Thursday, January 31, 2008


Keep Content Fresh
New content is a great way to keep visitors coming back. Search engines also rank sites with fresh content higher. Keeping an active blog is a great way to keep your site new and fresh.

Keep it Simple
Visitors should be able to easily look around your site. If visitors are frustrated and can't find what they are looking for, they are likely to leave quickly and never come back or recommend your site to others.

Help Visitors Contact You
Make it simple for visitors to reach you if they want. Include a guestbook or blog where they can post questions. Add a "contact me" form where they can submit questions to you via email.

Use Descriptive File Names
Use descriptive keywords as names for the files (e.g., pictures, videos) on your site. This will help your site appear more with search engines - especially through things like Google Image Search.

Create Links
Getting links to your site from other websites will help generate more traffic and improve your placement in search engines. Find other sites on your same topic and put a link to them on your site -- maybe in a new "Favorite Links" page. Then ask those sites to link back to you by signing their guestbook.

Tag your Site
Adding site tags can increase the number of times your site shows up in search results. To pick the right keywords, try putting yourself in the shoes of your visitors and think what they would search for if they wanted to find your site.

Liven Up Site with Widgets
Add widgets to help your visitors interact with your site, get useful information, or just have fun. They are free and easy to add.

Wanna try ? Click the ad below .....

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Many companies are spending significant amounts of money to launch e-businesses on the Internet.

But how many of these companies are taking the right approach when it comes to building a memorable, unique and positive brand image that online consumers will be attracted to it over the long haul ?

The key issue is …… Branding in the online world is far more than just transferring your print brand identity to the Web. Yes, it includes a graphic design image, but your brand in the world of e-business is more largely affected by the interactive experience you provide your users. Everybody knows that the Web allows you to build one-to-one relationships with your customers.

What is more important is the quality of those relationships. Your Web site's ability to engage your customers and facilitate an ongoing relationship with them is the real key to successful branding on the Web.

We all have, at one time or another, been affected by both successful and unsuccessful Web branding efforts. In short, if it isn't done correctly, it hurts a company's ability to gain and retain business through this channel.

Here are a few points to keep in mind when thinking about the proper way to establish a strong brand identity on the Web:

It's critical that a Web business conducts the right up-front assessments to determine who their best prospects are. For example, a toy company or business-to-business parts supplier may have conducted tracking studies or customer analyses for their brick-and-mortar business, but this does not mean that their best offline prospects are their best online candidates.

Creating an online brand isn't just about the design, overall look and feel, and a pretty logo. It is very much connected to and enhanced by a positive user experience and an intuitive navigation scheme. In most circumstances, users want to get in, find what they want ….. such as information, items to buy, informal chats and community-related interaction, and then get out, on their terms, whether that means two minutes or two hours. E-businesses need to assess users' impressions of how easy it is to navigate a site and find what they want. And when a site is redesigned, continue to validate whether the job has been done correctly. We call this "Advancing the User Experience."

There is an ever increasing array of Web applications that e-businesses can buy (or build, depending on your needs) to add "critical" functionality to a site. However, just because someone else may offer a "hot" service or feature on a site doesn't mean that you should. Always relate your technology purchase decisions to your overall business drivers. For example, if you intend to differentiate your organization based on personalized customer service, make sure the self-service applications and user interfaces that you put in place are designed to fit your users' unique needs and are integrated with back-end customer databases and "real-time" customer service channels.

It's more than just a messaging and identity effort; it's also the degree to which you ensure a positive user experience, optimize usability, and incorporate technology that addresses key user needs and leapfrogs the competition. By taking all of these dimensions into account, you'll cement long-term relationships with your users, and profit as a result.

Friday, January 25, 2008


Everyone wants to be successful. But how would you define success?

The American Heritage Dictionary defines success as "the achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted." That something can be anything -- such as financial rewards, the balance of family and work obligations, or the search to fulfill a personal passion.

However, for many entrepreneurs success may not necessarily be the arrival to a destination. It could be the path of the journey taken along the way. Perhaps it's the ability to be flexible. It could also mean the fortitude to change course or direction. Maybe success is being a risk taker when others would walk away from an opportunity.

Your idea of success may be quite different from that of another small business owner's. Your neighbor's personal and professional goals may not parallel your own. Even within families, spouses, parents, and siblings have different needs at different times.

You may also find that how you define success today may be different from how you define it tomorrow. In the real world, life changes, businesses evolve, and the shooting "success star" you may be reaching for alters its course.

As a single person with no family obligations, your definition of success may be quite self-centered. You may be financially driven. The personal challenge of running a business may be your ultimate reward.

A married small business owner with a family may have the intention to make a substantial living, but his or her personal definition of success may revolve around the family. Finding a happy balance between all aspects of life is often the driving force.

Before you outline what would make your business a success, take a moment to think about your own definition of success -- both personal and professional. Remember, you are on a journey. Your success may be found in that journey. Success is not simply an end point; once you reach one goal or benchmark, there will be others to pursue.

Do your personal and professional goals parallel each other? If not, the two paths may diverge and leave you stranded in the middle, attaining neither set of goals.

Do your family goals reflect those of your spouse or significant other? Again, if these two sets of success-defining goals are not in sync, trouble may be brewing in and outside the business.

Sometimes along the way, we deviate from what we think is the right path to success. When this occurs, think of those individuals who came before you.

Consider Milton S. Hershey. Was his success in building the largest chocolate factory in the world? Or was it in leaving a legacy through his philanthropic contributions to disadvantaged children and the creation of the Milton S. Hershey School?

What other entrepreneurs inspire you? Who can you emulate? Take time to research successful entrepreneurs and learn the story behind their entrepreneurial efforts. Their stories may surprise you.

You are surrounded by entrepreneurial colleagues. Tap into them. Join your local chamber of commerce. Attend social events with other business owners. Through sharing successes and failures, entrepreneurs grow together in a supportive network.

Thomas Edison once said, "I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won't work." You and your colleagues may find your own 10,000 ways. Expect to find them. Plan now to learn from them.

Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has had to overcome while trying to succeed.

What are your personal and professional obstacles? How successful will you be?

Only you can answer this.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


What's for lunch?

Whatever it is, for most people, it comes from a to-go box. The same goes for breakfast and dinner. According to the Restaurant Association, 80 percent of people surveyed agree that going out to a restaurant is a better way to use their leisure time than cooking and cleaning up. Add to the mix the constant diet craze and the fact that 57 percent of consumers would use delivery to their home or office if more restaurants offered it.

The market largely has been dominated by giants companies , but many small-business owners have found an edge by offering freshly prepared meals that are delivered locally. People who are looking to kick the unhealthy habit of dashboard dining and cubicle take-out have more options than ever when it comes to prepared meals delivered to their home or office.

Here are three of the current trends in food delivery services that are making mouths water and keeping entrepreneurs satisfied.

Raw Dishes
Raw dishes consist of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds that have never been cooked or treated with heat above 115 degrees. Like most diet crazes, the raw food diet was first introduced to the mainstream via celebrity devotees, but it was innovative culinary wizards that turned this fad into a bona fide movement with creative dishes that mimic cooked favorites. When you cook food, it destroys about 80 percent of the vitamins and minerals and about 100 percent of the enzymes, so eating raw is really about getting the most out of what you eat.

Kids Food
School cafeteria food has always gotten a bad rap, first from kids forced to eat the "mystery meat," and now from parents who've wised up to the lack of healthy, nutritional food options hitting their child's plastic tray. Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates have more than tripled for children aged 6 to 11 years and doubled for adolescents 12 to 19 years. By offering a food delivery service that lets busy parents plan up to a month's worth of lunches and have them delivered to their child's school every day is a good business opportunity. By using healthy foods such as organic fruits and veggies, hormone and antibiotic free meat, and offers meals that are low in fat, sugar and salt is a good move to start with.

Seeing Green
The other option is a delivery service that's completely green. The health of the planet is really a top priority. The use of pesticides on our products and the use of hormones and antibiotics in meat and poultry are not only detrimental to the health of the planet, it's also detrimental to the people, for those who are consuming it. Try some green recipes to the customers and you will see the impact.

Monday, January 21, 2008


We've all heard that the best negotiations are win-win agreements, in which each side benefits from the outcome.

Unfortunately, however, some negotiations leave us feeling like losers in a lopsided deal. Wouldn't it be nice if you could know the other negotiator's true motives or the intentions behind their words? This is possible, but you'll have to learn to hear by watching, not just listening to the other person.

The subconscious part of your brain controls your body's internal processes including your heartbeat, digestion and breathing. You don't have to think about these functions because your subconscious is like an auto-pilot for your body. This internal regulator can't lie, which is why subconscious gesture responses are more reliable communications than spoken words, which are consciously constructed.

You can use the five indicators below to immediately improve your deal-making ability. They'll enable you to go beyond the words to "read" the other person's inner feelings.

Confidence indication
Good negotiators know that getting the best deal is often simply a matter of knowing what is and what isn't negotiable. One of the best techniques for uncovering the proverbial "line in the sand" is to verbally probe with suggestions for concession, while visually observing for resistance. A person's subconscious indicates confident resistance by displaying a lip protrusion.

When we were kids, if another kid took our truck or doll or if we were made to share when we didn't want to, we would stick out that lower lip and even add an angry arm cross as confident resistance.

We do the same thing as grown-ups, but we indicate our aversion to compromise with a more subtle lip protrusion and/or arm cross when we are presented with a proposition that would cause us to concede beyond our wishes. When you spot this confidence indication during your presentation, consider their resistance level high and their likelihood of making that particular concession low.

Disbelief indication
One of the most valuable skills for a negotiator is to interpret when the other side distrusts the proposal or presenter. This is revealed by an eye rub. Eye rubs occur for many reasons, but during a negotiation they often indicate disbelief or a lack of confidence in the speaker. Good negotiators know that it's meaningless to attempt to close a deal when the other side is not on board, so they watch for eye rubs. The best way to handle an eye rub is to stop when you see one and say something like, "Does that sound fair to you?" or "Would you like to comment on that?" If you just treat all eye rubs like a verbal question, most of the time, you'll preserve the chance for an eventual agreement.

Pause indication
Negotiators, like some salespeople, have a tendency to talk too much. One way to keep this in check is to look for the ear tug gesture. When someone wants to interject a comment or make a suggestion while the other person is talking they'll touch, stroke or lightly tug on their ear to indicate their desire to speak.

Many body language experts think that this behavior evolved from our childhood school days when we would raise our arm to notify the teacher that we wanted to be called on to speak. As grown-ups we're more subtle but just as eager to share our opinion, so the best negotiators have learned that when they see an ear tug, they should shut up and listen.

Desire indication
When we evaluate a proposition, we indicate our contemplation by stroking/rubbing our chin and temple. Once we have determined that we do, in fact, want to take the offer, we stop evaluating and often begin to salivate. Much like Pavlov's dogs, we salivate when we desire something.

Our natural response when a want evolves into a need is to put something into our mouth--a pen, finger, eye glasses or cigar, for example. In the most subtle of examples, a customer might even indicate a desire to accept your proposal by concluding a chin stroke with a licking of the lips or even a simple swallow.

Emotion indication
Great negotiators have learned to watch for micro-expressions. These are very revealing subconscious splashes of emotion. They only last a fraction of a second and usually indicate a person's true emotion about a word, phrase or other communication.

If you're observant, you can notice micro-expressions during a presentation. Let's say, for example, that your presentation includes a flip chart with the heart of the proposal on page four. Don't worry so much about the response to the first three pages, but before you flip to page four, make sure you're watching the face of the decision-maker as you turn the page and announce the key benefit. You might say, "… and we can do all of this for only $560,000." If they immediately look shocked and then return to a normal expression, your price may be too high. If they immediately let a smile "leak" only to be erased by their normal expression, you might be under-priced.

Negotiating skill is a key ingredient in running any business. Your success will depend on your ability to interpret the other person's true interest and objections and successfully persuade them to make the deal.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Here is a common problem people have when they're first starting out

"I have designed a website for the sole purpose of advertising affiliate products. I have six affiliate products on different pages on the same website that are in the same category like wellness, health and beauty. However my problem is how to write the sales copy or introduction page with the correct wording to attract visitors and buyers."

"Wellness, health and beauty" are huge markets.

After plugging each of those terms into Google, here are the results :

Health: 1.76 billion results
Wellness: 173 million results
Beauty: 1.06 billion results

You'll never achieve success if you set up a general website promoting products that treat a variety of health, wellness and beauty problems. You're going up against far too many competing sites.

And you'll never be able to write the kind of highly targeted sales copy you need to attract qualified visitors to your site. For example, someone who's looking for organic wrinkle cream isn't in the same market as someone looking for a naturopathic treatment for Crohn's disease , and you can't build a website that effectively sells to both of those people.

So if you want a chance at competing in these incredibly large markets, you need to do three things:

Focus, Focus and Focus.

Focus on your individual product pages, not on your main homepage.
Focus on one specific problem that each of those individual products solves.
Focus your pay-per-click and search marketing efforts so that every ad and article you write addresses that one specific problem and takes visitors straight to the landing page for the product that solves that problem.

In other words, you need to divide and conquer. The best way to guarantee your online success is to make sure each of your affiliate product pages appeals to a highly targeted group of people.

The more targeted your affiliate product pages, the more easily you'll be able to :

Speak directly to your target market
Rank in the search engines for your keywords
Dominate a corner of your market and …..
Establish yourself as an expert in your field.

So start off by looking at one product at a time. Look at the different health or beauty problems it claims to solve. Then determine which of these problems a significant number of people are actively trying to solve.

Keep in mind that when people search for solutions online, they enter keywords into the search engines. You can find out exactly what words people are searching with and how often -- using online keyword research tools such as and

What problems are people searching for information about? And what specific keyword phrases are they using? Look for problem statement keywords that include query words like "how" or "tips." Keep your eyes open for keyword phrases that are getting a lot of searches, but don't have a lot of strong competition for them.

Follow up on your keyword research by visiting health and beauty-related blogs, forums and groups to see if people are talking about these problems and what they're saying about them. What problems are they having a hard time solving? What do they like about the solutions that are currently available and what do they wish they could find?

Question-and-answer sites like Yahoo! Answers can also provide a goldmine of information. Not only can you find out the specific questions that are being asked, but you can also find out how well those questions are being answered.

Once you have identified a problem that a lot of people are trying to find solutions for, but without any luck, then you'll know the problem that should be the focus of your sales copy and marketing efforts for that particular product.

Once your targeted marketing efforts are generating a steady stream of qualified traffic to that particular product page, it's time to move on to your next affiliate product page and focus it on one specific problem.

I know it's tempting to want to describe your health products as the ultimate cure-all for everything from skin problems to obesity, but people who are searching for skin care products aren't searching for obesity products -- and you simply can't create an effective page that appeals to both.

Once again, online success is all about focus. I can't emphasize this enough. You'll make far more money trying to sell to a small but highly targeted group of people than you can ever possibly hope to make selling to everyone.

Friday, January 18, 2008


Share your expertise with the world to raise your profile and your business's brand recognition.

Few things can have greater impact on your personal brand and your organization's brand recognition than developing and sharing your expertise with the world. Whether you call it becoming a thought leader or a public expert, or as marketing guru , you should do it. Trust me that it works.

The formula is to build your expertise and get people to recognize it.

Expose yourself
Talk about your expertise, with everyone you meet. Your clients, colleagues, superiors, everyone, even in social settings.

Prepare a formal one-hour talk with a deck of slides
This forces you to organize your ideas and structure your arguments to make the most profound impact on an audience. When you have it ready, give the talk whenever and wherever you can whether at a lunch meeting in the office, conference breakout sessions, and professional organization meetings.

Write an article
It doesn't have to be on the front page of the Wall Street Journal to be effective. With a little bit of effort and a few phone calls, I guarantee you can find a publication that's eager for your contribution. Write more articles. Yes, this is important enough to have its own step. Turn sharing your knowledge into a habit, and your thought leadership will command much more respect.

Write a book
Everyone, even you, can write a book. In fact, if you've written a series of articles, the book has already written itself. All you'll need to do is add a few anecdotes. If you can get a contract with a major publisher, great. If not, no worries. A good friend of mine, published his first book by simply combining his best articles, and it's been a great calling card for his growing business. As long as it's bound and it doesn't look like it came from a personal printer, you'll be fine.

By following all these steps, I guarantee you'll begin to see your personal and organizational cachet grow in the marketplace. And if you have your book in hand, you'll see the impact of it from the public. Because being a thought leader does take hard work, people have tremendous respect for those who have taken it to the final stage. And they put their money where their mouth is.

Furthermore, according to a recent study conducted by RainToday, 96% of authors report that writing a book produced positive results for their businesses.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


The arrival of a new year can help motivate us to set goals that prompt great results.

While eating healthy and getting more exercise are admirable New Year's resolutions, here are some tips for you to set a goal to reach your personal best as an e-mail marketer in 2008 :

Grow your list at every turn.
Every day there are opportunities to add someone to your e-mail list. Train yourself and those you work with to take advantage of every opportunity to grow your list. If you haven't added a sign-up box to your website, now's the time. If you have a store front, keep your e-mail book on the counter and ask every customer to sign it. Consider setting a goal to grow your list by a certain percentage this year.

Spend more time on e-mails.
If you want your e-mails to be valued by those on your list, put more time into them. Are you giving yourself enough time to think about what you're trying to accomplish? Are you giving your best effort to creating content that is interesting and useful to your list members? Do you have great ideas for e-mail promotions that you haven't put to work yet? Let this year be the year. The little bit of extra time and energy you spend on creating your e-mails can get a big return.

Keep a clean list.
Doesn't it feel great to sleep in clean sheets, eat in a clean kitchen or put on a clean shirt? We love when things are clean, but it takes work to get them that way. It's the same with your e-mail list. It might take some work to get rid of old e-mails and hunt down the issues for those being blocked, but it's worth it. And once you've spent the time to do a deep cleaning, the upkeep is easy. Make it your goal to give a little bit of time to list cleaning each month so you can get that good feeling that comes from having a sparkling list made up of people who want to hear from you.

Test, test, test.
Testing is the best way to determine what you can do to get optimal results from your audience. By testing, you can learn what day and time of day to send, what subject lines get the most opens, and what topics, promotions, offers, and calls-to-action get the best responses. Your open and click-through rates will give you the answers. By testing and using your findings you'll be better equipped to create highly effective e-mails. Make sure to take good notes.

Segment your list.
Dividing your list into categories based on interests, shopping habits, geographical locations or any other criteria you choose is an excellent goal for this year. Targeted marketing can make a huge difference in the responses you get from your e-mails. If you can communicate with your contacts about something that you know is of interest to them, you have a much better chance of getting them to open the e-mail, read it and act on it. The more targeted the message, the better the response.

If you are ambitious of these resolutions works for you. Tap into the potential of e-mail marketing and let this be the year that you reap the best results ever.

Start your e-mail marketing now ! May success be with you …..

Monday, January 14, 2008


Entrepreneurs need to be careful and specific in what they wish for.

Hitting a certain revenue goal can be attainable but achieving that milestone with colleagues of questionable ethics isn't worth it. When people around you don't think the rules apply to them, it's time to find a different sandbox to play in.

Great leaders don't create followers, but instead develop other leaders who inspire greatness in those around them. So, remember those who have helped you and added positive momentum in your life.

Here are a few thoughts to help you get 2008 off to a positive start:

Get organized.
The days of wasting time looking for important papers or rummaging through storage are over. Attain the peace of mind that comes with knowing you can find the things you need when you need them and you've taken care of the people you care most about. When things are chaotic at the office or home, it's hard to think clearly and be of much value in either place.

Celebrate success.
It takes a small army to accomplish many worthwhile things in life. Make sure to pause and reflect on how you were able to achieve those goals and thank those along the way who assisted in your success. This year, I had the opportunity to thank someone publicly who was a great role model to me as a teenager. I could only focus on one of the many people who have helped me along the way, but it meant a lot to me for her to realize the positive influence she has had on my life. When celebrities, politicians or CEOs hog the limelight without mentioning others who have contributed to their success, it signals to me they are insecure. Often, the key link is behind the scenes and deserves credit for making things happen.

Keep it simple.
A lot of people and companies talk about clarity, but few do it well. When you've been spending more time and energy managing your high maintenance colleagues than the customers you are serving, it's time to get a new team. These are the ones whose egos need to be constantly stroked and have to dominate every conversation. It's amazing how much more productive and fun the work environment can be when they're gone.

Set clear priorities.
Life and business are about choices. With an abundance of information available today, having unclear priorities can drive you crazy. Set deadlines, make the best decision and move on. Whether you have a day, week or month to complete a project, a time constraint can help you prioritize what factors can influence a decision. Stop stressing about all the things on your to-do list and focus on the ones that really matter. Once you set your goals, you'll find that less really is more--more fulfilling and more rewarding.
Give yourself a gift for your achievement and focus on the essential people in your life who share your values and vision for the future. I believe a lot will be accomplished in the new year by the people achieving their dreams, while the others are fighting over who gets to take credit for all the great acts of kindness being created every day.

You have the power within you to make good things happen. GO FOR IT !!!

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Do you make resolutions at the beginning of every year ?

Resolutions can be powerful tools. In fact, they can help you take your business to the next level. The catch is, once you make a resolution, you have to work to make it come true.

If you want action, you need an action plan. Goal setting is the best way I know to transform lofty resolutions into bottom-line results. Research shows that when entrepreneurs set measurable goals for themselves, they're more like to achieve them.

When you engage in true goal setting, you define your objectives in pragmatic, measurable terms. You also need to identify the resources, time and funds you'll need to invest to attain them. That's how you develop action plans. Once you know where you want to go, the next step is to figure out how you'll get there and how much you're willing to spend on the trip.

When it comes to goal setting, use SMART system, which is simple, down-to-earth and gets the job done. Each goal must be defined so that it meets the following criteria:

S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Achievable
R – Realistic
T – Timely

Specific, achievable and realistic
Make sure your goals are concrete, concise and attainable. Instead of, "I want to make a lot more money this year," specify "I want to increase my revenues by X percent (a realistic amount) by the end of the year."

Frame your goals in such a way so you can measure your progress. For example, plan on measuring monthly or quarterly revenues against last year's figures--something you should be doing anyway.

Give yourself a reasonable time frame for achieving your goal. Then break it down into smaller, short-term increments. Realistically, you may not achieve that X percent increase early in the year, but you can work toward it. Divide your goal percent increase into monthly or quarterly increments that allows you to build on your momentum. This produces measurable, attainable and short-term goals to pursue.

Record your goals and action plans on paper. Whether you write them down or type them, the very act of recording them will help you flesh out your ideas. Once your plans are complete, you'll have a detailed roadmap with directions to follow.

Review your goals and plans regularly. Make a monthly appointment with yourself if that's what it takes. This will help keep you on track as time unfolds.

Also, beware of "BHAGs"--big, hairy, audacious goals. Super-ambitious goals are great when it comes to long-range planning and decision making, but they don't lend themselves to goal setting. Focus on attainable goals that you can realistically reach within the year.

It's easy to make resolutions, but it's hard to make them come true. No wonder some entrepreneurs make the same resolutions every year, without ever achieving them. Don't let yourself fall into that group. This year, resolve to set SMART goals and action plans.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


It's the time of year for setting goals for 2008 and preparing to start the new year with a big jumpstart of activity toward accomplishing these goals.

For many people, these goals include the desire to start their own business and become the master of their destiny, and franchising can fit very well into that picture.

Here are some tips for you to select a franchise opportunity if you want to own your own business.

Track Record of Success
Any good franchise company has developed a method of doing business that works well and produces successful results. Even better, they're required to provide you with a great deal of information in their required disclosures so you can investigate and verify the results with existing franchisees prior to making your final decision.

Strong Brand
One of the biggest advantages of franchising is that the company is building a brand on a regional or national basis that should have value in the eyes of customers you're trying to attract.

Training Programs
A good franchise company has training programs designed to bring you up to speed on the most successful methods to run the business. They should also have reference materials to assist you in dealing with whatever comes up while you're running your business.

Ongoing Operational Support
Franchise companies have staff dedicated to providing ongoing assistance to franchisees. You're not alone when you're building and running your business, and you can always call on experienced people when you hit a rough spot or want to share new ideas for growing the business.

Marketing Assistance
The franchise company has marketing assistance to provide you with proven tools and strategies for attracting and retaining customers. Usually, the staff helps you develop the actual marketing plans and budgets for your grand opening as well as your ongoing efforts to market your business effectively.

Real Estate Assistance
Most franchises have manuals and other documentation, as well as staff, to help you find the right site and negotiate the best possible deal on your site. This is a very important advantage that can hold costs down and provide the best possible chance of success in any site-driven business.

Construction Assistance
Franchise companies can also provide a wonderful benefit in helping you design the layout of the business and select the right contractors to do your build out, as well as making sure you get the exact mix of furniture and equipment you need to maximize the efficiency of your initial investment.

Purchasing Power
A good franchise can take advantage of the buying power of the entire system to negotiate prices for everything you need at significantly lower levels than you could achieve as an independent operator. This applies not only to initial furniture and equipment purchases, but also to the supplies, inventory, uniforms and everything else you'll need on an ongoing basis.

Risk Avoidance
This one is the most important of all. The biggest reason to buy a franchise is that, if you're smart, it will help you avoid much of the risk of starting a new business. Make no mistake--you have to do your due diligence, but if you do, you can determine with a fair amount of certainty what happen if you become a new franchisee.

As you look at this list, it not only shows a number of reasons to think about getting a franchise--it also shows you just some of the major challenges you'll face if you have to create all these things yourself in an independent business. You do have to pay fees in a franchise that you could avoid in an independent business, but it's kind of like the guy in the Fram Oil Filter commercials who says, "You can pay me now or you can pay me later." You can pay the franchisor the fees, or you can pay for many expensive mistakes by not learning the lessons of others that have gone before you. Using a franchise to meet your goal of starting a new business is a wonderful approach for most people, for all these reasons and many more.

p/s : For my friend Mr Jesmin Hamid , I wish you sucess with your new franchise business - BBQ Chicken

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


For very little money or effort, even the smallest online businesses can use viral marketing techniques -- the same techniques that helped make one of the largest online shopping destinations.

Amazon encouraged its customers to send books as gifts to their friends. The friends received an Amazon flier along with the book; it encouraged them to shop at the site, which helped drive new customers. Amazon also pioneered the affiliate program model, paying businesses commissions when Amazon banners, buttons, and links placed on their sites resulted in sales.


Viral marketing is "network enhanced" word-of-mouth -- any marketing in which the customer becomes an advocate for the product or service by recommending or sending it to friends. It proliferates like a virus, often by e-mail.


It spreads itself -- you only put out a small initial effort. Attach your marketing message to a product or a service, and if customers like your product, they pass it -- and your message -- on. Viral marketing depends on customers' good experiences. If a company doesn't satisfy customers, they won't recommend its product.

It sells through existing communication networks. This can take the form of articles or press releases to get your message displayed on others' Web pages or e-zines. Or you can place your message into existing relationships between people.

Blue Mountain Arts employs these relationship networks by providing electronic greeting cards people can e-mail to friends and family. Recipients are invited to visit the site to send their own cards.

Viral tactics provide for effortless transfer among customers. A short marketing message attached to a free product or service works best. E-mail, graphics, and software downloads are ideal carriers. Hotmail struck gold with this strategy, including a brief note in every e-mail message: "Get your private, free e-mail at"

Sunday, January 6, 2008


Welcome 2008. So what is your plan for 2008 ? It's time to think about our plans for the next 12 months.

Maybe some of this tips could give you ideas :

Be funnier
Life is more enjoyable when you can make others laugh. So why not try to make everybody laugh more in 2008.

Treat your staff well
You can't do it with your food, but no one says you can't have fun at work. Plan some outings -- during company time - when you and your team go play. Bring some ice cream to the office on a hot summer day and take a short break with the staff. Plan a surprise management meeting for you and your key employees, offsite at a great resort. Invite their spouses if you're feeling really generous. Have fun with them and they'll return the favor.

Find a brand new source of profit
Even if it's small, anytime you can add to your bottom line, you're better off. It may be adding some new products, it may be just adding Google Ads or some affiliate links on your website. Or it could be that you hire staff in a new department and develop a new service line. Whatever your plan, grow your business.

Write a book
This could be a motivation for you and a method of impression of your success. You could start writing a story about yourself and your involvement in business or about anything that create a positive impact to your society and your business.

Give back
Nothing is more fulfilling than giving back. You can do it through your company or on your own, but give time, money and ideas to others and you'll find huge rewards. If you can get your staff involved, you'll find new ways to make a big difference. Consider donating one work day of you and your staff's time to Habitat for Humanity or another worthy organization where you can do some fun manual labor.

Delegate, don't abdicate
Spend this year giving jobs to others, but know that you'll always have to be responsible for their work. If you hire well and manage carefully, you can keep your hands in the business but have time for different pursuits.

Have a wonderful New Year Ahead ……. May God Bless You

Friday, January 4, 2008


CASH FLOW problems can kill businesses that might otherwise survive. According to a U.S. Bank study, 82 percent of business failures are due to poor cash management. To prevent this from happening to your business, here are some tips ….

Profits aren't cash , they're accounting
And accounting is a lot more creative than you think. You can't pay bills with profits. Actually profits can lull you to sleep. If you pay your bills and your customers don't, it's suddenly business hell. You can make profits without making any money.

Cash flow isn't intuitive
Don't try to do it in your head. Making the sales doesn't necessarily mean you have the money. Incurring the expense doesn't necessarily mean you paid for it already. Inventory is usually bought and paid for and then stored until it becomes cost of sales.

Growth sucks up cash
It's paradoxical. The best of times can be hiding the worst of times. One of the toughest years my company had was when we doubled sales and almost went broke. We were building things two months in advance and getting the money from sales six months late. Add growth to that and it can be like a Trojan horse, hiding a problem inside a solution. Yes, of course you want to grow; we all want to grow our businesses. But be careful because growth costs cash. It's a matter of working capital. The faster you grow, the more financing you need.

Business-to-business sales suck up your cash.
The simple view is that sales mean money, but when you're a business selling to another business, it's rarely that simple. You deliver the goods or services along with an invoice, and they pay the invoice later. Usually that's months later. And businesses are good customers, so you can't just throw them into collections because then they'll never buy from you again. So you wait. When you sell something to a distributor that sells it to a retailer, you typically get the money four or five months later if you're lucky.

Inventory sucks up cash.
You have to buy your product or build it before you can sell it. Even if you put the product on your shelves and wait to sell it, your suppliers expect to get paid. Here's a simple rule of thumb: Every dollar you have in inventory is a dollar you don't have in cash.

Working capital is your best survival skill.
Technically, working capital is an accounting term for what's left over when you subtract current liabilities from current assets. Practically, it's money in the bank that you use to pay your running costs and expenses and buy inventory while waiting to get paid by your business customers.

The money your customers owe you is called "accounts receivable." Here's a shortcut to cash planning: Every dollar in accounts receivable is a dollar less cash.

Bankers hate surprises.
Plan ahead. You get no extra points for spontaneity when dealing with banks. If you see a growth spurt coming, a new product opportunity or a problem with customers paying, the sooner you get to the bank armed with charts and a realistic plan, the better off you'll be.

Watch these three vital metrics:
"Collection days" is a measure of how long you wait to get paid.
"Inventory turnover" is a measure of how long your inventory sits on your working capital and clogs your cash flow.
"Payment days" is how long you wait to pay your vendors.
Always monitor these three vital signs of cash flow. Project them 12 months ahead and compare your plan to what actually happens.

Sales collection
If all your customers pay you immediately when they buy from you, and you don't buy things before you sell them, then relax. But if you sell to businesses, keep in mind that they usually don't pay immediately.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


Tahukah anda, kegagalan sebenarnya adalah sebahagian dari tanda-tanda menuju kearah kejayaan. Adakah anda masih ingat ? Semasa anda kecil dulu. Bagaimana anda mula belajar berjalan. Mula-mula anda jatuh dan gagal. Namun dengan azam dan semangat anda terus mencuba. Hari demi hari. Akhirnya anda berjaya. Begitu juga semasa anda mula belajar menunggang basikal. Pada mulanya anda gagal. Namun dengan tekad dan azam akhirnya anda juga telah berjaya.

Nah, lihatlah dua contoh tersebut. Bukankah pada mulanya anda gagal ?

Kegagalan jarang sekali ditekankan dalam motivasi, walhal, terdapat lebih ramai mereka yang gagal berbanding dengan mereka yang berjaya!

Namun begitu, tahukah anda, 98% daripada “self-made millionaires” hari ini pernah gagal?

Ya! Kegagalan adalah sebahagian daripada kejayaan.

Punca utama seseorang tidak mencapai kejayaan adalah kerana …. Mereka sebenarnya ..

Fahami betul-betul ayat di atas. "Takut kepada kegagalan" adalah sebab utama seseorang tidak mencapai kejayaan. Bukannya "Gagal adalah punca utama tidak mencapai kejayaan"

Apabila anda takut kepada kegagalan, anda akan menghalang diri anda mengambil langkah pertama. Langkah pertama adalah merupakan perkara paling utama dalam mencapai apa-apa kejayaan. Sekiranya anda berada dalam keadaan "Takut kepada kegagalan" , ketahuilah bahawa itu adalah benteng dan halangan utama bagi anda untuk mencapai kejayaan.

Bagaimana hendak melepasi benteng tersebut?

Ikut kata-kata NIKE ……. just do it!
Kalau nak DUIT, anda perlu DO-IT!

Terlalu banyak kisah-kisah kegagalan mereka yang berjaya boleh dikongsikan bersama.

Diantaranya :

Adalah seorang pemain baseball di Amerika Syarikat pada tahun 70-an. Beliau ketika itu merupakan pemain yang paling banyak sekali membuat home-run (larian dengan markah tertinggi di dalam baseball) ketika itu. Tiada siapa boleh menandingi rekod Babe Ruth yang membuat home-run. Namun begitu, Babe Ruth juga merupakan pemain base-ball yang paling banyak sekali struck-out (terpaksa keluar oleh kerana pukulan tidak mengena bola!)- lebih daripada 1,300 kali!

Setiap kali Babe Ruth tidak mengena bola, beliau akan senyum sahaja. Apabila ditanya wartawan sukan kepada Babe Ruth, mengapa beliau senyum setiap kali tidak mengena bola, jawabnya "Setiap kali hayunan saya gagal mengena bola, ia bermakna makin hampir hayunan saya akan mengena bola dan akan mendapat home-run untuk pasukan saya tidak lama lagi!"

Pemikiran Babe Ruth adalah, lagi banyak kali beliau mencuba walaupun gagal, lagi hampir dirinya akan mencapai kejayaan dalam mendapatkan home-run! Fikiran beginilah yang perlu ada oleh semua dalam mencapai kejayaan. Kegagalan bukan bererti anda yang gagal secara peribadi, tetapi, ia bermaksud makin hampir anda akan mencapai kejayaan.

Genius Albert Einstein
Hanya boleh bercakap apabila umurnya 4 tahun!

Saintis Isaac Newton
Sering gagal ketika sekolah dan diberi gelaran oleh guru-guru sebagai murid yang "tiada harapan"!

F.W Woolworth
Ketika berumur 21 tahun bekerja dikedai runcit sering dimarahi oleh pemilik kedai sebagai "seorang yang tidak pandai menjual!". Kini, Woolworth adalah antara rangkaian pasaraya terbesar di United Kingdom!

Pengasas Disneyland, Mr Walt Disney
Ketika bekerja di syarikat akhbar pernah dimarahi oleh editornya oleh kerana "Tidak mempunyai imaginasi dan tidak pernah mempunyai idea yang bernas"!

Michael Jordan
Pemain basketball terulung pernah dikeluarkan dari pasukan basketball ketika di sekolah menengah!

Thomas Edison
Pencipta lampu mentol pula ketika sekolah sering dimarahi oleh gurunya dengan "Seorang murid yang terlalu bodoh untuk pelajari apa sahaja"! Tahukah anda Thomas Edison juga gagal dalam lebih 1,000 eksperimen dalam mencipta lampu mentol sebelum menjumpa formula sebenar cara menyalakan lampu mentol!

Adakah ikon-ikon di atas pernah mengalah dan berhenti daripada melakukan apa yang mereka percaya? Sudah tentunya tidak !!!

Kegagalan adalah sesuatu yang pasti dilalui oleh setiap insan dalam mencapai kejayaan. Apa yang membezakan mereka yang berjaya kini dan mereka yang tidak adalah, mereka yang berjaya melihat kegagalan sebagai peluang untuk belajar supaya kegagalan tersebut tidak diulangi.


............. uSaHa tANggA KejaYAAN ............

Wednesday, January 2, 2008



As consumers nationwide toast the moment, their glasses reveal the cravings of today--premium spirits. "Over the past 15 years, there has been a trend toward people drinking less but drinking better," says David Ozgo, chief economist at the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. He points out that the super-premium segment has enjoyed double-digit growth over the past four or five years.

In this industry, life is good, but barriers to entry can be quite sobering. Production costs are high, distribution regulations are difficult, and shelf space is a hot commodity. But you can measure up by standing out.

Matti Anttila's refined drinking habits and frequent visits to Rio de Janeiro clued him in to his niche. The former investment banker noticed the lack of a super-premium brand of cachaça, a Brazilian spirit, and resolved matters by launching Cabana Cachaça in New York City in 2006. From production to design, Anttila, 28, focused on creating a premium spirit that evokes an emotional connection with Brazil. By hand-selecting cocktail-forward, A-list restaurants and lounges as his primary accounts, Anttila has introduced his brand to 10 U.S. states, as well as London, and has good reason to celebrate with 2007 projected sales of $2 million. Says Anttila, "I'm creating a brand, but I'm also helping create a category, and that has really increased the overall upside of the venture."

Whether sealed with a cork or a screw cap, consumers can't get the tops off of wine bottles fast enough. Continuing its popularity, wine has gone mainstream and is being sipped, savored and outright guzzled at such a rate that by 2010, the U.S. could actually uproot France from its perennial seat as the world's largest wine consumer, according to the Wine Market Council.

The explosion of the culinary category and the employment of more effective marketing strategies have made the market fruitful and the opportunities ripe, says wine consultant Michael Green. And the rise in direct-to-consumer wine sales and online sales is also creating buzz. According to Deborah Brenner, author of Women of the Vine, "There are many opportunities for entrepreneurs to get involved by providing necessary tools for wineries, such as shipping and fulfillment centers, software tools, e-commerce tools, etc."

Cameron Hughes founded San Francisco-based wine-trading company, Cameron Hughes Wine, in 2001. By buying small lots of wine in bulk from high-end producers, eliminating middlemen, cutting his own costs (he doesn't own a single tank or barrel) and selling to Costco Wholesale Corp., Hughes, 36, has been able to stake his spot in the flourishing $10 to $15 bottle category and will grow sales to a projected $20 million by June 2008.

Ask industry experts what's brewing and you'll get a stout response: craft beer. The volume of craft beer sold in the first half of 2007 rose 11 percent compared to the same period in 2006, and dollar growth increased 14 percent, according to the Brewers Association. "People like the taste of hand-crafted beers that deliver unexpected flavors," says Keith Villa, a brewmaster at Coors. Beer writer Stephen Beaumont credits the growth of craft beer to the trading-up phenomenon that is raising the bar across all industries.

Do the prospects have you giddy? If so, don't discount women and do tap into underserved markets. Beaumont believes the image-friendly premium beer segment--seen as more tasteful than the frat-friendly nonpremium market--will draw a wide consumer base, and that in the U.S., markets in the South are "poised to turn the corner." Craft beer has surpassed 5 percent of overall beer sales, according to the Brewers Association. Justin Fisch, marketing director for United States Beverage, a beer and spirits sales and marketing company, predicts that number will grow to 15 percent to 20 percent within the next 10 years.

Enhanced Beverages
Food may nourish, but in today's world, beverages are the real cure-all. According to Judy Ramberg, vice president and consumer strategist of food and beverage for the trend research firm Iconoculture, consumers, especially Millennials--individuals under age 30--are looking to beverages to cure everything from fatigue to hangovers.

It's an easy-to-swallow trend, especially for entrepreneurs like Cheryl and Steve Schneider, 29 and 46, respectively, who have satisfied their quest for success with the 2006 launch of their flagship product, Malava Relax. Instead of packing in antioxidants, nutritional fortifications and vitamins to increase energy, the husband-and-wife team behind Malava Beverages in Newport Beach, California, pack in kava and let the Polynesian plant that's known for its calming qualities work its magic. "We're the only one with a true relaxation drink," says Steve, who is bottling up profits with sales expected to grow from $4 million this year to $46 million next year.

Be aware of an increasingly savvy, label-reading consumer and steer clear of caffeine, as consumers are craving sustainable energy, cautions Ramberg. Look to the East for inspiration. As Donald Wilkes, CEO of Blue Pacific Flavors and Fragrances Inc., a food and beverage technology and flavor innovator, says, "We see a lot of flavor trends originate in the Asian market and then migrate to U.S. consumers."

Special Needs Food
Think simply having organic, fair trade or nutritionally enhanced menu items means you're ahead of the game? Think again. There's a growing category of special needs food that means adding terms like gluten-free, low-glycemic and allergen-free to your vocabulary--and your offerings. Anheuser-Busch has even contributed to the movement with Redbridge, a gluten-free beer.

The Food Products Association reports that about 6 million to 7 million Americans have a food allergy, and market research firm Packaged Facts estimates that low-glycemic food sales will grow at a compound annual growth rate of more than 45 percent from 2007 to 2011, at which point sales are projected to reach a whopping $1.8 billion. "The people who are paying attention to [the organic movement] will look more deeply into what it is they're eating, and they'll probably find that they're allergic to stuff that they didn't know about," says Stephen F. Hall, a specialty food business development consultant.

The dietary needs may be different, but the sweet tooth is the same. According to Anne Muñoz-Furlong, CEO of The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, "Combinations of allergen-free foods such as milk-, egg- and wheat-free baked goods will be a natural growth area because Americans love desserts."

Already hot in London and making their way to U.S. cities, gastropubs might be the next trend to come down the pipeline. The term "gastropub" is open to interpretation, but the short version is an English-style pub that serves high-quality cuisine. Tanya Steel, editor-in-chief of food-focused website, says, "Comfortable, local places with great food, drinks and atmosphere are here to stay and will only get bigger."

United Kingdom native Jayne Battle, 33; her father, Frank Battle, 65; and her fiancé, Jon Erickson, 36 brought the concept to San Diego this past February with Jayne's Gastropub. "Only a handfulhave attempted this concept in the U.S., and most of them are booming," says Jayne, who projects year-end sales of $750,000.

Want in? "Take over an old bar; keep it the same but with a better chef," advises Ken D. Friedman, co-owner of the first gastro-pub in the U.S., The Spotted Pig, which opened in New York City in 2004.

Upscale Frozen Desserts
Consumers are taking a liking as they take a licking of upscale frozen desserts. Ice cream, gelato, frozen yogurt and even shaved ice concoctions are keeping customers cool as the industry heats up.

The International Dairy Foods Association reports that Americans consume about $21 billion in frozen desserts per year.

Frozen yogurt is so hot right now that battles are being waged between today's newest competitors--Juicy Green, Pinkberry and Red Mango--but whether there will be a meltdown in the craze is yet to be seen. Meanwhile, ice cream is growing up with spiked ingredients and flavor fusions. And gelato appeals to all with its air of sophistication.

In 2000, husband-and-wife team Ugo and Cristiana Ginatta, 64 and 37, respectively, decided to bring a little flavor from their native country of Italy to Dallas by opening Paciugo Gelato. They combined the Italian technique and recipes with local specialties to create more than 200 flavors, including Mediterranean Sea Salt Caramel and Black Pepper Olive Oil. "Pretty much everybody likes the idea of trying [something new,] and that's a big change," says Cristiana. "Mentally, people are adventurous." The Ginattas, who started franchising in 2004, expect to open 27 franchise locations and surpass $5 million in systemwide sales by year's end.

Food Trends

Dig in to these sizzling food concepts and you're sure to taste success.

Superfruits: Pomegranates, blueberries and now açaí mean superfruits are on the rise. "A super-fruit contains something from the earth, so it has a natural quality and an enormous amount of antioxidants and health benefits," says Judy Ramberg of Iconoculture, a consumer trend researcher. So what's on the vine for 2008? Aside from Amazonian energy booster borojo, John Davey of CherryPharm points to cherries, while Ramberg bets on sea buckthorn and mango-steen. Broaden your thoughts to skin care, candles and fragrances for budding opportunities.

Selling food online: Forrester Research estimates that U.S. online food and beverage sales will reach $7.2 billion in 2007, up from $6.2 billion in 2006. According to Patrick McKenna, CEO of marketing and e-commerce management firm DMI Partners Inc., "Purveyors of specialty food categories can especially take advantage of this opportunity to provide customers with products they may not be able to find where they are located."

Comfort food/one-item restaurants: Simple is sometimes better. Numerous one-item restaurants are pulling customers in by specializing in food that's comforting to adults and adored by kids. Cereal and sandwiches (like grilled cheese and peanut butter and jelly) are old-time favorites that have endured the test of time and become the foundation of some of today's fast-growing restaurant concepts. In August, Miami-based cereal franchise The Cereal Bowl announced a nationwide rollout of 16 stores under development and plans to launch a kiosk design for airports, malls and college campuses in 2008.

New on the Menu

Got a restaurant? Take advantage of these trends.

Convenience/packaging: Today's consumers are a hard bunch to please--they have diets, allergies and fickle taste buds--and on top of that, they want their meals conveniently packaged for portability. A tall order, but you'd better deliver to preserve your bottom line. "We'll continue to see improvements in both ordering, delivering and traveling with food," says Annika Stensson of the National Restaurant Association, who also predicts food packaging will become more sophisticated and environmentally friendly.

Culinary tourism: A new type of traveler is hitting the road. Called "culinary tourists," these on-the-go consumers make food a deciding factor in their pick of travel destinations. Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of research at the National Restaurant Association, says, "Well over 3 out of 5 travelers agree that they like to try new and different restaurants when they travel to experience local cuisine." So hype up the regional flavors and make your restaurant the talk of the town.

Local food: Looking for an effective marketing tool? It might be right under your nose. Tainted products hailing from China recently have made consumers especially conscious of foods' origin. And the "locavore" movement is gaining momentum in its effort to shift market share back to locally owned businesses. "Interest in local and regional food has been exploding," says Brian Halweil, editor of Edible East End. "The interest has moved beyond the culinary fringe. It's no longer a fad. It's a trend with staying power."

Portion sizes/small bites: Supersize your sales by downsizing your portions. Major chains are betting big-time that less is really more: T.G.I. Friday's recently launched a "Right Portion, Right Price" menu, and The Cheesecake Factory is offering smaller alternatives to its trademark large dishes. Meanwhile, a National Restaurant Association survey of more than 1,000 chefs found that one sweet trend hitting menus today is bite-size desserts. Stensson predicts: "We'll see more and more mini versions of other menu items next year."

High-tech ordering: Customer-activated ordering and payment terminals are the wave of the future: According to the 2007 Restaurant Industry Forecast published by the National Restaurant Association, 46 percent of Americans say they would likely use such devices if made available to them, with 71 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds indicating they would. Good service is being redefined. Do you measure up?


We're way beyond Band-Aids; today's health care has gone high-tech. Dan Skovronsky, 34, is realizing big things with his molecular imaging company, Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, in Philadelphia. Having just closed a $26 million round of funding this year, Avid is proof of the growing success of biotech and health-tech companies. "[The industry] is being driven by aging baby boomers and the cost of health care," Skovronsky says. "There's pressure to do things a little smarter. We're starting to shift more toward early screening, early diagnosis and monitoring."

Dr. Gary J. Kurtzman, vice president of the life sciences group at Safeguard Scientifics, a technology and life sciences holding company, sees health-tech entrepreneurs coming from various backgrounds: Some are doctors, some are academic researchers and some are serial entrepreneurs in the medical device field. "This is not an area for someone who wants to play it safe," says Kurtzman. "People have to be very realistic about how long this takes--and [know] it takes a lot of money." Prospective entrepreneurs should surround themselves with a strong team and be prepared to tackle financing hurdles. Says Kurtzman, "It's the relationship between the people, the ideas and the capital; put the right mix of those together, and you have a formula for success." --A.C.K.

Health-Care Staffing
You can't stop Father Time. Along with a growing aging population, we're seeing an increasing amount of ailments. With all those extra health issues, we need as many medical professionals as we can get. But 2006 projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed an expected shortfall of more than 1 million nurses by 2020. That's a clear call for staffing professionals to step into the health-care realm and help companies deal with the shortage. Lisa Dearborn, vice president of health-care services with staffing firm Response Companies, also sees a growing demand in pharmacy staffing and preventive health care and disease management.

For entrepreneurs thinking about entering the field, it helps to have more than just recruiting and staffing experience; you need to have your finger on the pulse of the medical community. "At the end of the day, you have to have a genuine interest in your candidates' lives. You have to understand where they're coming from, and you have to be able to relate to them," says Dearborn. That means hiring recruiters with medical backgrounds who can communicate effectively with potential candidates and clients. Looking ahead, it's a healthy prognosis for health-care staffing.

Senior Services
The population is aging--by 2030, the number of adults age 65 and older will double to 70 million. No one is feeling the crunch more than baby boomers, who now find themselves in the "sandwich generation"--caring for both their children and their aging parents. An estimated 44 million Americans provide care for elderly family or friends. "Any businesses that can address this dilemma in terms of health care, stress management, financial planning and problem-solving for elderly parents--that is a huge area of concern right now," says Cathy Hamilton, founder and managing editor of, a media company that provides news, information and community advice to baby boomer women.

Helping both the sandwich generation and seniors is Pamela J. Braun, a licensed clinical social worker who founded Geriatric Assessment, Management & Solutions LLC in Sun City, Arizona. She provides assessment and evaluation, medical appointment coordination and medical/legal power of attorney services. With annual sales between $300,000 and $400,000, Braun, 43, says, "The biggest reward is being an advocate and knowing you're making a difference in the quality of these people's lives."

Senior Products
As Americans age, they become more concerned about brain health. Five million Americans already suffer from Alzheimer's disease, and that number is expected to rise to 16 million by 2050, according to data from The Alzheimer's Foundation of America. Naturally, products that help seniors keep their mental edge are growing in popularity.

Dan Michel founded Dakim Inc. in 2001 to provide such a product and came up with the mPower Cognitive Fitness System. He got the idea after designing games for his father, who was suffering from Alzheimer's. "The more I engaged him in things that turned out to be cognitively stimulating, the more ‘with it' he was," recalls Michel. The staff at the senior living community loved the games, too--and asked Michel to create a product for use with other residents. The resulting touchscreen system lets seniors play games, puzzles and other challenging and fun cognitive activities. The response from senior centers has pushed sales into the seven figures and inspired this Santa Monica, California, entrepreneur to create an at-home version, set to launch next year.

To enter this market, start by approaching caregivers, says Jacqueline Marcell, an elder-care and Alzheimer's expert and author of Elder Rage. "There's a growing need for products and services that fit the marketplace," she says. Check out what's already available and think about what would make life easier for both patients with dementia symptoms and their caregivers.

In-Home Nonmedical Care
According to AARP, 90 percent of seniors want to stay in their homes as they age--and in-home nonmedical care companies provide services to help them do just that. David Goodman, CEO of Companion Connections Senior Care, an in-home nonmedical care company, says entrepreneurs should focus on behavioral tests for caregiving employees to ensure better placements. To be successful, says Goodman, "You have to have an absolute love for seniors and helping people. You have to really feel compassion."

Gyms Targeting Seniors
According to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, the number of health club members over age 55 increased 314 percent from 1990 to 2005. "Fitness is a 30-year age offset," says Dr. Walter Bortz, chair of the Lifelong Fitness Alliance. "A fit 70-year-old person is [like] an unfit 40-year-old person." Dr. Bortz says that entrepreneurs need to educate seniors on the myriad benefits of fitness and the longevity and health protection it provides. A key talking point for seniors: It's never too late to start. Also check out the American Senior Fitness Association for info on the industry.


Boomers heading for the city: If you're seeking an affluent, concentrated market, get ready to embrace the growing number of city slickers. According to Property & Portfolio Research Inc. and Reed Construction Data, urban high-rises and condos are sprouting up all over--this year, there were 18,586 new condos in Miami alone and 10,875 in San Diego--combining luxurious amenities with the convenience of downtown living. Career-minded boomers looking to downsize their living spaces are a natural fit. "The rising cost of fuel, length of commutes and desire to live more efficiently are driving baby boomers to urban centers," says Richard Swerdlow, CEO of So entrepreneurs looking to capitalize on the population shift should focus on marketing their wares and services to successful city dwellers.

Boomer staffing: As the oldest of the 77 million U.S. boomers begin retiring, their open positions will offer younger boomers new opportunities. Smart executive recruiting firms will target these seasoned workers. Allen Gutterman, founder and president of professional-level staffing firm Response Companies, expects this playing field to ripen in a few years. But Stephanie Klein, 39, has pioneered this arena. Her Denver-based staffing firm, The Boomer Group, has placed more than 1,500 boomers in positions since 2004.

Mobile content: Everything from web browsers to digital music libraries are squeezing down to cell phone size. All that content doesn't just automatically appear--someone has to provide it in a form that fits the particular demands of the phone or PDA. Mobile content is a tricky business to dive into. Ring tones are passé and gaming has been slow to catch on, but messaging and video services are ready for growth. Market intelligence firm iSuppli sees the premium mobile content market hitting more than $44 billion in 2011, largely on the strength of video. That means it's a good time for entrepreneurs to crank up their market savvy and get involved in mobile content.


Kids and Teens
Regardless of where their money comes from, some of the country's biggest spenders are barely out of grammar school. Tweens (ages 8 to 14) have a combined annual purchasing power of more than $40 billion, according to market research firm Packaged Facts. And spending by and for their teenage siblings (up to age 17) is expected to reach nearly $209 billion by 2011.

Today's kids have grown up in a booming marketplace of technology, entertainment and stimulation, says Ronald Hill, marketing professor at Villanova University, "so they're easily bored and seek multiple forms of external excitement." He and other experts see them filling that need with cell phones, computers, music, movies, dining out, designer-label clothing and accessories. And anything online (think Webkinz), with a name brand (Olsen twins, anyone?) or an association with teeny-bopper celebs (a la High School Musical) has an edge with these increasingly pop culture-savvy kids.

College Planning Consultants
When we say college students are hot, we don't mean the girls of Delta Gamma or the guys of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. We mean that the more than 17 million students who apply to college every year are a hot market for entrepreneurs.

Thanks to the complex application process, more students applying to multiple schools, skyrocketing tuition fees and parents in desperate need of information, there aren't enough high school counselors to keep up--the National Association for College Admission Counseling reports a 315 to 1 student to counselor ratio. "Given the challenges families face, there's tremendous growth potential for advising college-bound students," says Monisha Perkash, 33, co-founder with Paul Wrubel of San Mateo, California,, which provides college-planning consulting services.

That demand has prompted an entire industry of college-planning consultants, specialized tutors, application experts, financial planners, publications and networking sites "all geared toward helping incoming students find the college of their choice and succeed once there," says Justin Baer, creator of college-prep DVD Cracking College. He points out that today's parents are willing to pay top dollar to help their children succeed.

Although Perkash agrees--families spend $5 billion annually researching and applying to colleges--she sees affordable college admissions and funding advice as an untapped area. Sites like hers--which expects six-figure sales this year--can tap that market at no cost to the customer. Now if only college were free.

High School Athletes
Aside from touchdowns, home runs and photo finishes, a lot is happening in high school sports. With more than 7 million participants, high school athletics is a hot market that's scoring big for entrepreneurs.

"The demographic is compelling: young, influential and impressionable with big spending power and developing brand loyalties," says Jim Kaufman, CEO of Rise, a national teen sports magazine. The market has seen lots of recent activity: a growing number of participants, including female athletes; a move toward mainstream media, with the likes of ESPN, MTV and NBC featuring high school sports programming; the emergence of more national events like all-star games and camps; the increase in networking with sites like and; and the recognition of a wider variety of sports, including lacrosse, running and soccer.

All this serves up opportunity in everything high school sports-related, including injury management, transportation services, apparel, sport- and gender-specific products, recruiting, networking and more. So whatever area you specialize in, you're bound to make the team.

Tech Training & Enrichment Courses
In today's digital age, it's not uncommon to see a second grade class glued to computer screens or little Johnny toting a laptop. As kids become more tech savvy at shockingly young ages, educators continue looking for standard yet individualized ways to implement new technology, and parents are looking toward advanced tutoring and supplemental education--a market projected to hit $28 billion by the 2008 school year.

George Cigale, founder and CEO of $10 million in New York City, points to specific opportunities in online and on-demand tutoring, as well as educational games and software. Says Cigale, 39, "If an entrepreneur can create educational [content] that connects kids, challenges them and makes learning fun, they'll have parents and principals lining up."

Green Apparel
Whether it's fashion-forward, eco-chic or conscious clothing, one thing is certain: Green apparel is hot. Bo Breda, academic director for fashion design at The Art Institute of California, San Francisco, agrees: "Green clothing will be more and more a part of ordinary life choices for everyone. Each process, each material used is being looked at with new eyes."

Organic cotton debuted first--and remains the biggest seller. Organic Exchange expects the organic cotton industry to hit sales of $2.6 billion in 2008. A 2006 Organic Trade Association survey pointed out that "organic nonfoods are still emerging as a category"--which means lots of fresh opportunity. "Developments in fiber science have been explosive lately," adds Breda, so clothing designers are increasingly looking to other natural fibers like bamboo, soy and corn. While fabrics become more accessible, brands are becoming more aware of their environmental impact. Big names like H&M, Nike and Target now carry green apparel lines, but there's still room for entrepreneurs, too.

One entrepreneur reaping the green harvest is Callie Smith, 26, who launched Envi, a Boston boutique that carries only green apparel and accessories, in 2006. Though starting Envi required more research than a conventional boutique and meant limited green designers and apparel lines, "today we turn them away," says Smith, projecting $500,000 in 2007 sales.

As Ursula Stahl, the 26-year-old co-founder of Envi, points out, "It's unlimited--to the point where nongreen is going to be passé."


It's reasonable to assume most entrepreneurs start businesses to see the green--the big bucks. But as more business owners consider their impact on the environment, entrepreneurs are seeing the importance of going green, from working with recycled materials and eco-friendly suppliers to using green packaging and PR.

According to a recent study for the Grocery Manufacturers Association, 85 percent of U.S. consumer business companies have active sustainability initiatives. "The demand [for green business services] is there, but the supply is minimal," says Chris Manning, executive director at The Green Chamber, a national organization focused on environmental stewardship. "It's a young industry, [so there's] tremendous opportunity." Manning, 38, founded Manning & Associates Financial Services five years ago because he saw the need for green investing. This year, the Houston-based business projects sales of $545,000.

Seri McClendon, 40, and Ken Eskenazi, 52, saw that opportunity back in 2002 when they started Clean Agency, their green marketing firm in Pasadena, California. "We believed the environmental component was going to be a factor for businesses to consider very soon," says McClendon, whose $1.4 million company serves green or soon-to-be green clients. "Businesses need professionals [who] understand the sustainable values of their company."

Solar Energy Products
If helping save the planet isn't enough of an incentive to pursue entrepreneurship in the hot solar energy industry, consider the fact that solar is already a $15 billion industry worldwide, and investments in solar rose 210 percent last year to $1.4 billion, says
Jerry Lawson of New Energy Finance.

Whether it's in engineering, finance, construction or education, the market for solar energy products has grown drastically in recent years, due in part to increasing concerns about climate change and various federal and state initiatives pushing alternative energy.

Gary Gerber, a solar expert for 31 years and founder of solar contractor Sun Light & Power, LINK ( sees a young market with lots of potential. He points to specific opportunities in the areas of solar installation, financial planning for solar implementation, educating and training of solar installers, and solar hot water. However, Gerber offers a note of caution: "People getting into [solar energy products] should be prepared to do their homework and get well educated." Improved technologies, more efficient systems and processes, and decreasing costs point to a sunny future.


If the thought of building out a network or setting up e-mail services gets you excited, then we've got an opportunity for you. According to recent reports by AMI-Partners, about one-quarter of small and midsize businesses are increasing their spending on outsourced IT. "There is room for startups that are focused and have a really clear value proposition for customers," says Laurie McCabe, vice president for SMB insights and business solutions at AMI-Partners. "Whether it is consulting or software support or network management, there's definitely a need."

Larry Velez, 33, founder of managed solutions provider Sinu in New York City, knows firsthand what it's like to cater to growing businesses and nonprofits. Velez takes what he calls a "holistic" approach: Instead of obsessing over what hardware it sells or hourly support rates, Sinu charges a flat rate per person and focuses on the needs of the workers in an organization and what can be done to keep the tech running smoothly. With 2007 sales expected at up to $5 million, Sinu has outgrown its office space twice in the past year. Looking ahead to the next year, Velez says, "We're going to really see the mainstreaming of this approach to outsourced IT." Entrepreneurs seeking to get into tech consulting can look forward to an upward swing.

Web Apps
What dotcom bubble? Today's web application companies are lean, mean services and advertising revenue-generating machines. Entrepreneurs are starting businesses armed with little more than a big idea and a credit card. But when it comes to really making a mark on the web, it takes business smarts, a flexible development approach and some intelligent marketing. "What we see now is a huge increase and adoption of web apps that are equivalents of business or consumer apps that you used to install on your PC or Macintosh," says Jeff Clavier, managing partner of SoftTech VC. This category can include typical office applications and widgets that work with social networks, as well as accounting and CRM-style web offerings.

The social media and networking space may seem crowded, but there's still room for startups to make their mark. Clavier suggests social media entrepreneurs ask "how [they] can deliver value to a very specific demographic that has some passion or need and do it in a clever way that will have some element of viral distribution." Clavier also sees a lot of opportunities to get involved in web infrastructure and online gaming applications: "There is a lot of potential value that has yet to be unlocked. The web is now a valuable commerce and distribution platform where it's cheaper to build and easier to make money. It's worth a shot."

These hot businesses are bigger than ever. Here's what makes them fresh.

Upscale cupcakes: What started in Los Angeles and New York City is making its way inland. Look for exotic or superindulgent flavors like passion fruit and cappuccino.

Online gaming: One in three adult internet users is a gamer, and many of them are female. Blood, guts and guns are out; smart, fun puzzles are in.

Home automation: This $3.8 billion industry is getting attention with greener systems that control lights and sprinklers. Integrated electronics and entertainment packages connect with plasmas and flat screens in each room.

Home party sales: In an industry that's shown steady growth for 20 years, customers still want personalized shopping experiences. Personal-care and home/family-care products are the most popular, but there are plenty of other options, too.

Pets: Healthy, organic and environmentally friendly products are hot, as are diets for overweight companions. And don't overlook baby boomers with pets.

Sarbanes-Oxley compliance: An aging work force means a shortage of experienced accountants who can help companies comply. Expect hiring frenzies for seasoned staffers.


Specialty Lingerie
Every woman wants to feel sexy and beautiful, and specialty lingerie helps them do just that. From plus-size to maternity to lingerie for women over age 40, "There's a golden opportunity in all of these areas," says Rosalie Regni, assistant professor of merchandising at Virginia Commonwealth University. In fact, this $10.5 billion industry grew an impressive 10 percent last year, according to the NPD Group.

Victoria Roberts, 47, founded Zovo Lingerie to cater to the underserved 35- to 60-year-old market with her upscale line of beautiful, well-made pieces. "It's going back to basics, but doing it in a way that's styled a little more hip and has a younger-at-heart baby boomer in mind," she says. In addition to a brick-and-mortar store in the Seattle area, she also sells her line, which includes underpinnings, loungewear and sleepwear, online at and at retailers like Nordstrom, pushing sales to $1 million annually since launching in 2005.

While upscale is a great niche, Regni also notes opportunities in more affordable lingerie. It's a competitive market, she warns, but entrepreneurs can carve their place in lingerie with a fresh take. She says, "Retail stores, more than ever, are looking for differentiation--they're looking for the new, the innovative."

Cool sunglasses are today's ultimate must-have accessory. This sizzling market grew 9.1 percent in unit sales from 2005 to 2006, for total retail sales of more than $2 billion, according to the Sunglass Association of America. High-end designer sunglasses are driving the trend, notes Tibor Gross, president of the SAA: "People are paying a lot more attention to sunglasses. They're a status symbol and a fashion accessory."

From upscale brand names to more affordable lines, various entry points into the market are open to entrepreneurs. Veteran sunglasses entrepreneurs Jack Martinez, 42, and Dan Flecky, 51, made their mark with Black Flys, an Irvine, California, company founded in 1991 that projects $10 million in sales for 2007. Their signature shades cater to a rock 'n' roll, youth and sports clientele. Black Flys has even added Fly Girls, a line for women, and plans to branch out with a new prescription line next year. "Sunglasses are a crazy deal--there are so many brands now," says Martinez. But don't let a competitive market deter you: Success means finding your own style and brand, he says.

Holding a hot handbag is in. Handbag sales rose 18 percent to $6.1 billion between 2004 and 2006, according to market research firm Mintel. But don't market solely to grown women: "Companies are targeting younger girls, [as] they tend to bring their consumer habits into adulthood," says Kat Fay, a senior analyst at Mintel. "If you get them when they're younger and they develop a taste for slightly higher-end purses, they're not likely to reverse the trend and start buying cheaply made bags after that." Handbags priced between $150 and $200 are an affordable luxury for many women and even young girls, who are also driving the market.

Mary Frances Shaffer's embellished handbags, priced from $180 to $300, give women the chance to shine like stars Jennifer Aniston and Eva Longoria--both fans of Mary Frances Accessories in Lafayette, California. Her line of whimsical, beaded handbags is sold in boutiques nationwide, pushing annual sales past $9 million. Women love to express themselves with their handbags, says Shaffer, 48 (photo, page 93). "We're at a time right now where women really like to play."

Specialty Shoes
What's the fastest-growing segment of the apparel industry? Footwear--comfortable, stylish footwear, that is. "Comfort and fashion are no longer mutually exclusive," says Diane Stone, COO of WSA Global Holdings LLC, a marketing company for the foot-wear and accessories industry. Although the footwear market in general is huge--it's projected to grow to $194.3 billion globally by 2010--entrepreneurs are standing out with specialty shoes for diabetics, obese consumers with foot problems, or simply people who are on their feet a lot and seek comfort.

Joe Croft, 37, Jeffrey Fitzhugh, 45, and Mike Ray, 36, have stepped into success with Jeffrey Fitzhugh, an upscale line of ergonomically contoured men's shoes launched this January. Fitzhugh describes their branding strategy as "laid-back luxury," an approach that's paying off. The Newport Beach, California, business sells its shoes at high-end retailers like Fred Segal and projects 2007 sales of $1.5 million.

Manufacturing a specialty shoe is also a challenge, notes Jennifer Lovitt Riggs, 36, founder of Nota Bene in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin. She spent a full year testing factories and prototyping her line of comfortable yet chic shoes for women. "Then I started researching production options and whether the shoes could be made while still making the price accessible," she says. "It looked promising." Fulfilling that promise, the footwear retails at high-end boutiques nationwide. Sales are in the healthy six figures and growing, she adds, as happy customers flock back for multiple pairs.


Household Management for the Rich
Last summer, The Wall Street Journal reporter Robert Frank launched both a book on the ultrawealthy and a brouhaha after announcing there is a butler shortage. We, however, would like to announce a prime market for smart entrepreneurs.

According to the American Housing Survey, in 2005, 3.95 million U.S. homes were 4,000 square feet or larger, up from 3.4 million in 2003. The Federal Reserve Board reported in 2004 that more than 530,000 U.S. households were worth more than $10 million; 1.4 million were worth $5 million. (All stats reflect the last year available.) The American Affluence Research Center recently found that 29 percent of surveyed individuals with an average net worth of $3.1 million owned a second home.

Managing such estates is a full-time job, creating a variety of opportunities for entrepreneurs: upscale concierges, household and estate management services, cleaning services, and household help training and placement services. Carol S. Scudere, owner of Professional Domestic Services & Institute, advises those interested to seek training and experience to understand what the wealthy require. "You have to realize that caring for the home of somebody who can afford to buy anything they want without even thinking--they're not someone who does on-the-job training," says Scudere. "They want the true professional who can be a benefit to them up and running."

Executive Recruiting
Executive recruitment is a perennial favorite of ours--and for good reason. While some niches within the industry wax and wane in popularity, the need for high-level, talented employees never ceases.

"Executive leadership is dynamic and changing," explains Glenn Manko, 40, partner at BSG Partners, a Haverford, Pennsylvania, executive recruiting firm founded by Brad Costello, 33. Says Manko, "Very few companies stay with the same team of leaders for long periods of time due to changing business demands, family relocations, the enticement of leaving [the] corporate [world] to seek entrepreneurial ventures and, quite frankly, individual performance not [being] consistent." The company, started in 2005, expects $2.5 million in sales this year.

Hope Wilson, vice president of professional services at Snelling Professional Services, sees several areas of niche growth in the future. Biopharm will boom as boomers require more medication; the medical field in general also needs more physicians and nurses. Executive-level administrators and finance and accounting positions continue to be hot. Wilson also sees a potential market for military personnel departing Iraq.

But what about that pesky competition from online job sites? Both Manko and Wilson say fuhgedaboudit. "Online job boards provide no additional value to the hiring process," says Manko. "Sourcing candidates is the easy part of executive recruiting; assessing and selecting is where the executive search firm truly adds value."

Crafts and Handmade Goods
Making stuff is big news. The exploding craft market--now $30 billion per year, according to the Craft & Hobby Association--is not just turning consumers into creators; it's inspiring a new breed of entrepreneur.

Crafters sell their wares at online sites like, indie craft fairs or by building their own businesses. Tracy Lolita Yancey, 42, started out painting whimsical martini glasses at her kitchen table. The demand for her work grew beyond her ability to fill orders from home, so she licensed the work out to a design studio. Designs By Lolita now sells 2 million glasses annually and projects sales of $35 million this year, but Yancey still designs all new items herself.

Reaching a limit to how much you can create by hand is a big danger with crafting. Some crafters choose to make a living rather than make millions, but others branch out by hiring employees, using manufacturing firms, opening a store, teaching, or creating craft supplies and kits.

There are 65,000 sellers currently on Etsy, and the site has facilitated more than $20 million in sales since 2005--showing quite a market for handmade goods. Retailers, take note: While craft supplies like jewelry kits, knitting supplies and scrapbooking materials are popular sellers, so are the end results of those crafts. .

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


Running a business is sometime seem so difficult when you are facing with challenging situations, stressful times, debts, cash flow and so many problems that you have to dealt with.

What can entrepreneurs do during the hard time?

By staying positive, it helps you be creative during stressful times. If you believe that you'll find a solution, it forces you to consider possibilities you otherwise may not have tried. When failure isn't an option, it's amazing what ideas you can generate.

Keep a sense of humor at all times. This will make the atmosphere much more enjoyable for you and everyone else around you. This will also ease tension and motivating everybody to work harder.

If you want to support other entrepreneurs and companies whose products and services you value, then buy from them and tell others to as well. Support the businesses and people you admire and you'll always be proud to be associated with them. At the end of the day, you are not only building up your networking but the most important of all is people who will give their support to you.