Mark Salinas – Insight and Action

Re: Insights and Action

Archive for July, 2008

Twitter Why Follow?

Posted by Mark Salinas on July 21, 2008

We have seen many posts on the subject of Twitter. What is Twitter see WTFisTwitter? An article in USA Today states “Twitter’s audience grew to 2 million users in May from 200,000 in May 2007.” Some say Twitter is micro-blogging, others say Twitter is a more expanded version of Instant Messaging see “Twitter is Not a Micro-Blogging Tool.”

Whatever one thinks Twitter is, I have no doubt that it is a powerful tool that can be used to expand ones business, thoughts, message or just a place to have discussion with others about whatever subject is on your mind.

So I posed the question on Twitter: “When an individual follows you, what are your determining factors for a return follow?” @ShamaHyder After the Launch “I usually follow back anyone who follows me. I WILL unfollow if 1)spammer 2) strikes me as a stalker 3) tweets are vulgur.” More insight from @CherylSmith999 Grow Your Twitter Following also To Friend or Not to Friend

A few responses: @christinekambo of This Week in Health “Similar interests, not a weirdo, adds value, intelligence is not optional!” @Nick kionee of Bytes From Reality “main criteria is, do I know any of the people who tweet this person. Then its do they update often, and are they interesting” @JerryThompson of Looking Up “I always check their past twits and their website. I only follow what “I think” is quality.” @erinely of ElyOrganics ” I always read about them to learn more and I check out their website usually, then I hit follow, lots of interesting peeps” @Surrealistique of Deep Thoughts From the Shallow End of the Pool “I usually look for similar interests, ability to relate, ask myself if they seem like someone I can converse with” @Aronado of Aronado “80% humor 20% Entrepreneurial spirit” @chucksimmins of America’s North Shore Journal “Less than 1,000 being followed, interesting bio, frequent tweets, interesting tweets, recent tweets”
@rosyblue “For me, I see if the person and I have a common interest, might learn something or simply is just funny. I don’t like spam ppl at all.”

As you can see, we have various reasons to follow an individual and a variety of perspectives. What are your determining factors for a return follow?

Posted in Social Tools | Tagged: | 12 Comments »

Approaching Your Bank

Posted by Mark Salinas on July 16, 2008

Understand that your primary responsibility is the proper use of capital and that you are in business to make a profit.

Test the economics of your product or service. Make sure that it is profitable and that the gross profit percent is in line with that of the industry.

Know how you will finance your business. Visit lenders (banks) prior to seeking financing to gather information. Ask your lenders what they will want to see before you apply for a loan.

Develop a personal financial evaluation. Determine your net worth and your annual, personal cash flow needs.

Develop realistic financial forecasts for income statements, cash flow and balance sheets for three years. Forecast monthly for the first year.

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How to Cultivate Employee “Ownership”

Posted by Mark Salinas on July 14, 2008

Some basic tips that could assist in your employees taking ownership their daily duties.
1.Include your employees in long- and short-term planning efforts.

2.Ask for input/feedback on their projects consistently.

3.Include them on top-level discussions, conferences and meetings when appropriate.

4.Allow them to byline the work they wrote or to speak at the presentation they helped prepare.

5.Help them to become more vested in the work by asking for their opinion. Ask what, if anything, should be done to make the next project easier.

An employee that takes ownership in their work will usually perform better and add to a positive environment.

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Renewing Yourself as a Leader

Posted by Mark Salinas on July 9, 2008

1.Take a time-out each day. Put a “Gone Thinking” sign on your door and don’t let anyone disturb you..

2.Pursue hobbies and interests outside your business. They’ll provide relaxation and may inspire creative ideas that you can feed back into the business.

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3.Take a vacation or a sabbatical. (But first, make sure you leave the company in good hands!)

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4.Spend time with your family. Kids provide a refreshing perspective.

Posted in leadership | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Email Tips

Posted by Mark Salinas on July 7, 2008

Some reminders while using email:

Collect Emails: With the low cost of email communications, email trumps more costly marketing methods such as direct mail and telephone. A study by Jupiter Research found email campaigns targeted with web analytics can produce 18 times the profits of broad mailings. Relentlessly collect customer and lead email addresses all the time. Use a contact management program to handle your growing list.

Remove Obstacles: Customers want fast and easy communication from companies they want to do business with. Your website contact page should have your email address. Asking web visitors to fill in a form to send a simple mail will stop many in their tracks. Gather more customer information once you have gained the initial contact. If you are worried about being spammed, invest in a good spam protection program.

Avoid Sensitive Issues: Never handle sensitive issues by email. The chance for miscommunication can make matters worse. There are times when you need to pick up the phone or set up a face-to-face contact instead of taking the easy way out with email. When you are full of emotions, stay clear of your email.

Handle at one time: Don’t fall into the trap of reading emails and thinking I’ll respond later. Later never arrives and soon your inbox is full of important and unimportant mail. Scott Allen, Co-Author of “The Virtual Handshake” recommends “Most people configure their email reader to interrupt them every time an email comes in. This means you are interrupted throughout the day. Instead, we suggest keep your email reader closed most of the day. Only check email once a day.”

Limit length: We all lead busy, time-pressed lives. Receiving a long-winded email with one big paragraph creates a response to file for later use. Readers have a tendency to skim and miss critical details. Before you send out your email message, edit down to short sentences, add bullet points, and be concise. When someone opens your email they should be able to know within 10 seconds or less what your message is about.

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Forecast the Future of your Business

Posted by Mark Salinas on July 3, 2008

Develop meaningful sales forecasts in terms of basic business units. Weekly sales for the first months and monthly sales for the first year. Consider possible scenarios, such as a 15 percent rise or fall in sales.

Research your products or services, customers and markets.

What methods does the customer use in purchasing?

Plan how you will make your product or service available to them─wholesale, retail, direct or Internet.

Develop a plan or strategy to follow if your sales forecasts completely miss your predictions.

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Vendor Relationships

Posted by Mark Salinas on July 2, 2008

Solid vendor relationships are essential in maintaining a successful organization.

1. Get to know your suppliers. Use new technology for communication, but don’t forget the personal touch of a phone conversation.

2. Consider your vendors as a part of your team and treat them as such.

3. Make sure they understand your needs and expectations.

4. Show appreciation for good service or for a new product that’s just right for you.

5. Pay on time. If you can’t, let your vendors know right away and work out a payment plan. That’s when knowing them personally will be invaluable.

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