Free mobile app makes calls free, too!


(photo by Ryan McVay)

VoIP services such as Skype already offer mobile applications, but as springwise.com reports, typically users must create an account, build a contact list and then launch the app each time they want to make a free call.

Not so with Voxtrot, a free mobile app that seamlessly integrates into the phone’s standard calling function and automatically makes calls free when Voxtrot users talk to one another.

For the full story, continue reading on Examiner.com Free mobile app makes calls free, too! – National Business Strategies | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/business-strategies-in-national/free-mobile-app-makes-calls-free-too#ixzz1NKYlBxC3

Melinda Emerson a.k.a. ‘Small Biz Lady’ Committed to Ending Small Business Failure Nationwide (PT. 2)



Moving from full-time employee for someone else to your own boss takes a lot of hard work, planning, financial savings and a passion in the type of business you want to run. With small business being so critical to our country’s success, it is more important than ever to have access to a resource with proven solutions.

One such resource is Melinda Emerson, better known to many as ‘Small Biz Lady.’ Melinda continues to grow as a successful business owner and is committed to helping others who desire to achieve the same success by making it her mission to end small business failure. In part two of my interview, ‘Small Biz Lady’ gets down to the tips that she offers those ready to make their life’s plan a way of making ends meet on an annual basis.

Gillean Smith:You mentioned that you started your own business and started having people ask you questions about starting their own businesses. Were you surprised that people came to you for advice?

Small Biz Lady: No, I think people who are not in business think entrepreneurship is glamorous and fun. They don’t see all the hours, sacrifice and hard work. Running a small business is like being a swan. Swans appear beautiful and graceful above the water, but under the water they are paddling furiously to stay afloat. Many people currently working a traditional job hate what they do for a living, and think that entrepreneurship is a good next option.

Gillean Smith:What initial advice did you offer?

Small Biz Lady: For most, I advised them that their personal expenses were way too high to consider starting a business. I said, “You love Prada, you can’t start a business. You have a 4K a month mortgage and two brand new cars. You can’t start a business.”

Then I realized that I needed to give them a path to scale back their lifestyle so that they could start a business. So I create my special report. “44 Things To Do Before You Go Into Business,” which I give away free on my website http://www.succeedasyourownboss.com If you request the free chapter of my book, “Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months,” you can get the special report as an added bonus.

Gillean Smith:A new business owner should not expect to break even or make any profits for some time. How long did it take you?

Small Biz Lady: Actually it takes 18-36 months just to break even. It was between year three and four when I started making real money in my business.

Gillean Smith:To many, this would be a great time to celebrate, within reason. What did you do with your first significant earnings?

Small Biz Lady: I purchased a minivan and then I put the rest right back into the business.

Gillean Smith:You have a goal in business. What is it?

Small Biz Lady: My mission is to end small business failure. I want to be America’s #1 Small Business Expert! I want to have the opportunity to help small business owners daily through the web, TV, radio and writing more books.

Gillean Smith: How are you measuring your success? And how have you done so far?

Small Biz Lady: I have a professional bucket list for myself, and I am proud to say that most of the boxes are checked. I am not emotional attached to anything but my family. I measure my success by my ability to spend time with them and by having the resources to do special things for them. I once measured success by revenues, but that’s a very shallow way to live. I now measure success by profits and time. And time is really the most valuable currency. The better your business is doing the more time you can control.

Gillean Smith: That’s a very powerful statement. Is this what you would recommend others use to measure their own success in business?

Small Biz Lady: Yes. I would recommend it. As business people, profits are how we keep score. So I’m not trying to suggest that businesses should not be focused on the bottom line. But I think people need to always remember why they work so hard. They should not lose perspective. Many business owners, and I was once this way, think their business is who they are. That is the wrong perspective. Your business is just what you do for a living. How do you live? Who do you love? What makes you laugh? What do you need to learn? The answers to these questions should always be the focus. This way, when the chips are down you can figure out how to get back up. When my son comes and tells me, “I love you, Mommy,” that gives me the strength some days to stand up, put my cape on and go be the “SmallBizLady” once more.

Gillean Smith: A successful business must be run by someone who has a passion for what he or she is doing. Where do you draw your passion from to help others?

Small Biz Lady: I think my passion comes from just my desire to end small business failure and the fact that everyone has good ideas. It’s the business of running a business that is actually killing many businesses today. People have no idea what they don’t know about running a successful and sustainable small business.

Gillean Smith: How can someone best utilize what you have to offer? In other words, how should someone get connected with you via blogs, Twitter and such?
Small Biz Lady:

www.succeedasyourownboss.com,

www.twitter.com/smallbizlady,

www.linkedin.com/in/melindaemerson,

www.facebook.com/smallbizlady

Gillean Smith: You offer a LIVE Twitter chat called #Smallbizchat every Wed 8-9pm EST for emerging and existing small business owners. How can those interested follow this chat?

Small Biz Lady: #SmallBizChat is a weekly conversation where small business owners can get answers to their questions. The focus of #Smallbizchat is to end small business failure by helping participants succeed as your own boss. http://succeedasyourownboss.com/what-is-smallbizchat/ You must have a twitter account to participate in the chat. If they don’t use twitter I also post a Q&A from every show on my blog every Thursday morning for all the non Twitter folks out there.

Gillean Smith: Finally, people interested in starting a business are many. What advice would you offer to someone contemplating whether they are truly ready to go the distance? And with all of the information you have available, what is the best place for someone to start?

Small Biz Lady: My book, Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months, is based on a month-by-month planning system for how to transition from a job to small business ownership. I tell would-be entrepreneurs to start with developing a life plan first. You need a life plan before you ever write a business plan. It’s important to figure out what you want out of life and then build a business around that.

The second step is developing a financial plan, so that you can determine if you can afford to become an entrepreneur and start developing a saving plan to break your addiction to your paycheck. Step three is to validate your business concept and examine what skills you have and need to run your particular type of business. It is during this step that you need to evaluate

The fourth step is developing a marketing plan. You must determine who’s going to buy and why. It is important to know how you will stand out in marketplace. Then the fifth step is writing the business plan, which I suggest start with business plan software and then take a course at the local community college, small business development center or a local SCORE chapter.

Then finally it’s time to start the business. The best way to start a business once you’ve done your research, is to start while working your job. You should put effort into the business working evenings and weekends until the business hits breakeven. I believe you should do both your paycheck job and your business until it hurts.

I also have a workbook and 9-week course developed to supplement the book, “Are you ready to become your own boss?” This is the go/no-go decision guide to starting a small business. This fall, some colleges will be offering my course as a pre-requisite to their business plan courses.

Gillean Smith: If someone wishes to ask you about a more specific business topic, how should he or she contact you?

Small Biz Lady: Anyone who wants to contact me should go to my website www.succeedasyourownboss.com or find me on Twitter http://www.Twitter.com/smallbizlady or linkedin www.linkedin.com/in/melindaemerson

Gillean Smith: One final thought?

Small Biz Lady: I want people to understand what is really involved is running a successful small business. Some days you will win and some days you will learn. Both are important. Both ways can lead to success. Just remember to plan the business and then work the plan.

For Part One of My Two-Part Interview: “Small Biz Lady” shares her secrets to becoming a successful business owner.

New Business: Evaluate and Define Groups



Okay. So far, we have discussed the initial steps to build your own new business department. As I’ve stated, a new business department does not always need more than one dedicated, full-time employee. Let’s face it. Entrepreneurs start out wearing every hat there is running their own business. We have also talked about defining your parameters so that what you have to offer is actually meaningful and of interest to the target market you have in mind.

Here’s a quick refresher on defining your parameters so you don’t have to flip back to the former post and so you can compare the difference I am going to share between defining your parameters and evaluating and defining groups.
First, here is the list I provided to help define key parameters in areas that relate specifically with what you have as a product and/or service and what businesses you want to attract to become your newest customers:

  1. Industry – Taking your products and services in mind, what industries can best benefit from your offerings?
  2. Annual Revenue – A publicly owned company states what its annual revenue is. Based on a company’s revenue, you may be able to identify if your offerings are something the company would be willing to purchase from an outside source.
  3. This way for more

Making The Right Moves When Starting A New Business Department


To be fair, beginning a new business department or even having one or two executives focused on new business can play out in a multitude of ways. It’s like a chess match. Depending on how good you are at the game, you may have several strategic moves to win. With that in mind, here are some of many new business specifics to consider with those who will be handling your company’s business growth.

What is New Business?
New business consists of any contact and/or company that your business and/or business executives have never contacted before.

If a call comes in based on knowing the owner, this is considered new business but is not considered ‘commission-based’ new business.
But wait, there’s more

“Okay. How Did You Really Get Those Results?” The New Business Process



In 2003, I was invited to present to a very well-known national advertising agency. At the time, I was working for a small, relatively unknown, local agency. Through the grapevine, the president of this national agency said he had heard I was simply the best at new business – bar none. We met briefly and he asked that I come back to explain exactly what my process was to winning new business and simply how I did what I did.

To give you a reference point, I built the new business department for this small firm I was currently employed from scratch. I developed a database with different levels of targets in key industries. I prepared a time line focusing on prospects in 1 month, 3 month, 6 month and 12 month increments. I put into place what some witty colleagues called my ‘black box’ methodology. With all of this, I was able to gain face-to-face time with globally and nationally-known companies such as:
But wait, there’s more

Want to See Effective Communication In Action? Hang With Arborists


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Kathy Holzer - First Female ITCC Winner

My first introduction to arborists was through SherrillTree, a company based in Greensboro, NC that provides quality tree gear and supplies to arborists worldwide. With facilitators on hand, I learned how to climb trees with a rope-assisted method that does no harm to the trees at all. That’s right. No spikes! It’s called, recreational tree climbing. It’s a great activity for the entire family. My 9 and 12 year old boys have climbed a few times and are mini pros at this outdoor activity. Better tree climbing with a rope-assisted system than climbing up on your own. It’s also a terrific and healthy alternative to all the electronic toys kids spend hours playing.

Anyway, working with SherrillTree on website copy and connecting with trade publications to land editorial placement for new products and articles, I had the opportunity to attend my first ITCC (International Tree Climbing Competition). But wait, there’s more

‘What Do You Do For A Living?’ Your Employees’ Answers May Be Impacting Your Bottom Line More Than You Realize!


With so many responsibilities each of us is tasked with in one day alone, having a clear answer as to what it is you do at your company may not be so easy. But if you are the owner of the business, the answer your employees provide their colleagues, friends and family is much more important than you may realize. Keep in mind, your employees are walking and talking billboards. These men and women are ambassadors for your company and its products and services. When someone asks one of your employees what he or she does and this person says, ‘I am an accountant or an executive with XYZ business,’ you have just lost an opportunity to educate someone else about your business and possibly lost a sale through the additional contacts this recipient of the answer may speak to next.

Take a minute and ask yourself the following:

  1. What does your company do?
  2. How does what your company do impact others?
  3. What is a meaningful and relatable way to communicate the value of your company’s end result from product/service to end user?

Once you have decided on a company-wide message that effectively answers the questions above, make it mandatory that each employee knows what the message is and is prepared to answer that all-too-often asked, ‘what do you do for a living?’

For more information on effective messaging, click here.