Blogging For Profits 1


Blogging For Profits 1

Blogging For Profits 1

This is the first in a series of articles completely focused on blogging for profits – your business profits. This blogging for profits series is presented at Steve Reports. While Steve Reports has some appearances of a website, it is actually business profits building content presented and published using blog technology.

I will use Steve Reports as the primary example of blogging for profits since it is achieving most of what I am recommending in this series and I it is one of my sites where I am building targeted traffic.

I assume everyone knows what a blog is, but it is important to cover one very important attribute of blogs which is RSS. RSS stands for really simple syndication. Think of a press release or a news wire. Information is written and electronically published by news services. The description of the technology is not important. What is important is that when you publish information on a blog that is properly configured, RSS readers around the world instantly display that content. If you are a subscriber to Steve Reports either by registering here or though one of the many blogs when I publish an article, it is available to you at lightning speed. It is also available to people doing searching for information on a topic I have written about. My content is more available than general information found on a web site because the search engines pick up on my topic keyword optimization. You will find that my articles are written first for the search engines because if they don’t find me neither will your target audience. This is a very important point that most people in business never fully appreciate.

This process that I am beginning to describe may be the most valuable search engine optimization tool in the market today. Google, Yahoo, MSN and others are visiting sites publishing content (articles, press releases, etc.) very frequently. This means that when you feed the search engines relevant content, your site will be found by targeted visitors.

There is no downside! None! Done right, there is no limit to the business profit building opportunities using web sites based on blog technology.

In the next article, I will summarize the building blocks you must have in place to get started plus a lot more. Do not miss a single article. Register today for updates by email using the form at the top right hand corner of this site.

Author: Steve Pohlit,Business Consultant Copyright 2006 All Rights Reserved. This article may be freely published with all links and author reference intact.
 

Risk Running Out of Cash Unless You Follow These Principles

Risk Running Out of Cash Unless You Follow These Principles:
 
This week I was working with a rather large company with multiple locations. Strengthening the controls over cash deposits and available cash was the goal. The timing of actual cash deposits varied since the company accepts cash, credit cards, third party financing and sales on credit. Reports were developed to clearly account for all sales daily and the deposit of cash daily. We then refined our controls.

 
The key objective was to measure and report available cash. This is cash in the bank that is available for disbursement. Many companies do not measure this number daily and if they do it is often measured incorrectly. The number one mistake is to ignore some or all of the disbursements that have been made that have not cleared the bank. Another mistake is to assume all cash is deposited when due. For example, deposits from credit card sales generally take approximately three days to be recorded in the bank. Deposits made from a remote location are often made using night depository, Those deposits are physically in the bank but often are not visible using on – line banking until the second day after the night deposit. All of these timing differences must be taken into account in calculating available cash.
 
My business (www.stevepohlit.com  ) teaches clients how to improve the controls over physical cash and reporting cash availability. Of course that is the first step in the process of forecasting cash positions and strengthening cash.
 
I apply these principles to my own business. My expertise spans numerous industries. Most of this experience is with retailers, manufacturers, distribution and trucking companies.
 
Discover “How To Increase Profits by 30% or More In 90 Days or Less” by registering for my FREE course at www.stevepohlit.com
 
All the best,
 
Steve Pohlit, Business Consultant
“Helping Business Make Extraordinary Profits Now…No Reports…Just Results”

American Idol Advertisers Are Not Advertising Idols



American Idol Advertisers Are Not Advertising Idols


It is amazing to me that so many companies missed a great opportunity to attract loyal customers by using proven marketing techniques targeted to their customers and prospective customer in the group of more than 43 million people watching the American Idol finals. Nearly every company paying all or a portion of the $739,000 per 30 second spot missed the mark. Several were ridiculous in their presentation and message.

Two of the foundation marketing  principles that I use to help companies drive high profitable sales growth are:

First: The message should be developed to appeal to your target audience.

Second: The effectiveness of the promotion must be measurable so you can calculate return on investment. This means you need to be able to track the response to the marketing promotion. This is the foundation of direct response marketing.

As to direct response marketing. Many in the advertising agency business argue for building brand awareness. That is a legitimate and worthwhile goal. Cingular is a cell phone brand. They ran a promotion for a hot monthly subscription price and an even hotter free phone if you called a special 800 number. It seems to me that they had a plan to build brand awareness and track response to the promotion. It also looked to me like they may have been doing some split testing since other ads run during the American Idol finals did not have the same direct response features. If in fact that was a planned split test campaign, I am not sure how they were measuring the effectiveness of the non-direct response advertisements.

Coke Cola, a traditional institutional brand advertising company at least on television, moved to testing direct response by encouraging viewers to go to a specific web site for a promotion. It moved pretty fast so I didn’t get the website address or even remember the special offer. I imagine a lot of other people didn’t either. But they are moving in the right direction by linking a promotion to a measurable call to action.

I am not in the target age group for Ford’s "bold moves" campaign but I wonder
how showing a woman cutting her hair off and a man competing with one leg makes you want to buy a car. If it does, how would they know?

43 million people watching the finals and Wendy’s promotes a big frosty. With the awareness of high calorie, fat building foods going through the charts, I wonder how many people were motivated to go to a Wendy’s after that commercial. Now I could be very wrong here so if Wendy’s really wanted to know the effectiveness of that ad, why not "GIVE AWAY A FROSTY TO ANYONE GOING TO A SPECIAL SITE SET UP TO CAPTURE NAME, ADDRESS AND EMAIL. IN EXCHANGE THEY CAN PRINT OUT IMMEDIATELY A COUPON FOR A FREE FROSTY." Now there is a test with multiple benefits.

If someone can explain to me the point of a bunch of people running around in madras shorts and tops, pleaseemail me. I just could not see how that ad would make anyone want to jump in their car and get over to Old Navy. No wonder same store sales for The Gap are tanking.

A couple other ads fell into the Old Navy category. One was Fantastic Sams.  It didn’t well – it just didn’t. One of Sony’s ads went so fast that I couldn’t tell what it was they were offering and I was paying close attention to the advertising. Most people watching American Idol most likely did not watch the ads that closely.

State Farm directed people to a web site where they could register for a free car. Good example.

Home Depot ran a promotion on a specific product. Fine but since the American Idol finals are in advance of the Memorial Day long weekend where Home Depot is running a lot of other specials in print circulars, there is no practical way to measure the effectiveness of the money spent on the American Idol ad.

Many other companies promoted product with no specific offer or ways to track it. It is a waste of money and the ad agencies who came up with the ads and the executives who approved the running of the ads should be … well you come to you own conclusion.

Do not think that marketing and advertising is simple. It is not. But it is not hard to test. It is not hard to add a tracking element to even bold institutional type promotions


Most big companies will not change much soon. However, use these examples as lessons on what to do and what not to do. As to upcoming comments on TV advertising, well there probably won’t be many since I am not in front of that medium very much. So stay tuned for rants in other areas of business development.

Coming up is my series on building blogs for profits. You are not going to want to miss it. It will help you start making some incremental money right now.

Steve Pohlit, business consultant writes articles based on his experience helping companies make extraordinary profits in a short period of time and structuring their business to continue making extraordinary profits. Register for his free course “How To Increase Proftis by 30% or More In 90 Days or Less at www.stevepohlit.com

Take Action and Like Taylor Hicks, You Can Be An American Idol In Front of Your Family, Employees and Customers



Take Action and Like Taylor Hicks, You Can Be An American Idol In Front of Your Family, Employees and Customers

Taylor Hicks Asks: Do I Make You Proud? Our Answer Is: Yes You Do!! American Idol Is A Great Example of "If You Believe It – It Can Happen"

More votes than any president of the United States. 63.4 million people voted and Taylor Hicks of Birmingham, Alabama is our new American Idol. Taylor, you deserve our applause and our thank you for bringing joy into our homes. All the American Idol contestants also deserve our applause because they stood up, walked on stage and gave it their best.

You can be the Idol in front of your customers, employees, friends and family.

I repeat – there are no losers here. Look at "The Broke Note Cowboys." By any standard, these guys cannot sing. Yet here they were entertaining an audience exceeding 40 million and I loved the show. There were more wonderful examples.

Nothing can happen if you don’t get up on stage. If you have a dream and don’t get up on stage it will remain a dream. You have to do your part.

Personally, I could write a long story on my views of tonight’s American Idol finale. I’ll leave that up to the journalists, TV critics and music industry experts. What I will stay focused on are the lessons than I believe will help you in your business right now. They are:

1. Take action. Get up on your stage and make something happen. Even if you can’t sing, people will welcome you if you are sincere and passionate about what you do.

2. Achievements happen with the support of others. Look at all the finalists of American Idol. They were coached by professionals on singing, dancing, dressing and more. There were back-up singers, musicians, production crew and a lot of other people that made this show so we could experience it.

3. Have total respect for you competitors

4. Play so everyone wins.

5. Remember who shed the biggest tears – their family.

I started watching the American Idol season towards the end. I understand why it captures the heart of America. American Idol broadcasts the reality of The American Dream. If we in our lives and in our business sit back and do everything the same as we did yesterday, the results are very predictable. That is right, the results will be the same. What is your back-up plan? How do you adjust your plan when the road you are on does not seem to be getting you to
your destination? Do you have a destination other than the grave?

Wake up – take action. Business owners, make a difference in the lives of your customers and employees. You will be richly rewarded for giving not taking. If you are not sure of the first step then take do one of two things: a.) call me b.) subscribe to my course. How to do both can be found atwww.stevepohlit.com
 

American Idol ..Lessons for Business and Life




American Idol-There Are No Losers

American Idol-There Are No Losers

There are no losers. All of the people who took action are winners. Tens of thousands stood in line and one person emerges as the winner. Remember not one of the other people who showed up are losers. Everyone took action. Key point everyone took action.

We are in the game of life. There are those who made it to the "let’s say" regional finals who by some evaluation standards have superior talent to the final two. Talent doesn’t matter in the final selection process. It is the total package. As Joel Bauer says "wrap your package for the results you expect to obtain." As to the package, do you not think every man and particularly every man with a daughter was not moved by Katharine McPhee singing her heart out to "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" with the cameras showing the tears rollingdown her father’s face? I really am thankful I have that image and if you didn’t see it you need to find a video clip of that moment.

Do I think that because Katharine McPhee is a beautiful woman with a marvelous voice that she will win? No, I come to no such conclusions because Taylor Hicks is remarkable. Can you even fathom that someone from Birmingham, Alabama could ever end up on stage in Hollywood as one of the top two contestants. Have you ever been to Birmingham Alabama? This is as much proof as anything that anything is possible when you make up your mind.

There are outstanding life and business lessons from the American Idol process.

Katharine’s final song was "My Destiny" She visualized this moment most of  her life. Think about that. What do your visualize for yourself, your family, your company?

Taylor’s final song was "Do I Make You Proud". Do you see the message? Imaging! What are you imaging?

I am not a person who allocates much time to television. However, American Idol has captured the hearts of many millions of people. Even with that I was not paying much attention to it until a marketing guru friend Tricia Strahler started admitting she was addicted to the show. So I began paying attention and I have to tell you the show is amazing.

Let’s review the structure of American Idol and the the lessons we can gain right now and apply to our business. I am not going to read some chapter out of an MBA course on management or some theory from someone who never stepped inside of a business except to maybe buy some toothpaste (maybe).

First: the best of show wins. Not the best looking or the best singer, or the best performer… the best person to bring in the money.

Second: the votes of a small group do not matter in the long run. The audience (your customer) will vote with their cell phones or wallet and will pick a winner.

Third: many who appear to lose in the short term can be long term winners based on their overall performance and continual focus on bringing value.

Next I will offer you observations on the companies who chose to advertise on this show to the tune of $739,000 for each 30 second spot. While Katharine and Taylor and all of those who showed up and tried deserve the applause of the world I am not as complementary of the time, energy and money that went into the marketing of products and services promoted during American Idol. More on that real soon.

Business Development Marketing – Good Examples


Recently I have noticed some great examples of companies applying well established business development practices.
Business Development Marketing – Good Examples

Very Good Business Development Examples

There are two sources of information on how to achieve improved business performance. The first is written material including: books, newsletters, blogs, and other print media. Next is the observation of companies who are implementing the best current advise.

As to best current advice, this does not always mean that current thinking as to best practice is correct. In fact some of the best advise on best practices has been around for quite some time. Recently I have noticed some great examples of companies applying well established business development practices. Why more companies are not doing this I have no idea.

McDonalds uses the $1.00 menu as lead generation. Get them into the store and once they are there other menu items will be sold. The sales and profit numbers say this is working and I like the idea for their niche. I have not seen any examples of McDonalds aggressive capturing contact information of their customers. What retailer would not gladly pay a buck for the contact information in a data base that they could communicate with regularly? I recently worked with a retailer who gave away a $9.00 valued product in exchange for the customer’s information. He understood the value of somebody already spending money with you.

I noticed while watching the national channel covering the Stanley Cup Playoffs several examples of great lead generation. One company was promoting cell phone plans at a discount. They had a compelling offer and a free report was offered at their web site. In addition, they offered a hot new phone if you called their 800# right now. This was excellent and a great example of designing electronic media advertising (T.V.) for maximum results. Everything is in place for them to track all components of this campaign and calculate return on investment.

If you are not on the mailing list of Duluth Trading Company you should be. Register at http://www.duluthtrading.com  They do a great job of using on line and off line marketing. Their catalogues are memorable. The one I received last week stopped me in my tracks. I can still remember the exact shirt that was part of the ad that literally caused me to stop what I was doing and review the rest of the catalogue. There is one thing I don’t understand about Duluth, and that is they don’t seem to target their offer very well. Then again, maybe their numbers are working very well for them.

For maximum business performance, each company must hit on all five pillars of long term success. I have written about those before in greater detail atwww.stevereports.com  At this point I remind you that the best marketing strategy precisely implemented will not help you if you do not have the product or service when you customer wants it and your company is not structured for maximum gross margin, profitability and liquidity. My course "How To Increase Profits by 30% of More In 90 Days or Less" is complimentary and is the roadmap on how to maximize all five pillars. If you want to jump start this process, call me. All contact information is atwww.stevepohlit.com 

Steve Pohlit, Business Consultant, is an expert at helping companies achieve extraordinary performance now. Steve can be reached at www.stevepohlit.com 

 

A Bra and A Bullet and Advertising

A woman traveling with her husband in their family van in Tampa Bay, Florida dodged a bullet – literally. Apparently, some unknown person fired a gun. The bullet went through the windshield of the van. A combination of the lady’s seat belt and bra straps deflected the bullet.

An alert bra manufacturer who found this story offered to send her complementary bras and lingerie. The only problem was she only wears Playtex 18 Hour Bras and the company that called was not Playtex. Playtex did pick up on the story and is now sending her complimentary products.

This story is not only in the local papers, national news has picked it up, CNN and Good Morning America and possibly others are reporting on what could have been a very tragic story. Every time this story is run, including in blogs like this one, Playtex is mentioned in a positive context and the marketing value of this story for Playtex is huge. This is a great example of being on alert for how your products and services have helped someone. Advertising this valuable simply cannot be purchased.

Playtex should evaluate additional opportunities for positive impressions with this story. How the 18 Hour Bra literally helped save the life of a woman might be used on their web site, on their blog, and other media promotions. Of course the emphasis needs to remain on the wonderful outcome of what otherwise could have been a total disaster.

Sending you energy of health, happiness, prosperity

Steve Pohlit

Business Consulting, Executive Coach
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About: Steve Pohlit is a CPA,MBA and has been the CFO of several major domestic and international companies.  Steve is a business owner and an expert business consultant focused on building profits and net asset value. He is very experienced with Internet marketing and social media marketing.  All articles published by Steve unless specifically restricted may be freely published with this resource information.

Turnaround Management


Turnaround Management
The process for strengthening business performance is the same whether you are off plan or in crisis mode.

Turnaround Management

Hewlett Packard recently reported a 51% increase in quarterly profits. In a previous article I commented on the Mark Hurd’s (the new CEO) observations on the layers of bureaucracy in the company’s sales organization. The quarterly report confirms Mark is not just observing what could be run better, he is implementing. Let’s look at some of the lessons.

According to the story reported by The Wall Street Journal, HP cut approximately 1,500 people in the quarter and emphasized that while they are continuing with a reduction in forceprogram, they are recruiting for certain positions deemed to be important, namely sales. The article also reported the company benefited from the sale of higher margin attractive components bundled with lower priced PC’s. Translating that, HP was able to increase it’s average sale and gross margin for certain products that were attractively packaged and marketed to its target audience for those products.

How does all of this apply to your business particularly if you are not hitting your performance goals or if business is particularly difficult you are concerned about your business being able to survive.

The process for strengthening business performance is the same whether you are off plan or in crisis mode. The primary difference is that in crisis mode, you are going to have to negotiate time with creditors and they are not going to grant it unless you have a practical, achievable survival plan that you are implementing now. If you are in survival mode I highly recommend you get outside help. You will think you cannot afford it. I will tell you that you cannot afford not to do this. Make sure whoever you contact has experience and has lost sleep for the same reason you are losing sleep right now.

The primary goal in a turnaround is to build liquidity right now. The cash flow model I present in the course "How To Increase Profits by 30% or More in 90 Days or Less" is the template I use with every business including turnaround situations. Register for the FREE course at www.stevepohlit.com  and it is yours.

The details of what you do can vary from company to company can be different but the principles are the same:

Eliminate all unnecessary spending and that sometimes means people you have known for quite some time need to go. This is one key reason to use an outsider. They take some of the heat off of you. In addition, it can demonstrate to your creditors that you are serious about strengthening your business.

While you are fixing the outflow you must be aggressively addressing the inflow. This means collecting money that is due, and maximizing sales and gross margin. Remember you cannot have sales and margin unless you have the right product in the right place at the right time so liquidating in-demand product to create cash is not advisable.

This is an article and not a manual or a book. Fortunately nearly everything you need to know is detailed in the course I just mentioned. Finally, while the guide on what to do to be successful is there, those that attempt this on their own rarely succeed. I think that is true for just about everything, don’t you agree?

Author: Steve Pohlit, Business Consultant  "How to
Increase Profits by 30% or More in 90 Days or Less" is available for no charge at www.stevepohlit.com

Advertising: Money Well Spent and Not!



Advertising: Money Well Spent and Not!

If you plan to run a full page ad in a newspaper or magazine, the response to your ad should be measurable. Whether you are a Fortune 100 company or a local small business, your promotion must be linked to a call to action from you target audience. If these criteria are not met, and they usually are not, you will receive more satisfaction sending your advertising dollars to your favorite charity. Let’s look at some recent examples:

In the Tampa Bay Florida market, 1-4 full page advertisement are published nearly everyday. There have been promotions for special event seminars. One was clearly a lead generation ad with specific times and locations of the free seminar they wanted you to attend. This promotion was well done. The seminar promoters will know, exactly how many people came to each location and out of that total how many people purchased the special training package that I am sure was offered at the event. Return on investment is easy to calculate. Hopefully,
they also obtain the contact information of attendees who did not purchase. That allows the company to implement a follow – up communication strategy. These are exactly the principle at the foundation of www.localretailmarketing.com  By the way that means marketing to your customer in their local market.

I am delighted to see examples of promotions that are rational and are positioned to measure effectiveness. Most are not. What you will typically find in this market are major promotions in the newspaper for commodity items. The price points are high but they are commodities. For example, lasik laser eye surgery, cataract surgery, hearing aids, contact lenses, sweepers, furniture and the list goes on.

Some will argue that many of the products and services are not commodities. When there is no unique selling positioning and when the product or service is readily available in any market, I view the offer as a commodity.

Please do not misunderstand the key message. Newspaper advertising, magazine advertising, regardless of the size of the ad can be very effective. The key is having a measurable call to action. One example is having one number to call where the prospective customer can schedule a free consultation or receive a special discount. Whatever the offer it should have a limited time associated with it. Something like "For The Next 3 Days Only…" The offer can be tested giving people one choice which is to call and another could give people two options including call or use a designated internet page. Giving them more than two choices is not recommended.

Marketing is very important to business development. It can be effective with a high return on investment or a complete waste of money. Generally, by focusing on a couple key attributes of effective marketing, you will experience an extraordinary return on investment.

Steve Pohlit,Business Consultant"Helping Companies Make Extraordinary Profits Now!" 

The Secrets of Effective Networking

Before addressing specific networking tips I want to address critical aspect of networking that is often overlooked. Sometimes we are so eager to network that we don’t stop to consider whether or not we are investing our energy in the right places.

You can go to all of the networking meetings under the sun and collect hundreds of business cards while you’re at it but if you’re not hanging out with people you can do business with, you might make some new friends, you won’t necessarily grow your business.

If you want to grow your business by networking it is imperative that you network with: people who are your ideal clients,
people who know your ideal clients, and/or people who do business with your ideal clients. It’s that simple. So before you sign up for your next networking event, ask yourself if it is a good fit for your business.

When you network with people who need your products/services (or know others who do) there will be a natural interest in knowing more about your business. Stop, not so quick – the story of you and your business comes later. First, let’s walk through what happens at a networking event and I will give you a tip for each step.

Step 1: Meeting People

Enter the room with confidence, stand up straight and smile. Look for a friendly face and introduce yourself. If you don’t see an opportunity to meet someone right away don’t panic. A sure fire way to strike up a conversation is to get in a line (to sign in, for food, for drinks, for the restrooms). You can also approach the person hosting the event and ask for an
introduction. In addition, if the list of attendees is available prior to the meeting you can identify someone you would like to meet and approach someone to ask if the person you are looking for is at the meeting.

Step 2: Getting to Know People

Instead of trying to be interestING (focusing on the ‘ing’) be interestED (focus on the ‘ed’) in the person you are talking with. You don’t have to worry about what you will say (except for your brief pitch which comes later). In fact, you can make it a goal to talk as little as possible, I promise you will be remembered as a marvelous conversationalist. Memorize this phrase: ‘Tell me more about…’ and use it! Just relax, be yourself and listen.

Step 3: Giving First

The reason you are networking in the first place is because you want to get something. You want to meet more of your
ideal clients and meet people who can refer to your ideal clients. But don’t forget, networking is a two way street. It is about building relationships. I know you have something interesting to share, so why not give first? Perhaps you can recommend a great book or website, share an article, or maybe you can make a valuable introduction.

Step 4: Your Perfect Pitch

Eventually the person you are talking with may ask you what you do, so be ready! Don’t ramble on about how long you have been in business or how your business process works. Do prepare a fabulous, short, and memorable pitch (10-30 seconds long) that clearly communicates what you do and for whom you do it.

Step 5: Ending a Conversation

Remember, all conversations must end at some point so don’t be afraid to politely excuse yourself and thank the person for
her time. Reasons to wrap up can include going to get another drink, something to eat, going to the restroom, or needing to talk with someone before they leave. Whatever the reason, be honest and be genuine.

Step 6: Follow Up and Follow Through

This one is so simple and important yet somehow it frequently gets ignored. If you promise to do something (call, send an
article, make an introduction) do it!

Think about making use of these networking tips the next time you plan to do some networking. The truth is people do business with people they know, like, and trust. This occurs over time and is all about building relationships, not about collecting business cards. Be yourself, be real and have fun!

Steve Pohlit, Business Consultant