Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Off to the ASTD Conference this Saturday

I'm heading off to Atlanta on Saturday for the annual ASTD Conference and am really looking forward to it. I hope to see you there! If you are attending, I hope that you will drop by and join myself and co-facilitator Deborah Grayson Riegel for the three power-packed Learning Labs for Coaches we will be facilitating. This is a new conference offering and the sessions will be held on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. More information can be found in your conference tote-bag.

The Learning Labs will be an opportunity for conference participants to lock in your learning from the sessions and share conference. We also hope that it will be an opportunity for you to connect with other professionals in our field. Who knows what collaboration possibilities exist with other coaches! We'll be capturing the information in our own wiki and welcome any "wiki worthy" thoughts to be added.

If you are at the ASTD Conference this year, I hope to see you there. Drop me a line before the weekend, and let's make a plan to connect.

With best wishes,
Group Coaching Essentials ~ Potentials Realized
Toll Free: 1-866-217-1960

Monday, May 28, 2007

5 Step Marketing Makeover

As we move into summer and almost mid-year, I know that my attention is turning to measuring my business results for the year so far, and getting ready to gear up for my annual summer focus on program development and marketing. I received a great email from Marketing Mentor, Adam Urbanski, on Friday, with a fantastic, resource-rich article on 5 Step Marketing Makeover. I hope that this will provide you with some new marketing ideas. Thanks Adam!

"How to Give Your Business a Boost with a 5-Step Marketing Makeover"
by Adam Urbanski, the Marketing Mentor
Are you on track to hit all your business goals for the year? A quick check-up of your marketing efforts can reveal "week spots" and identify what needs tweaking to give your business a healthy boost in the next few months.

Here are five key areas to focus on with your pre-summer marketing makeover.
1. Clarify Your Objectives
(some prefer to call it goals)
Are you clear on where want to end up? If you are thinking this has nothing to do with marketing - think again!
You cannot design and implement effective strategies unless you know exactly what you want to accomplish.
If you are looking for a magic formula to give your business a boost here is a tip: there is nothing more powerful than writing down your objectives. Your ability to language and clearly articulate what you want to achieve, exponentially increases your chances of actually getting it!

2. Makeover Your Business Model.
Many of my clients "paint themselves into a limited-revenue corner" by structuring their business in a wrong way; no matter how hard they try, they can't seem to be able to
make more money, and only end up more frustrated.

Take Debra for example (not her real name). She is a successful small business consultant. Her well developed lead generation process attracts so many clients they
actually have to wait a few weeks before she can start working with them.
But she still makes only half the money she wants to make. Let me explain...
You see, Debra's business model is to deliver her services using one on one engagements and she can only handle about 15 clients at a time. With her average monthly client value
approaching $1,500 she's right on target to make just over $250,000.00 this year. But what she wants is $500,000.

Can you see the problem?
Chances are in some way, you might have a similar challenge - your current business model is incapable of producing the results you want.
What's the solution? Here are a few ideas:
=> Diversify your product/service offering. Analyze the needs of your clients and look for new ways to serve them. (You don't have to be the one delivering all the programs yourself; instead, form strategic alliances).
=> Find new ways to work with clients. If you work with people one on one start offering group programs. Develop tele-seminars or live workshops. You'll be able to attract more clients and exponentially increase your earnings.
=> Multiply yourself. If you consistently generate great results for your clients, chances are you have - and follow - a proven process.
One way to "multiply yourself" would be to train other professionals to facilitate and deliver your process to clients who are not willing to pay your rate - but will settle for working with your associate at a smaller rate.
=> Develop info products. There is almost no better way to leverage your knowledge than turning it into passive streams of revenue. If you are not exploring ways to package some of your know-how into products and programs, you are note only missing out on a huge opportunity to boost your bottom line, but you're being blindly optimistic in your
assumption that you'll always want to (and be able to) deliver your services as you do today.

3. Makeover Your Lead Generating Systems.
How many ways are you generating new leads? Do you have at least three to five lead generating vehicles that are systemized and automated?

Too many businesses don't understand the lead generating process and depend on vague methods of getting new clients - like "word of mouth" and "networking".
Not having structured and easy to duplicate systems to attract potential clients' attention and turn it into sales is a sure pathway to a total disaster.
If you need clients fast - consider direct mail, fax broadcasting, narrowly focused direct-response advertising, and strategic alliances.
You can also ask your current clients for referrals. And - don't forget the big one - reactivate your past clients!
Plus, to ensure long term positioning and visibility in your market place focus on publicity, getting speaking engagements, and writing and publishing articles.

4. Makeover Your Follow-Up.

Are you consistently keeping in touch with your clients and prospects? Do you have a way to automatically connect with them at least monthly? If not - you are only getting about
20% of the money you could be making!
Most people give up following up after just three attempts. And most prospects don't make a buying decision until they've been exposed to your marketing message at least five to seven times.
Do you see the problem? Here are two tips to improve your follow up and make your bank account fatter:
=> If you are not doing it yet, start an online or offline newsletter or create a monthly postcard
=> Use technology to automate your follow-up; online use sequential autoresponders that can be put on a total auto-pilot. Offline use fax and voice broadcasting technology to
leverage your time and connect with people quickly, meaningfully and affordably. Or use automated postcard services and printed newsletters.
Whatever methods you choose - make sure to regularly send
out information you come across that your audience would
benefit from.

5. Makeover Your Marketing Assets.
We all have a limited amount of time, and if you are spending it all working with clients you are not creating long-term leverage. Instead, you must schedule time every week to create marketing assets that work for you.
=> Invest in your own knowledge: read more books, attend high-end training programs, purchase home-study courses, and hire mentors to help you gain greater proficiency.
=> Become a perpetual learner and always look for ways to implement your new ideas quickly. Plus, make yourself more valuable to your clients by finding methods to transfer your knowledge to them in meaningful ways.
=> Continually build your credibility and positioning:
ask all clients for testimonials, develop new talks on your subject of expertise, create information products.
=> Give your marketing materials (like business cards, websites and brochures) a quick look-over. Are they consistently communicating the right marketing message?
Are they written in a lively, persuasive and client- relevant language or are you still insisting on
telling your prospects your company's history, vision and mission statement thinking they actually care?
=> Develop tools and systems: create checklists to make routine tasks easier to delegate, implement an extra follow-up step that can be automated or outsourced, record your talks and teleseminars and turn them into Attraction Tools.
Finally, keep this in mind: these are all simple things but combined they can make or break your business.
(c) 2003-2007 Adam Urbanski

© 2003-7 Marketing Mentors. All Rights Reserved.The Author, Marketing Mentor, Adam Urbanski, works exclusively with Independent Service Professionals who want to grow their business, attract more clients, and increase sales and profits. Visit his website for more free tutorial articles and how-to tips to creating a winning Marketing Action Plan

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Group Facilitation Tip - Our Bodies Know

This week's group facilitation tip is about connecting participant's with their inherent body wisdom. How many courses have you been at where the flow of informmation and knowledge numbs us? Where all you are craving is to get up and try things out, and let our bodies do the work?

I spent the long weekend, completing my training in relationship systems coaching work, and marvelled at how kinesthetic a program the Centre for Right Relationship, in conjunction with the Coaches Training Institute offers. With more of a focus on application and "doing", the learning I have taken away from both my co-active coach training and certification back in 2004, and my more recent relationships systems coaching, reminds me that our bodies always know. What we are able to access physically is often deeper and more sustainable than what our heads tell us. I see this so often with my individual and group coaching clients -- how we get caught in the mindset of our minds, and don't listen to the inherent wisdom of our bodies. Through a change in sensation, or temperature, our bodies do always send us a message.

In putting together your own programs, how often do you enable participants to tap into their internal knowing? How much time do you allow for individuals to find the answers for themselves? Much of this is actually linked to experiential education, which I plan to write a post on shortly.

Ask yourself, what can I do to access participant's wisdom during my programs?

If any of you have resources that you know would be useful related to this topic, please feel free to comment below.

Have a wonderful week,

Jennifer Britton, CPCC, CHRP, CPT
Potentials Realized
Toll Free: 1-866-217-1960
Email: jennifer[at]potentialsrealized[dot]com

Monday, May 14, 2007

Group Coaching Essentials program starts Wednesday at Noon (ET)

A quick reminder that the Group Coaching Essentials program starts this Wednesday at 12 noon. Are you ready to launch your own group coaching programs this summer, and want some tips, tools, resources and templates to make it that much fun and easier? If so, I hope that you will join me.

We will be meeting on Wednesdays from 12 - 1:15 pm (EST) on May 16, 23, 30 and June 20th, as well as a fifth group call in July/August (at a time convenient for the group). Calls will be recorded if you can't make one.

The program covers:
* The Foundation of Group Coaching – What is Group Coaching, Best Practices of Group Coaching, and Adult Learning Principles
* The Nuts and Bolts of Developing Group Coaching – Making Your Program Development Fun and Effective: Technical issues, Techniques and Templates for Developing and Running Your Program
* Marketing Group Coaching – Knowing Your Audience, General Marketing Principles and Materials
* Filling Up Your Toolbox – Exercises and Other Resources for Group Coaching

Included in the course are:
* 5 x 75 minute teleseminars
* A 75 page manual (which past participants have said is a fantastic take-forward)
* Pre and post course one-on-ones with me and
* Individualized support as requested with me throughout the length of the program (up to 2 hours of 1-1 work)

The cost for the program is $225 US, and space is limited to 6 coaches this month.

I would love to have you join us -- there are a couple of spaces still remaining. To reserve yours now, call me toll free at 1-866-217-1960 or email me at jennifer[at]potentialsrealized[dot]com. You can pay by Visa (by phone) or pay by PayPal at the course site (http://www.groupcoachingessentials.com/pages/gec).

I will be featuring a couple of the coaches in the coming days who have completed the program since it's launch in January 2006. They are doing some amazing things, which I know you can too! Isn't it time to move your group coaching vision into action? I hope that you will.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Jennifer Britton, CPCC, CHRP, CPT
Potentials Realized
Toll Free: 1-866-217-1960
Direct: (416) 491-9680
Email: jennifer[at]potentialsrealized[dot]com

Sunday, May 13, 2007

20 Must-Have Tools To Automate an Online Business

Today's post comes from the highly talented Donna Gunter, the Online Biz Resource Queen(TM). She's a fantastic resource person when it comes to online business issues. I've had a number of coaches inquire recently regarding suggested business tools to make your business run itself, and I loved Donna's article which first appeared in her newsletter last week. Thanks Donna for all the great tips! Her contact details can be found at the end of the newsletter.

"20 Must-Have Tools to Automate an Online Business"
by Donna Gunter, The Online Biz Resource Queen (TM)

With all the information online about tools and techniques available to help someone effective manage and run an online business, how do you ever decide which ones are truly useful to have in your business management toolkit? Here's my listing of the 20 indispensable tools that I cannot live without:

1. Article Marketing:
SubmitYourArticle.com automates the article submission process by allowing you to submit up to eight articles each month and then distributes the articles to hundreds of web sites, article directories and ezine publishers. Without a doubt, this has been my most effective online marketing tool that has produced tremendous results for my business.

2. Audio Recording/Podcasting:
AudioAcrobat.com makes audio streaming fast and simple, whether you want to add an audio greeting, audio testimonials, podcast or videos to your website or send out an audio postcard or record a teleclass.

3. Backup:
Carbonite.com offers an unlimited amount of data storage for $50 per year. Carbonite is very intuitive and went directly to my email files and Roboform files to back them up without me having to manual select the backup files. I frequently use this service to find the original version of a file that I've accidentally overwritten, as well.

4. Blogging:
Typepad.com is both simple to use and powerful. You can set up as many blogs as you desire with a Pro account, and you can customize your blog in an infinite number of ways. Once it's set up, the online interface makes it a snap to make new posts to your blog.

5. Bookmark Manager:
SPURL.net makes managing a moderate to massive amount of bookmarks very easy. You create any number of categories in which to file your favorites, and adding a favorite website is as easy as clicking a button.

6. Color Matching:
Pixie is a tool that I use daily to help me match a color exactly for a document that I'm creating or a color I'm trying to replicate on a website. Run it, simply point to a color and it will tell you the hex, RGB, HTML, CMYK and HSV values of that color.

7. Content Management:
Edit.com is a website maintenance service that makes your current website editable so you can change the content yourself. They handle everything to get your site set up and provide you with a phone training to walk you through your first edits. There is no software to install because it just uses your web browser. At no charge, you can have them review your website to ensure that your site is compatible with their service.

8. Email List Management/Autoresponders:
aWeber.com is a great service for creating, mailing and reporting back on the success of your newsletter as well as to subscribe your readers to a sequential autoresponder, either associated with your newsletter or with another product. I love to be able to see how many readers opened my newsletter, who opened the newsletter, and what links they clicked on from the newsletters.

9. Fax:
MaxEmail.com lets you send a receive faxes through the Internet/email and makes your need for a fax machine obsolete. The faxes arrive in PDF format, so you can easily share you faxes with others as needed. They also offer voice mail on your fax line, and the voicemail message arrives as an audio file in your email inbox.

10. Graphics Program:
SnagIt.com lets you show someone exactly what you see on your screen. Select and capture your screen image. and send it to SnagIt's editor to add professional effects, edit the image (resize, adjust color), and or drop it into your favorite application.

11. Hosting:
Aaces.com offers the ability to buy a hosting plan in which you can host and manage a large number of websites through one account rather than buying multiple hosting plans for each website for your business. And, their customer service can't be beat.

12. Idea Management: With
EverNote.com you can easily store and quickly access typed and handwritten memos, webpage excerpts, emails, phone messages, addresses, passwords, brainstorms, sketches, documents and more! A free version or a 30-day trial of the paid version is available for download.

13. Merchant Account:
PracticePaySolutions.com offers an all-in-one ecommerce solution that helps you take payment online. The coolest feature that they offer in this service is the ability to do batch uploads of charges, so if you have a number of clients on retainer that you invoice every month, you can simply create a spreadsheet and batch upload the data rather than entering each client's information individually.

14. Publicity Tracker:
Google Alerts let you type in an unlimited number of search terms, like your name, your company name, your industry, the name of your competitors, etc. Google will then deliver an email alert for any mention of your search term online. This is a wonderful way to track your own PR as well as industry trends.

15. Password Management:
Roboform.com is the top-rated password manager and web form filler that completely automates password entering and form filling. You'll never have to remember a password again! I maintain both my passwords and user info and that of my clients in this program.

16. Shopping Cart
: KickstartCart.com is easy to use and setup, and offers the ability to create affiliate programs, follow up with prospective and current customers with autoresponders, create coupons for limited-time offers, as well as enable buyers to immediately download electronic purchases (ebooks, audio files). There is a free 30-day trial, but don't sign up until you have the time to test drive it--30 days goes by fast! Get your free ebook here, How to Pick a Shopping Cart System That Makes You Money.

17. Spware:
CounterSpy.com will protect your computer from spyware, adware, Trojans and other malware threats.

18. Teleconference Line:
LiveOfficeFreeConferencing.com lets you meet with colleagues, associates or even family members through a teleconference bridge line that can bring up to 250 people together at one place over a teleconference phone line. You can use the line to conduct classes and training and record your calls, as well as manage your participants from an online interface.

19. Time Tracker:
TraxTime.com has helped me keep track of my consulting projects for years. You simply create projects and clock into and out of them, with the ability to write memos about how you've used your time.

20. To Do List Management:
Accomplice.com works online and offline, integrates with Outlook and other software you already use, and syncs with your PDA. What I love most about this software is that I can create in-depth, hierarchical to-do lists (tasks and sub-tasks of a bigger project) very easily, and add additional tasks on the fly as they occur to me. I can see at any point what are my more important tasks and what is coming due soon.Try out these tools with the trials offers provided and see how your business becomes easier to manage!

Online Business Resource Queen (TM) and Business Coach Donna Gunter helps self-employed service professionals learn how to automate their businesses, leverage their expertise on the Internet, and get more clients online. To sign up for more FREE tips like these and claim your FREE gift, TurboCharge Your Online Marketing Toolkit, visit her site at http://www.GetMoreClientsOnline.com. Ask Donna an Internet marketing question at AskDonnaGunter.com.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Group Facilitation Tip - Chunk It!

Group Facilitation Tip - Chunk It!
Copyright 2007 - Jennifer Britton. All Rights Reserved

This week's group facilitation tip is all about supporting learners with what they remember. Memory works in some interesting ways -- in a long program, we tend to remember those things from the start and the end, with the stuff in the middle often getting lost.

If you are a trainer, chances are good that your programs involve the transmission of hard data that you want participants to take away and remember. One way to support the learning function is to Chunk It!

What this means, is to chunk large pieces/blocks of information together in meaningful ways. For example, participants can be encouraged to chunk by:
* Similarity - putting those pieces of information together that are similar

* Using Mneumonics - Mneumonics are a favorite of mine. Can you list what SMART-E goals are? (See end of post for answer). Mneumonics use the start of a word to make a new word.

* Get participants to connect the information with real world examples. In my former work as a Business Studies Lecturer, I always found that providing everyday examples often made nebulous comments stick. Remember, you are working with adults who bring a wealth of knowledge and life experience of their own. If you can't come up with an example, I bet someone in the group can.

What other ways have you used to make learning and information stick? How else can we support learners to CHUNK IT? Please feel free to comment below.

And if you were holding your breath for the answer to SMART-E goals, here it is:
SMART-E goals are ever popular in project management and should be a common part of organizational language. More commonly known as SMART, I call it SMART-E. As you have probably heard a thousand times, goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timebound. I've added the last E for Exciting -- if goals are not exciting for individuals to achieve, what's the internal motivation to do so? If goals are not exciting, how likely is it that participants will actually follow-through?

Have a wonderful start to the week,

Jennifer Britton, CPCC, CHRP, CPT
Potentials Realized ~ Group Coaching Essentials
Email: jennifer[at]potentialsrealized[dot]com
Toll Free: 1-866-217-1960

The next Group Coaching Essentials program starts next week on Wednesday May 16th (Wednesdays 12 - 1:15 pm EST). We will be meeting on May 16, 23, 30 and June 20th. If you are a coach looking to develop your own group coaching program, I hope that you will consider joining me for this two month program. Space is limited to 6 coaches this session. For more information about the program, click here.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Looking for some podcasting resources?

A couple of days ago I blogged about leveraging technology for your business. Interestingly, today Leesa Barnes, who I had recommended as a podcasting expert, has a special podcast firesale bundle on. For $7.00 (US) she is offering the Podcasting Success Power Pack for just a few more hours (to May 3 12:01 am). The price will go up to $47 US after that time.

I just purchased a Power Pack for myself and can't wait to delve into her material. She always puts fantastic materials together.

So, if one of your marketing action steps was to explore what podcasting can do for your business, I hope that you will check out Leesa's Podcasting Success Power Pack!

With best wishes,

Jennifer Britton, CPCC, CHRP, CPT
Potentials Realized ~ Group Coaching Essentials
Toll Free: 1-866-217-1960
Email: jennifer[at]potentialsrealized[dot]com

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Tips and Tools for Your Workshop or Retreat : Friday at 12 noon (EST)

This Friday May 4th I will be hosting a 1.5 hour teleseminar program entitled "Tips and Tools for Your Workshop or Retreat" from 12 - 1:30 pm (EST).

Looking for some quick tips and tools to inject into your programs, or just starting to think about how to create a workshop or retreat? This one and a half hour session provides you with nine tips and tools to get you moving forward with your workshops and retreats, including exercises, marketing tips and design advice. Participants are also encouraged to bring their own questions to the call.

The teleseminar also includes an E-Workbook to assist you in your workshop design process.

The cost for this program is a steal at $39 US and will get you moving forward quickly with some new tools for your toolbox, and ideas for your programs.

You can register by emailing me at info@potentialsrealized.com with Tips and Tools in the Subject Line, or calling me toll free at 1-866-217-1960. Download a registration form here. Payment is accepted by Visa (by phone or fax) or PayPal (link to be sent to you by email).

I look forward to having you join me!

With best wishes,

Jennifer Britton, CPCC, CHRP, CPT
Group Coaching Essentials ~ Potentials Realized

If you want more than just a few tips and tools and a whole system to put your workshops or retreats together, the next Workshop and Retreat Essentials program will start on June 18th on Mondays from 7-8:15 pm (EST). This is a two month program, with calls held on June 18, 25, July 9 and 16th with a fifth call held in August (at a time scheduled by the group). You also have access to me for 1-1 support as needed during the course of the program, and receive an extensive reference manual. The cost for this program is $225 US. For more information on the Workshop and Retreat Essentials program, click here.