Sunday, April 26, 2009

Preempting Your Market, A Fundamental Marketing Strategy


How To Position Your Business For Exceptional Growth

By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. -Mark Victor Hansen


There is one basic element of marketing that if understood can propel any business to unbelievable success. This strategy acquired from one of my adopted mentors, Jay Abraham, he is one of the main primary reasons I’m still in marketing.

If you are unaware of Jay Abraham’s reputation he is universally accepted as one of the marketing geniuses of modern time. A quick google search should provide you with a complete background of his accomplishments. There are literally hundreds of web pages dedicated to him.

Let me confess that although I say he is my mentor, I really don’t know the man personally. I have been to one of his seminars, met him and own several boxes of his books, CDs and DVDs packed with marketing genius. One day, a few years ago, I realized that I had adopted his marketing style. But he is only one of the people I have chosen as a mentor. Although Mr. Abraham’s teaching was my primary influence I blended his concepts with other marketing experts like Jay Conrad Levinson, Dan Kennedy and John Calton.

One fundamental marketing philosophy of Mr. Abraham’s teachings resonated with me to such an extent that I now own it. It is a philosophy that incorporates ethical and spiritually enlightened concepts that recognizes the importance of everyone, the entrepreneurs, prospects and the market in general. In my opinion, as this marketing concept grew in the collective consciousness of mankind another marketer, Joe Vitale introduced a similar idea he called “spiritual marketing” . We are not going to delve into Mr. Vitale's philosophy today because that is a topic for another article. Today we want you to expound on the Jay Abraham philosophy. He called it...

The Strategy of Preeminence

This strategy is essentially a philosophical perspective that everyone in business should consider adopting. Mr. Abraham has made literally billions of dollars using it. For myself I cannot make such a bold claim but the value inherent in such an enlightened point of view cannot be measured with dollars. Personally, the satisfaction of starting from such a perspective ensures a foundation of self righteousness. It is a good feeling to know that any products and services offered can really benefit the recipient. It is the same feeling you have when someone accuses you of lying and you know what you are saying is the truth or what you believe to be the truth. But what exactly is the strategy of preeminence?

In a phrase it’s ”put your client's needs ahead of your own”. That is, in your business dealings, you do whatever is in the "best interests" of every individual prospect you encounter. You must believe that their lives is somehow enhanced, by saving them time, money or even just the convenience. It is an appreciation of the potential leverage that each transaction creates because each can be engineered to produce much more than just one purchase transaction. Effective marketing is philosophically positioning yourself and your business model to leverage this opportunity.

The strategy of preeminence is really initiated by your perception of the person with whom you are doing business. Do you see your prospects as an ignorant losers who you can easily be taken advantage of because they know very little of your business? Or, do you take the higher more enlightened perspective that everyone is in various stages of evolution and treat each prospect with the respect and integrity deserving of each human being? Fact is are they spending a dollar or ten thousand dollars? How long will you have to interact with them?

As an example of this, do you know why lawyers always consider their prospects clients and not customers? Or why most retail establishments prospects are customers and not clients? According to Mr. Abraham; it’s that professionals are charged with a duty to take long term care of all their “client’s” needs. In the case of a lawyer, their clients are under the long term continued care and protection of the lawyer and as such cannot be considered a customer. Take a look at the meaning of clients and customers in the dictionary they belong to two distinct categories.

On the other hand, most retail establishments operate from a perception that all transactions are isolated singular events. Although most know that to be untrue, retailers business model are usually not designed to leverage each transaction.

For example, someone is looking to purchase a music CD. What are they purchasing? They are not just looking to purchase a CD they are actually making a statement about the particular genre of music and that they are potentially a fan of the artist. If a singer or artist assume that they are selling CDs, they will always be relegated to be a peddler in the market place. This is not an enlightened strategic marketing position. The buyer may just hate the process of purchasing a CD.

They are really purchasing the many hours that they will spend listening and feeling however they feel when they listen to your music. They may not particularly like you or the packaging you think is so attractive on your CD. They are trying to enhance their experience, if your CD does it for them they will buy more. Unfortunately, if not they are not satisfied you can be guaranteed to use BAD word of mouth advertising. And that is the reason why the strategy of preeminence is so effective. So how do you preempt clients to sell your CDs?

You must put their best interests ahead of your own.

As a musician/singer, you can establish the strategy of preeminence by changing your mindset and thinking in the following ways:

You are not just selling music, you are selling quality listening/relaxing tool.
You must feel like they do when they listen to your music.
You must listen from your prospects perspective
You must have a unique appeal to and target a specific (client) taste in music.
Your business model and philosophical position must have been initiated by an in depth appreciation of your prospects needs.

As you can see, this strategy starts with you and your product or service. It maintains that your product or service must satisfy a client need in such a way that it’s not just the profit that you get from the transaction but from the fact that without your product the client is left wanting. You can differentiate yourself not only by the striking CD cover but you may want to take the next step of providing written lyrics so that your “clients” could follow along. Or, you could use the end of your CD to provide a short bio of yourself, provide information/ samples of other works. These are guerilla marketing strategies most other artists musician will not think about. You must differentiate.

An important aspect of this strategy is personal ethical standards. This is not for the individual out to make a quick dollar with very little conscious thought of the well being of others. It can only be adopted by people who know that they offer a superior product or service that will meet a specific need. As a business person or marketer using this strategy, you must sincerely believe that if the client does business with anyone else you will not be serving their “best interest”. At the same time, it means that if you realize that your product or service does not meet the needs of the prospect, you will be the first one to point it out to him/her. You may even go so far as to recommend a competitor.

Does that sound crazy? It’s not. It’s a unique perspective for sure but it is in line with what we have learned as children and what all the Good Books teaches. There is nothing as fundamental as “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. It is a strategy that should be adopted by any business. In fact, it has been proven to be very effective for Mr. Abraham in earning billions from his marketing genius.

I know that I will never do justice to Mr. Abraham’s entire philosophy so I’m providing a link here so that you can get it straight from the horses mouth his original thoughts on the strategy of preeminence. Go Here to YouTube and view a Jay Abraham Video

As always be well and thank you for reading. DON'T FORGET TO DANCE


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Monday, April 20, 2009

A Magnificent Spin "Summit of the Americas"



If there is no signed contact, why should anyone pay?

Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe, and enthusiastically act upon... must inevitably come to pass! -Paul J. Meyer

The Summit of the Americas is being hailed as a success. That is the biggest double talk ever uttered to the world. Here is why.

The objective of the summit was to get a declaration signed that held each leader accountable to members of the group and their respective countries on specific issues that are important to Hemispheric development. An impossible task at best with 34 super egos in a room each representing their own country’s interest to agree on anything other than saving their souls is not realistic. They said as much, well not in those words.

What actually happened is what was expected by a few. They agreed to disagree and came to a consensus to spin their disagreement so that the world could see the summit as a success. As has happened with three other summits before, the Heads of State did not agree on the final declaration for the summit and the chairman was required to sign. Are we to learn anything from history?

Very few of the resolution made in the last summit was rectified in the particular countries. Over 50 percent of the member country ignored the Human Rights resolutions, similarly the labor laws. The fact remains is that if a contract is not signed by an individual, group or country, to perform and implement certain initiatives the likelihood of implementation is significantly reduced. We all know that verbal contracts are not enforceable or accountable. Only when with a free mind and spirit legally and individual appends a signature to a document that it has relevance. Otherwise it means nothing to the non-signers.

Granted it has happened before and look at the result of those “Host Chairman” signings the declarations. It was hoped that this summit would be different. It was hoped that the leaders would have at least spent the time prior to discussions to read the declaration instead of nitpicking on ideological differences. But egos are hard to suppress even at the expense of countries.

Fortunately, Trinidad and Tobago was the host. This country can now say that we have a signed declaration by non-other than the world recognized very charismatic, illustrious PM Manning. The rest of the Heads may never have to think about it again, until the next summit. A lot can be deduced from the attitude of the host country.

For example, this is the same declaration that the various segments of the Summit were demanding but which was never seen by the people who submitted the draft. According to Trinidad and Tobago Foreign Affairs Minister, Paula Gopee Singh, the declaration will only be released when it is signed by all parties. So now what? Will anyone ever see it?

Mr. Manning by signing what will be forever known as "The Port of Spain Declaration" has assumed the charge to implement specific programmes and initiative proposed by the various sectors in the declaration. The big questions is can the special interest groups exert enough pressure to assure the implementations of the various resolutions. Especially, the rectification of the resolution on human rights which included issues such as human trafficking and preserving the environment. What is your guess?

OK, I have had my fill of the summit, I m going to do like most of the other Heads of State, forget about it. Let's return to marketing and continue on with life. But at least now you can understand what we mean when we say that this meeting was a dismal failure. What do you think?

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

We Like It So


Well the 5th Summit of the Americas is over and we are all relieved that the 34 Heads of Nations came and left without incident.

As they left, I wondered what value the Summit provided to Trinidad and Tobago? I heard that question put to PM Manning and his response was interesting. As a participant in the Summit both as a Party Group member and an accredited delegate, I witness unrestrained waste.

It is a Summit that cost Trinidad and Tobago a lot of it’s resources both in terms of financial and human resource capital. But according to our illustrious PM Manning, “man cannot live on bread alone” and he sees the possibility that Trinidad and Tobago has been instrumental in forging a new era of cooperation in the Americas.

PM Manning cited a as good “example” to rationalize the value of the Summit to Trinidad and Tobago was that one Head of State brought with him 15 high level businessmen from his country all interested in initiating business relationships with their counterparts in Trinidad. Now that makes sense if I did not know what I knew. Here is what I know.

No expenses were spared. Our government contracted with two of the largest cruise liners which it saw as “a necessary” expense because that type of accommodations is not available here. The rationale being that all the conference spaces in Trinidad will be booked and to ensure a zoned security of the delegates to these fora it was a necessary expense. The cost of getting two luxury cruise ships to dock for 10 days next to the Hyatt must have been astronomical. On one of the ships, the Victory, carried a compliment of over 1100 international crew members from places as far as Indonesia, Ukraine, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Special invitations were provided to PNM party group members for the opening ceremony of the summit. The invitation was just for the opening day on the Victory cruise ship. PM Manning and Minister Amery Brown open the ceremony with short speeches, then it was off to cocktails and refreshment. Drinks flowed and all the Ministers, PNM party members and the invited press had a great time patting each other’s backs. The real Civil Society forums would begin on the following day and most of the party members were not expected or even wanted to attend. Rum and roti done, now is back to work or whatever party group members do when they not partying.

Oh and before I close, I hope you were able to experience the greatest show on earth where 750 dancers and choreographers adorned in various costumes paraded on the Hyatt stage for 45 minutes at a cost that was rumored to be over twenty million dollars. The rest of the world might be suffering but in Trinidad and Tobago like the Doc said “Money is no problem”.

Fact is, the Summit of the Americas was just a meeting of the Heads of Nations and did not have to be so extravagant. The same results could have been achieved with a lot less cost. What do you think?


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Saturday, April 18, 2009

We Dare You To Host The Next Summit

A Little Country Raises The Bar For Others To Follow

You must take action now that will move you towards your goals. Develop a sense of urgency in your life. -Les Brown


Which Head of Nation will be willing to raise hands, in the portended and actual hard economic times, to burden their country with the hosting of the next summit?

Three years ago, when Mr. Manning committed Trinidad and Tobago to host the summit we were experiencing unprecedented growth of the energy sector. Money was no problem. Mr. Manning knew that David can serve Goliath despite our Third World status. There were visions of 20/20 where we will be on par with developed nations.

Since then, the global financial crisis is common knowledge and even in Trinidad, there were appeals from various sectors to abandon the summit. That was not possible.

Yet recently, Mr. Manning made a public appeal for citizens to “tighten their belts”, while unrestricted spending continued for the preparation for the summit. There was no turning back. We continued to see the need for two hundred luxury cars ordered directly from the manufacturer to transport the 34 Heads of States for the three days. Everything was possible.

For Trinidad and Tobago it was not only the cost of hosting 34 Heads of States and their entourages but as a nation with a culture that’s steeped in outward appearances, the cost of hosting the summit went way beyond what is required of any country.

The sad fact is that Trinidad and Tobago is setting a precedent that most other nations are unwilling or unable to follow. Well, maybe Chavez will raise his hand on this one because it will be an opportunity to set the agenda of the next summit. One good benefit now is that Trinidad and Tobago cannot do it again.

According to the existing arrangements, the host country assumes the responsibility for setting the agenda for the meeting, forging hemispheric consensus, convening ministerial meetings, consulting with civil society and the private sector as well as all logistical details. This is a burden that the current Summit coordinator for Trinidad and Tobago has described as "difficult, sub-optimal and something not to be undertaken again". If the Summit is to continue, then correcting this situation must be the first priority.

While the OAS does have a Summit Coordinating Office, it has neither the mandate nor the resources to carry a significant share of the organizing burden. An agreement and Summit mandate at the April meeting in Port of Spain to strengthen the OAS Summit office would go a long way to addressing these shortcomings.

It will be interesting to see which nation decides to host the next summit especially since there is no direct financial incentive to do so. Let’s wait and see.

Stay tuned and as always be well.


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Friday, April 17, 2009

The Melting Pot Is Heating Up


Summit of the Americas Is Getting Hot In Trinidad

Find purpose, the means will follow. -Gandhi

I arrived at the Hasley Crawford Stadium parked boarded a shuttle bus where I met the Director of the Aster Foundation of Trinidad and Tobago, Mrs Eustrice Hope. She commented on the fact that she was never really escorted by police motorcyclist before. I did not tell her but being escorted like that reminded me of the prison buses being escorted with blue light in such a speed that you would think that there was a fire at the prison and the prisoners would be we see all the time being escorted by these police motorcyclists.

I had elected to attend one of 5 Civil Society Forums entitled “Promoting New Skills, Decent Work and Entrepreneurship in the Current Crisis.” That session started with an overview of programs in Columbia, Haiti and Jamaica. These were poverty alleviation programs that created employment and hope in really adverse situations such as in Haiti and Columbia where entire communities are displaced. Here aer a couple tidbits of what I learned:

On Columbia:

3 million people in Columbia - Displaced by Violence
92% from rural areas
63% under 25 years old
47% headed by women
14% cannot read or write

On Haiti:

6 out of 85 million people live in poverty
50% on less than one US dollar a day
12.5% of babies die before age 5

Reference was also made to the Cuban model that somehow was able to show progress even without help from its western neighbors.

We were then placed in teams to discuss the issues input our collective experiences to come up with recommendations that could be presented to the Heads of Governments after it had been compiled with all the rest of the recommendations.

At the end of this process, right after lunch, a Secretariat coordinator announced that only 10 people will be allowed to attend the Heads of Government meeting. They were scheduled for 12 minutes to make their presentations.

That announcement caused a total uproar among the delegates. Their collective position was that it was wrong after they had worked for over 2 years attending various fora in different countries to develop recommendations and declarations and now they were being marginalized.

Especially since the Private Sector and Youth Groups were allowed 20 participants and I think 25 minutes.

The situation became a little tense for a minute, at one point a delegate suggested that Mrs. Manning who was present call her husband or anybody else and get it resolved immediately. Thank God for emails.

A Secretariat coordinator then came to the podium and announced that she had just received an email that says the Civil Society group will now be able to appoint 20 delegates and share equal time with the Heads of Governments.

At that point, the a contingent of Latin American delegates walked out of the auditorium en mass. The proceeding continued and they only meekly return to hear the Director of the OAS, (forgot his name} speak to the group.

In the end, the Secretariat conceded to allowing 40 delegates to attend today’s proceeding and giving them equal time. There is some validity to asking.
Ok my take on all this was summed up perfectly by an article I read on another blog, and I quote:

The first thing Obama and Latin American leaders should do at the upcoming summit should be to replace most paragraphs of their final declaration with one sentence: "We reaffirm our commitment to all previous agreements signed by us and our predecessors at previous summits.". Read the article here.


Fact is the member nations of the Americas have attended previous summits and have returned home and not implemented any of the resolutions. One that comes to mind immediately is the declaration on Human Rights. Only 50 percent of the member states have rectified that declaration at home. Trinidad and Tobago is sad to note is in that group.

And then there is the other on the Labor Laws in these countries. Many Caribbean states still operate on hundred year old labor laws with all of its inadequacies and discriminatory clauses.

Bottom line is that it felt like an exercise in futility and I thank God I had not worked for two years then hear that I will only be allowed 12 minutes to present all the world social problems with recommendations to be considered to the Heads of Governments. Unless these governments are ready and willing to act on the resolutions that are being made here. This entire summit will not accomplish its objective.

As far as in Port of Spain Trinidad involvement and hosting of the Summit, I think it provided an invaluable opportunity for many of our citizens to experience and transact with the rest of the world. There are many benefit to be derived from the hosting of he summit.

Inadvertently, the Trinidad and Tobago government has opened up a Pandora box. This Summit is not being held a million miles from our shores, we do not need to wait on our Heads of Government to report on what was said and who said it. The spot light is now lit on us, it will take awhile to fade. That in an of itself is one of the biggest benefits.

Other benefits are tangible as many citizens and large companies are experiencing right now. But I also witnessed and participated in much waste, seeing “with my own two eyes”, like we say here, where things could have been done differently in what so many people call “these hard times”.

Here is a typical example of how I participated in the waste. On the way out of the summit I boarded a 34 passenger bus to be shuttled back to the stadium. The bus left with two other passengers and myself. This driver was certainly not paid by the number of people he shuttled. How do the taxpayers feel.

OK that’s all for now. I will not be attending any more of the actual summit but there are a couple of events I will attend and update you from my point of view, the only view I have.

As always be well and enjoy the weekend.


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Understanding Your Marketing Position

Within each of us lies the power of our consent to health and sickness, to riches and poverty, to freedom and to slavery. It is we who control these, and not another. -Richard Bach


The Unique Selling Proposition (also Unique Selling Point) is a marketing concept that was first proposed as a theory to explain a pattern among successful advertising campaigns of the early 1940s.

The theory was that these companies had figured out how to maximize their advertising dollars. These ad campaigns made unique propositions to the market that cause many to switch brands.

The term “unique selling proposition” (USP) was invented by Rosser Reeves of Ted Bates & Company. Today the term is used in other fields or just casually to refer to any aspect of an object that differentiates it from similar objects.

The modern day guerilla marketer now uses a resuscitated concept. Most of us understand what a company slogans or mottos is and unfortunately some companies still use them. Now, marketers understand the value of a well crafted USP.

A good USP stops the targets audience and gets their attention immediately.


Even if your mission is to secure employment a good USP helps

One of the most effective ways to write a USP is to use risk reversal. Imagine if you can totally reverse the risk of a potential client/customer/employer who is considering purchasing you/your product. A good practical example is what is referred to in sales as the “puppy dog close”.

For those of you who are unaware of it. Pet shops have been using it for ages on their customers. When a family show any interest in a puppy the store owner would ask if they will like to take it home for a few days and see it they like it. Invariable the puppy is purchased because of the strong attachment.

Another example of risk reversal is in a USP that states “We will refund you 100% of your money in 90 days if you don’t like this product; no questions asked”. It is interesting to note here that the longer the guarantee period the less likely that the product will be returned for a refund.

There are other ways to write a USP that attracts attention and business owners should examine their entire operation to determine what really makes their company different. Then include it in your USP.

Without a doubt, a good USP is one of the most effective NO COST ways of advertising your business. Once crafted it must be on every piece of stationary, business cards, novelty advertising. It should be on all advertising, signs, business cards and correspondence. It must be constantly injected into the minds of your client. But there is one caveat; the company must live up to whatever the USP states.

If you say that your store “Has the lowest price in the country and you will beat any other price that is lower” You must do it once a customer can produce proof that the price is lower at another store.

The real challenge is coming up with a USP that works. You need to be able to separate yourself from the pack or you will become just another peddler in the market. You need to intentionally position your company with the statement because once formulated it can direct how you market.

It does not only help in advertising but it gives the company an operating standard . What that mean is that if you say your USP promises to return 100% refund. You will quadruplet your sales but be sure that your product has a very minimal failure rate.

The USP should tell in as a concise number of words as possible if you can answer the question: How can I make my product the only solution? Or, what specific benefit this provides your customers?

Here are some example in a past local newspaper with other companies Unique Selling Proposition We just examined one issue in the Trinidad Express dated January 2nd 2009.

SAMPLE USPs IN TRINIDAD NEWSPAPERS

.Page 8 Sports World: USP “We Get It” offering 25-50 percent off after Christmas sale. Makes you wonder about the people that purchased before Christmas, eh?

Page 17 Toyota Trinidad Ltd. No real USP unless you want to say its “The Love Continues With The Sweet Corolla Way Affair” and that maybe what they came up with for a vehicle model USP. In this ad the agency is really just relying on brand name recognition.

Page 18 Blink Broadband: USP “Transform Your World With Blink” Now here is what an ad from a company that is monopolizing the market, TSTT marketing leaves much to be desired. In this ad you can sign up or upgrade but to up grade you must go to a specified bandwidth to qualify. Like now I got you I can squeeze a little more out of you. Captive marketing.

Page 20 Bmobile: Package USP “D Best Lime For 2009” This is a full page ad for Unlimited free talk at night and weekends. Same comment. Another Bmobile Ad on page 32 advertising the 25 cent text rate which has always been in existence, hopefully that triggers more texting.

Page 24 Digicel: USP “The Bigger Better Network” Well we all know better. Which brings into question, if your USP tells a lie then… The ad uses a Guerilla Marketing tactic of offering the service for 30 days to get more subscribers. In fact it is one of the most effective direct response full page ads in the Express.

I hope that by providing real examples of actual advertising you get an appreciation of what a USP is so that you can start crafting one for your business or yourself.

The links above are ideal for crafting a USP study them and you will be ok but if you need help, shoot me an email or give me a call.

As always Be Well

Tony


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Thursday, April 16, 2009

What Is The Summit Of The Americas?


OK, I would be the first to admit when I heard about the Summit of the Americas coming to Trinidad it meant very little to me. I have never paid much attention to it before. I understood the general concept that leaders of a group of 34 nations will get together and talk about issues that affect them all. I understood that because Cuba was considered socialist and aligned with Russia they were not included in the Americas. That’s pretty much it but that changed quickly.

I’m happy to say now I understand. It makes so much more sense. I will attempt to explain it to you here as I understand it so that if you are anything like me you may not yet get it. Then again you may so you could save yourself some time here.
Anyway, yes, the Summit of the Americas is the meeting of 34 heads of governments made up of all the significant nations in the Western Hemisphere.

Try imagining that the world is really just a neighborhood or distinct community. The people on the western side of the community agree to meet this weekend to discuss issues that are affecting them all. They want to help each other in any meaningful way; trade relations, social development or technology exchanging. After the weekend meeting they are SUPPOSED to go home and tell the family about the decisions we made and implement the decisions they made. Well, to be honest, as far as Trinidad is concerned, we ignored everything. Trinidad scores on implementation here.

This is the Fifth Summit of the Americas, and I never paid attention to any of them. There is such a thin line between being unconscious and conscious sometimes the defining moment escapes us. You see before the weekend meeting members of the family with specific inclination or status in the community gets to meet and come up with the issues they deem as relevant for their leaders to adopt. There is a problem with implementation once the world leaders return to their respective countries. The Minister of Social Services of Trinidad and Tobago, in his opening address stated that implementation was extremely important. These groups are mostly civic or commercial associations, NGOs, CBOs that operate in the member countries. They all fall under the following umbrella:

1. Youth Groups and Young Leaders: We want to know what the younger ones in the family feel is important to their development. Things they will like to do be, see and learn. The youths from the 34 nations meet at various forums in different cities. Mostly these are youth leaders, young individuals who have distinguished themselves in their community and country.

2. The Private Sector Corporations and SME: This group is made up of the leaders in business, banking or other commercial enterprises. They discuss how they can better cooperate and put in place infrastructures to accommodate trade, foreign exchange issues and anything else related to commercial cooperation.

3. Civil Societies, NGOs,CBOs, Special Interests: This is the socially concerned segment of the population. People who are concerned with causes to make the world a better place to live in. Causes like global warming, poverty eradication, environmental preservation, a list that too extensive to mention here.

So are you too starting to see how this makes some sense. Especially now that the world is beginning to shrink and information is so easily and quickly shared globally.

Well it does make sense to me. “No man is an island”. Despite an unconscious world of millions who are totally unaware of the few who work long hours for the betterment and the preservation of the race and the environment. Oh, and remember that this is only half of the neighborhood.

Well I don’t want to take much more of your time and I have to get ready to go into an interactive session in the Summit. Will let you know how that goes.

Other Blog comments on the summit:

T&T Prepares for the summit of the Americas


President Obama Visits T&T

T&T Citizens Unhappy


Amnesty International Puts Human Rights on the Agenda


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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Human Machine

It's NOT him, her, it or anything else but ME.

Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action. -Benjamin Disraeli

Another great article from Early to Rise Newsletter, if you have not yet make sure and use the link to subscribe and get your daily dose of wisdom.


By Robert Ringer

For the great thinkers of the world whose job it is to make sense out of life - from Plato to Will Durant... from Epictetus to the Dalai Lama... from Montaigne to Eric Hoffer - the foundational rules never change. The universal principles of human nature are constants. And in a world of chaos and madness, that's nice to know.

All of this came to mind yet again when I recently read a book written nearly a hundred years ago. The book, The Human Machine by Arnold Bennett, admittedly is not written in a reader-friendly style. But Bennett's approach to understanding why people tend to look outside themselves - to others or to "uncontrollable" circumstances - for the source of their problems is quite clever.

By the "Human Machine," Bennett was referring to the part of a person that consists of brain and muscle.

Researchers of late have been frantically trying to show that abstracts such as the ego and the soul are nothing more than physical aspects of the brain. Their objective is to move the ego and soul out from under the umbrella of metaphysics and fit them neatly into the Human Machine.

The brain intellectualizes, conceptualizes, and gives orders to the muscles. It has the power to override instincts. But the brain and the ego are not the same thing. Bennett believed that "your brain is the servant of the ego" - i.e., that you have the power to control your thoughts.

It was of great interest to me that a hundred years ago Arnold Bennett was addressing many of the same issues I have been writing about over the past three decades - for example, reality versus the perception of reality.

Bennett cautioned readers not to base their actions "on the workings of an ideal universe," and instead to "base them on this universe." In my book Looking Out for #1, I discussed this point at length under the moniker of the "Is's versus Ought-to's Theory," which states: The degree of complications in a person's life corresponds to the degree to which he dwells on the way he thinks the world ought to be rather than the way it really is.

In other words, reality is what it is, and it's up to us to discover it. Our perception of reality may or may not have any connection to reality itself. While all this may sound obvious, each and every one of us is guilty, at one time or another, of confusing reality with the perception of reality.

We often go to great lengths to convince ourselves of our innocence. But the truth of the matter is that, in the vast majority of cases, our bad outcomes can be traced to our own actions - or lack of action.

Those who don't get this become unconscious participants in the Blame Game, in which they blame events, conditions, or other individuals for their bad results. It's a dangerous game to play, because it can become an excuse for failure.

What I'm talking about here is a psychological delusion known as transference. When you insist that something is not your fault, what you are unwittingly saying is that you cannot change your situation because you have no control over it.

The most common targets of transference are the droves of dreadful people who continually cross our paths - the liars, the self-righteous, the rude, the petty, and, worst of all, the hypocrites. After all, aren't they at fault for any friction that interferes with the way our Human Machines perform?

The answer is no! We would like those people to be at fault, but they are not. They merely provide us with an excuse for the bad results of our own faulty judgment.

Even when you suffer as a result of someone else's bad behavior, you do yourself no favor by blaming your pain on that person. There is a difference between engaging in transference (blame) and trying to analyze the reason you incurred the problem.

There is always a reason for a bad consequence, but a reason is far different from an excuse. An excuse is nothing but a clever way to escape accountability. The fact that someone was dishonest with you could be a legitimate reason why you were harmed, but it is not a valid excuse for abusing your own Machine.

What I mean by this is that if you allow someone else's malfunctioning Machine to "bug" you, if you focus on retribution against the owner of that malfunctioning Machine, you - not he - create an enormous amount of friction in your Machine. Why? Because you are the master of your thoughts, and it is your thoughts that either abuse your Machine or keep it operating smoothly.

The reason you are the master of your thoughts is because they are formulated in your mind, and no one can enter your mind and wreak havoc without your permission. Which means that no human being can force you to be upset... to complain... to be angry. Anger is a debilitating mindset, because it separates a person from his common sense and dignity. When anger is out of control, anarchy reigns in your head.

But even when we're not angry with someone else, we often cause friction in our own Machines by making the mistake of trying to control others. Bennett gave excellent advice regarding this mistake when he pointed out that we are not in charge of the universe; we are in charge of ourselves.

Remember this the next time you think about meddling in someone else's Machine. Learn to leave things alone that are none of your business. As Bennett put it, the art of peaceful living lies in "keeping the peace, the whole peace, and nothing but the peace with those in your life."

A good motto to live by is that when there is friction in your Human Machine, the fault always lies within. When all is said and done, the only thing you can really control is your own mind. Which is no small task. Work at becoming adept at it, and you will be amazed by how smoothly your Machine functions.

This article appears courtesy of Early To Rise, a free newsletter dedicated to making money, improving health and secrets to success. For a complimentary subscription, visit http://www.earlytorise.com.



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Sunday, April 12, 2009

5 Days To The Summit of the Americas

Don't be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. One man gets only a week's value out of a year while another man gets a full year's value out of a week. -Charles Richards

Its official, I’m on the Summit of the Americas. You now have a voice in the Summit of the Americas. Maybe?

Today I was informed that I passed the security screening for accreditation to attend the Civil Society Segment of the Summit. According to the Trinidad Express, these organizations can make a difference. This particular accreditation came as a result of me going into the Secretariat and completing an application as the President of a community based NGO.

While waiting for this accreditation I was provided a letter and clearance to attend by one of the country’s political organizations of which I’m a member. Now, I have been accredited twice and cannot even pass one out to Carlos Slim, the richest man in Latin America, who allegedly was denied accreditation because of the application deadline. So what’s going to happen there? Why should you care?

This is a global event that can actually affect the entire Western Hemisphere. On the agenda for discussions are serious trade, social and environmental issues. This is an event that occurs once every four years where 34 leaders of the major countries in the West meet to discuss global issues. The purpose is to provide a forum for these leaders to work together on saving our planet or at least making it a more peaceful productive experience.

It’s a unique opportunity for transcending the time, space and controversial issues that exist between nations where leaders meet face to face like what we all are; human beings. With the state of the global economy, it is an opportunity to bring peace and solutions to the problems we are all seeing on the horizon. We all disagree on how some of the issues that affect us as a world should be handled. For example...

Although I realize that I’m only a peon in the Summit proceeding with my Civil Society segment accreditation my opinions could be considered controversial.

I don’t agree with the Trinidad and Tobago’s Commissioner of Police ban on protesters. The world needs to see the other side of the coin. I think the Commissioner and the people whose opinions he voices are totally disregarding the effects of such a wide sweeping decision.

It is my humble opinion that free speech should always be allowed if real solutions are to be introduced. Many Heads of States are so far removed from the real problems of their people that their presence merely builds their egos. It's a MUST attend event, so they are here. They come with self centered myopic views and illusions of grandeur on a global stage. In Trinidad, we do not have to look far to see examples of such blind leadership.

So what are the chances of me letting everyone know that that embargo on Cuba should be lifted and that they should be permitted to join the Organization of American States (OAS). Or, voicing my opinion of the raping of Trinidad and Tobago natural resources and environment by people who put profits ahead of life. I do NOT support or agree to the building of large smelter and steel plants in some of the most fertile lands in this country. We are destroying natural habitat for profits.

We are reading from a script someone else wrote. Without a plan someone else plans for you. The theme of the Summit is…..

“Securing our citizens’ future by promoting Human Prosperity, Energy Security and Environmental Sustainability”

The Civil Society segment is actually the opening of the opening of the Summit and as such none of the Heads of States will be present. The actual Summit will begin on the 17th April. The itinerary of event for the Civil Societies is the 14th, 15th and 16th April you can view that at THE CIVIL SOCIETY FORUM. Two full days of seminar styled lectures and participatory workshops. From the schedule of events it looks like promises to be a very informative 2 days.

According to the Trinidad Express newspaper at the Summit;

“ … insider sources have indicated to this correspondent that there are as of now five speakers scheduled to address the opening session: President Obama, the Presidents of Argentina (Cristina Fernandez deKirchner) and Nicaragua (Daniel Ortega) and Prime Ministers Dean Barrow of Belize and host Patrick Manning who will be the last speaker.

Normally done on a sub regional basis, Argentina's deKirchner will speak on behalf of South America and Mexico; Nicaragua's Ortega will represent Central America, while Belize's Barrow is to speak for CARICOM in his capacity as current chairman of the 15-member Community.

One of the surprises in arrangements for the summit is the absence of Canada's Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, from those currently listed to address the ceremonial opening session.”


Security is extremely tight for this event with promises of up to 200 security personnel on each floor of one of the largest hotels in Trinidad. The Commission of Police acting on the request of the government has denied permission for any group to hold protest marches in Trinidad. While there are reports of heads of some of the global protest groups arriving in Trinidad.

It does appear as if the Summit of the Americas is going to really put Trinidad and Tobago on the map. Stay tuned for the rest of the Summit of the Americas inside reports.

Do you have an opinion? Smile. Let me know. Maybe I could mention it to someone I meet at the Summit.

As always be well.


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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Better Results -- Right Now...

If you want to get somewhere you have to know where you want to go and how to get there. Then never, never, never give up. -Norman Vincent Peale

Because the economy continues to be challenging, I thought you would be interested in this old topic in a new way, with a gift. I signed up about eight months ago and it has been of immense help in getting me organized and conscious of my time.

A number of clients have said to me "I just don't have the time to market". I would be the first to tell them that marketing is important but if you don't have the time to market then that's where I come in.

I do not subscribe to the idea of "Trini" time like being late to a meeting, function or date, to me isn't a cultural truism. For those of you who are unaware, "Trini" time is a cultural attitude that it's OK to be late. It is with these ideas in mind that I write this and offer you to join this free comprehensive online time management program.

Although there is an up grade level, where you are required to pay, but the free level provides you with essential time management tools.

The first things you need to do is find out your Time Quotient (TQ), this is a self administered test to determine where you spend most of your time.

The Company (ThinkTQ.com) has developed a new training system that helps people achieve their goals sooner (personally and professionally). Like I said the starter package costs nothing but 2 minutes of your time.

They are the ONLY people I have found online who can show you...

* What you are doing RIGHT -- so you can do MORE of that...
* What you are doing WRONG -- so you can do LESS of that...
* Exactly what you need to do DIFFERENT to accelerate your success.

To introduce their new product line, they are giving away 10 million audio CD training programs covering different areas of personal performance: setting goals, making plans, team-building, organization, time management, your attitude, etc.

The idea is to simply choose one area of your performance, either strength or limiting weakness... and take steps to quickly improve it. Either way, this program focuses on personal skill building in a whole new way.

No question, this has become a results-driven economy. To insure our success/survival, we all need to get with the program!

You can join with by going to the site below and using the code Gift Certificate number.

To sign up, just go to GET TIME MANAGEMENT TOOLS

Enter this number in the Gift Certificate box: 110438 This will allow you free membership and will let them know that I sent you there.

Please let me know what you think.

For more information on Time Management take a look at this video. There are a number of videos made on time management but this one actually shows you the difference in how you should manage your day. Go HERE: TIME MANAGEMENT VIDEO

Thanks again, and be well.

Tony

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

BEST LAWYER/INSURANCE STORY OF THE YEAR, DECADE, AND POSSIBLY THE CENTURY.

Well, if you did not know, its time you found out I do enjoy a good joke. This is a story that will make you smile if not LOL Its about a case that actually happened. Read all the way down to the end, an interesting twist. Enjoy


This took place in Charlotte, North Carolina. A lawyer purchased a box of very rare and expensive cigars, then insured them against, among other things, fire.

Within a month, having smoked his entire stockpile of these great cigars, the lawyer filed a claim against the insurance company.

In his claim, the lawyer stated the cigars were lost 'in a series of small fires.'

The insurance company refused to pay, citing the obvious reason, that the man had consumed the cigars in the normal fashion.

The lawyer sued and WON! ....(Stay with me.)

Delivering the ruling, the judge agreed with the insurance company that the claim was frivolous. The judge stated nevertheless, that the lawyer held a policy from the company, in which it had warranted that the cigars were insurable and also guaranteed that it would insure them against fire, without defining what is considered to be unacceptable 'fire' and was obligated to pay the claim..

Rather than endure lengthy and costly appeal process, the insurance company accepted the ruling and paid $15,000 to the lawyer for his loss of the cigars that perished in the 'fires'.

NOW FOR THE BEST PART...

After the lawyer cashed the check, the insurance company had him arrested on 24 counts of ARSON!!! With his own insurance claim and testimony from the previous case being used against him, the lawyer was convicted of intentionally burning his insured property and was sentenced to 24 months in jail and a $24,000 fine.

This true story won First Place in last year's Criminal Lawyers Award contest.

ONLY IN AMERICA .... NO WONDER THE REST OF THE WORLD THINKS THEY'RE NUTS!

Hope you enjoyed that.

Be well and keep smiling.

Tony

Sunday, April 5, 2009

How to Make Your Ideas More Valuable


The following article is contributed by Early To Rise a top shelf free online newsletter. Each issue is filled with marketing insights, health tips, and general knowledge. It has been a valuable resource for me so I'll like to share with my readers. A subscriber for the last 3 years I still think every issue is interesting and informative. Well, you be the judge and if you like it subscribe to get your daily email of Early To Rise advice.

by Paul Lawrence (03/17/2009)

“Adam” seems like a nice guy. He subscribes to Early to Rise, and, in a recent e-mail, said he is especially interested in my articles about how to get into the movie business. He said that he doesn’t have time to try to get into the movie business himself, but he has tons of ideas. So he would like to offer his ideas to me - and, if I wanted to do something with them, he would get a percentage of whatever money they brought in.

You might think this sounds like an attractive deal for me - but it’s not. Here’s how I explained it to Adam: I get about 20 of these offers a week. Not only that, but I have no shortage of my own ideas that I want to develop. And those ideas are my babies. I only wish I had enough time to work on them all. So do I need his ideas? Nope.

Compare Adam’s e-mail to the one I got from “Cara.” She wrote to tell me that she has the signed life rights of one of baseball’s biggest stars. She also has a finished script based on his story - one she claims was written at a professional level. She wanted to know if I would be interested in helping her market it in exchange for a cut of the profits.

Unlike Adam’s offer, Cara’s seems worth looking at. I asked her to send me a copy of the script and the signed agreement on the life rights. If the script is good, I know I can make a few quick calls and get it seen by someone who might want to produce it.

What’s the difference between Adam and Cara? Cara has a complete package that sounds highly marketable. So by putting in a little effort on it, there’s a chance I could see a big payday. Adam might have some great ideas, but so what? As the saying goes, an idea and 62 cents will get you a phone call.

If you’re serious about making money with your great idea, don’t just offer it up to someone in the hopes that they will be able to turn it into something profitable. You’ve got to do the hard work yourself. Bring them a package that they can help you produce or market - a package that has the very real potential to make both of you a lot of money.

[Ed. Note: Paul Lawrence is a successful small-business entrepreneur who has sold and licensed the rights to both intellectual and physical products. The results? He receives quarterly checks for many thousands of dollars in royalty payments from other companies. For more information on his program - which teaches you how to obtain and license rights - click here.]

This article appears courtesy of Early To Rise, a free newsletter dedicated to making money, improving health and secrets to success. For a complimentary subscription, visit http://www.earlytorise.com.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

10 Ways To Kick Start Your Marketing




"Blow Your Own Horn"

Last week three members contacted me with the same question asked in three different ways. I thought it would be useful to share the general response.

Here is what you can do to get started.

1. If you are marketing only online, start using offline channels. That includes sending postcards, printed letters, flyers, newsletters, and catalogs by regular "snail mail."

2. If you don't have an Internet presence, it's time to get one. You can start by placing an ad on Google - so when people search for keywords related to your product or service, your ad will be displayed.

3. Start thinking of "online" and "offline" as two different yet complementary marketing channels. Realize that both should be part of your overall marketing strategy. We know from experience that marketing through multiple channels is the most effective way to build a business.

For example, you could send a postcard or letter informing prospects to watch for a special e-mail you will send on a specific date. Or you could send an e-mail telling them to watch for a special letter you will mail to them in the next week. Change the channel because you are still in charge.

4. Pick up the phone. It's easy to sit behind a computer and fire off e-mails. But in an ever-more-disconnected world, people appreciate personal touches. Call your best customers to thank them. Check to make sure that they are getting the most out of their product or service, and take that opportunity to inform them about other products or services you offer.



5. Upsell. The moment someone places an order... that's when they are most likely to make another purchase. You can take advantage of this by offering items related to what they just bought.

For example, offer a notebook to everyone who buys a pen from you, a multi-vitamin to everyone who buys an herbal supplement from you, an e-book to everyone who subscribes to your investment service. (You get the idea.) Doing this can greatly increase your average sale or transaction value.

6. Start e-mail marketing. Create a free report with useful information that will attract potential customers. For example, if you sell bathroom fixtures, offer a free report about planning a bathroom renovation or how to give a bathroom a Victorian look. Anything to give you a reason to start a new sales dialog with people. Offer a free report on your website and use an autoreply service - such as one you can get from http://tinyurl.com/8r9tnx - to send out the report automatically.

7. Buy remnant advertising space. If you want to increase your marketing activities without increasing your advertising spending, you need to start buying remnant space. Most newspapers and magazines have unsold space that they have to sell before they can go to print. You can get a 20 percent, 50 percent, even a 95 percent discount on this "last-minute" space and save yourself a fortune. You may have some trouble getting the Express and Guardian to do it but you can try it with the weeklies. Just call and tell them that if they are getting close to deadline and have not sold all their space to give you a call and you will purchase it at a discount. Worked for me with one weekly, try it will not hurt.

8. Turn every transaction into a marketing opportunity. When the Kentucky offered to provide trash bins to the City of Port of Spain part of the agreement was to advertise their brand. That advertising cost is really the cost of the bins and they will be there for years. How could you do that in your business? Could you print product info on your invoices - or include a flyer about a special offer in the envelope?

9. Test your prices. When sales are slow, business owners often think that offering discounts the best strategy. But it may not be. The only way to know for sure is to test the price of your wares. You may even find that by bundling products and services together - and throwing in a few free reports - you could end up selling the entire package for more than you got by selling those items individually. There is also something to be said of integrity when you are able to slash your prices by 50 and 60 percent the day after a holiday.

10. Offer free workshops and classes. There's nothing quite like meeting customers and prospects in person. It helps you forge strong relationships and increase your chances of future sales. One way to do this is to offer free workshops and classes. Going back to one of my earlier examples... if you sell bathroom fixtures, you could have free tiling workshops or classes on how to do simple plumbing repairs. And you would not only provide attendees with practical information, you would also give advice and refer to the products and services you sell.

Marketing is full of opportunity. What you do with that opportunity is up to you. There's never been a better time to test and try new ideas and new angles - never a better time to "Get out there and blow your own horn."

____________________________________________________________________________
QUICK VIDEO MARKETING TIP

An age old idea that is picking up in a "down economy" Bartering Your Business

_____________________________________________________________________________


As Always, be well.

Tony

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Its Not The Economy. It's You

"Why Not Following Up Hurts Your Business"

A couple weeks ago I attended a networking event hosted by IMPATT (see earlier post). I thought it was a great event . It was interesting meeting people because I'm always interested in people who need my services.

I met a young man that was interested in marketing his film productions. He was very passionate about his business. We talked for awhile and I asked him many questions. He was really interested in getting funding for his project.

So I handed him my card and asked him to call to tell me more. And then he gave me his card and said something like: "OK, I'll call you next week."

Guess what? Two weeks later, I still haven't heard from him!

Add to that the fact that I made it a point to contact everyone who had an email address on the cards I had. I had cards with 15 emails, a couple without. Only 3 responded, the rest didn't even acknowledge the email. The young man didn't either. What happened? Your guess is as good as mine.

I think that it's important to point out that that's what we call in Trinidad “normal”. Even when making a connection with a real potential client who has a real need and who has real money to spend, many Independent entrepreneurs lose so much business because they fail to follow up.

I must add here that I was contacted by someone who did not have an email address on his card. In fact, I think he did not even have a card. That made the event all worthwhile. The point is that there are so many entrepreneurs who complain about the state of the economy.

I want to let you know that it's not the economy that's NOT hurting their business. They are.

The science of successfully attracting more clients has very little to do with the economy, brilliant marketing messages or exposure on every single social media site. It has a lot more to do with setting up opportunities to connect with more qualified prospects and actually following up with them.

So why doesn't everybody do this? Three main reasons:

1. People don't have a system and they are not prepared. They literally have no plan, no intention, no purpose or goals to build their business. They don't have a written strategy or plan. They haven't thought much about the tools and resources they need.

And if you don't have that, nothing much will happen. Not even if the economy picks up. By the time it does, your business may be dead and gone. Without a plan and preparation and some serious thinking about what you're doing and what you're trying to accomplish, your business will not grow.

2. People are disorganized and unfocused. Even if they have a basic plan, they are scattered. They get home after a networking event, put the cards they collected on their desks, and then they get busy and the cards collect dust. Two weeks later, they look at the pile of cards and go, "Oh, s###! I forgot to follow up with anyone at that event!" Oh Well.

If this is how you grow a business, you're in deep trouble. Like my young film producer friend, without some system and organization, he will be left with a pile of cards but no appointments with potential clients.

3. People Are Afraid of Rejection. If all of the above wasn't bad enough, we fail to follow up or take any kind of proactive action because we think things like this: "I don't want to be pushy. If they're interested in me, they'll call me. I'm just not the sales type. I don't have time for follow-up."

All of this is a disguise for deeper fears such as: "It's not like me to market myself too aggressively. I'll be “boffed” rejected and then won't be able to show my face again. I really have nothing of real value to offer. Why am I doing this anyway?"

You must differentiate yourself to put more money in your pocket.

Those who are attracting as many clients as they can handle are doing the exact opposite:

1. They have a plan and they know what they are doing. They are focused, prepared and ready to play the game of business and marketing.

2. They are organized with real systems in place which they follow without fail. Follow-up is not a burden but an opportunity.

3. They make decisions and take action. They understand the value of their service and don't worry about being rejected. They just do it.

Now if this is you, you are attracting a lot of business and you probably wonder what all the fuss is about! You realize that marketing yourself is part of your business and you simply work at getting good at it until it's never a big issue again.

For everyone else, please read this carefully:

If you are not attracting as much business as you could because you have no plan, are poorly organized, and are afraid of rejection, what are you going to do to get beyond these three things?

Here are your options:

1. Do nothing and hope the economy changes. I recommend that you look for a job and stop driving yourself crazy.

2. Try halfheartedly but continue to complain about how everybody is cutting back and marketing is so hard. Same as above.

3. Make a real commitment to change. Realize that if you don't have a plan, you are up the creek without the proverbial. Get organized and take action. Action makes things happen.

There you have it.

Flip the coin, you have two choices. Truth is sometimes we cannot do it alone. Everyone of us need help at some time. Realizing we need help takes some time. Accepting the fact is the first step. The next is action, do something, anything. And remember, if you keep doing what you have always done you will continue to get what you have always got. Change something. You decide when and what.


As always be well.

Tony

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