How to Create a Captivating Elevator Pitch

Opportunity doesn’t just knock. Sometimes it rides … all the way to the top. Often, you’re more likely to get the chance to pitch your business idea during a random elevator ride or a brief restaurant encounter than you are able to get an appointment to see the head honcho. And even if you are able to get that precious appointment, odds are you have five minutes or less to sum up your business idea. Don’t be caught unprepared. Here’s how to create an elevator pitch for your business.

Know your revenue streams.

Whether you’re pitching to one person or a group, one of the first questions that will pop into your audience’s mind is how they can make money from your business. If you can quickly communicate your revenue streams in standard, clear terms, you’ll have a better chance of having your business idea be seen as economically viable.

Explain what makes your business unique.

It’s all been done before, but not the way you’re going to do it. That’s what you need to communicate to your investor in your elevator pitch. Figure out what makes your business idea unique, then find a way to express it with passionate yet realistic terms that will entice your audience to get excited about it too.

Tell them why you’re qualified.

Few people will be eager to invest in your business if you have no previous relevant experience, knowledge or education. Explain why you’re uniquely qualified to get this business off the ground. If it’s a team effort, mention the qualifications of your partners. This will instill confidence in your ability to bring the business to fruition.

Be clear about what you’re asking for.

Without a clear request for action, your genius elevator pitch is just an informative synopsis of a business idea. Be clear about what you want from your pitch audience, ending with a specific request. Don’t be afraid to ask for more than you think you’ll get in terms of time, money or resources, because it’s likely you’ll have to negotiate down.

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3 Awkward Work Situations and How to Deal With Each

No matter how much you may love your job you sometimes encounter an awkward work situation that seems impossible to figure out. You’ve finally found your dream job, and now it’s probably ruined because of this stupid thing/person/situation. Don’t you just hate that?

Do not despair, fair damsel. You’re not the first person who has had to deal with awkward work situations, and you won’t be the last. Here are three awkward work situations and some suggestions on how to deal with them.

1. Your hot boss is hitting on you at work.

This situation is awkward because of the no sexual harassment rules, but let’s face it: it might not be altogether unpleasant. Nevertheless, it does make for tension at work that you could do without, especially since you’re trying to make a good impression on the job.

Courtney, an intern at a major aviation supplier in Florida, had this happen during her first three months on the job:

“At first, I was pretty nonchalant about it. This was my first real job, and I guess I thought maybe this was pretty common at big companies. He was really attractive, so I kind of flirted back a little. Then my coworkers started noticing it and treating me differently, and I realized I was being typecast, which wasn’t okay with me. I ended up confronting the guy about it, and he got really angry with me and denied everything. Then his attitude toward me went in the opposite direction. He made things more difficult for me while I was interning, but I stuck with it. I finally gained back my coworkers’ respect, and I just recently got offered a permanent position in a different department.”

Bottom line: Sexual harassment in the workplace is not cool, no matter how great-looking the guy is. It can damage your reputation and grind your career to a halt. Don’t tolerate it, and don’t engage in it. Although Courtney’s situation turned out well, it’s best to have a private conversation with an HR manager if you’re experiencing sexual harassment.

2. You got the promotion over your best friend.

Office friendships can be great, and some people might even say they’re necessary. But when one friend gets promoted over the other, the atmosphere can get chilly very fast. Here’s what happened to one person.

“My best friend from college and I both got hired at the same telecommunications firm. We were more than psyched, and for the most part, it’s been really fun having my best friend at work with me all day. But since I got this promotion and she (obviously) didn’t, it’s like she’s turned into a whole new person. Now, it’s like she’s on this campaign to turn all the employees—the same people I’ve been promoted to manage—against me. It sucks. I’ve lost my best friend, plus now it looks like I’m going to fail at being a manager.”

Bottom Line: Your best friend isn’t being a good friend. It’s important to realize it’s her issue, not yours. You got the promotion because you deserved it, and she didn’t. Her actions after the fact validate that she mightn’t have made a good manager, because her people skills aren’t the best, are they? You can attempt to solve this by taking her out one night and having a chat like in the old days. There’s no need to mention the “campaign.” She already knows about it. Just say how it’s too bad there was only one spot open, and how you’re sure next time it will be her turn to get promoted. Remind her why she liked you in the first place. Extend the olive branch and make it clear you don’t think you’re better than her. If she changes her attitude, that’s awesome and you can continue being her friend. If she doesn’t, you’ll need to deal with her in the same way you’d handle any insubordinate employee in your new role as manager. That’s too bad, but she created the situation, not you.

3. Your Co-Worker is Stealing From the Company

It sucks to discover information about somebody that could land them in trouble if people found out, or you in trouble if they find out you told. Just ask Edward Snowden what that feels like. Here’s a case that happened recently to someone I know.

“After work one night, my co-worker offered to give me a lift home so I wouldn’t have to wait for my boyfriend to pick me up. As I was getting into her car, I noticed some stuff on the back seat that had spilled out of her tote bag. I recognized it as some stuff from the office. There were binders with the company logo, mouse pads, pens—it was like she raided the supply closet. Basically, there was so much stuff back there she could have opened an office inside her car! I can’t decide if I should say something to my boss.”

Bottom Line: You don’t know the reason why your co-worker had all that stuff in her car. Yes, from all appearances, it’s likely she stole it, but you can’t convict a person on circumstantial evidence, and anyway, you’re not the judge. The best thing is to keep quiet on this. If someone asks you in the future if you’ve seen anything related to office theft, you can speak up then if you feel comfortable. Other than that, just stay mum.

Whatever awkward office situation you find yourself in, take a minute to really think about what to do, and what the consequences of your actions might be. Whatever you do, try not to have a kneejerk reaction that you haven’t thought through. If you approach the situation logically, you’ll be able to figure it out after all.

How to Know When You Need a Career Switch

When you’ve worked hard to get where you are in your career, it can be difficult to even consider the notion that your career, well, sucks. At least for you, maybe this particular line of work isn’t the best. If you find yourself in agreement with the following statements, you might be ready for a career switch.

  • You didn’t choose your career – your parents did.
  • You do it for the money.
  • You fell into this career.
  • You hate the way you have to dress for work (uniform, office attire, etc.).
  • You compromise your values everyday at work.
  • You watch the clock all day, every day.
  • You generally hate what you do.
  • You are starting to get physical symptoms from the constant pressure.
  • You feel like you have no integrity left.
  • You see corruption everywhere in the industry.

How to Reconcile Switching Careers

Whether you’re a lawyer, a physician or a paralegal, building a career is an expensive, time-consuming process. It would be foolhardy and immature to just throw all that money and hard work away just because you don’t like your career, right?

Wrong!

It would actually be foolhardy to continue to go on in a career that is making you unhappy. Unless you have some secret to living forever, your time is limited just like the rest of us. As the saying goes, “Don’t throw good money after bad,” don’t throw good time after bad. Start the rest of your life anew, and start today. If you built up a good career once, you can do it again.

Steps to Building a New Career

First, don’t quit your day job just yet. Give some thought to what career you wish you had gotten into. Maybe that other career will require additional education or certification. Go ahead and get started on that while you remain gainfully employed in your current career. When you leave, you want to ensure a seamless transition into the new career.

Second, when considering the new career, think about going into something that will utilize your existing experience and credentials. For instance, maybe you hate being a criminal lawyer. You could become a contract lawyer or a family counselor. If you’re a dental hygienist, you could work in animal dentistry, or overseas helping in the Doctors Without Borders program. If you can land on a career that utilizes existing expertise, you won’t feel you “wasted” anything.

Going 180

Are you completely tired of everything to do with your career? Looking for something completely opposite of what you currently do? Then it helps to find a mentor in that other career field who can advise you on the steps you need to take to get into it. Lay out a map to get from here to there. It will make the transition much easier, especially if you don’t know too much about how to get into the new career.

Switching careers won’t be easy, but it’s a whole lot easier than living out your live doing something that is making you miserable. Don’t do anything rash, and move slowly. You don’t need to jeopardize your livelihood in order to build a new career. Soon enough, you’ll be on your way on a new path in life that you can be proud of.

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Don’t Take Customer Communication For Granted

Customer communication has to do with the way you talk to customers, how you communicate ideas, opinions and strategies, and the unspoken language of listening. Poor customer communication can negatively affect sales, reputation and company culture. Here are some things to keep in mind throughout all your communications with customers.

Listen More Than You Speak

No one enjoys being lectured to, unless they specifically signed up for a course on a topic they are interested in. If you are doing most of the talking in your customer communications, you’re doing it the wrong way. Customers want to be heard. They need to express their side of the story in whatever way they choose. They may go about telling you their pain points in a round-a-bout fashion, but it pays to let them talk and listen carefully. In their words, you will hear what their problems are, and discern how best you can help solve them. In any conversation with your customers, you should try to listen 70% of the time and speak only 30% of the time.

Don’t Place Blame

In the article, “The Go-Around And How We Communicate With our Customers,” the author discusses a concept called other-centered. This isn’t a new concept, but it’s one that should be kept in mind at all times. In any given situation, there are multiple perspectives. Always remember the other person’s perspective, and never place blame. Instead of this:

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Press Play: The Evolution of Video Marketing

Video is quickly outpacing still imagery in online content. Following on the heels of YouTube’s success, the exponential growth of companies like Vimeo, Camtasia, and Movavi demonstrates the public’s voracious appetite for an online multimedia experience. Find out why video has surpassed all other media in the marketing world, how your business can benefit from its successes and which professionals you should hire to make it happen.

What Was Wrong With Still Images?

There’s nothing inherently wrong with using still images to help convey your company’s message, and they continue to be heavily used in online content for both personal and commercial use. There will always be a place for images that add to the user’s visual encounter with any website.

Photographic images can act as evocative and powerful vehicles to help carry your site visitors through the buying stages. Quality photographic images, as used in marketing, remain the foundation of visual enticement.

 

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Building Your Data Analytics Dream Team

At the end of the day, an analysis project is only as good as the people doing the analyzing. But how do you build a data analytics dream team that performs well again and again? The basic principle is simple. Look for people who have a profound understanding of what they should be looking for, people who know what technology is available to help them achieve the goal, and people who are proficient with that technology.

Understanding the Goal

Your data analytics team should have a clearly defined goal that you determine. Big data is vast and can be looked at from multiple angles. Each of those angles can highlight different needs or courses of action that may need to be pursued. Unless your team has a specific outcome, purpose or target data point that they are looking for, they may never find anything of use for your organization.

This can be compared to setting off on a journey with no clear destination. Without a destination, a map and a sense of direction, time and energy will be wasted and targets will never be reached.

Communicating your organization’s needs to your data analytics team is also central to making sure they understand the ultimate goal. Surprisingly, however, even the best communicators won’t be able to get the message across to certain people. There are those in the recruitment business—or for that matter, any business—who are so mired in the old ways that they will give lip service to clients and managers, all the while fully intending to do things the way they’ve always done.

To ensure that your data analytics team fully understands your organizational needs and future goals, implement these communication strategies:

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Text Your Way to a Better e-Commerce Business

Your home Internet business is a success. When you’re ready to grab the winning edge over your competition, consider text messaging. Text messaging has the capability to give your home Internet business the boost it needs to shoot it heads over the competition.

What Text Messaging Offers Your E-commerce Business

Are you wondering what text messaging can do for your home Internet business? Here is how text messaging can give your e-commerce business a boost.

Better ROI

The cost of text messaging compared to the value derived from it is very low. You can get a much better ROI from text messaging than any other form of marketing. The cost of text messaging is wrapped up in your initial program set up, any monthly subscription fees you pay to an SMS management company, and the time your staff takes to review and monitor the campaign. There are no print costs such as with direct mailings, no exorbitant marketing agency fees, and no media space rental fees.

Give a Customized Customer Experience

Text messaging allows you to give your customers a customized experience. With a suitable SMS managing software, you can tailor your messages according to demographics, past purchasing history and more. That’s powerful use of big data, now available to e-commerce businesses just like yours.

Manage Related Selling

Using the big data mentioned above, you can send related product information to customers who have expressed interest in, or completed a purchase on your website. You can use this to upsell, make related product offers or reach out to customers with discounts for future purchases. An SMS marketing campaign is about giving personalized service to customers during your sales process.

 

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Are Your Workers Fielding the Best Results?

Managing communication with workers in the field can be challenging. If your workers are new, you can immediately bring them on board with your remote team collaboration software. If they were with you long before such technology existed, it can be difficult to manage training without interrupting the daily work flow. Here’s a guide for improving remote efforts/communications when you’ve got employees out in the field.

Phase It In Slowly

If your employees aren’t used to the concept of remote team collaboration, it’s best to phase in the concept slowly. Once they get the hang of actually logging in and using the software, they will start to see that their colleagues are actually posting useful comments and documents that can help the team. How to improve remote team collaboration can be as easy as letting people learn at their own pace.

Provide Adequate Training

Of course, none of your employees should have to just “figure it out” all by themselves. Budget for adequate training when you purchase the collaborative software. At a minimum, employees should understand how to log in and out, upload docs and images, post comments and update status on their own tasks. Being able to use the software effectively will help your employees to feel empowered to take on more challenges using the collaborative software tool.

Allow For Face-to-Face Time

Employees should know with whom they are conversing with, even if everybody does work for the same company. At least once in the beginning of the phase-in period, all for some face-to-face time. Let employees get to know each other so they feel more comfortable interacting with each other online when they’re back in the field. This human contact will help to make employees more comfortable with sharing information about the project, as well as help them to take on the roles they were hired for.

Define Roles

Make sure that each of your employees understands not only their roles within your organization, but their roles as they relate to using the collaboration software. Gung ho employees might get ahead of themselves by editing docs or uploading things that they really shouldn’t be doing. If necessary, look to your software provider to help you block access to certain functions of the software to keep antsy fingertips from changing things they shouldn’t. Distribute memos if necessary to allocate specific roles and tasks to individuals so they can focus on their own part of the business and not someone else’s.

 

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Give Podcasts a Shot in Promoting Your Brand

In recent studies, it was determined that a whopping one third of all Americans have listened to a podcast at least once. The number of podcasts being created has doubled since 2012. The public’s awareness of podcasts has certainly increased, and will only grow in the future. One indisputable factor that will lead to even more people listening to podcasts is the influence of available technology.

All automobiles produced from 2015 and on will have smartphone connectivity or online capabilities. That will make it easier for drivers to access podcasts from their vehicles.

The sweeping wave of cloud content also makes it effortless to access podcasts on every device. Whether the user accesses podcasts from a tablet, iOS or Android phone, laptop, smart TV or computer, their podcast choices will be universally shared and managed at the touch of a button.

There has never been a better time to introduce podcasting to your array of marketing tools.

Branding

Marketers know that strategic branding encompasses a broad assortment of methods of getting your business brand recognized and noticed. With podcasting, there is an additional way to get consumers to see you and your brand as an authority in your industry.

Each podcast that you create for your business can include your company logo as part of the icon. Every time your listeners view their podcast list, they will see your logo and it will be better imprinted in their mind.

In addition, each podcast you create can include the name of your brand as much as makes sense in a natural way. When you’re sharing good information, your listeners won’t mind being reminded of the brand that is providing the podcast.

Authority

With every podcast that you create for your home Internet business, you have the opportunity to establish your authority within your industry. Consumers buy from sellers they trust that know what they are doing. When you offer helpful podcasts that deliver valuable information that your consumers will appreciate, you are helping to build a platform of authority beneath you.

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Is Your Credit Score a Business Loan Killer?

As a business owner, you may need extra financing at some point. Getting a business loan can be difficult, though, unless your personal credit score is up to par. Even liberal banks may turn you down for a business loan if your credit score is under a certain number. Is your credit score a business loan killer? If so, here are some ideas to raise it.

Lower Your Debt

Your business debt will be a part of the equation when a bank considers your application for a business loan. Of course, you’re allowed to have some debt on your books, but a substantial ratio of debt over income will raise flags in the loan department. Try to pay down outstanding business debt in the form of credit cards or commercial vehicle loans.

Lower Your Unpaid Balances

Does your business routinely keep a high unpaid balance of customer receipts on the books? If so, your business loan application could be negatively impacted. If the bank sees you as a business owner who has a difficult time of getting clients to pay you, they may not approve your loan at all. Try to get your clients to pay their outstanding balances before you apply for your small business loan. Whenever you make collection calls, make sure you adhere to the regulations that oversee this practice.

Don’t Close Open Credit Cards

Once you pay off some of the credit card balances, resist the temptation to close the accounts. Closed credit card accounts show up as closed, but they don’t show up as to who closed them. A loan officer could look at your closed account, and assume that the credit card company closed the account, and not you. If you are fortunate enough to pay one or more of your credit card balances down all the way to zero, just keep the card open. You don’t have to use it, but don’t close the account.

 

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