What the Geeks Can Teach You About Small Business Branding

What the Geeks Can Teach You About Small Business Branding,
written by Jessica Swanson

As a small business owner, you’ve undoubtedly come across the concept of branding. Most likely, you’ve heard that if you want to truly succeed and skyrocket your biz to the top, then you need to create a powerful and memorable brand that your prospects believe in.

The main problem is that most small business owners are confused, overwhelmed and frustrated about the entire branding process. Is it the creation of a logo? Is it the website? Or, maybe it’s the particular combination of colors used in the sales literature?

While all this is a piece of the branding process, it’s really not embracing the entire concept.

So, what is branding? According to Bill Chiaravalle, Principal and Creative Director of Brand Navigation, “brands are promises that consumers believe in.” He simplifies the entire branding process down to the fact that if a company has done a good job branding themselves, the consumer will trust them and ultimately develop a strong emotional attachment to them.

I want to introduce you to a company that embraces the branding concept brilliantly. Introducing…The Geek Squad.

The Geek Squad is not, in and of itself, a small business by any means, but they certainly have a lot to teach the small business owner about branding. Even if your office consists of your kitchen table and you’re the President, Vice-President and your own personal assistant, you can borrow the concepts of The Geek Squad and incorporate them into your own small business.

When you visit the Geek Squad website, it makes an instant impression on you. Furthermore, you immediately understand what they are promising you. They’re the funny, dedicated “geeks” who understand absolutely everything about computers. They’re the same “geeks” from your math class who knew every answer on the tests and helped you out with your homework. They’re safe, reliable and as smart as it gets.

The Geek Squad understands that branding covers every single aspect of business. It’s never just about your website or business logo (although that’s part of it). Branding is about creating a feeling and a response in the minds of your clients and customers.

Here Are 10 Ways That The Geek Squad Can Help You Explode Your Own Brand:

1. Company Name. The name of your company is an integral part of the branding process. You need to ensure that your customers understand who you are and what your represent through your company name. Obviously, the name “Geek Squad” speaks volumes.

2. Website. Your website needs to offer your prospects a big picture look at your entire brand. Everything on your site should promote the promise that you are making to your clients and customers.

3. Mission Statement. Your company mission statement should be a natural extension of your brand. The Geek Squad states, “We’re an army more than 18,000 strong, on a singular mission to rid the world of rogue technology. We’re still oddly dressed, but we’re now oddly dressed and saving the day across the globe.” Brilliant.

4. Phone Tactics. Yes, branding even entails how you answer the phone. Think about ways that you can integrate your brand and your business phone. The Geek Squad doesn’t just “answer the phone.” Instead you are prompted to enter your “top secret pass code” or speak to a Geek Squad Special Agent. The on-hold music consists of a compilation of spy movie theme songs.

5. Dress Code. If you can incorporate your brand into the way that you or your employees dress, this will even add more believability to your brand. Of course, Geek Squad employees dress in white shirts, dress pants, “geeky” ties and yes, some even flaunt the pocket protector.

6. Tweets. If you’re going to use Twitter as a marketing tool, make sure that you use it as a platform to develop powerful brand awareness regarding your small business. @GeekSquad tweets daily tips on fixing your computer, removing spyware and other “geeky’ topics that their dedicated customer-base loves.

7. Blog. One of the most important marketing tools for today’s small business is maintaining a blog. There is no better way to communicate directly with your prospects, customers and clients. At the Geek Blog, the writers go into depth about geeky technology, geeky facts and geeky jokes.

8. Videos. Have you heard about GeekSquad TV? That’s the ingenious Geek Squad videos that showcase the intelligence and utter geekiness of these likable employees. Again, their videos continue to drive home the fact that these guys know what they’re doing.

9. The Car You Drive. If you are creative enough, branding can even be a part of the car you drive. Take a look at the “Geek Mobile,” a compact, little VW emblazoned with the Geek Squad logo. If that doesn’t create brand awareness, I don’t know what would!

10. Consistency. One of the most crucial aspects of branding a small business is that you must be absolutely consistent. Every single interaction that your customers have must send the same message. You are ultimately creating experiences for your prospects, clients and customers that create trust and build emotional attachments to your company.

So, as you begin the task of building a brand that creates fierce and intense loyalty in your market area, don’t forget about the Geek Squad. They are branding masters.

How To Break Away From Your Comfort Zone By Changing Your Self–Concept

Nice article I wanted to share with you by Keith Aui

What do successful people think about most of the time? Successful people have been studied for a long time and it was determined that they think about what they want and how to get it most of the time. While unsuccessful people, unfortunately, think about what they don’t want and who to blame for their circumstances. The end result will cause them to attract more of what they don’t want and what makes them unhappy. The law states that what ever you talk and think about most of the time will come into your life.

Your self-concept is commonly referred to as your ‘master program’ of your subconscious mind. Think of it as your ‘mental’ operating system. Throughout your life all your thoughts, feelings, decisions and experiences are permanently recorded in you subconscious mind. From this point forward, once recorded, these impressions will influence the way you think, feel and conduct yourself.

Now, you have a self-concept for every area of your life. For example you have a self-concept for your athletic ability, your financial stability, your relationships, etc. And once your self-concept is formed for that area of your life, you will always act in a manner consistent with it. In most cases we all perform below our true potential because our self-concept may be poor for that particular area.

So how does one reach their full potential in any area of their life? You must raise your self-concept for that area of your life. This can be accomplished by understanding, both emotionally and intellectually, that we become what we think about most of the time. It is up to each individual to acquire new habits of thinking about what is truly possible for them. In other words, if you want to change your results on the outside you must first change your thoughts and feelings about your potential on the inside.

Now there are 3 parts to your self-concept. The first part of your self-concept is your self-ideal. Your self-ideal can be defined as the ideal image you have of yourself. In other words, the very best person you can be. It’s a picture perfect life which is made up of your wishes, goals, dreams, fantasies along with the qualities and characteristics of the people you admire. Further more, with the Law of Attraction, you will move in the direction of becoming the person you most admire. The greater the clarity you have about your future life and the person you admire to be, the faster you will move towards becoming that person. And the great thing about this is more opportunities will appear for you to make your ideal future a reality.

The most important part of creating your self-ideal is you must take the time to think through and develop with absolute clarity about the key values and qualities that you admire the most to incorporate into yourself. When this is complete, you then begin to shape and direct your whole personality.

The second part of your self-concept is referred to as your self-image. Your self-image is defined as how you see yourself on the inside. And the way you see yourself on the inside has a great impact on how you will perform on the outside. For example, if you’re ready to give a presentation and if you see yourself as confident and successful, then this is how you will perform in the actual situation. However, if you have a poor self-image of yourself, this will cause you to feel unattractive, not confident in future situations.

An important habit when developing your self-image is to feed your mind with positive pictures and images of yourself performing at your very best. Hold these pictures and images in your mind for as long as you can. And when you come across a situation where you need to perform, your subconscious mind will remember these images and will direct you with the words, actions and gestures that correspond to the images that you’ve created for yourself.

The third part of your self image is your self-esteem. This is how you feel about yourself. Your level of self-esteem impacts the vitality and energy of your personality and ultimately controls your performance. Whatever happens to you will have an effect on your self-esteem. It either increases or decreases it. The key to high performance, happiness and success is determined through the preservation and development of your self-esteem. When ever you feel that your current performance is inline with the best person you can be your self-esteem will go up. You’ll have more energy with increase enthusiasm. However, whenever your current performance seems to be inconsistent with the person you would most like to be your self-esteem will go down.

Remember your mind is like a garden. If you don’t take care of it, weeds will grow automatically, with no encouragement or support. In other words, your mind will fill up with your fears, worries and concerns if you do not deliberately fill your mind with positive words and images. Furthermore, develop the habit of talking to yourself positively most of the time.

How To Analyze Compensation Plans - The Binary And The Matrix

MLM compensation plans can be baffling. Let's simplify things with the main thing we ask of any company -

The 10k Question:

"How many active people do I need in my downline to generate a walk away residual income of $10,000 per month?"

The key word for this discussion is "residual". How much money will I be making after all the recruiting and fast start bonuses and early bird specials settle down and people are buying product week after week and month after month?

That's the key to a stable long term MLM business - long term sale of product. You want to find hundreds or thousands of loyal customers and get paid well. You do NOT want to have to continually recruit new reps or customers to keep your check.

Think residual. If your check stops when recruiting stops, you are in the wrong business. You will never be able to retire.

Let's analyze the Bongo Juice Company that promises "Eight ways you can get paid!"

The company has a great product called Bongo Juice extracted from the Bongo Berry by Bongonian Buddhists on the side of the Billybongo Mountains on the remote Pacific island of Bongobongo with a centuries old extraction method, but hold on. The berry doesn't pay us. The Bongo comp plan pays us ...

Let's simplify things by figuring out what parts of the pay plan we can ignore and which parts we should consider ...

1. Direct Sales (n/a): You sell the stuff. Most people don't join an MLM to become retailers and you can't do it all yourself. When you are making $10000 per month, your own contribution to your check will be small, perhaps a few hundred dollars.

You can buy a bottle of Bongo Juice for $30 and sell it for $40, making a profit of $10, or 25% of the retail price, a fair commission. If you wanted to earn $10000 per month selling like this, you would need to sell 10000/10 = 1000 bottles or 250 cases of 4 each month. Whew!

And you need to read the fine print. If you find a loyal customer, say your Aunt Jean, who buys from your website, the company gives them a 15% discount. That makes Aunt Jean’s price $34, and your profit $4 rather than $10. Seems like a strange way for the company to reward you for finding a loyal customer. If you want to earn $10000 per month with loyal customers on autoship, you'd need to sell 10000/4 = 2500 bottles or 625 cases per month. Double whew! That’s a lot of Aunt Jeans!

And that's why we leave direct sales out of the 10k calculation.

2. Bulk Order Bonus (n/a): A one time bonus paid when someone you personally sponsor orders 3, 6, or 12 cases. That's an order of $360, $720, or $1440 for which you get paid $25 to $75 if you are on 200 pts autoship, or $10 to $30 if you are on 100 points autoship. This is 7% down to 3%, and note that the more your team spends, the lower your commission!

We have never seen anyone buy 3 cases, and neither have the Bongo reps we have spoken with, and that's why we leave this out of the 10k calculation.

3. First Order Bonus (n/a): The name says it all. It's not residual, so it's not included in the 10k calculation.

4. Big Bongonian Builder Bonus (n/a): A one time bonus when one of your team promotes. Not residual. Not included.

5. We'll come back to Team Commissions after we dispense with three more bonuses.

6. Executive Check Match (n/a): Comp Plan experts have told us that the check match usually increases your check by only about 1% or 2%. The most we've ever seen is an increase of 10%. It's a bonus that favors the sponsor monsters, not the average networker. To be more than fair, we reduce the 10k answer by 10%.

7. Global Leadership Pool (n/a): This bonus promises a chunk of a 1% contribution by the company of all revenues worldwide. About 1/10 of 1% of distributors see any of this money. Most of us will never dip a toe in the shallow end of this pool.

8. Multiple Business Centers (n/a): Once you reach a certain level, Bongo offers you the opportunity of building new centers above your present position. We maintain that one position should be good enough to generate an income. Why maintain and qualify several? Even if you do open other centers, you still have to add people, and it does not affect the 10k answer.

Now let’s return to …

5. Team Commissions:

Bongo has a binary plan in which you must sponsor and place a person on the left and a person on the right to qualify for any commissions. Let’s call them Alice and Betty.

If you sponsor Alice and she starts to build, you earn no commissions on her team until you sponsor Betty. That could be quite a while, and you can miss out on commissions you deserve until you jump through that hoop.

Once you have sponsored Betty, the reality of the binary sets in. Most people sponsor just two or three people in their lifetime, and you have been forced to split up your two best people into separate legs. As you only ever get paid on one leg, you will be paid on Alice OR Betty, never Alice AND Betty, even though you have brought both of them to Bongo.

It gets worse. You only ever get paid on your WEAKER leg! That means that if Alice is a stronger builder, you will get paid for Betty’s results and vice versa. No matter what they do, you will always get paid on the weaker of the two people you have sponsored. Your will always be rewarded for less, and sometimes for much less than half of your efforts and results. You can watch your commissions from your best builder disappear into the distance as you struggle to keep up with your weaker builder.

(Some companies require TWO personally sponsored and active people on each side. That means you get paid on Alice and Carl OR Betty and Dave, never on all of your team, resulting in huge breakage and much less paid out by the company to you, the reps.)

Once your weak leg reaches a volume of 500 points (about $800), matched by 500 points in your strong leg, Bongo will pay you 10% of that 500 points, or $50. 500 points will be removed from both legs, and a new ‘cycle’ begins. 10% is small enough, but look more closely. You have sponsored both Alice and Betty, so you are actually being paid $50 on 1000 points, or 5% commissions, 3% commissions on the dollar value.

If our basic unit for a rep or customer is 100 points, that’s $5 per person, making the 10k answer 10000/5 = 2000 people. Let’s take off 10% for check matching to make it 1800 people. Is that a small number or a big number?

(Our answers for the 10k question range from as low as 400 to as high as 27000!)

Let’s assume for a moment that Bongo has a matrix or unilevel instead of a binary, and the levels pay commissions as follows:

1 – 11%
2 – 10%
3 – 8%
4 – 6%
5 – 4%
6 – 2%
7 – 1%

That’s an average of 42/7 = 6% commission over all seven levels. 6% of 100 points is $6 per person, making the 10k answer 10000/6 = 1666 or about 1700 people.

You might also think about this. If the lowest answer to the 10k question is 400, you are working four to five times harder than you have to in the Bongo Juice Company. You may not mind working that hard, but you will be inviting others to join you and work four times too hard. That’s how we spell attrition, and you will have to go through many more people than you have to in order for your team to find the 1700 or 1800 people required.

And if you want to have some fun, call your upline or rep support and ask the 10k question. You’ll be amazed at the answers you get!

This article was written by Bob and Anna Bassett

The Light At the End of Your Tunnel Has Been Turned Off Due To Budget Restrictions

Are you struggling with your finances, your job? your life? and/or your time?? And what do you think about all the internet opportunities with empty promises? Are you worried, frustrated or overwhelmed? Well, I would just like to say there is a Light, a very Bright Light at the end of the tunnel.

Can you see a white light at the end of your Networking Journey? I would like to give you some words of Hope so that you will continue on your journey. I have been network marketing for over a year and a half now and what I have learned is that there are people out there that are willing to help you at no cost. Extraordinary people who have said “I have had enough," I want more out of life; and I want my dreams and desires to come true". You see, like me, they kept looking for a light and found it by moving forward. Their desires and dreams lead them.

You need to believe in yourself and know who you are. If you're not sure, you can change. Every day is a new day which is given to you; don't neglect the endless opportunities out there. Look at yourself in the mirror and see if you like what you see. Remember the hand you were dealt, is the hand you have to play and you need to take responsibility for who you are. Quit complaining and blaming others; it’s not going to do anything for you but drag you down. If you want to become an expert, leader, and live in abundance, you have to fight the good fight. Yes, network marketing is hard but it’s fun at the same time. I have a melt down a least once a week from something, I did or didn't do, but I use it as a learning curve. I have many colleagues who give such great value, in which some nights I am unable to sleep.

I want you to know you are not alone. You just need to keep focused, committed, be persistent and start slow. It is imperative that you keep your mindset in control. You can do it!

One of the main keys to success is having hope, and most importantly having faith. Believe in yourself, dream as you never dreamed. Visualize what you really want in this life. When you believe, I mean really start to believe, the universe will move out of your way, work with you and your dreams will become a reality. You know you were put here for a reason. Don't let life just pass you by. Stay close to the fire, ask questions, and talk with your mentor, sponsor or colleagues on a regular basis. You will find there are so many people who want to help you and I AM ONE OF THEM. You will get it, just keep doing something everyday towards your business.

Remember, your WHY, and it has to be HUGE. Put it on paper and hang it over your computer wall. If your WHY is not HUGE, you will quit. I can guarantee you that. You can wallow in self pity or you can become the best network marketer on line. It is all up to you. You have to change what is on the inside before you will see any results on the outside.

You see, the industry needs to stop twisting the truth about how MLM/Network marketing works and the average person has to stop looking at MLM/Network marketing as a quick fix for his or her financial situation. MLM/Network marketing creates long term, leveraged residual income through monthly recurring purchases from your downline organization. Understand that network marketing is a business which accrues value and net worth over time. And when someone tells you that you can make 5-6 figures in less than 6 months, I wish and hope you do; but, it is just not realistic to me. Some can and do and when this happens, it is because they have already earned the ABILITY through past experiences, the people they know, and the value and wisdom they accrued. Their success stories are only visible to the ear and eye while underneath what they haven’t told you is that they have already been through years of failure, and frustration. But in truth, there is NO QUICK FIX to your financial situation and if anyone else tells you differently, and you believe them, well good luck.

Please always remember, there is a “Bright Light” at the end of your journey, you just need to learn HOW to walk.

“Your life changes the moment you make a new, congruent, and committed decision.”Anthony Robbins

What Do you Do When Your Network Company Gives you the Pink Slip??

It is very sad to see this when it happens. But not uncommon in this Industry. “Don’t give up”. It’s not your fault. When you fall down, you get back up and this is what you have to do. Learn from your failures. We, as network marketers, really understand this concept, we learn from our mistakes and failures. You have to move on and use it as a learning curve. Take your inner strength, courage, skill and faith and continue to move forward. Learn what the right company for you is.

Now I say to myself, what do the network marketers who have got their pink slip do who have a downline or list? What do they do next? Well the answer is
Find a 5 pillar company. If you are a network marketer, does your company stand up to the 5 Pillars of Success.

· Pillar 1: COMPANY. Does the company management have rock-solid experience backed with unquestionable integrity?
· Pillar 2: TIMING. Timing in the company. Timing in the profession of the network marketing. Timing within national and global trends.
· Pillar 3. PRODUCTS: Remarkable products people will buy even without a compensation plan attached to them.
· Pillar 4. COMPENSATION PLAN: A compensation plan that rewards the top builders as well as fairly rewarding the part-time person.
· Pillar 5. PROVEN SYSTEM. A “proven duplicable system that allows part-time people to create a significant ROYALTY Income and full-time people to create an extraordinary Royalty Income.

If you are not familiar with what Royalty Income is, you should. Some people know it as passive, recurring or residual income. Multi-millionaires know the secret to creating true wealth is in creating Royalty Income. That’s when you do the work right ONE time and get paid over and over and over again for the work you did. For Example, J.K. Rowling did the work right one time by writing the Harry Potter series and today she collects a Royalty check from her publishing company every single month. She never has to write another book. Fact is, she even makes money while she sleeps. That’s ROYALTY INCOME
So you may be saying that I am not a writer or movie star and I have little or no talent. There is HOPE. There is another way to develop ROYALTY income. There’s a way to get monthly checks for thousands of dollars so you can do the things you want and own your life. Network Marketing is responsible for $110 Billion in global sales-every year. That’s more than Fed Ex, Coca-Cola and Microsoft COMBINED! Network Marketing is a SERIOUS Business.
I want to explain another type of income, called Linear Income. Linear Income means—you receive income when you work. When you stop working, your income stops. Linear Income continues only as long as you continue to work. Examples: a secretary, an accountant, a nurse, or a waitress. Are you getting the picture? Which type of income would you like to have??
If you are a networker marketing pro or newbie, nothing can stop you from becoming a professional, expert, and leader. You can’t lose no matter what. It’s the internet. “What happens if my company falls apart and goes out of business? You still can’t lose because you will have the skills. You have the ability to create anything you want. You just need to know How to Market and Learn your Skills.

Here are some things to considering when looking at new network marketing business – I got this information from Juanita Waterman who is in my primary company.
· Does the company management have personal experience building their own networking organization?
· Have they done it with Integrity?
· Search Google for the owners of the company.
· Do the owners have Integrity? (Add the word ‘Scam’ to your search).
· Do the owners have a corporate background or an in-the-field Network Marketing background?
· Read your “Policies & Procedures” and “Terms & Conditions”; both are part of your Legal Contract.
· Look for the word “Ongoing”.
· Look for policies that strike you as “Unreasonable”. Like “Termination, with or without cause”.
· Ask yourself “Does this contract protect me or the company?” “Is it clear which way it leans?”
· Does the company charge you for training or a company web site?
· Does the company charge you for each paycheck they send you?

Rules of Thumb:
· The longer the contract, the greater the possibility that the policies important to you are being hidden in “Legalese”!
· If it’s a “Cash Only” business…It’s a Scam!
· If you can buy a position at the top…It’s a Scam!
· If you are offered a “Special Deal”…the playing field isn’t level for all.
· If the products are sold on eBay at a greatly reduced price…Buy there instead.
· If a company is publicly traded, Financial Decisions Will be made in Favor of the Stockholders at the Expense of the Distributors.
Also check these two websites: www.MLMwatchdog.com and www.MarketWaveInc.com.

If you decide to keep networking, you cannot lose; the only networkers who lose are posers and quitters who haven’t developed skills. You can’t get fired, you cannot get knocked out and you can’t lose no matter how long it takes. Nobody can stop you. Stay true, stay focused, be you and genuine. Stay in the game and never give up. You will succeed. Learn How to Market Right!

How To Analyze Compensation Plans - The Binary And The Matrix

How To Analyze Compensation Plans - The Binary And The Matrix

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