Business · Consultations · Public Relations

Women need to stop giving away their services by Jackie Harder

This article speaks volume!!!


If you don’t value yourself, no one else will, either. Don’t give away your expertise. Charge for it.

This comment kicked off a firestorm in my social media group recently. One person said, “Sure, I get that. But how does that mesh with the whole ‘pay it forward’ thing? Or ‘If you give it away, it will return to you’?”

These excellent points have merit – as long as they are applied with carefully thought-out boundaries. And while women are more likely to to have permeable boundaries in this area, many men fall into this trap as well.

How to help others without going broke

First: You don’t have to give away your services to “pay it forward.” Join a community-action group. Donate money to your favorite cause. Tutor students in English. Volunteer to shelve books at the library. Join an Adopt-a-Highway group and pick up trash alongside the road. Sponsor a worthwhile event in exchange for publicity.

There are hundreds of opportunities right in your own town and none of them involve giving away the farm. Check them out.

Second: You already are helping people, through social media and your blog articles. You are giving tips and tricks. You are giving them the benefit of your vast storehouse of hard-earned knowledge and experience. You are sharing insider information about your industry and helping them make informed decisions. You are building your authority.

Third: The “giving in order that you may receive” is a lofty philosophical position, and one that will assure practitioners a spot in heaven. Give away too much, however, and you’ll end up in the poorhouse.

So what is the balance? Where do you draw the line and say, “Beyond this point, you will need to hire me or buy my program or book”?

Think of your knowledge or service as a product in your local grocery store. Can you imagine the owners allowing people to help themselves to cakes hot from the oven? Of course not! If these cakes are exceptional, on occasion they will offer prospective customers a little taste, just to show them what they’re missing. But the reasonable expectation is that customers will buy their own cake to take home and enjoy.

Why is it any different with your service? As a savvy business woman, you’ve given them a taste through social media and your blog articles. They know what you can deliver. If they want more than a sample, they need to open their wallets.

And probably most important of all: Why would anyone buy from you at all if you keep giving it away? You’re in business, not running a charity. Don’t forget the value of your time. Your expertise and experience didn’t come cheap, either.

If you don’t recognize your own value, no one else will.

There are exceptions, of course. Here’s how to handle people who want something for nothing:

  • Create a policy so you’re not caught flat-footed when someone wants to spend 10 minutes with you to “pick your brain.” For example, you might want to reserve “free help” for family members and close friends. For the others, you’ll want to come up with a script you can use. See below for a sample.
  • Decide in advance how much time you will spend with these exceptions to the rule. Establish parameters and clearly communicate them – you will work with them for X amount of time a week or a month. Or you will only handle it by email. Make sure it works for you because even though you may love these people, they are still taking away time from you earning your living.

For everyone else who wants more than what you’re willing to give away in your social media and blog, try this approach:

Tell them their question/issue is an excellent one, and you would love to work with them on it.  Say something like: “If you’re serious about moving forward with Y, I’d love to set up a time to talk about working with you on this topic. I think we’d be a good fit to do business together.”

This will winnow out about 90% of the “gimme” types who want something for nothing. Of the 10% you do speak to, probably 9% will decline once they know the investment. But that 1%? There’s your sweet spot! And if you’re a really good sales person, you might be able to convert more of the 10% you talk to.

So go ahead and give – but be judicious and thoughtful about it. I think you’ll still end up in heaven!

What has worked best for when dealing with people who want something for nothing? I’d love to add to my repertoire!


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Business · Consultations · Public Relations

Business Protocol

In doing business, it’s imperative to be mindful on how you set the tone in building a business relationship. When you schedule an appointment to meet with someone, a reminder follow-up 24-48 hours is essential. If for some reason you need to cancel, provide a courtesy call to inform, and offer to reschedule. If you just cancel and do not offer to reschedule, it sends a negative message you are not interested in doing business. In business, customer service will never go away. It’s the main spectrum in building creditability.

Another business protocol, always respond back within 24-48 hours. If you are unable to provide an answer, it’s never okay to just ignore and not follow-up. Always provide reassurance of interest.

My Business Protocol:

1) When I receive an inquiry about my PR services from a prospective client, I offer to set up a consultation. If the prospective client hesitates to set up a consultation, I extend 5 days to decide, thereafter, I expire the offer. I do not believe in wasting nor waiting for a prospective client to get back to me once they made the initial attempt to inquiry about my services. **No Exceptions**

2) If a prospective client cancels and does not extend an offer to reschedule within 24-72 hours, I lose interest. Again, the prospective client have set the tone on how the relationship will begin and end.

3) If I send an inquiry to offer my services to a prospective client, and I don’t receive a response after 2 attempts, I lose interest.

4) When you are conducting a telephone conference, it is rude to take another call. Schedule your telephone conference during a convenient time you will not be interrupted.  By placing a prospective client on hold, 1) it’s rude 2) it sends a message to the prospective client they are not a priority. People like to feel as if they are important. So if you remove that feeling, you may have just lost a potential client/business prospect. When someone places me on hold upon a scheduled telephone conference, I simply hang up, and I lose interest.

5) When you are seeking to receive a response via email from a prospective, always set the expectations of a follow-up. When the receiving party as no expectations, they become lax in getting back to you in a timely manner. Again, setting the tone of expectations in business is fundamental. It lets you know who really is interested in doing business with YOU. Remember the movie,  “He just not that into you?”  The same applies in business.

He's Just Not That Into You (2009) Poster

The bottom-line, everyone’s time is valuable. People make time for what they really want. In addition, you only want to do business with people who want to do business with you. You want to share a respectful, and mutual exchange.

The above aforementioned is based on past experiences and continuous evaluation of what is working and what is not working in my business.  I had to set higher standards, and raise the bar of expectations when doing business with or for a prospective.


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Business · Consultations · Public Relations

Skills That Can Save Small Business Owners Money

The beneficial skill a small business owner needs to learn is systematic operational risk management. Why?  A small business needs to adopt the effectiveness of daily operations.  A small business should always be prepared for many unexpected business events. To be able to sustain a systematic operational risk management, a small business will be able to continue to fulfill its organizational goals and conditions. The systematic operational risk management can be monitored and foresees the business from an analytical standpoint to determine losses a small business can concur. A small business needs to be able to avoid and detect losses quickly, and in a timely manner to avoid failure.


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Business · Consultations · Public Relations

Client Screening Process

My firm has a client application process. We request clients to submit an application. In addition, answer a 5 questionnaire on the PR services in need.  Thereafter, we schedule a 1-hour consultation to discuss the objective goals for the client. During the meeting, we listen and set out to outline a potential PR campaign to grasp an understanding of their needs and the measurement spectrum if our firm can be allied to provide the services requested. Lastly, we have an open dialogue for the client to ask questions. To provide comfort of assurance to hire our firm, we submit creditable analytics of our past clients.  After the initial consultation, we discuss if there is a mutual beneficial business alignment for both parties.


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Business · Consultations · Public Relations

Tips for increasing work efficiency at work

The best way to be increased work efficiency at work is to set up an objective goal calendar weekly, monthly, and quarterly. A great tool method to utilize is Google calendar. Google calendar is very accessible via mobile.  In addition, it’s a great way to connect other Google calendars, Dropbox of files, whereas you can have groups view and share. A great work efficiency spectrum to have schedules and files, all in one place. In addition, Google Calendar is structured to set alerts, connect to other social media outlets and chat networks.  The essence of work efficiency is management and productivity. This includes setting goals, manage the lateral progressive of a timeline, handle and complete multiple tasks, all while monitoring the process of measuring, achievable results of work efficiency. My tip is to utilize Google calendar is. The importance of work efficiency is about structure, and being consistent in staying on top of everyday priorities.


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Business · Consultations · Public Relations · Sports

A Business Advice I Am Thankful For

The best business advice I was given was 2008 at a golf charity event by a veteran retired NFL Player.  He advised me to always stay authentic, and to never change no matter how difficult and successful things will become.  He told me I was extremely talented, Although, talent will not take you far if you are not authentic and nice to people. People like to do business with people they like, and have a mutual admiration and respect for. You build and cultivate relationships upon the basis of authenticity.  I keep his advice close to my heart and I live by it personally and professionally.


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Business · Consultations · Public Relations

The Top 5 Reasons People Fail at Business Development by Christen Hatfield

As nearly every ambitious company knows, its growth potential lies with its business development efforts. Although business development seems like an easy concept to grasp on the surface, there are subtle nuances and finer points that many people gloss over, making it hard to properly understand. This difficulty, which in many cases can sabotage the most earnest efforts, can be attributed to five key symptoms of bad business development. Many of these symptoms can be attributed to selfishness or lack of experience, but not addressing them could have major consequences to any business development professional and, in turn, their company.

Read on as we discuss how these symptoms reflect a misunderstanding of the core concepts of business development, as well as offer tips on how to remedy them.

1. Lack of Emotional Intelligence

Let’s take a bird’s-eye view of business development. A person is hired to bring their existing business relationships and to build new ones with potential partners, all in order to ultimately bring new business to the company in the form of strategic brand partnerships. The simplest explanation is that your goal is to bring in new business. While this might sound like conventional business development, this concept and the setup itself are decidedly wrong.

If your employee takes this task too literally, you are left with a real problem. A business development professional interacts with people, real people with feelings and emotions. These people are not one-dimensional and can be extremely sensitive to hollow motivations. As such, great biz dev pros need a high amount of emotional intelligence. You have to be sensitive to the people you interact with. In order to be great at business development, you not only have to value the person in front of you, but you also need a desire to help them.

This might not immediately help you land your first large account, but that is not what business development is about. Business development is about creating personal connections and leveraging them to gain business. And you make these connections by valuing the people you interact with as well as their interests. The most fulfilling and successful way to satisfy your own goals is by helping your clients satisfy theirs.

2. Not Attentively Listening to Your Client

You won’t know what your client’s interests are without listening to them. It’s easy to hear what a person says, but actually listening attentively is something that requires a lot of effort, and it can be a difficult thing to master. Any attempt at business development is unnecessarily made much harder by not attentively listening. We get so caught up in our own interests that we forget to listen to those of our clients. Many people have the perception that if they speak more, they will be viewed as intelligent. But in reality, your incessant chatter only frustrates clients and makes it seem like you’re overcompensating for diminished ability.

Most of the time, all you have to do is sit down and listen intently. For example, if your client voices concern over a proposed schedule, address it directly instead of defending it, deflecting it or ignoring it. By doing so, you show your potential business partner that you’re attentive to his or her concerns and will likely be attentive enough to address future concerns in a timely manner.

3. Being Persistent to the Point of Annoyance

Being persistent can be a great thing, and having the right type of persistence is vital to being a solid business development professional. But there’s a fine line between “persistent” and “annoying.” There are many situations in which being persistent can be seen—and rightfully so—as annoying or pushy. Repeated emails and calls, especially those made at an unnecessarily high frequency and during busy times of the day, will only get you so far. You might get one deal from the relenting party, but that party may remember how pushy and annoying you were, and they may avoid contact with you down the line.

With that in mind, it’s incredibly important to give your client the space and time needed to think about your offer and reply to it. Doing so recognizes their time to be as important as yours, which will be seen as a sign of respect. If your potential partner sees you as respectful when trying to make contact, it’s a great indicator of the respect you’ll have for them throughout the course of the relationship, and these are the types of relationships biz dev professionals must foster.

4. A Lack of Empathy for the Client

Be considerate of your client’s mindset, including their mood, needs and wants. Clients have their own deadlines and goals, so put yourself in their shoes before reaching out. Never cold call potential clients on Mondays or first thing in the morning. The majority of people begin their days by checking their emails, getting prepared for the day and finishing any items left behind from the day before. The last thing you want to do is disrupt your client’s usual routine and attempt to compel them to speak with a stranger, especially in the morning.

Are you in a better mood on Fridays? So are most other people. You have a better chance of getting a good reaction to a cold call with a person who is in a good mood. Never underestimate the power of good timing.

5. Overconfidence

The thought that having a great product or service alone will make a business successful is based on faulty reasoning. This overconfidence is based on the logic that you don’t have to do the work needed to cultivate a market. But the truth is that solely providing a good product or service is not enough.

You have to highlight your products’ or services’ benefits in a way that addresses your client’s needs. Only then can you hope to start selling your product or service as an acceptable solution to your client’s issues. Otherwise, the biggest obstacle between you and your customers will be your ego.

Great business development professionals come in many different types. We all have unique ways of reaching out to potential clients, but the one thing that great biz dev pros have in common is that they are selfless people who care about their clients’ wellbeing. They create a foundation of strong relationships by helping others. Through these relationships, they create opportunities that are based on trust, respect and a mutual appreciation for each other’s goals and values.


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Business · Consultations · Public Relations

The Seven Secrets of Top Performers by Bernard Marr

That some organizations are highly satisfied with and reap significant benefits from their Business Performance Management (BPM) efforts while others are dissatisfied and gain marginal or no benefits, was a central finding of Measuring and Managing Performancea recent global survey of over 3000 organizations by the Advanced Performance Institute and Actuate. But what separates the top-performers from the also-rans? Our analysis uncovered seven critical performance factors, which can be collectively viewed as the “inside secrets of top performers.”

Factor 1: Buy-in and Ownership

As with any management initiative, if there is no ownership and buy-in for BPM from the top then it will fail. But senior leadership support is not the full story. Our analysis found that there often is buy-in at the top but little at the bottom of the organization. As figure 1 shows about half of the respondents see top-down buy-in with little buy-in at the grassroots. Nine percent reported a complete lack of buy-in and 21 percent reported pervasive buy-in.

This indicates that BPM is seen as a top management initiative and viewed with suspicion at the grassroots, along the lines of “senior management is checking on us.” Moreover, the grassroots often disagree with the measures and analysis performed or feels that the consolidation and scoring exercises are flawed, but are too disconnected to discuss the problems because they’re not part of the strategic measurement effort.

Poor buy-in at the grassroots level is caused by a lack of engagement in the design and communication of the BPM approach as well as a lack of trust in the data quality or in how the data might be used. A closed-loop system where everyone understands the rationale of the BPM approach and has access to the data reaps the most benefits.

Factor 2: Motivation for BPM

Implementing BPM for the right reasons is another “secret of success.” The most successful implementations are those where BPM is introduced voluntarily by the company to improve its decision-making and generate new insights and understanding that drive performance improvement. If it is introduced because of external needs to report (often the case in government organizations where central government or regulatory bodies force the reporting against targets) then there will often be resistance. But resistance is often internally driven, where maybe internal quality departments or senior management teams are seen as forcing performance reporting and measurement

Our research finds that only about one-third of companies implement performance measurement and reporting for the right reasons. Another third sees it more as an internal pressure to report upwards and demonstrate performance. This “Big Brother” controlling approach should be avoided

Factor 3: Integration of Operational and Strategic Approaches

Next up is the alignment and integration of strategic and operational metrics. Measuring and Managing Performance found that companies who only use KPIs to measure and report operational performance report low levels of benefits. By the same token, companies that have strategic KPIs but don’t align them with operational metrics also report low benefits. But those companies that take an integrated approach and who align strategic and operational KPIs with Strategy Maps or Mission and Vision Statements report the highest levels of satisfaction and benefits. This is simply “joined up,” thinking.

Factor 4: Integration of Performance Measurement and Analytics

Another factor that is fast becoming a differentiator is the level of integration between traditional KPI measurement and analytics. While KPI measurement is more static, with a focus on high-level indicators to monitor performance against high-level goals (the ‘how well are we doing against our plan?’ question), analytics is more dynamic, using wider and larger data sets to challenge the business (the what, why and how questions). Those companies that reported that they combine approaches such as KPIs and Balanced Scorecard with Business Intelligence and analytics generate more benefits in the form of richer and more comprehensive business insights.

Factor 5: Time-Focus of BPM

Traditionally, performance data was used to report historic information – for example, financial performance of the last quarter or results from a staff survey. Our survey finds that this still holds true for about one-third of companies.

More sophisticated approaches allow companies to track performance much more in real time, creating a more integrated approach where measures are consolidated and reported as things actually happen. Eleven percent of survey respondents primarily use data to focus on real-time performance, whereas about half see it as a mix between historic and real time.

Due to sophisticated or predictive analytics tools, companies can now also use their data to look into the future. Through their BPM efforts, the top performers are primarily concerned with the next quarter and what is required to improve performance in the future, which is true of seven percent of respondents.

Factor 6: Data Quality

Ensuring a high standard of data quality and so avoiding the “garbage in, garbage out,” syndrome is another of the “inside secrets of success.” If we want good insights that lead to improved decisions that drive future performance then we need data we can trust. There is no point putting in place sophisticated performance reporting and shiny dashboard solutions if the underlying data is not reliable.

However, our research finds that data quality is still a major issue in the also-ran organizations. Whereas just 10 percent of respondents reported that they have a well-governed data quality management, almost half that they have only reactive data quality management (i.e. they’re looking at areas where data quality has become an issue). A further 15 percent said their data quality management is undisciplined, leading to poor or varied data quality.

Factor 7: BPM Technology

The proper exploitation of technology is the final of our seven secrets of success. Technology to support BPM activities has evolved massively over the past few years. Initially the focus was on storing and reporting performance information using databases and dashboard solutions. Today’s sophisticated solutions need to do everything, combining integrated BPM platforms with the ability to perform predictive and big data analytics, along with root-cause analysis on past and future data, – all to enable companies to visualize performance in interactive graphs and reports delivered to mobile devices over the Internet.

However, most organizations are some distance from doing this. Sixty one percent of companies use office tools such as Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint as their main tools to report and analyze performance (and report the fewest business benefits and user satisfaction levels). The greatest benefits/satisfaction levels are reported by the 10 percent that use integrated performance management and analytics software. But note, our experience shows that solutions that support a continuum of needs work best, allowing organizations to embrace performance measurement at a level they’re comfortable with, gradually moving away from simple reporting towards predictive analytics.

BPM has come a long way from the days when easy to find (but often unreliable) data was captured, reported through marginally valuable KPIs and from which “rough guesses,” of likely future performance could be made. With Big Data analytics and data management generally becoming a core capability in leading organizations, it is our firmly held belief that integrating KPI measurement with powerful analytics will be “the next big thing,” in the BPM space. It will change everything. Measuring and Managing Performancefinds that top performers already know this.

I hope this was useful? As always, I am keen to hear your views on this topic. Please share any comments, ideas and suggestions below…

Finally, here is a slide-deck that summarizes the main points:


I really appreciate that you are reading my post. Here, at LinkedIn, I regularly write about management and technology issues and trends. If you would like to read my regular posts then please click ‘Follow’ (at the top of the page) and feel free to also connect via Twitter,Facebook and The Advanced Performance Institute.

Here are some other related posts I have written:


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Business · Consultations · Public Relations

The Role of an Internship in your Business Success by Ron Torossian

internships 300x175 The Role of an Internship in your Business Success

It’s a question every career oriented professional asks when entering the workforce. And it’s a question every employer needs to have an answer for: How do you get a job that requires experience when you don’t have any experience?

The answer? Realize you may not get the job you want, so go out and get some experience. This little nugget of reality is reason number one you better not skip that college internship.

According to a recent survey, business students who reported having business-related internships were much more likely to get at least one solid job offer upon graduation. Sometimes sooner.

More than 61 percent of those who had done the internship had a job offer in hand by winter of their senior year. Compare that to 28 percent of the group without one. That means doing that internship more than doubles your chances of landing a gig after graduation. And before you think, “yeah, but, for what jobs,” this percentage stayed fairly even across many different industries.

Banking had the highest rate of job offers at 70 percent followed by consulting, technology and retail.

One of the reasons for the internship benefit is obvious. Sure, that college internship gives you the requisite experience so many businesses are looking for in a new hire, but it is much more valuable for a very different reason.

Doing that internship creates relationships where you would not otherwise have them. No matter what field you want to enter (unless it’s academics) you will meet more people in that field while on the job. Relationships are valuable currency in business. They help you get hired, help you move up and help you strike deals you might not otherwise be able to land.

Even if you plan to go out on your own, that internship can still offer you priceless experience and insight into the industry. The real dynamics and logistics. Who the main players are at every level of the industry. Answers to questions you hadn’t even planned on asking. Keep that in mind if you are considering skipping the internship. You might never learn what you should have known.


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Business · Consultations · Public Relations

I am a woman entrepreneur who gives back to its community

I am an advocate on community outreach. Each year, my priority commitment as an entrepreneur is to give back to the community. I join alliances with several corporate sectors to contribute and participate in sharing the joy of “giving back” to non-profit organizations that are in need of support and volunteer assistance.  In addition, I help in the fundamental research, education and community services and advocacy programs with my clientele roster, and network connections in the sports and entertainment industry.

My community relations responsibilities stables to cultivate business relationships that help to build a spectrum of community relations platforms. As a publicist, I utilize my clients to share in the support, participate and endorse  community relations campaigns in which they can personally relate. This helps to increase awareness to different causes such as Autism, Education, Cancer Research, and Health issues within the community. It’s important that I stay involved to maintain a presence of leadership and influence. Lastly, it pays off by showing that my public relations role is to “lead by example” in taking a stand for community causes.


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