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Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Best Style For Vision and Mission Statements - Less is More

By Clint Burdett

As a strategic planning consultant and facilitator, I have helped many companies write their vision and mission statements. There are key components to include and it often takes hours to write because at a core, personal level, the boss or team are writing down who you are and what needs to be done, together. The best style example that I have seen was Starbucks' 2004 version of a blended mission, vision statements on their website and in their SEC filings with seven key components.

In the mission and vision statements, use the active voice. The objective is to write concisely and clearly for the target audience so it motivates and to include seven key components. Some components should be combined, less is more! Using Starbucks' formal statement to the SEC as an example, "Starbucks Corporation purchases and roasts high-quality whole bean coffees and sells them, along with... primarily through Company-operated retail stores." That defines the business, the first three components are:

  • Who - Starbucks Corporation
  • What - purchases and roasts high-quality whole bean coffees and sells them, along with...
  • How - primarily through Company-operated retail stores

In the mission statement to its customers, "Establish Starbucks as the premier purveyor of the finest coffee in the world while maintaining our uncompromising principles while we grow" the next two components are:

  • A promise to the customer - the premier purveyor of the finest coffee
  • The geographic focus - in the world

In their 2004 vision for their employees, "To establish Starbucks as the most recognized and respected brand in the world," the last two components are:

  • A goal that stretches - the most recognized and respected brand in the world
  • Sometimes you add a timeline, a goal to complete achieve the vision by a certain time.

Compare their current version on their website to the 2004 example below, which will explain how the company is changing. It is quite a change. The best vision and mission statements combine the essence of the business's vision and mission - clear, concise, direct. The better your brand is known, the less you need to say. If you can do all 7 in a short phrase, outstanding. It is hard to do!

Clint Burdett CMC. A strategic planning consultant, expert strategic planning facilitator and executive coach. Author of "A Practical Guide to Strategy Formulation: A Comprehensive Resource for the Strategic Planning Team" at

Monday, January 25, 2010

How to Attract and Inspire More Customers to Your Business

By Gail Gibson

How do you market your business? What methods do you use? Perhaps you like to participate online on Twitter, Facebook, or MySpace. Or do you blog daily or produce a regular online newsletter? Maybe you are more traditional in your approach, choosing to advertise in local magazines and newspapers, send direct mail letters, or cold call potential customers?

Whatever style you choose to market your business to a wider audience are you achieving success? Are you not only driving traffic to your website or business, but also converting that traffic into new customers?

The concept of AIDA could prove to be the answer to your marketing prayers. What is AIDA? Developed as a sales and marketing tool in the 1950's, the acronym AIDA is a four step process; relevant and consistent (still) to all successful forms of communication. It is a process to generate a response each time you buy or sell.

The four steps are Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action.

Let's take a look at each step and how it can help you improve how you market your business.

1. Attention - Make an Impact

This sets the tone for your message. Think about how you attract customers. Do you inspire them enough to ask themselves this question - What's In It For Me (WIIFM)? Your aim is to encourage them to want to go further; to find out more. Grab attention in an email headline or strap line on your brochure.

Today, due to competition, people having less time and spam emails, it is much harder to keep your reader's attention. Make yours stand out and create a great first impression.

2. Interest - Build a Rapport

How long do you have to create interest? Between 5 and 15 seconds. Make your copy relevant and continue in the WIIFM style. Share the advantages or benefits of your product or service i.e. to improve concentration, make you feel better, help you lose weight, be better organised - the list is endless. Make them want more - elicit an emotional response, "I want to own..." or "This can help me..." Be clear and point out what you can do for them.

3. Desire - Position Yourself

Such a powerful word meaning to yearn, to crave, and to need. Create a desire or need for your reader by demonstrating your uniqueness. Consider why they need your product or service, what sets you apart from other businesses, or how your business can make a difference to a customer. By doing this you will build trust and credibility, helping to grow and sustain your business.

4. Action - Ask for the Business

And finally, make it happen. Give your reader a clear call to action i.e. Call Now or Limited Offer. Make sure you provide simple and easy instructions about how to order, who to call, or where to email. Why? Because often we read but we don't act. Don't expect your reader to finish reading then automatically buy from you.

Remember - Narrow your Position to Broaden your Opportunities.

Gail Gibson
Discovery, Change, Transformation

Published Author, Writer, Coach and Trainer

True Expressions -
Howzat Training -


Friday, January 22, 2010

The Pros and Cons of DIY Design

By Alan AC Armstrong

You have spent countless days, months, or perhaps even years writing your eBook and your master piece is finally ready to be launched online. At this stage you have two choices available to you and they are;

1) Pay a designer to produce your 3D cover and professional format your content.
2) Save your money and do it yourself.

Can anyone design and format their own ebook?
Yes, anyone can create their own 3D cover and there are ample applications and free scripts available online which can help you do just that with the press of a button. And, yes, anyone can do their own content formatting. But the question begs "Why, if you don't have the required skills, would you choose to?" Would you do your own tax returns if you only had rudimentary maths under your belt? No, you hire an accountant. Would you attempt to fix your own car if you knew little or nothing about engines? No, you get a qualified mechanic to do the job.

Now I'm not saying you shouldn't do it yourself, I'm just saying you should first consider the pros and cons and then make an informed decision as to whether or not you think it's worth taking on.

Pro's of DIY
1. Designing something yourself is extremely satisfying and comes with a sense of pride and personal achievement.

2. You have complete control and flexibility in experiment with different ideas.

3. You can save money by doing it yourself.

That last one is actually a con disguised as a pro and probably isn't going to save you anything in the long run. Why?

If you produce a mediocre cover design then potential buyers will naturally assume that your written content is also mediocre and will choose not to make a purchase from you. You just lost any chance of making a profit and your DIY approach has cost you money.

Or perhaps people still make a purchase and then you are flooded with after sales refund requests because your eBook formatting was poorly presented and difficult to read. This time around your DIY approach has cost you both money and time because you now have to manage all of the refunds. Worst still, you have lost any opportunity of making future sales to your disappointed customers. Ouch...

Con's of DIY
1. You will require specialist applications regardless of what you read online about free scripts being the answer to your needs.

2. You have not spent four years at college or university developing essential skills and learning best design practises.

3. You need an understanding of the elements of design, for example: balance, white space, shape, texture, colour, fonts, character tracking, kerning, leading, aesthetics, and image composition... you still with me? Your designer is trained in applying these subtleties and how they will affect your finished project.

4. You need to know how to correctly prepare your file for online distribution? Do you know how to compress your images? Do you understand colour correction? Do you know how to add hyperlinks, URL's, and navigation to your eBook?

5. You need to develop your eBook with an overall visual brand offering in mind? This is the biggest mistake DIY designers make by designing everything as standalone individual pieces. Your visual brand needs to be consistent from your squeeze pages, sales pages, and even your subscriber email campaigns. A visual and tonal brand will help to instil trust in your service or products and your customers will buy from you because you are consistent.

6. You won't receive constructive feedback. Showing a draft to your partner isn't going to help because they love you and don't want to hurt your feelings. If you really want constructive feedback then show your design to a designer and listen to what he has to say because your online success depends on it.

Perhaps now you understand the value of hiring a professional designer and you won't be spoilt for choice. There are countless creative services online and you should do your research and shop around before making your final decision. Don't be tempted to simply go for the cheapest. Look at what your designer is offering, check out their website to see how they visually represent themselves. Do they provide value add to your purchase? Are they offering any after sales service or money back guarantee? Sign up for their newsletter or email campaigns and see what additional value you get by way of helpful information to help market your online business. Download any free eBooks they've designed and get a feel for their creative work and attention to detail.

Design done well and supported by a solid marketing campaign, can propel your online business to great heights. When don't badly you won't even get off the ground.

What to learn more about what it takes to become successful online? I have just completed my short guide "Fancy Graphics Don't Sell Ebooks", Download it for FREE here:

About The Author
Alan Armstrong is a professional graphic designer and internet marketer. His creative packages "Gloss And Substance" are tailored for article writing, list building, autoresponder campaigns and backend profit techniques.

For more information about his creative services and internet marketing coaching programs visit:


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Handheld Ebook Reader - Kindle DX Portable Ebook Reader

By Souvik Chanda

The latest version of Amazon's celebrated handheld ebook reader is the Amazon Kindle DX Wireless Reading Device. This model is an improvement of the earlier versions of the Kindle handheld ebook reader with a 9.7'' digital display. Some of the best features of the new Kindle DX are -

  • Sleek and Trim - The new Amazon Kindle DX handheld eBook reader is only a third of an inch in thickness.
  • Beautiful Large Display - With a screen size like never before (9.7"), the new Kindle DX supports a broad range of reading material including graphic books, magazines, newspapers and blogs.
  • Auto-Rotating Screen - The reading area auto-rotates when you rotate the device and seamlessly changes from landscape to portrait and vice versa.
  • Built in PDF Reader - With the ever increasing popularity and usage of pdf documents, this device has a built in pdf reader.
  • Huge Storage - Stores up to 3,500 of your favorite books.
  • Read to Me Feature - It's brilliant built in text to speech feature lets the device read out the story when you do not feel like reading it yourself.
  • Adjustable Text Size - The text size can be adjusted for easy readability.
  • Dictionary and Reference - There is a built in dictionary and wireless access to Wikipedia for your reference while reading.
  • Paper like Screen - The feel of the screen is not like a monitor but like a paper page. See it to believe!
  • Global Wireless access to the Kindle Store - Browse and buy books right from your device through it's wireless connectivity.

On top of the features mentioned above, there is a host of several other built in cool features like wireless access to over 400,000 books, newspapers, magazines and blogs full image zoom etc.

If you like reading or if you are a gadget enthusiast, you could very well want to have your own handheld ebook reader. For more more information, visit the link - Handheld eBook Reader.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Ensure Project Success and Customer Satisfaction Starting With 8 Questions

By Dan Light

It doesn't matter what project you're undertaking or in what industry. You must find what it is the client wants before you know what it is you're going to do to help them. In order to do this you have to ask questions, listen to the answers and follow-up with more questions. Starting a project of any type based on preconceived notions or cook book solutions is, to continue the metaphor, is a recipe for disaster. Presented is a list of questions you need the answers to up front to ensure project and customer satisfaction.

1. The first and perhaps most obvious question is what's the problem or what is perceived to be the problem that will be solved as a result of the intended project? Very often the root cause of the problem is hidden. Often times when the complaint is a low salary the real problem lies elsewhere and won't be permanently cured by giving the disgruntled employee a raise. This applies to every situation; before you can implement a lasting solution you have to understand the fundamental cause.

2. What is currently being done to cope with the situation and what's been tried in the past? Your customer won't be happy paying you to reinvent the wheel. However, you do need to understand how what is and what has been down, how, with what, and what results were or weren't achieved. Perhaps what is or has been done wasn't done to the extent necessary but may be part of the final solution.

3. What resources are at your disposal? Will you be assigned these resources or will you be responsible for identifying and acquiring them? If they will be assigned, do they have the necessary qualifications and what are the lines of responsibility, accountability and authority? If resource acquisition is your responsibility can you identify and acquire what you need in a timely manner?

4. Who are the end users and how do they view the pending project? Have they been consulted regarding the problem or it's solution.

5. What are the constraints? Obviously you will no doubt be constrained by both time and money but what else? If the person that hired you also hired their nephew and you determine that the nephew is the root cause then what? Certain departments, processes and procedures may be sacrosanct and considered untouchable and the solution will have to respect that. What is to be done to ensure that effecting the solution in one area of the business won't create another problem?

6. What has been budgeted for the program and is it caste in stone or jello? How are expenses authorized and who has the authority to approve expenses or deviate from the budget.

7. Are their any inherent risks? Is your customer risk prone or risk adverse? Can the risks be readily identified when and if they're manifested and can they be mitigated or eliminated?

8. How will you recognize success? Once the root cause has been identified and potential solutions explored the solution may be monetarily, operationally or philosophically unpalatable to the customer. Does this mean you've failed at solving the problem and therefore shouldn't get paid? Once you decide on the correct course how will progress be monitored?

This isn't a complete list. As the Project Manager it's up to you to decide what the relevant questions and follow-up questions should be. After all your job is to ensure project success and customer satisfaction.

Do you want to learn more about how to increase your new business win rate, reduce your costs and improve you performance?

Dan Light (http:/ works with professional services companies and systems integrators to increase their new business win rate and control costs. Over his 35 year career he has achieved a competitive proposal win rate above 80% working for companies ranging in size from start-up to the Fortune 25.

For more information or to schedule a no obligation introductory discussion contact Dan at 540-439-2410 or


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Get Armed This New Year With the Best Cordless Scanners

By Bret F Sykes

Cordless scanners are portable gadgets that have been used for quite sometime now. You could see a lot of them not only in ports, warehouses, grocery stores, and airports, but also in hospitals, schools, and many other places all around the world. Their being so popular in business industries today is partly due to the fact that they are one of the most convenient tools to handle in the workplace. Not only that, they also help a lot of people save more time, accomplish more work, serve more people, and gain more profit during the day when compared to manual tools that are inconvenient and consume more time and energy and carry out little.

With the unsurpassed efficiency that is guaranteed with the use of wireless scanners, there is no doubt that there will be an increasing number of people who will demand for more and more units of these high tech gadgets in the workplace. In fact, wireless scanners today are not only being used widely in industrial and business institutions. Nowadays schools and universities are reaping the good benefits of having these powerful tools in their quest to improve their management of data and other digital information of the students, teaching and non-teaching staff, and other employees. Aside from the information of people, wireless scanners can also help them properly manage their tools, facilities, and other assets within the campus. These gadgets are great instruments so that a tedious task can become a delight to many workers.

Most wireless gadgets like scanners are easy to install. They do not give headaches to users even those who are not technologically inclined. Manufacturers of these instruments always see to it that their product become easily usable to people. So every unit of wireless scanner comes with a software or a computer application that a user needs to install into his or her computer. The cordless scanners no matter how high tech they are cannot be used without the software, for it is through it that a wireless communication between the instrument and the computer can be established.

Gamma Solutions is an Intermec Honour partner and the largest reseller in Australia of Intermec equipment such as Cisco Wireless, Cordless Scanners, Intermec RF Guns, Mobile Computers, PDT

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

eBay - eBay Power Sellers Helping You to Increase Sales

By Lila J. Fowloer

eBay is an online shopping site where you can buy used and new products. These products are on auction but there may be a few available which you can buy directly on payment. If you sell on eBay you should take advice from eBay sellers.

Following their advices may give you an opportunity to take your business to the next level, operating more efficiently than before.

When giving a key word try to make it meaningful and use those key works which are most likely to be used by customers. It might increase traffic to your site. When selling a product do not forget to add images. The better image you have the better are the chances of promoting your product. Use photos directly from the manufacturer's website; this will result in a more professional look. Another way of increasing sales is by persuading customers in buy products in bulk. If they buy in bulk you can give them a discount or offer free gifts or shipping services. If they feel that they are saving money in any way, they will no doubt buy products from you. You should also never miss a marketing opportunity. This marketing opportunity could be in any way as long as you are promoting your products to the customer. An example of this could be, when you send an e-mail you can also give your URL or when you ship a product you can also enclose a flier. There are other ways as well in which you can promote your products.

Another way to increase sales is to schedule your listings to end at a peak time. A few hours before your auction ends the product becomes more visible to customers it may be displayed on a separate frame in the same window. This is the time when your product is most likely to sell because it is at the end of the auction and those who want it will bid higher.

By learning these tips provided by eBay power sellers your business will be flourishing in no time. Just make sure that you follow these advices and stay clear from possible mistakes.

Brand Name Wholesale
As Seen On: CNN Money, BBC News, Oprah, Business Today, Entrepreneurs Network and various other Online Business Journals as the Best Wholesale Directory Online. Jumpstart Your Online Business and Join the Ebay Powersellers! Buy Wholesale Products From Real Wholesale Manufacturers Worldwide. Compare Top 3 Legit Wholesale Suppliers.

As Reviewed by BBC News: Brand Name Dropshippers

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Buying an Electric Sewing Machine - How to Pick the Perfect One

By Analyn Encabo

If you're interested in buying an electric sewing machine, then there are several key points that you need to remember. After all, this is a monetary investment you're making, so you need to understand the ins and outs of making this kind of purchase. There are several different kinds of machines available on the market today, and an electric sewing machine is one of the most popular ones.

The first thing you must decide is how you will use the sewing machine. Will it be used for making quilts and blankets, for instance? Will you be using it to make your own clothing? No matter what the reason, certain machines are designed for certain purposes. This means that you need to choose the right kind of sewing equipment for the way you are planning to use it. Also, make sure that you take advantage of the space you have available. If you have a tiny corner of the room, you need to take that into consideration when you choose the size of the new machine. You might decide that you can't fit an electric sewing machine there, so you might look at a more compact model.

You also want to decide what your budget will be for your new machine. Check around online to get an idea of the different price ranges at the time. Make sure you decide how much you're able to spend and stick with it! You can buy many different types of machines for a variety of price ranges from under $100 all the way up to over $5000. Make sure that you stick to your budget so that you do not feel guilty for purchasing a sewing machine that was above your means.

Finally, you want to do some research on the brands and models available on the market. Check Google to find out the right kind of machine for your needs and then you can do some price comparisons. Ensure that you compare the features side by side as well as the prices. Also read any customer reviews available online about the electric sewing machine you are interested in buying. This will tell you what other buyers thought once they were able to use the item at home.

There is nothing more fun than to create your own dresses or other garments from scratch. Your family will look a million dollars in your new creations whether they be shirts or dresses. You can also create curtains, table clothes, sheets, covers for the couch literally anything you can think of. Your electric sewing machine will soon be your new best friend.

A great place to save money and start your research is at our site Electric Sewing Machine.

Here we give you some further tips and save you stacks of time. You can research all the top brands in the one place, so click the link and check out your next Electric Sewing Machine.


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Drop Shipping - the Advantages and Disadvantages of Using This Service

By Lila J. Fowloer

Drop shipping is a service provided by sellers to customers who purchase products online. Once a customer buys a particular product the seller simply pays the appropriate amount to the drop shipping company for the item, which should be shipped directly to the customer.

This may sound very interesting to sellers because using drop shipping service gives them a lot of advantages.

A seller who wants to make money on eBay will find the services of these shipping companies very beneficial because it saves them money which is usually spent on inventories. These costs could include storage, packing, documentation etc. By paying the drop shipping company to do all of this the seller is free from any kind of problems he might face and he enters the market spending much less money.
However, there are downsides to everything. Before moving into drop shipping one must consider doing some investigation on it.

At times shipping companies do not have a particular product but they show that item being available in their inventory. The bad part is when a sale is made and then the seller and the customer gets a back order notice from the shipping company. This has a negative effect on the seller because it can lead to a bad reputation and loss of money. Buyers expect on having their product once they pay for it.

Another problem could be finding a good drop shipping company who can provide the right products and services. There may be chance of the customer getting the wrong product or late delivery of the product. The product may also not turn out to be of good quality as showed and displayed on the net. Whatever the reason may be, this may also lead to loss of sales.

It is also important that you read and understand a drop shipping company's policies. The policies that you should know about are, in case of lost or damaged products who is responsible? How will this problem be handled? Will the buyer get a refund? Etc.

So before picking a drop shipping company it is best to do a little bit of research on them to find out which will provide the best services for long term business use.

Brand Name Wholesale
As Seen On: CNN Money, BBC News, Oprah, Business Today, Entrepreneurs Network and various other Online Business Journals as the Best Wholesale Directory Online. Jumpstart Your Online Business and Join the Ebay Powersellers! Buy Wholesale Products From Real Wholesale Manufacturers Worldwide. Compare Top 3 Legit Wholesale Suppliers.

As Reviewed by BBC News: Brand Name Dropshippers


Friday, January 8, 2010

Salehoo - Why it is Considered One of the Best Drop Shipping Resources on the Internet?

By Lila J. Fowloer

For those of you who do not know, Salehoo, is a drop shipping directory and is one of the most popular directories online. Online retailing would not be successful without drop shipping as it helps in expanding the retail and wholesale business.

Salehoo has several members and supplier listed in its wholesale directory. The main aim of Salehoo is to inform its members about those suppliers who will be selling various products online. These products can range from clothing, books, and computers to health and beauty, gadgets and jewelry. Informing the members gives them an idea about what new product will be on sale and gives them several options to choose from.

Salehoo also educates its members, which is especially helpful to those who are new to online business. This education usually takes the form of articles or e-mails sent to members. The topics discussed are usually on how to do online business such as e-bay, how to buy and sell, and what products to buy and from whom.

Apart from benefiting members, Salehoo also provides a lot of advantages to retailers. Since Salehoo is an online whole sale directory containing information on various suppliers, retailers would spend less time finding good suppliers. Retailers would also have a variety of products to choose from under one roof. This would definitely save their time instead of going out and searching for suppliers individually. Up to date information is also provided about whole sale manufacturers who deliver quality products at lower prices. These wholesale sellers can be considered reliable because salehoo claims that they spend a considerable amount of time and resources checking the goods that are for sale, making sure that the products they are promoting and selling are good to buy.

So, from the above information it can be said that Salehoo is doing a good job by keeping its customers happy, providing them with up to date and reliable information. This is why it is said to be one of the best drop shipping resources on the internet.

Brand Name Wholesale
As Seen On: CNN Money, BBC News, Oprah, Business Today, Entrepreneurs Network and various other Online Business Journals as the Best Wholesale Directory Online. Jumpstart Your Online Business and Join the Ebay Powersellers! Buy Wholesale Products From Real Wholesale Manufacturers Worldwide. Compare Top 3 Legit Wholesale Suppliers.

As Reviewed by BBC News: Brand Name Dropshippers


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

What Are the Differences Between a Laptop and a Tablet PC?

By John Popes

I guess almost everyone of you has an idea about what a Touch Tablet PC is but sometimes those concepts need to be explained better and I think the best way to describe a Touch Screen Tablet PC is by comparing it with laptops, the device it uses as a base to build upon this niche gadget.

Why is it a niche gadget? Firstly, because it's not something everybody would use or pay more than on a regular notebook/netbook. Basically a Tablet laptop is a more expensive Laptop that adds touchscreen capabilities for user input. But now let's take this matter in detail and compare a laptop and a touch screen tablet with the same specs like they were build by the same manufacturer and the only difference comes from the touch screen part.

Main differences between a touch enabler notebook PC and a normal laptop:

  • Screen: it's thicker on a Tablet PC because of the additional layer (capacitive or resistive) and the electronics that control it and determine the user input precise location. Additionally the screen can pivot 180 degrees to allow a more comfortable use folded over the keyboard
  • Stylus: a Touch tablet features a pretty big display, but precise actions from the user need a stylus, especially in applications like Adobe Photoshop
  • Battery life: as touch screen tablets have more components than other laptops (the touch enabling layer over the display for example) the power consumption is slightly higher than on normal laptops so expect a shorter battery life away from the socket
  • Software: this is maybe the biggest difference, as without proper software and programs to take good use of the touch capabilities of a Tablet PC there isn't much to do with one. This is also what Tablet PCs lack right now but maybe manufacturers will understand this and will try and offer customized apps for touch input.
Those I think are the most notable differences between a laptop and a touchscreen tablet PC. If you know more let me know in comments and I'll update it accordingly.

All touch tablet PC is a website that deals with the growing trend of tablet computing devices which allow for a special user experience via touch input and interaction with this niche device.