy of their spent resources.

on track

Be Always On Track

When running a business, you need to keep yourself on track. There could be many distractions when you are already in the actual field. Some even looks very good at the surface but will later sidetrack you and will keep you from achieving your goals in accordance to your vision. So while you go ahead achieving your lofty goals, never take your eyes off your original destination. This will keep you grounded.

I understand if there are times that you feel the impulse of fast tracking things, accelerating procedures and expedite the process. There is nothing wrong with that. Some people like it slow, and some do it with speed. However, if you always do things in rush right from the start, you are in the danger of going off the track and could not be good for your own and your business’ sake. I believe that what makes us all the more to push the harder to resort to expediency is when we see our contemporaries speeding us by. We have the tendency to look down on ourselves and think that we have been left behind. But that should not be the case, do not envy those who seem to be skyrocketing because they have their own downtimes. Focus on your own stake. Do not look somewhere else but on your own track. Follow these 5 simple steps to keep you on track:

  • If you feel like your colleagues are speeding you by, just let them be. You will have your own time and chance at your own pace.
  • Always be guided by your principles. Do not let your business activities compromise your belief on what is right and on what is wrong. As you grow professionally, your character shall become stronger and finer as well.
  • Take time to rest from time to time. Do not succumb to burnt-out, treat yourself somewhere to relax and reenergize. When you are faced with an overwhelming task, all the more that you should look for an opportunity to rest and relax. Bring yourself in an environment of peace and serenity.
  • Never sever any meaningful relationships even as you chase after business pursuits. Spend quality time with people who matter to you, people who love for who you are and not for what you do.
  • Associate with people. Share your interest and your expertise to others. When you move out of your comfort zone to offer sincere help to other people in need, you bless them and you grow personally and professionally as a result.

Service Culture: Key to Establishing a Business Entreprise

In my spare time I make it a point to drive through the local mall and stroll within its hallways just looking at the endless lines of well instituted pubs and shops.   I cannot help but read through most of their labels and brands.  One thing I have continually noticed on countless occasions: their business logos which would bear the words “Established in ___ or Since ___.”   Looking back at it now, I can only ask myself, how do they do that?  Just how do they manage to put up a business then keep it through the years even through the centuries?

In the world of competitive trades and economics it is not a brilliant idea for a budding businessman to slash prices in half every time business opens.  This is what one of our internet bloggers recently realized.  He concluded, that it is impractical to lower your prices to assume a leverage of some sort from other business ventures as this will surely bring an untimely demise on your business endeavor.  Instead, he insisted on keeping one trade secret: encouragement of service culture.

What is service culture all about?  It is simply the expounded idea of the age-old rule: give and take.  That is, a transaction is considered complete if the services your customers received are enough to motivate them to return.  This is encouraging customer loyalty.   Customers need to feel valuable.  Once they are made to feel that they are needed and that they are important they will come back for more.  That is human nature.  Besides, loyal customers are the best publicity. As the saying goes:

“ Not only do loyal customers spend more, they also help your business to grow by bringing in more new customers. ”

Creating customer awareness, channeling your principal message and crafting customer loyalty takes time and effort.  However with the help of service culture, these can be made effortless.  It is best to keep in mind three important steps: first, determine a shared goal between the business and its customers. Second, maintain rapport.  That is, keep an open communication.  And third, generate positive feelings.  Use compliments,  and personalized messages to convey gratitude and appreciation.  Don’t get me wrong, service culture is not present within the transaction level.  It is seen during the time when customers are not with the business men and they are not well within the business area.

Looking back, I have reached a level of understanding about how brilliantly these established businesses created a group of customers and kept them loyal all these years.  I can only imagine how intricately they have managed to weave three important factors: the establishment of a common goal, the introduction of an open communication and the building of rapport which are truly exquisite they have kept the business going.  Trust, in its most fundamental sense of the word, is a indeed a product of loyalty.  Customer loyalty is the key to win the ruthless competition in the alternate universe of a traders’ world.


Bad Customer Service Can Take a Toll on Your Business

Ever wondered why companies left and right spend millions of advertising dollars just to come up with loyalty cards and programs for their business? It is simple: it is because they have realized that loyalty leaders in business who more often than not design their whole business systems around customer loyalty rise up to be winners in the end. If you start wishing your business to harness this intangible trait of allegiance with your existing customers and take steps towards its realization, you and your business should be bound for success as well.

Client loyalty is the act with which happy customers adopt making them come back to patronize a chosen product or service.  It is a self-imposed system wherein a company strives to deliver high impeccable quality in all their products or services all the time making high-quality and able customers stay with them for the long haul.  In some successful cases, even company employees turn into these happy customers that customer loyalty transcends market place walls.

Owing to the fact that the rate of return for high customer loyalty is measurable, businesses today are jumping into the celebration wagon.  When a business owner consistently produces products or services of value and win customer loyalty, market share, bottom lines and top lines all rise while the cost to acquire new customers goes down.  How so? Loyal customers do a business much service through word of mouth advertising and referrals without the company having to spend any advertising dollars further!

Various ways are available today for companies to capture customer loyalty among their current client base.  Programs in the form of incentives or risk-free trial periods for a product or service are some of the ways a business can introduce this scheme.  Cash outlay at the onset may appear big and daunting but in the long run, the high yield these programs deliver drive up profits and expenditures essential to attract new patrons.

Despite these new ways of attracting and keeping your target market to patronize your excellent product or service line, remember that there is still no excuse from delivering excellent customer service at each and every transaction, be it pre- or post-sales, to support the thrust you are introducing to your clients.  After all, “nothing is harder to regain than lost trust” and to earn customer loyalty, consistency is a vital key.

A blogger mentioned before that “People do business with people they trust.” That much is true. A client will only bring their business to people they perceive to be trustworthy not only in business dealings but also, those who they perceive to be knowledgeable – an expert in their area – whose high dependability to deliver what they promise is without doubt.

Today is the age of being critical – when customer trust is hard to win unless you successfully settle all the doubts in their head.  Keep in mind that building trust is a slow process but once won, you reap the benefits for your business in the end.

Vision Statement

Creating An Effective Vision Statement

Success is dependent upon the direction you lead your business to. Without a clear direction, you could be in a danger of bringing your business in an unknown territory .Having a vision statement will help crystallize the direction where you want your business is headed.

A vision statement is a huge influence as to the direction the business will be treading. It gives a clear cut picture of the goals and aspirations of an individual or a business entity. Big corporations and famous personalities even employ this tool to enrich themselves or their businesses. And indeed for most, it really works. That’s why it is now gaining loyalty from people from different walks in life; trying to take advantage of all the benefits it will offer.

However, a number of people have difficulty creating a vision. They believe they do not possess the needed eloquence in creating a vision statement. If you are among these people, do not despair, the following are guide questions that you can use in creating your own effective vision statement.

Personal projection in 5 years

  • How happy is your family life?
  • What are your fulfillments and attainments?
  • How have you nurtured your networks of friends?
  • What are your recreations?
  • What is your spiritual status?
  • How far have you grown as a person?

Professional projection in 5 years

  • How formidable your business have become?
  • How greatly have you grown your network of clients?
  • How happy and satisfied are your employees?
  • What kinds of projects are you already working on?

Financial projection in 5 years

  • How much are you earning?
  • How much are you saving?
  • What are your investments?
  • How much are you giving back to charities?

Your vision should excite you because it bespeaks of all your life’s possibilities. It talks about what you will become in the near future. It is your future, bright and full. Take hold of your dreams, keep it close. Keep it alive by intertwining it with your vision statement. There are myriad ways of making your vision fun and effective at the same time. You could do it using the vision board technique of which you clip ideal pictures that directly projects your dreams and aspirations. You could even do it together with other members of your family or with your employees in the office.

Be bold with your vision. Never be held back by limitations. Therefore create a strong vision statement; one that clearly defines your hopes, your aspirations and your grandest dreams.