business awards

How Entering a Business Awards Program Can Help You and Your Business

One creative way to get some stars under your business’ belt is to enter an awards program.

Immersing yourself in the process of a business awards program, is like hitting two birds with one stone. First, you get to rediscover yourself and what makes you tick as a business owner.  Second, you also let everyone – particularly the panel, sponsors, potential clients, and the entire industry that you’re there, and you’ve got the credentials to compete!

Here’s how participation in an awards program can benefit you.

The Application Process

Getting involved in the application process can make you stop and think as to your and your business’ mission. Being immersed in the application process allows you to do a little bit of soul-searching as to why you’re doing what you’re doing. It also allows you to have a look-back on your milestones and achievements.

Justifying your Results

Making your business accomplishments known, and explaining how you’ve made them possible can be a real uplifting experience. Doing this not only pushes your ability to communicate well as a business owner to the limit, but it also allows you to clearly communicate your business directions to a professional and scrutinizing audience. The experience of justifying business results in front of a panel makes you realize a lot of things about yourself and your business’ achievements. This experience of being put on the spot is invaluable when it comes to interactions with your business’ stakeholders.

Presenting the Financials

Closely studying and scrutinizing your financials can give you a deeper understanding of your performance coming from a monetary perspective. This experience is invaluable in crafting your business plan if you ever plan to go to a financial institution or in getting potential business investors.

Speaking in Front or Experts

Speaking in front of a crowd of business experts, professionals, and a panel of judges can be quite an exhilarating experience. It is the time when you either stand  up and be heard or forever shut up. Being in a situation where you know that every aspect of your business is scrutinized can nothing but only build up your confidence and character. It can be an interview wherein every answer feels like your life depended on it – a mind-blowing experience indeed!

Even if you just try filing your application, or even if you don’t “win,” just going through the application process can be a life-changing experience. Applying for a business awards program and having your application accepted can make you feel like as if you’ve already won the competition. Going through the different stages of selection, is already a bonus. Winning the award is just the cherry on top.


Merge To Emerge

Starting up a small company is one thing; merging your company with another company is another. Merging, or a merger, is an act of unifying the accounts, assets, and liabilities of two or more companies to produce a bigger and stronger company. This bigger entity can then specialize in a broader range of operations; depending on the type of companies that had undergone the merge.

Merging is a common business tool that can make the big difference for your existing entrepreneurial base. A well-planned and agreed on merger can take on larger credit loads and accommodate a larger workload. This therefore means that the overall production rate of your company and the other merging company will be dramatically increased.

Mergers can open worlds of opportunities for you. The increase in assets will make it possible for you to get bank loans easier; hence, capital will not be of much concern when you try to expand your operations. In the case of nearing bankruptcy, the balancing value of the merging company can check out the liabilities threatening your company for bank embargo. Utilizing this business tool therefore can make your business stable, economics-wise.

The joining together of both workforces will lead to higher production targets resulting to you taking on larger markets and supplying more deals. Furthermore, merging companies will also share and expand on more market and consumer lists by combining the ones that they already have. Customers that are loyal to you or the other company could be more satisfied with the combined services that you will now give. In this sense, you are not just marketing to create demands from customers, but you are also  making your customers happier and more satisfied.

Synergizing both companies’ staff and workforce could scout and spot new talents and manage them according to what role you want them to assume. In this sense, a merger brings new and fresh workforce into your business without the additional cost of hiring them independently.

The development of a more effective pitch for sales is also one of the good effects of a merger. Your existing public relations line will be reinforced by the public relations line of the merging company. This is like getting an additional PR line for free. The combination of the two entities can form a cohesive unit that can launch big media campaigns. Likewise, this can also lower costs thru sharing of contacts, ideas, and tools.

Another benefit is found on the field of product innovation. The sharing of manufacturing or servicing techniques can generate you a new line of products and services to launch in the market. The differences between the technical approaches of both in servicing and manufacturing processes can create a condition for your technical staff to adopt an improved version of your own technological formula. The merger can then adapt these new processes as their own; therefore resulting to an improved version of both processes.

With all the benefits of mergers, there is so little reason for you not to consider it.  So if I were you, I will merge to emerge.


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.

Using Articles For PR

You can make your articles work for your benefits; its advantages are great. It will help you project the right image for you and your business as long as you inform your customers that you are the writer of the said article.

1. Notify people about your written article by placing a link from your email

This is a very reliable method in advertising your article. There is a great probability that people will click the link in your email signature, thus paving a way for them to be informed that you have recently written an article.

2. Post your articles in the website regularly

When you regularly update and add articles to your website’s content, the greater your credibility becomes. And when your credibility increases, so is the number of visits you get in your website because people trust your ideas and opinions.

3. Submit articles in prominent article directories

There are free article directories for which you can post your articles for exposure and coverage. Make sure to post them in prominent article directories to ensure greater possibility of viewership. These directories may have some strict guidelines, but once you get through the process, you will have an opportunity to secure massive viewership from its readers.

4. Post your articles in the open

Do not be limited to posting your articles online only. There are various ways of promoting your article. You can post it in the open like placing your article in an area where it can easily be seen by people such as reception area and bulletin board in the office.  You are trying to project an image of confidence and authority in your area of expertise.

5. Have a portfolio of your best articles

You will certainly create a very good impression when you are ready to show your portfolio when the client asks for it spontaneously. It allows your client to think highly of you. Always carry your portfolio with you, bring it wherever you head.

6. Make your article a great promotional tool

You may also utilise the power of article marketing by promoting your other methods to achieve the common goal. This is a very good avenue where you could create an image of being a true expert in your chosen field. When you are in any events, hand out any form of marketing materials together with your article piece.

7. Send your articles regularly to your current and prospective clients

This makes you look more professional. You may send each of them a copy of your articles as your way of reaching out to them on a regular basis. This will help you maintain brand recognition among these people.

Writing Great Articles For PR

Is my content relevant?

Your content should make a difference to your readers. They must find it worthwhile. Make sure that every word you pen down is beneficial to your customers. Make every effort to have every bit of your information relevant.

Does it have integrity?

When you write a factual article, make sure you are not just making up the details. Make sure to be ready to provide proof of its authenticity. A writer’s work is only as good as its integrity. When you say you are an expert, then you must mean it in every sense of the word.

Do you have the integrity and credibility?

You have to ask yourself whether you have established enough credibility and integrity in your field of expertise. Can you name other people to support your claims? Have you acquired various recognitions and commendations to fortify your credibility? Do you have a good standing within your association and community?

Establish and develop your expertise further

Continue to learn the systems of your business. Establish your expertise by submitting more articles and any other materials that will establish your authority on the subject. Be steady and reliable with your trends and routine. And make every effort to build meaningful relationship with people from the media. Make yourself known; establish your name and reputation until you start getting recognized for your efforts.

Writing an article may take some time to practice but once it gets going, you will become better in crafting and writing ideas. You can start slow while you are learning until you have enough experience to go full blast. Start crafting your article, start learning and posting your articles online until you get noticed.

Be sure to make a collection of your work. Keep it ready to be shown to your potential clients. Any copy of your work that you can keep, include it in your portfolio, you will need it soon enough.

business growth

5 Tips on How to Grow Your Company in Today’s Business Climate

Watching news and hearing reports about market crashes, inflation, and big companies going belly-up can make you quite unsure of your business’ future. However, entrepreneurs have a long history of finding ways around whatever situation that the business environment gives them; even finding more opportunities in the process. As a business owner, you can also do the same; even if the current environment is quite challenging and uncertain. Here are a few strategies that can help you nurture your own company despite today’s business climate.

The first tip is to always continue seeking more business from your most profitable clients. Doing careful market research will tell you which of your clients in your niche can double your sales. Experts also advise to always keep in touch with clients; ideally every two weeks or so. They also suggest alternating your communication between email, phone, and snail mail until you get to set an appointment or get to talk to them by phone.

Another thing to always remember is that doubling sales will take some time; so, don’t expect it to happen overnight. However, building strong working relationships with prized clients today will put you in a much better disposition in the long run.

Another tip to keep your business competitive is to try education-based marketing. This is one of the best ways to reach your prospective clients. Doing education-based marketing can increase your clients’ interest in your business because you will be providing them information on how they, or their employees, can do their jobs better. Education-based marketing can be done by just informing your potential clients some data or information you’ve gathered in the industry that might be useful to them. Taking on this approach gives your client the impression that you are an industry expert. This can turn into a high level of trust and rapport. Sharing this expertise can put you on the top of your prospective clients’ list when it comes to them selecting a product or service provider.

The third tip to keep your business competitive during these times is to use your website to get more leads. You can offer something valuable for free, or for a low cost, on your website in exchange for a potential customer’s contact information. This in turn, will build you a list. It is now your business’ task to contact these potential customers for follow-up, or to sell them something.

Fourthly, always find out what things matter most to your prospective clients. When talking to existing and potential clients, make sure you ask what are the reasons why they’re getting your products or services. Doing a little bit of extra questioning allows you to find out what your customers’ needs are so that you can close the deal earlier and easier.

Finally, always remember to invest in your business; even if budget is tight. Strategic investments are what will make your business move forward. We ask our customers to take a risk and choose us among all the others. It’s also a good idea to take a risk and choose your business as an investment as well.

olden sales

Three Rules for Selling in Tough Times

In a recent interview with sales guru Neil Rackham, he tells us about three rules for selling in tough times. In this interview Neil points out that these three rules stems from  studying previous recessions and trying to work out what the successful players have done.

Rule Number 1: Avoid Chasing After Too Many Things

In times of economic anxiety, chasing after too many things is the number one mistake that business owners make. In times of uncertainty, our instinct for survival naturally takes over and we begin to get ‘whatever comes our way.’

Neil Rackham states one very important rule of thumb during tough times: “Don’t chase bad business.”  He further stressed his point by adding, “If you won’t chase a business in good times, never ever chase it in bad times.”

Winners instead decide on which pieces of business are most important to get and puts more effort into them. Putting double the effort into a half-opportunity will give you better return than spreading everything thin across all opportunities.

During tough times it is important to keep your focus sharp and over-deliver to your identified market.

Rule Number 2: Never get into Early Negotiations

Yes, it is true that-times are hard; therefore it’s always easy to fall into the trap  of getting into negotiations too early.

In stressing this point, Neil explains the difference between selling and negotiation. According to him, “When you’re selling, you’re not giving anything away; when you’re negotiating, you’re giving things away to get business.”

In uncertain times, anxiety pretty much causes us to start giving things away due to a feeling of desperation. One thing to take important note of is that potential customers can sense this desperation. Emitting these vibes can reduce your chance of getting the business; and what’s worse is that you might even whet the customer’s appetite to get more and more concessions.

Customers  can sense this desperation and will try to push you over the limit once they see that you’re willing to negotiate at the initial meet.

Rule Number 3: Make the Customer Feel Safe

The most common misconception is that during a recession, most people think that customers are price-sensitive. This is not so. Studies have shown that customers would rather pay more and go with a safe alternative than go with a cheaper, less-stable alternative.

To prove this point, you can ask yourself this question: “When times are hard, and you’re willing to make a big purchase, would you go for the safe option or the cheaper option?”

As per the study of Neil and his group, they’ve  found out that eighty percent of people would always go for the ‘safe’ option. With this in mind, your challenge now, as a business owner,  is that you would need to make yourself appear to be the most reliable, and the safest option to your prospects.

sad man

Getting Rid of the Selling Blues

At the start, most of us business owners have a certain fear of selling. It is usually caused by the bad images of pushy and annoying sales people that keep filling our heads with dreadful experiences and cheesy tag lines. Also, another reason why we might hate selling is that we never want to get rejected by a prospective client.

As business owners, we need to overcome this irrational fear and get over it as soon as we can; because if we don’t there are great repercussions as to what it can do for ourselves and our business.

There are three main reasons why we need to reconsider our unwillingness to sell. The first reason is very obvious. No selling equates to our business suffering. No sales equate to no revenue. No revenue equates to no profit; and ultimately, no profit means no business.

The second reason is very obvious too. Not selling also has its negative effect on our self-confidence. It may even come to a point that the fear of rejection can stop us from entirely selling.

The third, and last reason – though not so obvious and is usually forgotten by most of us, is that not selling equates to us not helping as many people as we wanted. We established our business and created our products and services so that we can help people out (and profit while doing it). Not selling means that we are not fulfilling our mission as business owners to help our customers and the industry.

If you’ve got that fear of turning into the salesperson you hate, then now is the time to change your mindset. We are all in the middle of an alleged economic crisis where every dollar earned counts.

I also kind of did an introspection as to why I am hesitant to sell my product; and these are the things I found out.

There are also three reasons why I don’t want to sell; and these are mainly just biases based on very bad experiences with sleazy sales people. I’m sure these might also look all too familiar to you.

The first reason being is that I love to buy, but I don’t like being sold to. I’ve had that experience with an annoying car salesman wherein I felt that the only thing he cared about was  getting my money. Oh, how I despised that person that time. I felt like that he was desperate and only focused on getting that fat commission.

Next reason was that I always had a notion that all salespeople are insincere, dishonest, and are very self-focused. This was another bias that stopped me from selling. The third and last reason was that I always had that fear of being rejected. Who doesn’t?

If you can relate to these three reasons, then, like me, you’ve put some limitations on yourself regarding selling and have already sold yourself short of what you can actually put on the table.

Here are some tips on how I cured this fear. Who knows? It might cure yours too.

  1. You need to change your mind set when it comes to selling. Selling is an exchange of value. It means that I provide you something, and in exchange, you give me something of equal value. Think of the ‘barter trading system’ of the old days.


  1. You need to believe that your product or service is the best. When you have this kind of belief in your product or service, selling usually comes naturally. Just think of the best movie you’ve watched this year. When you discuss it with your friends, aren’t you very enthusiastic about it to a point that you try to sway your skeptical friends to also consider your point of view? This is what most people call the ‘raving fan syndrome.’


If you’re not a ‘raving fan’ of your own product or service, then you might want to re-evaluate the product/service itself. Be mindful that not being a ‘raving fan’ of your own product and service might turn you into the ‘sleazy car salesman’ who’s only goal is to hit the quota and get that commission.


  1. Always remember that the customer is more important than the sale. Offering value and helping people with their needs are your most important goals as a business owner. Though you may not have made a sale this time; but if you continue focusing on these important goals, you will build a lifetime fan. This will, of course, equate to more sales in the long run.

Facilitating Effective Meetings can Close You that Business Deal

For business owners, meetings can either be a positive, fruitful experience; or they can also mean hours of wasted time that could’ve been used in other tasks. In order to conduct effective, productive, and efficient meetings, preparation is always necessary. Being prepared makes sure that participants will all be on the same page during the set appointment.

Some time ago, I had a business appointment with a fellow entrepreneur. I was planning to use his services on a certain project I was planning to launch. This person was an expert at what he does; he also knew that I knew almost nothing about his craft.

An appointment was set so that we can begin looking at the possibilities of what our partnership can bring.

During the meet, both parties were too casual.  The results I wanted to get from the fellow entrepreneur wasn’t really made clear. Furthermore, the other party did not ask any questions before we got together for a meet.

This unpreparedness resulted to a very awkward meeting that actually only began when our time was almost up. Both parties had not set any guidelines for it to be considered an effective meeting.

This lack of preparation resulted to a sloppy business practice deemed unacceptable by any professional.

During that time, I felt that my potential supplier left with a notion that his time was wasted.  I was also having some doubt as to his ability to manage the project. After that experience, I can’t help but ask myself, “What results can I expect from a person who can’t even manage a meeting effectively?”

I might be too judgmental in thinking that; but most probably our potential customers are also having the same doubts when we give them that impression. Managing meetings, therefore, is a vital skill in our constant search for new business and new opportunities.

In this scenario, none of us had not taken responsibility for the meeting. This failed meet therefore resulted to bad impressions from both parties and was also reckoned as a waste of time by everyone involved.

In a scenario like this, we can be proactive and take the wheel when it comes to setting the scene.

With being proactive in mind, I want to share some helpful tips for facilitating effective meetings:

Never Go to a Meeting Without Expected Results

Never show up at a meeting where the desired results are not understood by all parties. This includes, but are not limited to, the meetings you schedule and the ones you are expected to attend.

Do a ‘Play-by-Play’ in Your Mind before Each Meeting

Always plan any appointment in advance. Always put into consideration about what messages you want to convey and what things you expect to learn. Make a certain experience as a benchmark of success  for each meeting. Setting a benchmark every time will help you prepare for the next meets.

Treat Each Meeting Like It’s Your Own

Own each meeting. A meeting that’s getting out of control is never a time to be passive. If you look bored and disconnected throughout the meeting, believe me, everyone will think that you have the same demeanor at any given time of day.

Don’t be Afraid to Propose Other Options

Do not be afraid to challenge the ‘meeting-setter.’ If you think that a conference call, rather than a face-to-face meeting, would be enough to get the expected outcome – then offer it as a suggestion. If you need more to get more information or more details from the other participants before setting an appointment – then don’t be afraid to say it.


Always Recap Before the Meeting Ends

It is always a good idea to give a short  summary of what transpired during the meet. This recap time can also be used to discuss items that need follow-up and the next steps. Make sure that there’s no stone left unturned.

Always Confirm and Reconfirm

It is a good business practice to schedule meetings days in advance. It is also a good idea to confirm attendance to meetings a day before, at the most. As a business owner, you should always leave nothing to chance. All means of transportation are full of entrepreneurs miserably returning to base after learning that  a very important meeting was cancelled due to him or her not confirming attendance. You don’t want to be one of those people.

When customers see that you respect your time, they will also respect it.  As an entrepreneur, you should always remember that customers and clients can read the inefficiencies in an area, such as meeting management,  as a sign of inefficiency in all areas.


Double your Sales with These Selling Tips

Sales are usually measured in terms of conversion. As a business owner, it is always a good idea to  keep track of your conversion rate; you might even notice an increase in sales performance from your staff just by monitoring it.

In order to calculate your business’ conversation rate, you just need to have this very simple formula in mind: conversion rate equals your total sales divided by your total enquires or presentations. With this formula for defining selling success now at play, here are some tips on how you can improve your business’ sales conversion.

Actively Listen to your Customers

Do you become defensive when a prospective customer says something about your product or service that you don’t like? If being defensive is always your initial reaction when it comes to negative feedback, then you definitely need to improve your listening skills. Active listening requires processing the speaker’s message on both the content and context level. It means that you would need to focus on what was said and how it was said. Moreover, you should always look at opportunities for connection and start asking questions when things are unclear. Likewise, active listening also entails you knowing exactly when to paraphrase, when to be silent, or when to give verbal nods.

Build Rapport with Your Customers

Ever had that experience of watching two friends converse and talk about the same topic? To add to that, both of them basically sound alike, use the same word choices, and to a certain extent, also finish each other’s sentences. If you’ve experienced this scene before then you’ve just witnessed how rapport works between two people. When people are in rapport, they naturally ‘match and mirror’ each other. As a business owner, building rapport with your customers is a way of telling them that you are like them. It is a known fact that customers only buy from people that they like and trust; pretty much people who are like them.

Ask Effective Probing Questions

One of the best and fastest ways to find out the needs of your customers immediately is through effective probing. Probing entails asking the right questions in a logical manner to ensure that you get the right details in order to match a need with a product or service.

In asking effective probing questions, there are two things that you should always remember. First, ask  questions that are non-threatening. Second, once a customer answers a question, ask follow-up questions based on what they’ve answered. Once you’ve effectively probed and found out a customer’s need, most of the time, these customers are already sold once you’re done asking questions.

Simplify Your Pricing Schemes

Many business owners already experience apprehensions once the question of price comes in. In discussing process with your customers, always make sure that you get to simplify your packages. Based on your probing, you should already have at least two options available for the customers.  It wouldn’t be wise to overwhelm a customer with options at this point of the negotiation.

Don’t forget to Close!

A lot of sales get lost because no one actually asked for it. Don’t forget to close the sale. An example of a closing questions is, “Which would you prefer option one or option two?” Another very effective closing question is “When do you want it delivered?” Also, when closing the sale always remember to give the customer a little bit of room to think about it or consider his or her options.

Handle Objections

For most business owners, objections signal that you’ve lost the interest of a customer; or even worse is that some give up and even get defensive. Objections are hidden treasures in themselves. Always listen to objections carefully as sometimes they are excuses; but most of the time they are problems that clients want to address. In handling objections, make sure to answer questions with confidence, and re-assure the customer that it is your product or service that will suit their needs. Don’t forget to ask for the sale again. You’ll find out that handling an objection effectively will result to more sales and even a higher level of confidence from the customer.


Recognizing Buying Signals will Help you Close those Sales

Before we start, I just wanted everyone to know that I started my career as a used car salesman. I don’t want to cause any panic as I know that people like me have had a bad reputation when it comes to selling. But trust me, I wasn’t that stereotypical car salesman who’s everyone’s all too familiar with.

This was almost about two decades ago, but during this stint at selling used cars, I happened to pick up a few things that helped me throughout my selling career. The valuable lesson that I learned from that experience was that you always have to mindful of buying signals from your customers.

When your prospective customer is close to making a purchase, he or she may demonstrate these buying signals. Buying signals, therefore, are signs that the sale is ‘ripe for the taking.’ Let me share some examples of buying signals; so that you too, can benefit from identifying them, and effectively closing those sales.

The Customer is Visualizing Himself or Herself Using the Product

As a car salesman, I’ve experienced visual statements from customers such as : “I think my friends would love the color” or “I can just imagine seeing the kids sitting comfortably at the backseat on one of our monthly visits to their grandma, about an hour’s drive from home.”

The Customer Has You Go Over the Terms Again

This can come in the form of having to repeat some terms and conditions that were just tackled a few minutes ago or the customer requesting a breakdown of all the fees.

The Customer Tries to Push The Limits

Questions that try to circumvent your company’s standard operating procedures are good indicators that the customer is ready to buy. Most of the time, these attempts are just indicators of ‘pre-sales playfulness’ on the customer’s part. In these instances, the customer is just trying to test you if you can break a few rules in order to get a much better deal.

The Customer Talks About Money

If your potential customer claims that your price is too much; more often than not, this is a sign that he or she is almost ready to buy . The only thing that you need to do is to figure out a way on how to reposition your product to be more convincing when it comes to value-add.

Timing the Close Correctly

When the discussion already changes to timelines, then you’re already set. This is an indication that the customer has already considered taking the product or service and is already planning his or her activities around the product.  What’s more is that once you hear the magic question, “So, what’s the next step?” it pretty much tells you that you’ve got the customer hooked and the deal is sealed.