ABG Founder Interviewed for MediaPost News

In the relatively new age of Internet marketing, business owners often struggle to keep up with ever-advancing social media sites and forums. If an increasing number of people turn to the Internet to find the products and services they need, how should business owners better ensure that their companies get the exposure they need?

Laurie Sullivan of MediaPost News spoke to American Business Group, LLC president, Jessica Hadler, to hear how she not only promotes her business brokerage with social media, but also uses these sources to gain information and insight into many of the different industries she serves.

Read the article here.

Excellence in Entrepreneurship Certificate Course

Have you been planning on starting your own business? Are you already in the early stages and want to increase your chance of success?  Read on to learn more.

Think about the following stats.  As cited by SCORE, “Counselors to America’s Small Business,” in 2006:

– There were 671,800 new businesses, and 544,800*business closures.

– Two-thirds of new employer firms survive at least two years, and about 44% survive at least four.

– Findings do not differ greatly across industry sectors.

*Not all closures were due to bankruptcies.
Sources: U.S. Small Business Administration, June 2006.
Survival and Longevity in the Business Employment Dynamics Database, Monthly Labor Review, May 2005. Redefining Business Success: Distinguishing Between Closure and Failure, Small Business Economics, August 2003.

There are other statistics available that paint an even more negative picture about the survival of the American small business.  Collect as many resources, mentors, and plans as you can to increase your chance of success.

One place to start may be by signing up for the UCF Technology Incubator’s Excellence in Entrepreneurship Certificate Course.  The course will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays, beginning on October 7th, and will conclude on Wednesday, October 29th.  Students will cover topics such as developing successful business ideas and marketing strategies.

Enrollment is limited to the first twenty students, and companies that will have more than one student will get a discount for each additional person.

Classes will be held at the UCF Incubator-Seminole County/Winter Springs location at 1511 E. State Road 434, Suite 2001, Winter Sprince, 32708.

September Event for Orlando Business Owners

Join me and other Orange County business owners at the The Advisory Board Council’s Reception for Business Owners on Tuesday, September 23 from 5:30 – 7 PM.  Details below.

From the ABC site: “By connecting Orange County businesses with area professionals, the Advisory Board Council offers a powerful management tool to provide expert advice at no cost for your business.”

Important Info:
Tuesday, September 23rd from 5:30-7 PM
Landmark Center Building One
315 E. Robinson Street, Suite 100, Orlando FL 32801
(There is a parking garage and some street parking at the rear of the building)
RSVP is required, so contact reception@advisoryboardcouncil.com by September 19th.  The event is also offering complimentary hors d’oevres and drinks.

Central Florida Small Business Summit – September 26

Spend a day with the business experts and give your business a boost!  The Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce has teamed up with local and state-wide sponsors to bring business counselors, “learning labs,” presentations and headline speakers such as Michael Gerber, author of The E-Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It.

As a member of the Central Florida Small Business Summit’s planning committee last year, I have been eagerly looking forward to this event.  As Orlando increasingly becomes a national key player in the general small business, tech and medical industries, this event is a must for both the established business owner and the aspiring entrepreneur. 

When: September 26 8:30-5:30

Where: Orlando World Center Marriott Resort and Convention Center

Young Professionals’ 30-second Tip – Networking 101

Do NOT be a card collector.  Business card collectors have big books or binders of neatly organized business cards.  Those books are usually worthless because the relationships aren’t nurtured properly, if at all.

If you are still in school, whether high school or college, and someone you look up to or who could be a future mentor gives you his or her business card, follow-up the next day.  

And after the follow-up call or meeting, thank you cards still trump emails.  Get out the pen and paper and connect!

We Used to Save

Below is an April 28th, 2008 article from NPR (National Public Radio):

 

In 1982, Americans saved more than 11 percent of their disposable income. The personal savings rate dropped to just 0.4 percent last year. An economist blames easy credit — and how we think about money.

Twenty to 40 years ago, economist and Financial Timescolumnist Tim Harford says, “a lot of people were denied credit” because of their income, their gender or their race.

“It seems to me that we’ve always been willing to borrow, we’ve always been keen to borrow, if the lenders have been willing to lend to us,” Harford tells Steve Inskeep.

People have “suddenly been given the ability to borrow more — credit cards, mortgages, unsecured loans — and they’ve taken advantage of that,” Harford says.

“It’s been a good thing until recently. The availability of credit to people to buy their own homes … [and] to smooth consumption, broadly that’s a good thing. But clearly the last couple of years, it’s just gone crazy and loans have been made that people couldn’t possibly repay.”

The availability of credit can cause people to make bad decisions. “We seem to be hard-wired sometimes just to make rash decisions in the short term,” he says.

“You have the credit card, so you can buy it instantly with no consequences. The consequences come further down the track.”

Economists are trying to convince people to take a longer-term perspective. For example, under a pension system called “save more tomorrow,” companies offer their employees the choice of plowing future salary increases directly into the workers’ pension plans.

“When people are given that choice, that’s suddenly a lot more attractive …,” Harford says. “And it’s been shown to be very, very effective in increasing savings rates.”

If the national savings rate bounced back up, would we be better off?

It depends, he says. “How much do you want to sacrifice your income now for income later when you’re richer?”

Harford says that as a college student, he worked and saved money, but sacrificed his own enjoyment in the process. “I made completely the wrong decision,” he says. “That was crazy.”

“Debt is your future self sending you money back in time. So the question is, are you and your future self both happy with the deal? Clearly you can borrow too much, but you can also save too much. We’ve just got to get the balance right, and that’s not easy because the future is uncertain.”

Don’t let frugality poison your workplace

One of my weekly activities to keep me in the loop of my local community is to read the Orlando Business Journal.  I catch up on events, get reminders of my colleagues’ birthdays (if they’re not already in my diary!) and glean a few words of common sense.

Below is an article written by Dr. Linnda Durre of Winter Park.  In this increasingly “interesting” marketplace, I feel that this article couldn’t have come to press at a better time:

Don’t Let Frugality Poison Your Workplace

Orlando Business Journal

April 18, 2008

In tough times, people need to economize, but make sure you are not penny-wise and pound-foolish.

Being frugal is crucial to surviving in a recession, but make sure your actions do not insult your employees.

Those who back higher salaries and other perks for themselves while their workers are counting pennies to fill their gas tanks sow seeds of resentment, revenge and revulsion.

The circumstances at Enron and Adelphia should remind us of the potential fallout.

I’ve had millionaire business owners question my fees, while they drive around in luxury cars, live in 10,000- square-foot homes and their businesses gross in the seven to 10 digits.

If you have bosses, company owners or employers like this, you must have the courage to say no. It’s a powerful little word and works wonders with those who want to run roughshod over the little people.

Someone wanted me to consult for his company, only at a bargain rate. After telling him that if I passed the audition, he could hire me to review his company, he said he wouldn’t do so unless my fees were lowered.

This individual’s behavior revealed the psychological profile of a business owner who is self-centered, insulting and sneaky. Those who behave like this may be the reason why their company may be failing.

Who wants to work for a boss who demeans his worker’s talents and tries to cheat them?

Penny-wise, dollar-foolish is a phrase that captures this type of thinking. These bosses and owners think they are saving money, but instead are sowing seeds of resentment in staff, contractors and vendors.

When you pay people for quality service, treat them with decency and respect. If you praise workers for what they do, they will reward you by working longer hours and turning out higher quality products and services. Employees will feel a sense of contribution because they feel they’re appreciated, valued and acknowledged. You’re building solid relationships, aimed at a prosperous future of working together — based on trust, reliability, honesty and commitment.

If you want a business to last:

  •  Provide excellent, top-quality products and service.
  •  Communicate honestly, openly and often.
  •  Honor, acknowledge and respect your employees, customers, staff, vendors and independent contractors.

 

Linnda Durre is a psychotherapist, writer and business consultant living in Winter Park who has worked with Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits and small businesses. Her Web site is http://www.DrDurre.com. Contact her at (407) 246-4681 or via e-mail at LinndaDurre@aol.com.

Jessica’s Guide to Pitching a Potential Employer

No matter how young or old a job seeker is, there are a few things one can do to get noticed.  If you have little experience or are changing careers, these steps below will help identify you as the right person for the job who is professional and already an integral part of a potential employer’s industry.

1.  Have a smart, professional email address.

Although employers always require you bring a paper copy of your resume to an interview, unbeknownst to most applicants, the interview begins the moment they download their resumes. Ambiguous or playful email addresses, such as the Candilikescandy4328@hotmail.com automatically put the applicant behind the start.  Additionally, if an applicant is making a career change, that old, outdated email address that identifies him or her with another industry must go.

2.  Beat the employer to the Internet search.

Yes, they will “Google” your name, given email address and phone numbers to see who you are.  You have done it yourself, most likely, so don’t be surprised that companies do the same.  Be in control and show them who you are. 

Search your name online and see what comes up.  Set up controls and remove any references to you that may portray you in any light that is not professional.  (i.e., you may want to rethink your myspace posts or blogs that not only easily identify you but also show that you had a great crazy and possibly irresponsible vacation in Vegas)

And post.  Some people have very little or no presence on the web, which can also have negative impact to an employer.  Show them that you up to scratch with current technology and that you use it wisely to promote yourself and your services.  There are several free networking sites online that will be sure to bring your name up to the top of a Google or other search engine search.  Several places to begin include:

Fastpitchnetworking.com

Spoke.com

Linkedin.com

These sites will allow you to post your picture, contact details, interests and affiliations and can serve as teasers for a potential employer.  This will also help you as you begin to build up a customer or client base down the road.

3.  Get involved.

Remember your high school counselor telling you that you need to build your extra-curricular activities if you want to go to a good college?  Same here, although it is debatable that listing “horseback riding” or “playing in a band” is a good move.

Employers want to see that you are connected with your community.  Charities are a plus, but begin with joining local associations that are affiliated with the industry you are in or would like to be in.  Use the Internet and your local contacts to learn about chambers of commerce, trade associations, and professional networking groups.

4.  Have business cards before you get the job.

A business card can often be the most cost-effective and life-changing marketing item a professional can have.  Throughout your career, keep 25 cards on your person at all times.

To make the maximum impact, be sure to include the business card trinity: home address, phone number and professional email address.  Often employers will toss resumes and business cards that list only an email address because they will more often than not prefer to call you when they liked resume or were impressed they met you at that chamber of commerce meeting.

5.     Be ready for the call.

If you haven’t listened to your own voicemail message in awhile, call yourself.  If your voicemail is anything other than a pleasant message identifying yourself and that you will return the call as soon as possible, then stop reading this and change your voicemail now.  We’ll wait.

In 2007 alone, I received the following voicemail messages when I would be ringing an applicant to schedule an interview:

“It’s beer-thirty, leave a voicemail.”

“You already know who this is or your wouldn’t be calling so leave a message.”

“UCF rocks”

“This is Shawn at A COMPANY I NO LONGER WORK FOR…”

These resumes always go from my desk to the rubbish bin.  Point made?

6.     Let your fingers do the walking.

As you begin to schedule interviews, you must also begin the quest for information on your targeted industry.  Review each company’s website 3 times, every page, down to the term and conditions.  If a company’s website lists professional associations or partnerships, then read up on those too. 

If you notice a website uses specific phrases regularly on their site or in their brochures, then study up and “own” the phrases yourself.  These phrases are the language they use to pitch prospective customers, so use them when you’re a pitching yourself to the company.  You will also learn through your research about a targeted employer’s competitors – don’t stop with one when you have the ammo to hit them all.

7.     Don’t be silly.  Ask for help.

Ask for help when you need it.  Ask for referrals when you meet someone that may be helpful in introducing you to potential employers.  Give your cards out to everyone you meet who could be qualified to help you.  Every family member should have a stack of your cards, but make sure to print up more for those people you’ll meet while networking.  Often the best way to land the postion you love is to have and maintain the support of people around you.  Go and get it.

 

 

Key Words, or “I’m Not a Motocross Superstar”

There is a major step that people often overlook when trying to establish an online presence to better reach their target demographic:  key words. Many people have found www.jessicahadler.com by utilizing key words, as searching by name alone won’t always return the best results.  For instance, go to your favorite search engine and search for “Jessica Hadler.”  You’ll discover that there is a motocross superstar, an MD in Virginia, and a few others by that name. 

Before you start spending money on services that can move you to the top of Google, try different avenues that may get you to where you want to be and cost little or nothing at all. 

Key Words to Find Jess Hadler: “Orlando Business Brokerage”, “Florida Business Brokerage”, Visas, E-2, L-1, EB-5, Jess Hadler, “Jessica Hadler”, “Orlando Business Broker”, “American Business Group”, Kissimmee Business Brokerage, “Central Florida Business” Brokerage, Florida Immigration, Business Valuation, Relocation, Orlando Networking, Florida Expatriates

Online Networking – It is Possible to Make Your Garden Grow

Everyone discusses the importance of networking and building their relationships in order gain more referrals.  However, most people are not consistent, nor do they follow-up beyond the traditional “Pleasure to meet you” email or the ever-endangered thank you card.

The key to keep in mind is that in addition to attending networking events and charities, finding new ways to establish a presence in a community should always be the goal — as long as you are consistent and continue to nurture your contacts.  A good analogy is that of the “farm,” which is your sphere of influence or contact base.  You establish your presence, plant the seed, water regularly and watch it grow.  It’s important to mind your garden or you will end up with a dead plot that won’t do you or anyone else any good.

The time to farm on Internet is now.  There is a growing number of sites dedicated to networking between many affiliated industries, as well as forums designed specifically for the ever diligent consumer who increasingly turns to the Internet to conduct research and gain contact details of professionals that can meet his or her needs. 

The potential is there, however, most people do not nurture those contacts as they do off-line.  Treat your involvement with Internet groups the same as the regular networking events you go to — attend and contribute regularly!

One site that has significantly increased my business is FastPitch Networking.

 My phone started ringing the same day I posted my profile, and the people calling haven’t been the serial tire kickers or “business card collectors” that often drag on a professional’s productivity.  Those enquiries came from interested individuals who had viewed my information, knew about my services and already had a need for them.  The point?  Do your due diligence and find sites that work for you and your own unique business’s needs. 

Plant the seed.  Give it your love and attention.  Then make your garden a grove!