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Looks ARE Deceiving

Emails are too!

Goals

You know those emails you get that look like they are from Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, but aren’t. They’ll always ask you to click on a link to answer a question or verify your information. What you end up with is malware that can do a number of things to your computer or tablet.

Here is a very simple, non-technological way to see if that is a legitimate email. If the actual email address doesn’t show next to the From name Move your cursor over the From: name like Fedex or Twitter, etc. The actual email address will pop up. If the email address doesn’t have the sender’s domain name in it, delete the email. Sometimes the sender’s name will appear in the address, but look carefully. The rest of the address may be suspicious.

In the case on the right, this email was rampant at Christmas time when people might actually be expecting a package from Fedex. But, if it doesn’t look official, destroy it. Malware will affect your computer and your private information in a way that can cost you big bucks.

Here is a sample of an email from Fedex with what appears to be an official email. But one look at the actual email address next to the word Fedex tells you it's not from them at all. The computer anti-virus noticed it as spam in this case.

Here is a sample of an email from Fedex with what appears to be an official email. But one look at the actual email address next to the word Fedex tells you it’s not from them at all. The computer anti-virus noticed it as spam in this case.

Fedex has listed this on their website:

Fraudulent Email Alert

We have received reports of fraudulent emails with the subject lines “Shipping Conformation,” “Verify Info,” “Some important information is missing” and “Please fulfill the documents attached to verify your identity.” The fraudulent email may have an attached file that may contain a virus or other malware.

 

If you receive a message matching this description below, do not open the email or click on the attachment.Delete the email immediately or forward it to abuse@fedex.com.

FedEx does not send unsolicited emails to customers requesting information regarding packages, invoices, account numbers, passwords or personal information.

It’s a good idea to Google the message heading and go directly to the company that they intend for you to believe they are. Many provide alerts as Fedex has done.

Finally, keep your anti-virus software updated and never click on email links that you do not know where they came from. Keep your employees informed. PROTECT YOUR COMPANY!

Say Aaaaah! Are you Due for a Check-up?

Does Your Business Pass the Healthy Biz Fitness Test?

A lot like your body, your business must maintain a steady temperature. Monitoring your business’ vital signs may save you from surgery (wallet removal) or a bypass (a proxy running your business). Here are a few things that need to be checked regularly:

Stethoscope 4

  1. Cash Flow – this is like blood work. Knowing your expenses and receivables is key to how you run your business. Look at this every day, make adjustments as needed and if you fall short of paying your bills, it’s time to do something different. Keep the cash coming in ahead of the bills to be paid.
  2. Product or Service Sales – this is your food. Every time the cash register dings, you’ve fed yourself. Out go the products or billable hours and in comes the cash. Along with cash flow, this should be a daily occurrence for how your products are moving, what moves the fastest, slowest and what doesn’t move. Know your flow from historical records. Be able to forecast what will sell. If you don’t have records to go by, start keeping track.
  3. Control your receivables – One of the most detrimental things you can do is lose control of your anticipated income.Your cash flow should reflect when you will receive payment and controlling your receivables will assure they do come in when expected. Don’t let this slip.Your business needs this to stay healthy.
  4. Manage your labor daily – this is a deep cut to any body part when not managed. Rather than stocking up on band-aids, manage the hours worked by your employees. Coach them to request to work overtime, either from you or a manager. Don’t allow overtime to become an entitlement. When not controlled, overtime may bleed you dry of profits.
Stay tuned next week for a more extended look at your business health.
Call or email for a FREE business health check-up.

10 Reasons Why Baby Boomers are Key to Your Success

<a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_habman18'>habman18 / 123RF Stock Photo</a>Baby boomer entrepreneurs are everywhere. Some are retiring, some are still working and others are just beginning new entrepreneurships. Didn’t you hear, 70 is the new 50? We are healthier than our parents were at our age, our life expectancy is longer (into the 90’s) and we can’t afford to retire at 65. If we do, we’ll be bored for 25 to 30 years. Now find out why we’ll save you from self-destruction.
We have something that will help you accelerate your start-up or grow your existing business. And, if you’re struggling to stay afloat, hey, chances are, we’ve been there and worked through it. We can help you with that too. Some call it experience, I call it money in your pocket.
So, take advantage of us. Here are 10 reasons baby boomers can speed up your startup and/or grow your business:

  1. We’re a dime a dozen. There are enough of us around to have 3 for each business person in the country.
  2. We have the experience of entrepreneurship. Yes, we’ve been there and done that, sometimes over and over again. We know it’s not the same today as it was back then. But, believe us, the basics are very much the same.
  3. We’ve failed and we’ve succeeded. We know what it takes to make money, be successful and grow a business.
  4. Need money? We know where to get it. The resources today and a hundred times greater than they were ‘back then’.
  5. Need a qualified objective opinion on hiring, yes, we can do that. You still need someone with passion, smarts and resourcefulness.
  6. We can lift up your sales people to higher performance. (Don’t forget performance, that’s what they get paid for.)
  7. Making an investment and you want to run it by someone who’s not directly involved in your business?  Ask us.
  8. Can’t stay ahead of your competitor? We’ll take you there!
  9. Cash flow going haywire. Let’s re-structure it together.
  10. If you’re a business that needs an objective opinion, we’re ready, willing and able.

Are you ready to fast track your success? Get the experience you need from someone who has been there and done it. Catapult your business ahead of your competition. Find your boomer today!

Leading Edge Business Strategies, LLC is a consulting firm for small business. Paul Beaudette (a boomer) is the President and has over 30 years of successful business experience managing companies to sustainable profits and business growth.

“Listen with the intent to understand, not with the intent to reply.”  – Stephen Covey 

 

I’m Sorry! (No Your Not)

4 excuses that don’t cut it.

Stop apologizing. Too often people apologize over and over in a conversation as if it makes everything better. Just because you didn’t do your homework up front does not make it better for the receiver. All the listener knows is he is not getting what he wants or what he expected. That’s called disappointment. That is called bad business.

Stop apologizing. On the rare occasions you DO need to apologize, look the listener in the eye and be sincere about it. Say it once. Follow it up with an acknowledgement that you have let them down and DONQuotation-Howard-Wright-excuses-lies-Meetville-Quotes-147986’T make excuses. They never carry any weight anyhow. All they do is aggravate the situation. If the listener asks you why, say “I don’t have an excuse”. You’re being honest as there is no really good reason to let someone down. Here are a few excuses and what they really mean:

  1. I’m busy. This means that everyone else is more important than they are. This is perhaps one of the most common excuses used and it never sends a good message to the customer. If you’re busy, that is a good thing. Either work harder, delegate better or hire people.
  2. It slipped my mind. Why didn’t you write it down? Set a reminder? Delegate it?
  3. I was out sick…I had a death in the family… If you are the only one in your business that can make this happen, you need to take another look at your business. If you are independently employed with no other staff, why did you not call to let them know it would be late due to…
  4. Your own excuse inserted here. It’s still not good. People want results, not explanations of why it can’t be done. Results bring in the bacon.

I recently requested a quote from three companies that design and make cabinets. I asked for a conceptual drawing and an installed price. Two of the companies responded quickly with questions, field measurements and a quote. The third asked one question after I called to ask if they would quote. A week went by and no word. I called again and got a frantic “I’ve been busy, but I’ll get it to you in the morning.” He was going to work on it that night. I thought I’d do a little digging (after all I am a consultant) and see what his company structure was. So I asked him if he was a one man operation. He answered he wasn’t. I said it sounds like you are doing it all. He responded ‘no’ but offered nothing else. I was waiting to hear a sales pitch of how great his installers were, he had a designer on staff, etc. Nothing. So I said I’ll wait to see your quote tomorrow. I never got one nor did I ever get a phone call.

The fact that he was busy and was handling everything on his to do list, did not give me any confidence that had he been chosen, he would have delivered as promised. So look at what the “I’m busy” excuse cost him. He lost my confidence after I had to call him the first time. He lost my business after I called him the second time. He lost other business with anyone whom I talk to about cabinets and recommend they stay away from him.

It’s called reversed exponential marketing. I’ll tell 5 or 7 people who are interested in cabinets and they will go out and tell 5 or 7 seven more. The first thing you know, there’s a cancer spreading about this company. If he’s too busy to take care of customers AND too busy to run his own business, he’ll be looking for work with his competitors before long.

Replay conversations with your customers (and for that matter with anyone) and assess the excuses you used. Write them down, make sure you dispel them from your repertoire. While many people accept excuses, when they leave your business or hang up the phone, the words that come out of their mouths, you would not want to hear. “I’m sorry” said repeatedly does not improve the conversation. Learn to live up to your word, learn to not give excuses and learn to be straightforward. It is a profitable habit to get into.

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See also: Esquire Guy on the Right Way to Miss a Deadline

4 Ways to Regain Control of the Conversation

…and sell Value.

Value according to Merriam-Webster:

– a fair return or equivalent in goods or services for something exchanged.

– the monetary worth of something

– relative importance

– a numerical value placed on something.

Don’t allow the customer to make it about price. The customer will try to get the best deal he or she can and will compare you to your competitors, his previous purchases or guilt you into feeling like your overpriced. Change the conversation to your features that will benefit her or his business by (insert $$$ saved here).So how are you selling (or not selling value)? We often tend to succumb to the customers’ focus which is price. Here are four fair and integral strategies to remember to regain control of the conversation and drive the sale to what it needs to be about:

  1. You need to know your product or service in detail. If you can’t fire right back with your specs or outstanding attributes, your not ready. Learn your products inside out. It HAS to be on the tip of your tongue.
  2. Do your math. What savings will the customers experience by using your product or receiving your service over the life or usage of it. Know your numbers, be ready to spit out the percentage or dollars they will save.
  3. Keep up with your competition. What pertinent literature are you reading to know what your competitors are feeding your customers? What extras are they giving them that will be thrown at you as you deliver your quotes? Stay current with Twitter, Facebook, blogs, networking, industry periodicals, etc. Know your competition.
  4. If you lack the motivation to do any of the 4 items above, you lack the passion to do what your hired to do. Find something else to do.

In the end, selling value is not something you just feed the fire with. It’s based on solid information, hard facts and a firm knowledge of what you’re selling. The customers know when you’re babbling and you’ll see a quick exit strategy pressed forth from them. Be an expert!