Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Check out the latest in our series of cool case studies

Saturday, May 19, 2012

AIU Alumni Spring Newsletter Purchase Printed Copies thru HP's Print On Demand Service

AIU Alumni Spring Newsletter Print Copies Available From HP Mag Cloud Print On Demand
20 pages, published 19 MAY 2012
AIU Alumni Newsletter Spring 2012 Issue printed in full color, 20 pg issue featuring Raj Dwivedi and Print On Demand Network

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Why CDigital Markets is a leader in proprietary heat transfer

Recently I had a chance to visit CDigital Markets in Baltimore and immediately was struck with the innovative culture and product variability that they can offer the commercial trade printer, but also retailer or marketing department.  The video above features the film substrates produced by CDigital Markets as the decorative film transfer products that can be loaded into automated decorating systems like the one pictured in the video very cost effectively.

Their unique process of full color, high resolution, high output and variable print on demand capability onto practically any substrate using toner based Xeikon digital press technology, and patented transfer film applications literally allows their customer to print full color onto any hard surface area that stands up to multiple abrasion, heat, pressure, washing in almost any quantity very cost effectively.

Their testing center in Baltimore runs multiple applications of printed transfers on metal, ceramics, plastic through multiple wash cycles in dishwashers for drinkware, or custom eatery ware or pet toys.  These customized products are sold by multiple Ad Specialty Distributors and seen on such things as printed placqes, pens, bads, bows, arrows, bottles, signs, cups, mugs, travel mugs, keychains, CDs/DVDs, USB drives.

Their unique application process allows anyone with heat transfer stamping or press equipment to permanently transfer the printed image from proprietary film substrates to the hard flat or curved surface.  The applications are endless and extremely practical when running production quantities in small quantities for prototypes or larger run volumes for manufacturers looking to fill orders for large retail chains or box stores. 

As a supporter of CDigital Markets and former SecMedia, Print On Demand Network is proud to refer our network to Tom Booth and his team at CDigital Markets, who can be reached at www.cdigitalmarkets.com.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Goodbye best friend... a call to all in our industry who can hire a returning combat veteran and adopt a dog

Goodbye, Best Friend

This picture of Marines and the working dog, Yeager, honoring his fallen handler and their comrade, LCPL Abraham Tarwoe, is all you need to know about the character of US Marines or former US Marines on your payroll.  You might have to take a risk in creating a spot on the payroll in an uncertain environment where you don't know what the future is going to bring for your business growth.  No doubt, you have to survive before you can thrive as a business.  However hiring former combat veterans, especially former US Marines, is an investment in your future, and should be part of your company's people strategy plan.  You will find no one more loyal, courageous, entertaining, organizational life changing or knowledgeable to work with other than you or your immediate family members.  If you need a prepress technician, software or other administrator and can make room for one of these veterans to study what you need and bring them into your company as interns in training while they pick up the skills you need to be the new customer service rep, sales rep, driver, or other stakeholder in your business, consider hiring these returning veterans.  They are able to adapt and learn new skills, have the GI Bill to help pay for their education and just need some guidance as to what industry they should join and what fields of study to help your company and themselves to get hired in gainful employed civilian positions.  Veterans can probably handle anything life throws at them after what they've been through (Marines and other combat armed forces personnel especially), and don't need charity, but a chance, some compassion and respect for their service which is nothing like serving in the postal service or other services that wear a uniform and drive a desk in some office far from seeing any combat action or service.  If you show loyalty to them, they are more than willing and able to go the extra mile for you and your customers, and will be among the best investment in hiring people that you could ever make.  Our canine companions teach us the universal value of loyalty, it's really up to us humans to apply it to each other to make our world a little better and reward those who choose to value loyalty above other traits. 

Here's the story behind the picture released by the USMC:
Yeager, an improvised explosive device detection dog, lies in front of a battlefield cross as Staff Sgt. Derick Clark, a kennel supervisor with Headquarters and Service Company, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Michael Dale Reeves, a kennel officer in charge with 2nd Bn., 9th Marines, observe a moment of silence in honor of Lance Cpl. Abraham Tarwoe, a dog handler and mortarman who served with 2/9, during a memorial service, April 22, 2012. Tarwoe, who became Yeager's handler in July 2011, was killed in action during a dismounted patrol in support of combat operations in Helmand province's Marjah district, April 12. Tarwoe's fellow Marines remember him for his contagious laughter and smile, and his unfaltering courage on the battlefield. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Alfred V. Lopez)  

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Lead, follow or get out of the way! Mobile solutions will supplant web printing solutions

Easy, On-Demand Print Solutions with FedEx Office and Google Cloud Print

DALLAS, Apr 18, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- FedEx Office(R) is proud to be the first national retailer to offer small businesses, mobile professionals and on-the-go consumers the ability to transform digital files into hard copies by sending documents through Google Cloud Print(TM) to more than 1,800 FedEx Office stores nationwide. Combining FedEx Office(R) Print & Go and Google Cloud Print, customers can now access and print documents anytime, anywhere.
FedEx Office is leading the industry with innovative on-demand, mobile printing solutions. "Today more than 40 percent of our print business comes in over the web. We will continue our commitment to invest in serving the growing needs of our customers, whether it's business presentations, brochures or posters," said Anthony Norris, vice president, Product and E-commerce Marketing for FedEx Office.
With the award-winning FedEx Office Print & Go solution and Google Cloud Print, users can submit print documents from Gmail(TM) and Google Docs(TM) on their mobile device, or from the Chrome web browser for Mac, Windows, Linux, and Chrome devices. Customers can access these documents at any U.S. FedEx Office location by entering a unique retrieval code into the FedEx Office Print & Go self-service digital screens to select, preview and print. Or, customers can choose to have their print jobs produced by professionally trained team members at the full-service counter.
Launched in January 2011, FedEx Office Print & Go also allows customers to access and print documents directly from a variety of mobile devices and USB flash drives. Last year, the easy-to-use technology received the "Most Innovative New Tech-Enabled Product" award by InformationWeek.
To learn more about FedEx Office Print & Go and discover how to get started, go to www.fedex.com/printandgo .
About FedEx Office
FedEx Office, an operating company of FedEx Corp., has more than 1,900 stores and locations in the U.S., Canada, Japan, South Korea and the Middle East, providing convenient access to printing and shipping expertise with reliable service. The company's network features retail stores, centralized production centers, corporate on-site print centers, and on-site business centers at hotels, convention centers and universities. Services include copying and digital printing, professional finishing, document creation, direct mail, signs and graphics, computer rental, free Wi-Fi, corporate print solutions, packing services, FedEx Express and FedEx Ground shipping, Hold at FedEx Location and more. In addition, InformationWeek 500 recognized FedEx Office(R) Print Online and FedEx Office(R) Print & Go solutions with the 2011 Most Innovative Products award. Products, services and hours vary by location. For more information, please visit www.fedex.com/office .
About FedEx Corp.
FedEx Corp. /quotes/zigman/254280/quotes/nls/fdx FDX +0.08% provides customers and businesses worldwide with a broad portfolio of transportation, e-commerce and business services. With annual revenues of $42 billion, the company offers integrated business applications through operating companies competing collectively and managed collaboratively, under the respected FedEx brand. Consistently ranked among the world's most admired and trusted employers, FedEx inspires its more than 300,000 team members to remain "absolutely, positively" focused on safety, the highest ethical and professional standards and the needs of their customers and communities. For more information, visit news.fedex.com.
SOURCE: FedEx Office
        FedEx Office 
        Kim Kelley, 214-550-7431 
        Ketchum Public Relations 
        Jonathan Younger, 946-935-4339 

Monday, April 16, 2012

How cool is this new Oce colorstream 10000 flex digital press?

I like this, and want one!  How about your shop?  Tired of Xerox and HP speed and flexibility (or lack of it)?  This is how print on demand should be done.  Toner based monochrome or color at 10,000 impressions per minute down to 24lb offset text weight (thickness of your typical bible printed sheet).
If you're printing billing statements or outsourcing data management services for the cost savings of not having to get into the print business, you may want to crunch your numbers again with the CFO and take a hard look at the return on investment on a solution like this vs continuing to outsource a critical function like this with the added flexibility this solution provides any organization.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

How many of you want to see this in your local bookstore?

The Harvard Book Store has installed one of these machines, and I think every independent publisher and author will grant publishing rights to their local bookstores to sell and print their printed versions of ebooks.  It is also a matter of negotiating with Amazon for their vast library of books to flip the publishing industry on its very head and put the control back in the hands of independents with this technology.  Publishing ebooks is as easy as uploading a Word document for authors and publishers.  There is very little to it to justify the costs that the large 5 publishers and Apple were able to charge in their attempt to take control from Amazon's ebook portfolio.  The going rate for published content by local independent authors and publishers willing to give rights directly to their bookstores will remove the need to use an agency publishing model and put the control of sales in the hands of independent and chain bookstores.  I for one welcome the innovation and encourage independent bookstores, publishers and authors to adopt this model and machine.  I hope to see one in every bookstore and library where I can wait for a printed version of the ebook on my reader or tablet, and get a print-out of a required section from a book I need for class.  All while I have a cup of coffee and browse other book titles. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Digital Ads Overload

According to this recent study 2/3 of adults in the US and UK indicate they receive too many digital ads and promotions.  Follow the link above for the study details.

The good news is that if you recognize that most people only want ads on information that they are interested in about once a month, then you can develop your online communication and marketing strategy to reach your audience without them unsubscribing or worse tuning your message out completely.

One key finding that I take away from this information is that people do not want ads on their smartphones.  Just because they can get them there, they don't necessarily want to see them popping up as SMS texts or other ads that they did not search to find out information. 
This is crucual to our customers of comF5 mobipro product lines and touchpro product customers who have the ability to "push" notifications out to their audience about a particular special or event.  Like all things in life, moderation is the key.  The findings point to about once a month advertising being the right amount for adults. 

Check out the information in detail by following the link and digging into the study.  Interestingly enough, another study done last year by RIT found that 79% of B2B customers still found direct mail, and traditional print solutions as either highly effective or effective means to get the message out about events, or promtional advertising.  Print is far from dead, print on demand is thriving in 2012.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Print arguably still at the center of modern communication everywhere

Say what you will about the iPhone, Android tablets, iPads, Kindle and the rest.  This Australian Print Industry Association video makes a very valid point.  Print solutions providers such as those specializing in packaging labels, tickets and specialty form manufacturers as well as digital printers are not on the decline since the  advent of the technology, but actually doing quite well.  Newspapers, magazines and books have clearly fallen off and have seen obvious direct impact from the proliferation of the digital books, ezines, emails and blogs like this which make it possible to reach thousands of people without a single printed page, but what many people do with posts like this is actually print them out and distribute them, post them on cubicle walls and otherwise still use digital printers.  In addition to the continued strength of digital press and variable data printing the specialty paper based packaging products, bags, and ticket printers remain robust around the world just as HP, Xerox and the other digital print engine manufacturers thrive through innovation. 

Kodak Prosper S10 system achieves 600 x600 dpi at 1000 ft per minute variable print

Monday, March 19, 2012

Save the Date 4/25: Join Raj at his book signing at Barnes & Noble, Bowie, MD

book signing event 4/25/12
Please join Raj if you live in the metropolitan Washington, DC or Baltimore region for his book signing event on April 25th
at 6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at the Barnes & Noble Bookstore located at
Bowie Town Center.
Their will be copies in stock if you haven't already picked up a copy from Amazon or Item Trader or our eStore.    Please save the date, and tell your colleagues about this event.  Meet Raj and celebrate the launch of his book on business and leadership.

For directions or more information please call Barnes & Noble, or use the map and links to the store site:
Bowie Barnes & Noble
Bowie Town Center
15455 Emerald Way
Bowie, MD 20716

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Marketing isn't just ordering trinkets for tradeshows or breakfasts any more

Are you getting your money's worth out of the marketing data that is available to your organization?  Do you have a mobile/social marketing strategy that can give you quantifiable data that proves your return on investment.  (Of course if you invest 0 you probably think you're ahead of the curve, but you'd be wrong).  Can you actually put a sales number, meaning you got x number of sales from a specific coupon measured with a dynamic code or specific marketing or ad campaign that you paid for?

How many of you just think it's smart to spend just a few bucks for postage and just send a few hundred or a few thousand postcards out to addresses harvested for free or near free?  How many of you figure that if just one of those postcards reaches the intended audience and either comes in, calls back or refers someone to you that you're ahead of the cost curve? 

I ask you to take that scenario and ask yourself "compared to what?" 

Can you quantify such an effort in terms of cash flows and profits?  Sure you didn't spend much, but how much was just pure wasted message reaching an uninterested recipient? 

The video above shows what CMO's do in their enterprises, and IBM is the best in the world at managing data, but you don't need to spend a lot of money to harvest, analyze and manage this wealth of information that is freely available to you from your existing web site and systems.  Blogger is completely free and comes with very nice analytics that tell you at least where people came in from.  What other applications do you think you need to remain competitive and relevant in the world of social media and the blogosphere? 

Here are 4 questions to help you figure out where you can focus your marketing efforts including your direct mail, video email, blogs, social media pages, white papers, case studies, sell sheets and branded collatoral, all consistent with your web image and message:
  1. Do you know who came to visit or watch your video or observe your published content and when?
  2. Do you know where they came from?
  3. Do you know where they went after they watched your video or looked at your content?
  4. Do you know why they came to look at your content? 
If you don't know the answers to those questions and don't positively control the analytics and the data to give you those answers, then you are not maximizing the free or practically free technology that is available to you.  That is why consultants exist, to offer expertise on subjects like this to allow you to focus on your core competency.  Talk to a marketing consultant who understands the value of data management and analytics and thinks in terms of conversion and ROI like a CMO rather than the marketing professionals who focus on flashy design, nice breakfasts at the Chamber, or obsessing on the basket of trinkets you should offer at the next tradeshow or other event. 

Expect more from marketing.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Prioritize for a purpose driven business life

How many of you prioritize every single task that you undertake in a day?  Do you use something like a 4-way test to prioritize your activities?  In the same vein as Rotary International members who put decisions through a 4 way test asking: 
Is it the truth? 
Is it fair to all concerned?
Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
Will it be beneficial to all concerned? 

You can similarly steer your entrepreneurial venture along the right path by making sure that you and your employees are focused on the right activities all the time.

I suggest to many colleagues and friends that we also follow a priority rule before engaging in activities. While I like and apply the Rotary 4-way test, I also apply the following 4-way test for my business time in activities (like internal meetings) by asking the following 4 questions: 
  1. Is it going to improve positive cash flow?
  2. Will it better establish or improve customer relationships?
  3. Will it control costs or improve our capital?
  4. Will it benefit our infrastructure?
If I can't answer yes to those 4 things, I realize it's probably a waste of money or time and stop what I'm doing or make it clear to people I am not interested in attending an event.  I have to question what the benefit will be to me as much as my employer, business or family.  I must stay focused on everything I'm doing for the purpose of my business success and life success.  Looking at activities this way helps me stay focused when I'm juggling the day's  priorities.  

Friday, March 9, 2012

Informative video demonstrating the process of standard perfect binding for short run book production, typically produced on demand by publishers and print on demand book printers who specialize in this area. Process and options are very similar just about everywhere.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Alright, I'm going to just accept the reality that we are moving to a paperless world as fast as we can.   Especially with the efficiencies that can be gained from electronic medical records or in the lingo of the professionals (EMR).  Fujitsu has done a very nice job of positioning themselves as the hardware vendor of choice when it comes to telling their stories through these case studies and advertisements running to look like they were articles written by objective journalists in the Atlantic.  I'm all about telling good stories.  But let's be honest here.  If your medical practice, or office already has a network multifunction device which includes any kind of desktop MFC made by Brother or anyone else in the last few years that works on a network, those machines perform pretty well.  When it comes to software that can do the job to OCR images and categorize them, you can find a bunch of great software products like Abby Fine Reader or the Virtualscan software which works with everything.  They are open source on purpose. 

If you are stuck with a proprietary type of system of hardware and software which does not offer much flexibility to do image capture and doesn't "read" the document through an optical character recognition capability and doesn't really give you any real ability to categorize, or save image files coded to correspond virtually to match up logically to your system of managing your physical documents, the conversion could seem to be pretty daunting and a painful exercise. 

This case study on Synergy which scans 5000 documents a day ranging from business card sized to legal size documents by Fujitsu scanners which scan at 40 to 80 letter size images per minute (in b/w or monochrome mode and 30 to 60 in full color scan mode) with a 50 pg document feeder (they don't say at what resolution, but I'm assuming a high enough 300 dpi monochrome resolution) to print out if needed from their central image file repository.  This particular case study highlights an efficient migration to electronic medical records and the benefits gained:
I don't doubt case studies at all, but you have to take them with a grain of salt.  Your office's existing equipment like that typical digital Multi-Function-Center device that you probably share on a network in a workgroup network, also probably has the ability to act as the scanner capable of doing all of the same things as the Fujitsu hardware or any other hardware out there.  I've seen plenty of small dental and medical practices already going to town on their paper patient records scanning them with whatever they have and chipping away at their EMR compliance issues.  Most of these scanners are the little desktop MFC devices that they picked up for just a couple hundred bucks, and they are working just fine. 

Those smaller versions can't handle a daily volume like the higher end networked devices and are not the most efficient way to accomplish the task, but you'd actually be surprised how robust some of those desktop laser printer, multi-function-center devices actually can be with a little know how from an employee who has played with it, and read the manual or has the time to talk to tech support and explain what they want the machine to do.  Those $400 or $500 desktop machines can actually scan using their built in document feeders that would rival the big boy network scanner speeds.  I found my Brother MFC 8460N (which is about 7 or 8 years old) prints at 32 pgs per minute can also scan monochrome images at about 20 pgs per minute when set to scan letter size documents at 300 dpi b/w (monochrome) scan (and a whole lot faster if I lower the resolution down to 200 DPI or 150 DPI which is the equivalent of fax image resolution).  The scanner has a built in 25 pg document feeder and doesn't take mixed sizes easily, but really requires prepped documents (meaning no staples or post-it notes, and everything basically oriented the same direction for the most efficient scanning).  The basic Brother scanning software as well as standard Windows document image management tools easily handle the document management and file saving requirements.  Like almost all scanning projects, the devil is in the preparation of documents to feed. 

My recommendation is to have someone internally knowledgeable about how to use your MFC and your records management system architecture.  Then put a plan in place as to where the images are going to be stored, in what format and in what logical naming or sequencing of virtual patient folders.  If there is no one internally with the time to do this then consider hiring a temporary project scanning consultant to come in and do this for you on site on your existing equipment or tell them to bring their equipment, or make recommendations as to what you should buy for your site that they can use for this project and that your staff will continue to use going forward (unless your office plans to go completely paperless after scanning all your existing records).
An overlooked source for expertise on how to do something like this could be your commercial digital print vendor.  They actually know a lot about document scanning requirements, records file management and HIPAA compliance (especially if they also print your prescription pads with security features like thermochromic inks and other compliance features), but if they don't know specifically what scanning solution will work for your office, I'll wager they know someone who is an expert and not out to just sell you a scanner or software solution.

Electronic medical records requirements may be new and the conversion may seem daunting, but document management solutions are nothing new to digital printers, and not really that complicated to them because they all have a system that works for them with robust commercial software and hardware that they deploy internally for their own print for pay environment and file management.  I suggest looking at this current challenge of EMR compliance like a barbecue grill fire that has flamed up a little too high for comfort.  You don't need to buy a fire engine to put out the flames.  First try shutting the grill lid, if that doesn't work, then consider getting the fire extinguisher or garden hose.  If that doesn't do it, then call the fire dept.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Commentary for all you creative marketers out there playing with personalized URLs and general URLs with your variable data printing. I've always been a fan of Frank Romano's industry knowledge with Print On Demand.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The demise of print advertising in 1 graph says it all

I know conventional wisdom tells us that traditional print is dying or on the decline as the article in the Atlantic above link points out when it comes to pointing out advertising revenues.  The fact is however that HP's sales have grown, Xerox sales have grown, Staples Print Solutions sales have grown, Canon sales have grown, FedEx Office sales have grown, UPS Stores sales have grown and it is very much due in large part to the shifting of traditional print to Print On Demand or digital print at your desk.

I recently was engaged in a lively discussion with a professor lamenting on the growth of the tablets and ebook readers and the death or decline of the printed book.  Which led to a discussion on the history of the Kinko's Coursepacks, which helped to build Kinko's into the brand that became synonomous with digital printing and reproduction graphics.  I grew up near College Park, Maryland which is the main campus for the University of Maryland's 40,000 student population that had a book exchange for used books, an official campus bookstore, but also had the Kinko's off campus.  Professors would create course packages which included taking a chapter from this particular textbook or that particular textbook to create a section course guide to accompany his syllabus.  When you registered for your class, and picked up your syllabus, you got the reading assignments which included assigned books from wherever you could get them (book exchange or campus bookstore), but also from Kinko's picking up the specific coursepack he had put together to teach his class.

This made it possible for a custom edition book to be created for the class.  It was updated and current up to the latest possible moment when the professor included articles or papers he thought would educate his students best.   Then they were printed on demand and the students were forced to buy them.  Needless to say that after about 10 years of this, the publishers of these textbooks settled with Kinko's to stop this practice so they could control their protected copywritten material rather than the educator who was using the material for educational purposes, and Kinko's adopted an approval format to go forward.

The advent of great content in the digital age makes it not only necessary but highly likely that we will see a resurgence of printed books or magazines or newspapers as valuable permanent keepsake handed down in families or held in libraries.  I easily see where bookstore retailers will partner with publishers, print and binding manufacturers as well as ebook makers to enable the printing on demand of ebook titles that can be picked up at the local bookstore or retailer like Walmart for nominal costs and have high enough quality to make the product a keepsake for the family library (much like the typical photobook products offered at a camera store these days).  When enough independent authors and publishers unite against the larger publishers who tightly control the industry and work together to protect their interests and figure this out,  I am sure we will see an adoption of just this type of custom book made on the spot in popular bookstores and print on demand is the dominant model for all print media.

Owning a retail bookstore these days is probably a risky business, but add print on demand equipment, know how and publisher permission to the mix and you have a revitalized industry where printed books, articles and newspaper content are the dominant format for permanence and family libraries and keepsakes.

Friday, February 10, 2012

How many of you love to buy something but don't love to be sold something?  This plays on Winston Churchill's quotable quote "Personally I'm always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught" and is appropriate today more than ever in sales.  Many sales experts have emphasized pulling in interested buyers rather than pushing your message out to them by cold calling, spamming, or talking to people about what your company or you do.

How many of you are only working the activity of cold calling to drive new sales just because there is an old habit that proved successful, or there is someone else's metric to be achieved because it was successful for someone else before like a manager, owner or stakeholder?  My suggestion is that rather than investing in broadcasting outward whatever it is that you do, that you instead focus on tools to follow up and direct customers with casual interest into people who love to buy something from you

Five common sense approaches that sometimes get lost in the heat of chasing opportunities that definitely convert into sales is to:
  1. Have something of value to offer (it doesn't necessarily have to be the best quality or price, biggest, fastest, etc.,), but it does have to have intrinsic value that can be conveyed in a simple value proposition statement to a prospective customer.  If you can't explain it in 30 seconds or 1 minute there could be a problem with how you're saying it.
  2. Be authentic, genuine about your offer's shortcomings if any and sincere about yourself and your product and whether it will help the person interested.
  3. Be prepared to go out of your way to give the person interested more than they expect.
  4. Figure out what the customer's emotional reasons for buying are and meet those needs (either they have a sense of reward, fear, pride, shame, altruism, envy).
  5. Let the customer make the leap and choose what they want when they want, and think long term relationship rather than close the sale right now. 
The stronger your analytics that tell you when someone is interested or is searching for information or clicking around for information that you offer is one of the keys to Google's ad words program and is also something any small operator can easily implement or on linkedin or other social media sites by posting ads. 

Just make sure your engagement strategy is all about asking the prospective customer what it is they really need to accomplish and why they are looking for this product or service.

Have a great week end, and I leave you with the sales pitch from Parks and Rec:

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The future of education is well in hand with these guys!

MIT has posted up some excellent course material free to the public.  There is absolutly no excuse for not understanding science technology, engineering or math any longer to be a globally competitive country. Individuals who are out of work, or under-employed have an incredible opportunity to pick up new skills, learn new concepts, and basically become more competitive, and either apply these skills toward entrepreneurial endeavors or gainful employment. 

Between MIT and the Khan Academy on youtube, education has become a private endeavor between individuals who just have the natural curiosity to want to know something.  I learned basic concepts of programming languages and how to write applications through MIT's open course materials. 

It's refreshing to see an unselfish endeavor actually come to life and from such a great school and great teachers.  I wish I could donate more money to these guys.

Monday, January 30, 2012

How words matter in the message

Very good example of how you say something is as important as what you say, and one of my favorite video clips.

how to make a successful cold call

This link is to Inc. magazine a couple weeks ago on an article about cold calling that I liked.  Many of you already are pros at cold calling and have your own techniques that work for you.  The key in my view is that you have to block out the time, have a good list of somewhat interested people (it makes no sense to be calling people with no interest whatsoever. 

But my best strategy is to break down your calling list into chunks of 5 or 10 calls at a time before updating info.  Keep a printed note pad with all the pertinent info about the company, contact, any linked in connections you might have with the individual and try to keep the call brief to get the appointment. 

There is evidence to suggest that Thursday mornings are the best time to call to reach decision makers, but it is entirely up to the types of businesses you're calling.  For example, I just completed a campaign of postcards, followed by phone calls to get people's email addresses, followed by calling only those who opened links or clicked on the links in the emails I sent.

They were interested leads because they already knew something about me, having received a postcard, having received a phone call to try and schedule a meeting or to send an email, and then they actually viewed the message.  It is a logical process. 

How many of you are simply picking up the phone and smiling and dialing without first generating any interest in you or your offer first?

Inc magazine's how to make a cold call article