Business · Public Relations

60 seconds to make an Impression! by Jaz Greer

Yes, we all do it, some dread it, others relish it, but its a necessary part of promoting our business, the 60 second “Elevator” pitch!

This is probably a topic that there have been millions of articles written about, so you may have heard some of this before, but in terms of communication if something is worth sharing, its certainly worth repeating.

When was the last time that you reviewed your Elevator pitch? For me, I review it EVERYtime I know I am going to use it. Seems a bit of overkill? Well there is a method to the madness, honestly!

The 60 second Elevator pitch is not, in my view, designed to be set in stone. It is not something that I would print on my business cards and be giving out to everyone.

Let me explain why. ALL businesses need to be adaptable to the ever changing markets that they operate within. They need to be able to adapt their pitch to catch the fish.

If I was to have a standard Elevator pitch, then my business is not adaptable to the markets around me, and I will end up losing opportunities rather than gaining new business.

Therefore, I have a few basic rules / components to my Elevator pitch, but around this I build my pitch for the audience that I am in front of, whether thats an individual or a group.

The core components of my Pitch are:

  1. Who I am
  2. What my Business name is
  3. A call to Action

Just three core points of my Pitch are always the same, the rest is developed according to my audience.

So how do I gauge what I am going to say in the rest of my 55 remaining seconds?

Well, if I am going to a network meeting, where most of these Elevator pitches are utilised, I always try to find out beforehand from the organiser Three main pieces of information:

  1. What the format of the Networking event is
  2. What sort of Businesses attend
  3. If there are any potential competitors in my field anticipated to be attending

This information gives me the scope to then decide what I Pitch. It lets me know the type of business in the room and what from my list of services are most likely to be of appeal to those businesses so that I make a connection.

It also aids me to design my pitch with a call to action that is relevant to the event format. So for example if the network event had the 60 seconds round near the beginning of the event with opportunities to have 121 appointments during the rest of the event, I would have a call to action to be one of those appointments with people in the room.

However, if the pitch was at the end of the event, with people potentially rushing off, then I would make sure I placed my business cards on the tables when I arrived at the event, refer to these as how to connect with me in my call to action, and ensure that people had the means to contact me if we were unable to do so in the remainder of the meeting.

If there are other businesses in the room doing similar to myself, I always have a few items up my sleeve to pull out and pitch according to what my competitors have already said. So if a competitor pitches something I was going to say, thats fine as I will have a couple of other services I can promote to be different to my competitor and give people a choice in connecting with me.

Another tool that I employ in deciding what I pitch, is to listen to the other Pitches. I look to see the reaction of the people in the room, what they engage with, what they dont. This can be reading body language, do people write things down about what is being said, do people use jokes to break the ice and they get a reaction?

These things all feed into how I pitch and what I pitch.

I have found that the following points help with the successful delivery of the message and therefore influence the content of my Pitch:

  • People like to hear facts about the topic
  • People warm to statistics to back up your point
  • Asking a question to gauge where people are at helps your pitch
  • Relating what you have been doing for other businesses to illustrate your service / product benefit, helps people understand and connect

It is important however, that I know my services / products / goods and know which ones I want to promote and which ones are right for that audience. This is a skill that develops over time and with practice.

If I know my business target markets, if I know what I have in my portfolio relevant to each target market, then all I need to do is identify who in the room falls into which target markets and pitch accordingly.

The main skill in this is blending the markets, if more than one, into the pitch so there is something for everyone to potentially make that connection with.

For those who know me, then this will come as no surprise that the main feeder for the Pitch for me is my gut instinct! There is nothing like being in a room, gauging the atmosphere, looking at the businesses present and deciding last minute what to say in my Pitch – it keeps me sharp!

You are you, and I am me, so like my journey, yours will be full of try it outs, see what works, what you need to change and to feel your way in your circumstances and situation.

Hopefully some of the pointers I have shared will give you more focus on your Pitch, on how to gauge your audience, and how to ensure you know your services / goods that you want to promote, and just stand up, SMILE and GO FOR IT!


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Business · Public Relations

The 8 Faces of A Great Business Leader by Thomas Oppong

The role of a Leader in the business world encompasses every kind of position or job description. Whether you’re the boss or a simple clerk in the company, you can apply the principles of leadership in your own department or even in disciplining yourself. Undoubtedly, being a leader is essential in running your own business. It is believed that great leaders breed success. Average leaders expect nothing but mediocrity.

To become a leader and entrepreneur at the same time requires a lot of things. You need to be the general of your own army not just someone passively standing and drinking coffee. A leader does not only commands but sets an example. Leadership is an active process of doing things thereby motivating others to work.

He/she is creative, perseverant, patient and goal-oriented. There are many attributes you can think of when talking about being a leader. But what really is essential in leadership that should be applied to make your business grow and succeed? Here are the five faces of a leader in a business venture.

1. The Planner

It is irrefutable that a good plan precedes a successful business output. The leader’s role in entrepreneurship is to be proactive. This means that ideas and business strategies are conceptualized by a good leader. Leadership involves the ability to identify present and possible problems, prospective schemes, risks and benefits of actions and tactics. He/she can analyze and solve small setbacks before reaching the crisis level.

Planning does not end in having a blueprint, leaders implement their plans well. They follow a certain process of holding a business. They assess, identify problems, plan interventions, implement them and most importantly evaluate the outcome of the projects. They are flexible and can adapt well to different situations.

2. The Counselor

Seek first to understand then to be understood. That is according to Stephen Covey, author of the renowned 7 Habits book. A leader does not make decisions alone; he does not jump into conclusions without exactly knowing what’s happening. As a counselor, he listens to his people intently. He seeks every chance to understand every situation. In case of a crisis, he/she can act as a coach which gives advices and helps co-workers to find solutions to problems.

3. The Visionary

Leaders set a vision that gives the company a tangible direction. He/she uses the SMART criteria for setting goals. Goals and objectives should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable,Relevant and Time-bounded.

Leaders believe in the goals they have set. They are always prepared to make these a reality. This is very important to gain the trust of your people. They should see you as someone who has a “clear direction” towards success.

4. The Jack of all Trades

A leader should know most if not everything about the business. He/she is well versed in all aspects of the market. Leaders master the necessary skills needed even of the lowest position up to his present spot. Leaders must at least be able to troubleshoot problems on his/her own.

This is also a positive way to lead by example. How can you impart knowledge, skills and attitudes if you yourself haven’t mastered it? For you to give advices and teach, you should first learn the basics of what you’ll be sharing.

5. The Teacher

In business, it is important to share your goals and aspirations. Vision will only grow once it is shared and worked for as one. Sharing your leadership will help your business grow and develop. As you do this, you will become more convinced that your visions can become real. This will strengthen your will and determination to strive harder.

Moreover, in the other side of the coin, teaching will help you build a strong workforce. If the people around share the same goals as you do, success would be just a finger away.

6. The Motivator

Well, businesses are not all about being on top and winning. That is why it is important for a leader to become the prime mover. You should motivate others to work despite the crises you are experiencing. No matter how difficult the situation is, leaders defray a sense of calmness. They encourage workers to go on and be the best in their positions.

Leaders can also use a rewards system. According to studies, if workers expect something in return (aside from wages) like jackets, gadgets and other freebies, their performance will become better.

7. The Commander

A leader takes charge and full responsibility in all actions. Not only that, he/she is accountable with the results. There would be no blaming or pointing in times of failures. This face of leadership means that you will be in command during project implementation and evaluation.

8. The Transformer

No, it’s not the robots! Leaders transform others to become leaders as well. They inspire their people to act and think like a leader. They start by setting an example to create a fully proactive and responsible workforce.


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Business · Public Relations

Quotes from some great entrepreneurs of our time.

1. “Ideas are a commodity. Execution of them is not.” – Michael Dell, founder, Dell

2. “The way to get started is quit talking and start doing.” – Walt Disney, co-founder, Disney

3. “Always deliver more than expected.” – Larry Page, co-founder, Google

4. “Make every detail perfect and limit the number of details to perfect.” – Jack Dorsey, co-founder, Twitter

5. “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple

6. “You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing and falling over.” – Richard Branson, founder, Virgin

7. “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” – Steve Jobs, Co-founder, Apple


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Business · Public Relations

Some Qualities of Great Entrepreneurs

  • They are passionate about what they do and cut out any negativity and not let it stop them.
  • They have charisma and can persuade most people to go their way on things.
  • They have at a point felt that literally NOTHING is impossible.
  • They personally risk everything they have on a business idea or venture.
  • They have an inherent belief within themselves that they can do whatever better than anyone else.
  • They contribute to the greater good of the masses.
  • They have the willingness to learn and grow. Even the biggest experts are still learning everyday.
  • They are not afraid to fail and are willing to give 110% to succeed.
  • They are sometimes stubborn, spread too thin to be optimally efficient, and extremely difficult to manage.



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Business · Public Relations · Sports

NBA Major Crisis – Donald Sterling Scandal

As a public relations firm that deals with crisis management, the NBA major crisis with Los Angeles Clippers owner, Donald Sterling is not surprising.  This situation is very disturbing; however, we must remain the focus on the matter and how it has affected the entire NBA organization, and community.  The ugly moral of this ordeal is the “known” history of unethical behavior and racial comments by Donald Sterling have been condoned, and swept under the rug for many years.  So how would a public relations firm handle this scandal that has been known for years as a major scandal?  As a public relations expert, my advice to any client, keep is always truthfully, short and to the point.  Many will call for Donald Sterling to admit his behavior and offer an apology. Even so, that is not enough, when the truth is he does not care for African Americans – we all heard it from the horse’s mouth per the TMZ audio released. So why would he offer an apology?  There is no justification to how he really feels from the gut.  This is not about an affair, sex or embezzlement.  This is about Donald Sterling has spoken the truth in his home behind a closed door.  Unfortunately, Donald Sterling did not realize the door was cracked.  The bottom-line,  there is spilled milk, and it is now the responsibility of the NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver to clean it up.  To slap Donald Sterling with a massive fine would set the wrong tone and send the incorrect message, the NBA accepts this type of behavior in its organization. Many will wonder and ask, how will this mess get cleaned up?  Right now, the only way to dismiss, find a quick resolution and move on is for all NBA owners vote for Donald Sterling to resign/release himself as an owner.  What do you think?


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Business · Public Relations

Bad PR

Some of my clients have experienced unethical and unprofessional practices from previous public relations firms. The many signs that a client should look for when seeking a public relations firm is their reputation in providing the services they promote to service. Many public relations will oversell their services; however, they will outsource many other services without the client’s knowledge. This is where the public relations firm will over charge a retainer fee to the client. This is an unfair practice that many PR firms are implementing to stay above the competitive edge. However, it becomes a down spiral of a negative situation that results in the client feeling they were cheated out of services or lied to about the services’ inquiry by the PR firm.  I would suggest that a client has proof from the PR firm to illustrate the services render by the PR firm. This can be letters of recommendation or a reference check from a previous client of the PR firm. How a client can overcome a bad experience with a PR firm is to always do their own diligence in research of a PR firm. Furthermore, have legal representation review the PR firm’s contract. A client has to be proactive in seeking the right representation from a PR firm to ensure their personal and business affairs are held at the highest standard of privacy and confidentiality. If a PR firm can’t represent advocacy, mission, and purpose in serving a client the moral and ethics of public relations, then the client should not position themselves to hire that PR firm. Public Relations is about building bridges of relationships, not burning of relationships.


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Business · Public Relations

Entrepreneurship. Difficult to spell. Harder to live by Hilton Barbour

Network or Die: Pretty obvious but if you aint drumming up new leads and prospects you’ll fail. Get over the aversion of asking friends and colleagues for projects. Get over your shyness and look for ways to find new avenues to work. Hank Blank writes a very practical (and prolific) blog on Networking. His tips are crisp, astute and, importantly, highly actionable.

Determine your value: A prospect asked me recently “so what can you do for me?” My answer was so long-winded I think I only missed offering up “Bar Mitzvahs and children’s parties” That’s not a value proposition, that’s value delusion. Yes, I can do many things (including parties) but what is it I do well. Ideally what do I do better than others. Your prospects shouldn’t have to work that out for themselves. That’s your job.

Never say No. Don’t always say Yes: Be mindful of the projects you sign up for. Securing projects you can do “okay” means no bandwidth for projects you can be spectacular at – and build equity/reputation behind. When presented an opportunity always evaluate it against your value proposition – not just your bank balance. Taking a lucrative but ill-positioned assignment could hurt you immeasurably.

Build your partner ecosystem: Business basics. A single person can’t scale. You need partners for numerous reasons. Access to prospects. Differing POV and ability to challenge your ideas. Companionship. Complementary skills. Pretty obvious right. Two things I’ve learnt. Always seek out truth-tellers because that’s invaluable input when you’re on your own. Two, expand your view of partners. Complementary ones are obvious. I’ve find it never hurts to have a few supplementary ones too. Folks who do what you do. Folks you can throw a project to when you’re too busy and who will pay you back in kind later. Remember your clients come looking for a solution, seldom a person, so being able to provide a solution – even if it’s another person – carries weight.

Bond physically, scale virtually: People do business with people they’ve met or feel they know. Your initial gigs will be people you’ve had coffee with. However, use virtual settings to amplify what you’re unable to do in person. Be highly visible online. Write blogs. Contribute to discussions. Build a virtual presence that deepens and amplifies what you physically could never do as a single person. While I may not personally hold much stock in Klout, it is imperative that prospects – and partners – can gauge what you’re all about and whether you’re someone they wanna work with. The default place for gauging that is Google, not Starbucks.


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Business · Public Relations

10 Steps to Achieving Success in Life by Jesse Torres

1. Set Goals: “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat. “I don’t much care where,” said Alice. “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat. – dialogue between Alice and the Cheshire Cat in Lewis Carroll’s book, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

People who know what they want and have set a course for achieving their goals are generally happier than those that just let life happen to them. This wisdom is not new. Earl Nightingale once said, “Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future.” Ralph Waldo Emerson encouraged goal setting by stating that, ‘Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.”

2. Don’t Fear Failure: “I failed my way to success.” – Thomas Edison

So often we are taught in our lives that failing is a bad thing. Failure is almost always placed at odds with success. Yet without failure few would know the way to success. No one ever did it right all the time. But most that have experienced some success have failed at some point.

3. Take Risks: “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” – Helen Keller

Life is more fun and exciting when we take risks. At the end of the day there is truth to the statement, “nothing ventured, nothing gained.” But be calculated – risk should not be taken for risk’s sake. Opportunity may knock, but it may not stand around very long. Be ready to go on an adventure at the knock of a door. A successful life includes not having regrets for not having taken enough risks.

4. Don’t Stop Learning: “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi

The more you know, the more you realize you do not know. Formal education just scratches the surface and is a drop of our capacity to learn. Knowledge, no matter how insignificant it may appear to be, gives us a reason to get out of bed every morning. Make it a habit to learn something new each day. Treat knowledge like a new friend. Life is so much more satisfying when we make a new friend every day.

5. Do Not Settle: “If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” – Steve Jobs

Success is a process – not an event. Some goals may happen overnight. Others require more time, energy, and alignment of some planets. Do not get discouraged. Keep plotting forward with your plan. Evaluate your progress and make course corrections. Keep your goal top of mind and keep your feet moving. Michael Jordan once said, “If you’re trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I’ve had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”

6. Live a Balanced Life: “My point is, life is about balance. The good and the bad. The highs and the lows. The pina and the colada.” – Ellen DeGeneres

In life we are constantly be pulled in many different directions. Family, work, school, faith, community, etc. It is impossible to give attention to all things at once. There are not enough hours in a day to carve out time for each demand. However, over the intermediate- and long-term, we can achieve balance.

A balanced life should include doing a good job at work. Earning an honest pay for an honest day’s work. Balance means taking time to treat the body well and keeping it running properly with good foods, exercise, and rest. Balance means being present for the family. Few can give the family all the time it demands. But giving it “quality time” will keep the family healthy and happy. Balance means taking some time for oneself to recharge the batteries. Balance means being of service to the community and giving back. Balance means feeding the soul through religion and/or spirituality.

7. Seek a Mentor: “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin

While there are advantages to failing, failure for failure’s sake is of limited use. Work towards success and deal with failure as a byproduct of a well developed plan. The best way to achieve success and limit failure is to work with someone that has already been down the same road. There is plenty that can go wrong as we travel down the road towards success. By eliminating the low hanging fruit on the tree of failure we improve the odds of success and ensure that we experience only the most worthy type of failure. And remember to thank your earliest mentors, your parents, teachers, and others, who inspired you to succeed and set you on your journey.

8. Shut Up and Listen: “I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.” – Ernest Hemingway

Too often we spend our time doing all the talking and not doing any listening. Even when we’re listening, we’re thinking about the next thing we’re going to say. By truly listening we can fully understand what we are being told and properly engage in the conversation. If we do not listen we cannot provide what is needed. We cannot give the needed advice, solution, or shoulder to cry on.

9. Network: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

No one in this world achieved success on their own. Success requires that you lean on someone for support. That’s where the network comes in. True networking means being of service to those in the network – and not expecting something in return. Then when needed, the network will find a way to return the favor.

10. Carry a Notebook: “Always carry a notebook. And I mean always. The short term memory only retains information for three minutes; unless it is committed to paper you can lose an idea for ever.” – Will Self

Our lives are busy and getting busier. Over the course of a day we’ll have ideas, solutions, and epiphanies. If we do not have a way to capture them we risk losing them forever. A notebook, whether hardcopy or electronic, helps us record our thoughts, release the mental storage, and move on to the next great idea or solution.


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Tip on Naming Your Business

The best tip in naming a business is to understand and define your advocacy, mission, and purpose of your business and why you are serving clients.  You have to be able to comprehend your business brand and convey its message to consumers, which will develop engagement and the influence of interest to buy into your product and services. Your business marketing strategy objective is to gear and gain the favor of what consumers are seeking in regard to customer service, product likeness, and availability. The mission supports your business needs to advocate with a purpose. The name of your business should be a unique symbolic trademark that consumers can easily identify.


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Public Relations · Social Media

Social Media is a “MUST HAVE” Business Operation

I consider and relate myself as an entrepreneur who utilizes social media to promote, market and advertise my public relations services to professionals in the sports and entertainment industry. Today social media is an essential need in a business’s market strategy campaign. It’s an extreme resource tool to reach a large target market of consumers with one click.  My primary social mission is to educate and inform my target market on public relations and the importance to implement into their brand.   As a publicist, I have to be able to comprehend what the consumers in the sports and entertainment industry needs are to allied their interests and connect them with public relations. Public relations is all about relationships; however, to develop and gain new relationships is beyond the old traditional way of picking up the phone; it’s now extending to, from and across many social media platforms.  If you are in business, social media is a “must have” as part of your daily business operations.


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