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How to Run a Brainstorming Meeting

October 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Recently I attended a Project Management Training that gave the advice “Never call your first meeting for a new team on a project a Kick-Off Meeting but rather call it a Brainstorming Meeting.”  I found the advice interesting and pushed the trainer further as to why that was the case.  The response I received was that the term “Kick-Off Meeting” can sometimes be misinterpreted that you already have a pre-set agenda for the project and that rather than trying to gain input and insight from your fellow team members in attendance, you simply want them to follow your pre-determined plan of action.  Once that was explained, I quickly recalled several “Kick-Off Meetings” of late that definitely did not go as I had planned them and wondered if simply changing the name would have changed the attitudes that came bursting into the room.  With that in mind, I found a handy article online about “How to Run a Brainstorming Meeting” and am greatly looking forward to my next “Brainstorming Meeting” rather than my next “Kick-Off Meeting.”  Hope you found it as helpful as I did:

http://scottberkun.com/essays/34-how-to-run-a-brainstorming-meeting/

 

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Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program

July 17, 2012 4 comments

Just got back from the VIA Lunch today on the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program. WOW!! If you are a small business owner and you missed today’s VIA Lunch you NEED to check out this program. The promo video speaks for itself.

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Take Me Out to the Ball Game

April 2, 2012 3 comments

It seems as summer gets closer more and more companies are looking for a summer picnic, team building, or low cost corporate outings to help build morale and keep things light and positive in the office during the summer months.   There have been countless articles written about the benefits of team building and corporate outings over the years.  One of the best articles I found recently gives several quick tips for both small and large budget options.  Some of my favorites from the list include the flash events, ping pong tournament, and of course a sporting event outing.  To view the complete article click on the link below:

http://www.bizjournals.com/boston/print-edition/2011/06/17/good-company-outings-take.html

 If your organization has tasked you with the assignment of planning this year’s summer picnic or team building outing, one easy solution is to book a block of group tickets to SCV Dodger Day on Saturday, May 19th for the 7:10pm game against the St. Louis Cardinals.  This has been a tradition going on more than 30 years in the Santa Clarita Valley and the City has the ability to ensure your entire group sits together.  For more information or to book a group block for your company outing visit: http://www.scvdodgerday.com/

Whatever you choose to do however, definitely make sure there is an element of fun and employee buy-in.  The last thing you want is your morale boosting event to turn into a morale buster.

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Using Groupon for Customer Acquisition

February 21, 2012 1 comment

I read a great article recently by Stephanie Miles entitled “Using Groupon for Customer Acquisition.”  The use of group coupon sites such as Groupon, Living Social, Screamin Daily Deals, and more continues to grow.  The key for businesses in our community is how do you turn those one time bargain hunters in to long-term customers.  Stephanie has some great tips.  Hope you like the article as much as I did.

http://www.openforum.com/articles/how-it-works-groupon?extlink=em-openf-SBdaily

 

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6 Guidelines for Your Summer Work Wardrobe

June 13, 2011 2 comments

As the weather starts to warm up and the June gloom fades away, the question always arises what do you possibly wear when it is 100 plus degrees out and you have a business meeting. I recently came across an article that attempted to answer just that question:

http://www.theworkbuzz.com/dress-code/6-guidelines-for-your-summer-work-wardrobe/

Check it out and let me know what you think. And of course, stay cool out there my friends. It is gonna be another hot summer in Santa Clarita.

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11 Ways To Stand Out At A Trade Show

March 28, 2011 1 comment

With the 2011 VIA B2B Conference just around the corner I thought it would be most timely to provide a link to the article below titled “11 Ways to Stand Out at a Trade Show.”  Make sure to reserve your booth space this week by going on the VIA website at www.VIA.org

11 Ways To Stand Out At A Trade Show by Heather Allard


 Attending trade shows is an incredible way to gain exposure, get publicity and even find sales reps for your company and products. But let’s face it—hundreds or thousands of companies attend the same trade shows, so you’ll need a way to stand out. Here’s how.
 
Present a pristine product
 
Think Christmas morning. Shiny and new.
 
And don’t forget to bring more than one. Not only do you need enough to make a presentation in your booth, but also replacement product for any that may have broken in transit or gotten soiled. While customers may be sympathetic, you only have one shot to make an impression.
 
Pick a card, any card
 
You’d be surprised how many trade show attendees forget to bring their business cards. Don’t be one of them.
 
Include on your business card all the ways people can contact you: phone, fax, e-mail, website, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Most importantly, include your name.

Have an office
 
Your trade show space will be your office away from home, so bring all the office supplies you’d normally use to conduct business.
 
Suggestions:
 
2-part order forms, with a copy for the customer and a copy for you Sales brochures Credit card forms Stapler Calculator Pens Paper clips Push pins Straight pins Suction cup hooks Masking tape Gorilla tape (you can fix anything with that stuff!) Packing tape for sealing your boxes at the end of the show Tide-To-Go A pressed table cloth in case the table does not come draped–this finishes your booth and gives you storage space under the table Extra light bulbs, extension cord and a power strip A sign for the booth with the company name on it Make following up easy
 
Bring an expandable file for orders and business cards. You will have all of your post-show work in one neat handy place.
 
Be sure to write any follow-up info on the back of the customer’s business card. Things like, “took catalog,” “ordered,” “call in two weeks”—any information that will assist you in prompt follow up after the show.
 
Wear comfortable shoes
 
You can’t stand out if you can’t stand up and your face says, “Ouch.”
So get some shoes that are comfy and stylish—yes, they do exist. Gym sneakers are a no-no unless you have a medical condition that requires them.
 
Be ready with an elevator pitch
 
Have a story about your product, what inspired it and what it does. Be prepared to talk about its features and benefits.
 
If there is a similar product on the market, be able to clearly articulate the points of difference between yours and the competition’s, without “negative selling.” Instead, do your homework and point out the positive differences about your product without mentioning the negatives of your competitor’s. For instance, if you’ve heard that your competitor has back-order issues, let buyers know that your product is in stock and ready to ship.
 
Create foreshadowing
 
Do an e-mail blast and a postcard mailing about your product a few weeks before the show. Be sure to include a “Come see us at XYZ show” with the dates and your booth number below your signature.
 
Show proof of promo
 
Buyers love to see that you support your product with a strong PR and advertising program. Be sure to feature your editorial placements and upcoming advertisements prominently on your brochures and trade show display.
 
Lure them in with a sweet treat
 
Chocolate will slow them down every time. Place some wrapped candy in a dish or a pretty basket. They may not buy, but they have stopped and they have looked.
 
Mind your manners
 
Etiquette goes a long way, even at trade show.
 
Show up on time and don’t leave the booth early Keep your booth neat and clean Have brochures/catalogs on the table so that a buyer may just take the literature if they choose not to stop for the sales pitch Keep all banners and display materials within the booth proper Greet buyers when they stop at, or enter, your booth Thank buyers for stopping in or writing an order Work on your hand shake. There is nothing unladylike about a firm handshake. It exudes confidence and a business-like impression. Get a manicure. Along with your personality and enthusiasm, your hands are a sales tool! Be friendly and have fun
 
Most importantly, be friendly and inviting. Say “hi” to everyone that comes your way (even the ones who aren’t going to buy anything from you). If you look like you’re enjoying yourself, you’ll be more approachable and interesting.
 
Heather Allard is a mother of three kids, Hope, Grace & Brendan — and one big dog, The Dude. She’s also the founder of TheMogulMom.com, a website for moms who run a business, raise a family and rock both. You can find her on Twitter at @heathALL. 

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