Friday, May 29, 2009

The Squeeky Wheel Gets the Grease

This year marks our company's 30th anniversary. We've just started a small public relations campaign and are batting a thousand percent. Want to know the secret how we had a feature story written about us in the local newspaper? We asked. Want to know how we're getting the executive director of the NJ Commission on Science and Technology to visit the office? We asked.

What's holding you back? Whether it's a prospect you're trying to bag or a current customer you'd like to try a new creative campaign, all you need to do is ask.

Over 15 years ago I took the Dale Carnegie Public Speaking Course and one of the key points I remember was "What's the worst that can happen?" It still rings true today.

So if you want something... ask. What's the worst thing that can happen? They just might say "no." Big deal.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Virtual Trade Shows

I was channel surfing last night and came across a story about quantum mechanics on the local public television station. The show's focus was on the movement of protons and how a group of teachers and students from Princeton University tried to comprehend and define the highly-technical topic. One theme that kept coming up was the existence of a parallel universe. Without getting into the science behind it, all I can say is that some theorists believe that there is an alternative reality out there. Let's leave it at that.

It's ironic that the show came into my life at this time because the agency has just introduced its own type of alternate reality product called the ShoPlace Trade Show Booth - think of it as a virtual trade show.

How does it work? Here's the sales pitch... Whether you host a trade show or are an exhibitor, we'll take the physical aspects of the booth or an entire trade show floor and recreate it for display on a special web landing page linked to a client's site or a unique website solely dedicated to the virtual trade show function.

The ShoPlace virtual booth immediately extends the working shelf life of a company's exhibit for as long as the client wants, can be accessed 365/24/7 (or for a predetermined shorter time frame ), collects leads, and even generates sale. Most important, it lets those who cannot attend or missed a trade show to visit at their own leisure.

Recreating the real world into the virtual will continue to grow exponentially. Look at the popularity of It's basically a virtual world where users (known as "residents" on the site), create the life that they wish they had. If you always wanted to be a rock star, famous athlete, or 30 lbs. and 15 years younger you can... and just with a few clicks of the mouse.

Take a look at your own business... what can you move to the virtual world of the web that will expose your products and services to everyone who has a computer and Internet connection.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Productivity Consolidation

Legal pads, Post-It Notes, scraps of paper... how many modes of record keeping, reminders, and appointment tools are your using? Is there a better way? Can you consolidate your efforts?

For years I utilized a simple computer program to keep track of my meetings and to-dos. But I found that if I was out of the office and a client asked me to schedule a meeting, I couldn't because I wasn't in front of a computer. Even if I had my laptop with me, imagine if I had to boot-up every time I needed to check my calendar.

After a short trial period I soon settled on a three-ring binder in which I printed out a one-month per page calendar. In between months I inserted a clear pocket sheet protector that contains bills, invitations, and any document I may need to reference for that month. The binder has a zipper that keeps everything safe from falling out. I've been using the system for close to three years and it has served me very well.

There are many tools to keep you organized from Outlook, Remember the Milk, Google Calendar, and the list goes on and on. The bottom-line is to find out what program/system works best for you. Remember, there will be some trial-and-error... before I determined that the large three-ring binder worked for me, I tried a pocket-type calendar but quickly found that I couldn't fit all my "stuff" in the tiny, 1"x3" space allotted for each day.

If you're unsure of what different systems and programs are out there, just go to your favorite search engine and type in "calendar", "calendar system", "to-do list", "productivity", or "personal organization" and you'll realize the numerous and creative ways that have been developed to keep us productive, on-time, and efficient.

"Plan your work, and work your plan."