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For every $100 spent at local small businesses, $68 returns to the community. -Civic Economics
Entrepreneurship fuels America’s economic innovation and prosperity.
Our local business owners:
> Keep money in our communities
> Create more choice
> Embrace what makes us unique
> Contribute to local causes

Create a Remarkable Voicemail

A memorable voicemail is one that people will remark on.
Most folks have a boring voicemail recorded. It sounds boring but it’s familiar. “Hi, thank you for calling. I’m not at my desk right now.” No kidding. We got your voicemail. We already know you can’t take the call, so now we’re no longer listening as we wait for the beep. 
People who call on you are a great referral source. You can create word-of-mouth marketing using your voicemail message.
A remarkable voicemail is one that people will remark on. 

Tell People What You Do
Even your mom doesn’t really have a clue. Here’s your chance to clue people in. 

Caterer: Can you hear that sizzle? Smell that aroma? I’m in the kitchen cooking lunch for an office party. Leave a message and I’ll cook lunch for you, too.
I’m up to my knees in water. You, too? I’ll be there within 2 hours of your call. 

Business Coach: I’m working on ways to knock out your competition. Let’s get your business to be top of mind right away.  
Rule of Thumb: Keep your voicemail message under 30 seconds. 

How to use the OR-Operator to refine your LinkedIn searches.

Boolean operators, they sound strange but they work!

Boolean searches allow you to combine words and phrases using the words AND, OR, NOT and NEAR (otherwise known as Boolean operators) to limit, widen, or define your search. 

Using OR means that either or both of your search items will be present in the results. Let’s assume you're selling training services. People who hire you are often in the sales, marketing or the HR department. So, as an example, let’s search for these profiles.

By inserting the word OR (in capitals with a space before and after), you get more results. This is exactly what you want!
In the illustrated example, we're finding people who are:
1. Sales managers
2. Marketing managers
3. Sales and marketing managers

TIP: The OR-operator can be used more than once.
Example: sales OR marketing OR hr
The OR-operator can bring you extra results that you normally wouldn't get, especially when using search terms related to your original ones.

Additional tips for making the best use of OR:
1. Plural: copy writer OR copy writers
2. Synonyms: team leader OR team manager
3. Abbreviations: hr OR human resources
4. Spelling: developer OR develloper OR developper OR devellopper because typos happen

The general rule of thumb to apply the OR-operator is when you want more results.

Growing your business is not a one-man or one-woman operation!

Outsource. Delegate. Grow 

Your role in your growing business is to set up systems that can be run by other people. 

1. To grow your business, you’ve got to let go of the things that could be done by someone else. I know it's hard to do, because in your mind no one can do it as well as you, but that's not true. If you train them well, and have systems in place, they can be just a efficient and effective as you!

2. Hire a company to develop your
24/7 salesperson called the website! It should promote your value and vision, and lead your prospects down a path towards sales. 

3. One of the best leveraging opportunities  is the clients you’re working with. Your goal should be to get half the people you do business with to refer someone to you before the end of your current business dealings with them. While still engaged, your value is top-of-mind and they and ready to help.

4. Don’t just focus on building a transactional business…focus on building a long term sustainable business built on loyal relationships. It's easier to keep a client than to find a new one, so continue to build that valuable relationship. Find new ways to offer value.

Developing a systematic way of handling your business and filling those roles with other people should give you unlimited potential in your business. 

What not to do on LinkedIn!

Who is looking at your profile? It might just be your next employer, your current boss or a prospect.

1. Don't ask for recommendations.
From people who don't know you, that is. Why would you expect someone without first hand knowledge of your expertise to say something great about you? I have gotten many requests like this and it always surprises me, and I never do it. Even worse: when it's sent out as a mass email...not cool.

2. You don't give back.
Great networking is based on giving, not receiving. Endorse another person's skills and you not only give them a virtual pat on the back, you may also help them show up in search results. Personally, I won't endorse anyone I don't feel comfortable endorsing, it's not genuine.

3. You've forgotten where you are.
LinkedIn is not Facebook. Most people use LinkedIn as a professional social media platform so always present yourself in a professional manner. Show off your vacation and party pics someplace else. When you want to leave comments, share material, etc.,  always assume a potential employer, employee, customer, vendor--anyone--is going to read it.

Quitting vs. Giving Up

There's a difference between quitting and giving up. 

Giving up means that you're throwing in the towel, never to do again. Quitting is often necessary, because the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. 

Don't be afraid to quit the way that you're doing something if there's a better way, but never give up. Find a more effective way to obtain what you desire.

Thank you to my guest contributor Eric Lipsey
Eric is the Director and co-owner of Phoenix Business Development II, LLC, which is parent company to Fashion Affair Magazine and Top Boutique Shop. He was a business consultant for 3 years prior under Phoenix Business Development, but found that his greatest joy was in developing his own businesses. Writing and public speaking regarding business and personal development are also among the things that he enjoys. @Eric Lipsey

3 Questions You Should Be Asking Your Clients

Strong Relationships Are Built On Their Priorities, Not Yours.

Here are three questions to get your next client conversation started:
1. What have we done recently that you found valuable?

2. How can I improve communication with you and your organization?
3. What are your two most important priorities for next year?

Social Media is Social Selling

Tips for using social media effectively to grow a business

1. Start slowly
Start on Facebook, Linkedin, Google+ and/or Twitter. You don't need to be on every platform

2. Make a plan

Put it on your calendar to post a couple of times a week. Define what you want to achieve, who's going to manage your social media channels and what metrics you'll use to measure success

3. Start a conversation

Engage with fans and followers, answer their questions as quickly as you can. Listen to what they have to say and thank them for their comments. Ask questions, create special offers, run polls or hold competitions to encourage activity.

4. Be Genuine
Too many professionals feel they have to put up a phony front. Remember, we're all people with the same successes and failures. Facebook is quite different from LinkedIn, so keep that in mind when posting and commenting.

Networking Tips To Get You Off That Wall

I'm far from a wallflower, but even I use these networking tips

1. Don’t talk about work.
WHAT? Isn't that why I'm at this event in the first place? 

YES, BUT networking will be even more productive if you can build long lasting relationships. It's much easier to start a conversation about hobbies, trips, a new favorite restaurant, than jumping right into the pressure of promoting your business. 
The conversation will turn to business eventually, but why not become friends first?

2. Bring a friend.
It's a lot easier to be social when you have someone with you. THIS DOES NOT MEAN standing and talking to your friend all night. Part ways, but know they have your back if things get too uncomfortable.

3. Ask questions.

Have a few questions ready to go should there be awkward silence. They can be, but don't have to be business related. This should spark a conversation. I WILL SUGGEST ACTUAL QUESTIONS IN A FUTURE POST.

4.  Have your 30 second elevator pitch ready.
YOU WILL BE ASKED...SO BE READY. Keep it short and memorable. Write it down and practice, practice, practice so you're ready when asked.

What are your tips to get off the wall at an event?

How To Make An Impression On LinkedIn

3 Tips to Help You Stand Out on LinkedIn
Use social etiquette to really make your LinkedIn connections valuable and stand out from the crowd at the same time.

1: Send Personalized Connection Requests
When you send an invitation to connect, do it from the person's profile page by clicking the Add to Your Network link. This way you can add a personal message.

2: Reply to all New Connections

Start the conversation. Send a short message saying “Thank you for accepting my invitation." or
"Thanks for asking me to connect."
Include something extra to the message. Do you have anything in common?

3: Compose a Group Email
It's a great way to send targeted messages to different groups of contacts you've tagged.
FYI: You can only send a message to 50 people at any one time. I'm sure we would see lots of spam otherwise. TIP: Hide Others’ Email Addresses: ALWAYS uncheck the box that says, “Allow recipients to see each others' email address.” This makes the email a BCC. Value other people’s privacy by not sharing their email addresses with everyone else.

Have your own great tips? Please share them with us!