Sunday, September 30, 2007


In their office in San Francisco's Mission District, Matt and Jessica Flannery and Premal Shah work with the fervor and techno savvy of an Internet startup aiming for an IPO. But they aren't chasing the cash for themselves.

Matt and Jessica Flannery and Premal Shah bring a youthful vibe to the world of microfinance. They're doing it for Esther Egbulu in Nigeria, a mother of six who wants an $800 loan to stock her shop with frozen chickens and turkey, or 31-year-old Choeun Sonin, who's requesting $1,000 to purchase a motorcycle taxi — just two of 15,000 entrepreneurs from 36 countries that their company, Kiva, has already helped.

Kiva, which means "unity" in Swahili, is a lending organization with a twist: Anyone with a bit of money and an Internet connection can step forward as a microlender to assist struggling third-world entrepreneurs get out of poverty.

After logging in, you can scroll through profiles of entrepreneurs, descriptions of their businesses, and the loan amounts they're requesting. Once you've decided who you want to lend to, you choose how much to lend, starting at as little as $25. (Individual lenders can fund an entire loan, but most of Kiva's loans are funded by multiple lenders.)

Funds are distributed to entrepreneurs through local non-profit microfinance partners in specific countries. In Nigeria, Esther Egbulu wants an $800 loan to stock her shop with frozen chickens.The key is that the company is based on loans, not donations. "You're fundamentally connecting with someone else in a way that's based on mutual dignity, not this supplicant-benefactor relationship that you often see in philanthropy," says Premal.

There are some differences from traditional lending. Kiva loans require no collateral and they are zero interest. PayPal (Premal's former employer) processes the transactions without any fees.
Premal says the average loan request is about $650 and the average lender usually funds three different entrepreneurs at $25 each.

8% of the lenders come from the U.S., 10% from Canada, and the remainder from the rest of the world. Kiva says entrepreneurs pay back their loans an incredible 99% of the time — a default rate unheard of at traditional financial institutions. (The Kiva team expects the rate to increase to 5% as more borrowers complete the loan cycle.) And according to Premal, most lenders reinvest their money in other entrepreneurs after a loan is paid back. Kiva's operational costs are covered by donations from lenders. The company does not take a commission from the loans facilitated on the site.

Matt and Jessica Flannery created Kiva after discovering different career goals in a pre-marriage counseling course. The way Kiva was founded is almost as interesting as what it's accomplishing. When Matt and Jessica attended a pre-marriage counseling session, they discovered their career goals could keep them apart. Jessica wanted to go to Africa to study microfinance; Matt was headed to Silicon Valley.

"We sort of just thought, ‘Well, we're supposed to be together. This will work itself out,'" Jessica recalls.
Things did work out, but in a way they hadn't first imagined. Shortly after they were married, Matt went to work for TiVo and Jessica went to Africa to work with a microfinance organization.
After visiting Jessica in Africa, Matt got the idea that perhaps what she was doing, microfinance, and what he was doing, high tech, could be combined — using the Internet to connect lenders and entrepreneurs.
They tested the concept on friends and family, spamming their wedding list and raising more than $3,000 for a handful of small businesses in Uganda.

Now Kiva has loans totaling $10 million. Matt, Jessica and Premal credit their corresponding strengths for Kiva's success so far: Matt's technological know-how, Premal's salesmanship and Jessica's heart.
Kiva's president Premal Shah says corruption is a reality and he hopes transparency on Kiva's site will boost lenders confidence in microfinance. Kiva faces new challenges as its base of lenders and entrepreneurs expands.

Ensuring that money actually funds business is one problem. For instance, a borrower in Cambodia used a loan to fund a family wedding. But a Kiva volunteer monitoring loans in Cambodia discovered what happened then blogged about it — on Kiva's own website. "We know that corruption exists," says Premal. "We are adamant about exposing it on our website." Transparency, he says, is the organization's goal.

In the grand scheme of things, $10 million in loans might seem like a small dent in world poverty, but Kiva's founders are thinking big. "In year five we're looking at anywhere between $150 million to $280 million," says Premal — potentially enough to move the GDP of an entire nation at some point.

For now, it's enough to change the lives of 15,000 struggling entrepreneurs — and perhaps those making the loans, as well.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


Making a million is a milestone , the defining moment of success for many entrepreneurs and an attainable goal for those tapped into today's hottest trends. Entrepreneurs are keeping their fingers on the pulse of what's hot in today's marketplace. They are the trendsetters, the pioneers, the ones to watch as they lead the pack, followed closely by franchisors poised to capitalize on winning ideas and spread concepts nationwide.

Already dreaming about living the good life as a millionaire?

But keep in mind that regardless of the route you choose , whether it's going solo or buying a franchise , arriving at your first million in sales will require persistence, strategy and, in most cases, multiple locations.

And in case you doubt it's doable, here are some examples of savvy entrepreneurs who went from zero to a million.


With the first baby boomers starting to hit 60, America is fighting tooth and nail to stave off the signs of time. In 2004, Americans spent about $44.6 billion on anti-aging products and services, according to Business Communications Co. Inc., an information resource company. But that's nothing compared to the $72 billion market it's expected to mature into by 2009.

Why the sense of urgency? Vanity is part of it, and the fact that we're living longer adds to the need for enduring youth. But there's also the fact that many baby boomers won't be financially able to leave the work force as early as their parents did and will have no choice but to stay vital and active. According to a study by the National Association of Realtors, the median age at which baby boomers expect to stop working is 70, but 27 percent say they never intend to stop working. This will open up all kinds of opportunities to entrepreneurs , such as those who can create wellness centers and bring together a variety of health and nutrition specialists under one roof.

Jeni Garrett is one of those entrepreneurs providing a mind and body oasis to baby boomers desperate for rejuvenation. In 2001, after enjoying the benefits of spa visits herself, Garrett, now 28, founded The Woodhouse Day Spa, a luxury spa in Victoria, Texas. A year and a half later, she set her sights on turning the brand into a household name. She first planned to open more company-owned locations, but Garrett soon turned to franchising to spread the concept. "With our business model, you really need an owner/operator present because of the staffing issues and to do the marketing initiative," she says. "Franchising lent itself very well to that."

To move forward, Garrett knew the foundation had to be solid. She chose a top-notch franchise lawyer and streamlined operations, even ordering the fixtures for the franchisees. With her franchise system in place, she has positioned herself perfectly to accommodate the growing clientele of baby boomers. To further meet the needs of this segment, she added a menu of services that boasts 15 holistic, all-natural treatments that focus more on wellness than pampering. She is enjoying success with a multimillion-dollar business as more boomer women and men , make the spa experience part of their lifestyles. Says Garrett, "We're seeing [spas] move from a level of luxury to a level of necessity for wellness."


The nation's sweet tooth is becoming more insatiable, driving everything from the franchising industry, where cookies and ice cream concepts are growing categories, to the fine-dining industry, where diners are staying more often for the grand finale.

Dessert has become such a significant portion of the food industry that it's warranted its own annual trade show since 2003. Meanwhile, according to Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of research at the National Restaurant Association, almost 1 in 3 fine-dining operators reported that consumers bought more desserts last year than in the two previous years. In an increasing number of cases, high-end desserts are stealing the spotlight, as entire independent restaurant concepts are being founded on the premise of tasty, upscale indulgence.

Paul Conforti and Kim Moore, 36 and 40, respectively, researched the restaurant industry for a year while attending Harvard Business School before they opened the doors to their first upscale, dessert-focused restaurant, Finale Desserterie & Bakery, in Boston in 1998. Offering an exquisite menu featuring Valrhona chocolate, honey caramel gelato, nougat mousse and cherry almond Florentines, they are often credited with the distinction of starting the first high-end dessert concept. Their focus is as much on high-quality ingredients as it is on the overall experience. Says Conforti, "Making sure [customers] have the best dessert of their life is important, but it's also about the atmosphere, service, background music and cleanliness of the restaurant."

They have since grown their restaurant concept into a $6 million-plus business and are about to open their fourth location this month. Planning to open three more locations in Massachusetts next year and to reach Washington, DC, by 2009, they are working toward their ultimate goal of going nationwide. With an idea as divine as upscale desserts, $1 million in sales can be achieved with only one location, and the proof is in the pudding , one of Conforti and Moore's locations makes twice that much annually.

Starbucks revolutionized the coffee industry by transforming the beverage into the most necessary of luxuries, but numerous independents and ambitious franchisors have profited from coffee's popularity and are riding on their own caffeine high. According to Rob Stephen, immediate past president of the Specialty Coffee Association of America, a coffee trade association, opportunities in the industry abound. In fact, according to the SCAA and Mintel Group, the industry grew to an estimated $12.27 billion last year. So if you thought Starbucks had the market locked down, think again , many are drinking in their own share of the profits.

Eric Schmidt, 43, is the owner of a Dunn Bros Coffee franchise in Lawrence, Kansas, and although he just opened his coffee drive-thru in March, he's already working on opening two more coffee kiosks and estimating total year-end sales to be in the low seven figures. While he believes he could have reached this point with his own coffee concept, he has no doubt that buying a franchise helped him avoid many of the initial difficulties. The wealth of information available to him and the one-on-one assistance with finding the right location enabled Schmidt to get off to an impressive start.

But in moving forward, the defining strategy for success has simply been Schmidt's own commitment and constant presence in the business and his community. From personally making sure that customers' needs are met to being involved in local civic organizations and the nearby university, Schmidt makes sure all his bases are covered. "That's probably the single biggest thing about it," he says. "You have got to be completely involved in it from the day you open [your] doors."

For those looking to establish their niche, Stephen identifies two trends taking place in the industry , product differentiation and point of view. In a market once defined by regular or decaf, coffee consumers now pay attention to the very farm where the beans are grown. Says Stephen, "You're seeing coffee labels growing to three lines."

Customers are also looking to retailers for opinions and overall expertise, so it is important for coffee entrepreneurs to be knowledgeable about the products they're selling. Stephen believes that quality products, knowledge, point of view and a good location are the defining factors of success for both independent coffee entrepreneurs and franchisees.

So what's ahead for the industry? Says Stephen, "We're seeing a renaissance in iced and frozen beverages as a way to get to a part of the market that's interested in soda or energy drinks."


While the industry to preserve vitality and youth among baby boomers is thriving, so are the businesses one generation ahead in the senior-care industry. Millions of Americans currently make up the "Sandwich Generation," a generation of people raising their children while taking care of their aging parents. This is already creating a demand for assistance, both medical and nonmedical, but that need will skyrocket as the baby boomers approach an age in which they, too, will need outside help. "People 65 and over will increase from 12 percent of the U.S population to 20 percent by 2030," says J. Kevin Eckert, dean of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County's Erickson School of Aging Services. "It's almost a no-brainer that the whole need for senior housing, for adaptive housing, for all kinds of services, businesses and products will be burgeoning."

Topping things off, a large number of baby boomers won't have their own families to turn to for assistance. According to a 2004 U.S. Census report, 19 percent of women aged 40 to 44 were childless , twice the percentage reported in 1976.

Having watched his father struggle to care for his own brother, his aging grandmother and himself, Adam Brown was inspired to purchase a Home Helpers franchise. Getting the word out about his nonmedical and personal-care business was the most crucial step to securing his success. He did so by advertising, visiting local businesses and hospitals, and joining networking groups to educate the community about his services. Says Brown, 28, "This is a referral-based business, particularly because you're working with people's family members, so there has to be trust."

With 170 employees, Brown has positioned his franchise as a strong competitor in the Philadelphia area. After two years, he purchased a second territory and has since secured the "right of first refusal" for two other territories, which gives him first dibs before any other buyers. After working from home for two years, Brown has moved his business into an office, has just opened a satellite office and plans to open additional satellites in the future. Although having a physical presence isn't required, it has paid off. His franchise looks more established, and the neighborhood where the office is located is bringing in even more business. By reaching out to the community and expanding his territory, he has successfully grown his franchise to 350 clients and is projecting year-end sales of approximately $3.5 million.

Eckert sees a bright future on the horizon with the development of new homegrown communities where baby boomers can "age in place," as well as new services and technological products to help individuals remain at home. Says Eckert, "We're in for an exciting array of possibilities and real opportunities for people who are creative, innovative and have entrepreneurial sense."


Have you got a mind for technology and a passion for business?

This could be the industry for you. If franchising is your tech dream, consider starting a tech support or consulting company--industrywide, franchise units in our most recent Franchise 500 grew 13 percent in 2006 over the year before. If you're a true maverick, though, you can jump into the exciting world of Web 2.0--where advances like social networks, blogs, podcasts, wikis, RSS feeds and the like have turned the dotcom business model on its head. Today, web innovators are coming up with better ways for end-users to share information and are creating applications and websites where shared video or user-generated content is king. Just a glimpse of the marketplace: The web gained a record 30.9 million sites in 2006 , a 41.5 percent jump from a year earlier, according to data from research firm Netcraft. And according to data from Hitwise, in early 2007, visits to the top 20 social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook grew 11.5 percent in one month alone.

Although a lot of hugely successful companies are already out there, a startup can get in with the right niche. "The web is the great equalizer," says Jeff Stibel, CEO of, a provider of websites and services that has created over 4 million websites for small businesses. "It's the only place where a small business can compete nationally." He suggests starting a company with a great Web 1.0 foundation , a solid web address with an appealing design that works well for customers and first-rate search engine optimization to point users to your site.

Most important, though--fill a need. "If you say, ‘I'm going to do what Facebook or YouTube does,' it won't work," says Stibel. "But if you solve a market need, you conquer that niche and expand from there."

Conquering a niche is precisely what Greg Demetriades did when he founded WhiteBlox, an IPTV software suite, in 2005. The company sells IP video solutions so businesses can broadcast interactive IPTV content under the banner of their own brands. It's a subsidiary of his parent company, Continental Vista Broadcasting Group Inc., an IPTV provider that delivers interactive broadband TV content globally, started in 2003. Demetriades, 46, sells his WhiteBlox technologies to media, entertainment and sports-related companies--even contracting with the Indy Racing League to broadcast all its races online through 2009, including the famous Indy 500. "We allow [customers] to mix and match and build their own broadcast networks," he says. WhiteBlox also enables interactivity with tools for polls, contests, chats, forums, blogging and even sending live messages to the announcers at an event. Located in The Woodlands, Texas, the company projects 2007 sales of $16 million. To make your mark in the tech space, be on the lookout for trends. Says Stibel, "It's a matter of keeping your eyes wide open."

If you're a pet lover, consider getting into the fast-growing pet products and services industry. Pets are a part of the family in 63 percent of U.S. households. In fact, in 2006, Americans spent $38.5 billion on pet products and services , a figure expected to rise to over $40 billion in 2007, according to the American Pet Product Manufacturers Association. Traditional pet lovers might consider a pet franchise business like pet grooming, pet products, pet walking or training. In fact, in our 2007 Franchise 500, the number of pet-related franchise units grew 23 percent from 2005 to 2006.

There are many niches in which to start your profitable pet business, according to APPMA president Bob Vetere. Natural and organic pet food is a particularly hot area, he notes. Much like in the human world, where green products are all the rage, green pet products are quickly gaining in popularity. "Any trend you see in human foods, about six months later, it pops up on the pet food side of the ledger," says Vetere. "This is what's happening with organics and naturals. It's finally dawned on marketers that the same person who's buying food for the family is buying food for the pet."

Convenience products are heating up as well--from automatic feeding devices and timed watering devices to automatic pet doors--anything that allows owners to have a busy lifestyle while still taking care of their pets is hot, notes Vetere. On the same convenience trend, consider pet services--pooper scoopers, for instance--to do the dirty work that many pet owners would rather pay someone else to do.

And just as moms buy top-notch products for their children, many pet owners are all about luxury for their precious pets. If it's high-end or a treat, pet parents will want it. That's what Janet McCulley, 39, and Georgia Goldberg, 44, found when they started Muttropolis, a chain of upscale pet boutiques based in Solana Beach, California. Janet McCulley, a proud pet parent herself to dogs Lulu, Sepia and Zoltan, knew she wasn't alone in wanting to pamper her dogs. She researched the market and opened the doors to her first store in 2002; four more locations and an online store have followed.

McCulley describes the business as "retail meets the dog park." Aside from offering upscale products such as Swarovski crystal dog collars and eco-friendly chew toys, McCulley designed special fixtures in her stores to appeal to the discerning pet lover. Photographic tiles on the ground look like grass, a fountain in the center is full of dog toys, and tree graphics on the walls complete the look.

Winning the "Hottest Retail Concept of 2006" award from the International Council of Shopping Centers was a coup, but it's at the monthly Mutt Meet-Up events, where owners bring in their pets for fun and mingling, that McCulley sees the fruits of her success. "We have created a brand that resonates emotionally with the pet parent," she says. With 2007 sales projected at more than $4.5 million and plans to open 150 more locations within the next five years, Muttropolis is sure to become a household name among the two- and four-legged alike.


Companies always need new clients, so if you've got a knack for getting customers to buy, think about starting a marketing and advertising business. Aspiring marketers can go the franchise route with diverse opportunities ranging from direct mail and coupons to promotional products and outdoor media.

But if you want to be a trendsetter, check out the online ad marketplace. It's a booming market--online ad spending alone hit $16.9 billion in 2006, a 35 percent leap from 2005, according to a joint report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau and Pricewaterhouse Coopers. Trends shaping the industry include the use of audio and video technology in online marketing campaigns as well as integrating online and offline marketing for clients, notes Chip Cummings, a marketing consultant and author of Stop Selling and Start Listening! Marketing Strategies That Create Top Producers. "It's not just being on top of the technology, because the technology itself isn't going to sell anybody products or services," Cummings says. "It's the creative use of that technology."

Finding a creative use of technology is exactly what has catapulted Blue Lithium Inc., an online advertising network in San Jose, California. Founded by Gurbaksh Chahal in 2005, the company provides specifically targeted marketing for clients, using data from 145 million consumers worldwide. "That [online] advertising model is focused on display media--banner ads, [etc.]. The model I wanted to recreate was using different ways to add data and using data to create sophistication around individual users," says Chahal. "So when you're serving an ad, it's actually relevant to that user--because you know they're male or female or you know something about their lifestyle through different data sources you can aggregate over time."

Chahal's expertise in providing targeted online ads has grown his startup at least 100 percent per year, pushing 2007 sales projections to nearly $100 million. Working with clients like Anheuser-Busch, Best Buy and Verizon, Chahal, 25, is looking to grow his company into international markets such as Germany, Italy and Spain in the near future. Staying ahead of this rapidly changing market is the order of the day. "You've got to make sure you continue to evolve with it and [that] you're evolving faster than the industry is evolving," says Chahal. "Every couple of years there's a bigger company out there. Before it was Yahoo!; now it's Google. There's a trend going on, and whoever is creating the trend ends up being the winner."

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Are you hitting your numbers?
How many leads did you run this week?
How many follow-up calls did you make today?
How much high-quality volume did you book this month?

These questions are relentlessly driven into our heads, and for good reason. For many sales professionals, there is often pressure to reach quota or attain a certain level of performance. While having a monthly sales goal keeps your eye on the prize and your focus on the end result, it may actually do more harm than good.

Often salespeople say, "Results aren't showing up fast enough." At the end of each selling month, frustration and stress overwhelm as salespeople scramble to do their best to close sales and meet their numbers.

If selling is, in part, a transference of feeling, imagine the feelings that you're transferring to your prospects. The stress and anxiety of having to close more sales inadvertently puts undue pressure on your prospects and fosters an unhealthy relationship from the start.

The irony is, this constant push to reach sales numbers keeps you hooked on the goal and diverts your efforts away from refining the selling process needed to generate more business. The quandary then becomes "I'm too busy to work on my process. I have numbers to meet!"

Consider this paradox: The result is the process. In other words, what if you shifted your attention away from your quota or the end result and onto the process?

After all, what's the point of eating a bowl of chocolate ice cream: to get to the end or to savor every bite? How about the goal of a self-care or an exercise regimen? Unless you're in it to compete professionally, it's to maintain a level of health, vitality, and personal satisfaction.

The same holds true for measuring productivity, maintaining your peace of mind, and experiencing a sense of achievement at the end of each day.

After all, you don't do the result; you execute the process. The result is a natural byproduct of your efforts. That's the paradox. By honoring the process, you can enjoy the benefit of knowing that you will attain your goals, since the process will get you what you want. Imagine building a house without a blueprint!

To generate better results, you must either change what you do or change how you think. To continually exceed your sales goals and better manage your mindset, alter your thinking to become process driven rather than result driven.

Ask yourself if you have processes in place -- for sales, prospecting, follow up, time management, customer service -- that you can trust. When you look at your daily schedule, does it outline the specific and measurable tasks and activities in which you need to engage to move you towards your goal?

Chances are, salespeople who are solely focused on the end result don't have a process in which they have faith. As such, they concentrate more on trying to control the outcome; pushing for what they want rather than managing their process. After all, you can't trust and manage the process if you don't have a process in place!

Trying to achieve more without a process to guide you is like driving from New York to California without a road map while wearing a blindfold. Not only is it stressful, but you're bound to wind up somewhere other than your intended destination.

Schedule time to develop your process for attaining each goal in order to have a clear path. As a starting point for developing your process, review your successful sales. For example, if you're looking to generate a certain number of sales each month, what daily activities will help you reach that goal? What skills or tools need further development? For example, work to refine your introductory cover letter or e-mail, create a solid template for your prospecting and voice mail approach, and increase the frequency of follow-up calls. Thinking about and carrying out these tasks directs your focus to the process.

Once you have outlined a path and a success formula to follow -- X number of calls produces X number of prospects which produces X number of sales -- allow the doing, that is the process, to be the reward and the pleasure, not just the end result. This way, you can be responsible for your future goals without having to worry about them. If you continue your quest with your eyes focused on the finish line, you'll miss out on the journey. Therefore, be careful not to hook yourself onto the future and enjoy the process of reaching your goals today.

Knowing your limit provides you with the freedom to trust the process that you've put in place. After all, there's always more to do. There's always more that can be done at the office, at your home, or in your life; another call that can be made or another e-mail that can be read.

Exceeding your monthly sales quota will be the result of the cumulative efforts you make and the day-to-day activities in which you engage. When you're mindful of the process, you have the opportunity to recognize and to celebrate your accomplishments -- even the little ones -- rather than pushing for or waiting until the "end." Because when do we ever get there?

Sunday, September 16, 2007


At every end of the year, Christina heads down to her local craft store and purchases what she calls her "vision board." It's really just a big yellow poster board, but she immediately starts filling it with goals she wants to achieve in the coming year.

She write down ideas and cut out photos from magazines that help her visualize what she want. In the past, she has pasted $100 bills on the board to remind her of her financial goals. She has included a picture of a man and woman holding hands on a beach to emphasize what she's working toward ….. a dream trip to Costa Rica with her husband. She has even jotted down words like "serenity" and "peaceful" to prevent her from getting consumed by the ceaseless demands of her sales job.

She look at the phrases and images on her vision board every day. It keeps her focused and reminds her when she get up every morning. It is essential for salespeople to begin each year by creating "a personal navigation system" similar to Christina's vision board. It's the system you use to navigate through life, which encompasses your vision, goals, and routine, providing you with a clear sense of purpose and direction.Having the end result clarified in your mind and on paper before you become consumed by your daily responsibilities will make the process of reaching bigger goals easier and more enjoyable.

As a guide, here are vital strategies for setting and achieving your sales goals.

Get Rid of Old Goals.
It's very tempting to recycle the same old goals, especially ones you haven't reached. "I seriously suggest just letting go of recycled goals you've had for several years, because they become like a ball and chain, holding you back. These goals might be unrealistic to begin with, like saying you will achieve $1 million in sales when you have never surpassed $100,000 in your life. Or they might be goals you have inherited from a boss or colleague that are not right for you personally, causing you to consciously or subconsciously resist them.

Set a Manageable Number of Goals.
A resolution, is defined as the process of reducing to simpler form. That brings us to the paradox of resolution. Instead of simplifying our lives, we wind up dumping more tasks, goals, or projects on our to-do list thinking that our lives will be more fulfilling and successful in the new year. What we are left with, though, is the sense of being overwhelmed. Just set no more than five goals each year just to keep things simple and focus your energies.

Clearly Define Your Goals.
It's great that you want to make more money and be more successful this year, but the problem is there is nothing specific behind those goals. You may start establishing a set of daily, weekly, and monthly benchmarks that help you measure and manage your ultimate goal. For instance, if you have a sales target of $1 million, don't focus on the actual dollars, but rather on the activities that will help you reach that mark. Identify and measure several key success indicators, such as the number of follow-up appointments you've made this week or the number of networking events you've attended, as a way of knowing where you are right now and where you need to go.

Establish an Effective Routine.
Let the daily actions you take toward achieving your goals be the reward, not just the end result. This will allow you to actually enjoy the journey and not just obsess about the future. Design a weekly routine that complements your goals so you can focus on the activities that support your objectives and enhance your lifestyle. A well-planned routine will keep you focused, eliminate distractions, reduce stress, and enable you to manage the daily tasks that will bring you to your goals.

Make Your Goals Public.
When you share your goals with others, you become more vested in their outcome and ultimate success. We break commitments to ourselves all the time, but once we inform friends, family, and colleagues of our goals, the stakes are instantly raised. You're less likely to back away from your goals without giving it a lot of thought and reasoning first. What's more, by trusting others with your goals, you acquire a support group that can spur you on to success.

Don't Set Goals Longer than a Year.
It's all too easy to lose momentum if your goals exceed a year. As humans, we tend to lose interest in things that are too far in the future. Life moves exceedingly fast, and we need to be equally responsive. When we set our goals, we have all the intention in the world of following through with them, but life gets in the way and things change very quickly. You can overcome this by setting concrete, focused goals each year and building a set of daily actions that allows you to achieve them.

Alter Your Goals When Necessary.
Don't hesitate to reassess your goals on a quarterly basis. That should give you enough time to gauge whether the desired results are showing up, and help you avoid frustration and constantly second-guessing yourself. Think of your goals as if they were a sail of a boat. You can alter the course while still heading in the same general direction. For example, if your goal is to set up ten face-to-face meetings each month, but you are only getting eight meetings, that might be okay if it turns out you are closing a higher number of deals than anticipated.

Thursday, September 6, 2007


Loyal customers are a powerful ally. They can generate new business with the accolades they share about your product or services. They can be instrumental in getting and keeping a product stocked on shelves.

Here are tips of how to develop a Customer-Driven Marketing.

Generating Customers Interaction

Create a forum section in your company’s website which enable of getting customers feedback and interaction within themselves regarding your product or services. With this forum section you can monitor any comments and ideas that will boost customer satisfaction.

With this method you may also interact indirectly with your new customers, get in touch with the former customers, building your goodwill and creating a good business reputation.

Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Inspire your friends and existing customers to talk about your company and your product by giving them an excellent after sales service. Create a strategic marketing approach that will make your customer feel satisfied with your product or services. Satisfied customers normally will help you in “Word of Mouth Marketing”.

Customer Data

Find out what customers want. In order to do this, you should know who are your customers. Their general background regarding lifestyles, spending habits and so on. By doing a research about your customers, you will find a solution of how to channel your marketing strategy as per customers needs.