Monday, March 30, 2009

Branding the Product Called You

Do you know what your most important asset is?  I found this question posted by Mike Muhney whom I’ve met online.  Mr. Muhney is the co-inventor of the ACT! software and has been recognized as a global visionary and powerful speaker worldwide.  As a motivational speaker, he covered subjects pertaining to effective business relationships such as improving the way companies do business, entrepreneurship, market creation, penetration and leadership, global expansion, and motivational speaking.

If you follow the link, you’ll find that people answered this question differently.  I can see how some identified their customers, their skills, education, people, etc. as their most important asset.  Personally, what I consider as my most valuable asset from a business and professional standpoint is my reputation of executing on decisions and delivering results.  This is what I’ve been known for and if I were a product, this is what my brand would communicate about who I am.  A strong and well-established brand can stand the test of time.  They have the capability to navigate and maneuver through tough times.  So, depending on your “brand”, you’ll have the opportunity to be well-known and carry a certain differentiation among others.  :)

The world of work has changed over the last few decades.  In the 50’s, people wore their corporate uniforms and their value was linked to their loyalty and longevity.  So long as they didn’t rock the boat or create any waves, they worked for that same company forever and retired with a pension.  Few decades later, things changed as we gained access to the internet.  This was the 80’s…  This expanded our reach as far as the world wide web can take us.  We were able to contribute more and with a more relaxed work environment, we were also able to wear the corporate uniform of casual attires.  This was no longer the era of being recognized by loyalty and longevity but more of our individuality.  Job security also declined a bit but not as much as we have in the 21st century, where things changed yet again.  In this day and age, we are pretty much judged everyday and our new corporate uniform is a suit of armor.  This armor plate IS your brand.  It will say a lot about your product.  

In our current economic climate, employable, qualified professionals should think beyond a knock-out resume and titles especially when it comes to job search or advancing their careers.  

Food for Thought:  Given the fierce competition, what makes you unique or better than a million others?  How are you different?  Did you also factor in the fact that commodities compete on price?  What is your brand?  How does your day to day support your brand?  In my opinion, saying you have the credentials and that you’re loyal, you do a great job and hard working, etc., etc. doesn’t cut it anymore.  Think about buying a car.  The tires are not extra value-added features.  They come with the car and therefore, an expected component.  :)    

 In this tough economy and highly competitive job market, can you really afford not to have a strategy, a brand for the product called, “You”?  

Interested to know the “how” of creating your brand?  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Business and Marketing Strategy

Earlier this month, we talked about the Key Elements to Basic Strengths but skipped the business and marketing strategy technobabble and saved it for another day which is today’s entry.  

Business strategy doesn’t mean very much without marketing strategy.  You can have a good business strategy for a product or service but without an effective marketing strategy, the business strategy won’t go very far.  The key to any successful strategy is the unique value proposition you execute on and actually deliver to the customers.  The thing is, there’s nothing more challenging and more dynamic than creating, supporting, and maintaining these unique value propositions.  

A company’s most important asset other than their people includes their relationship and reputation in the marketplace and their customer base.  But regardless of the strategy or manner in which a company tries to create a certain experience for their customers, to entice them, to simply deliver best in class type of service of great value, or a blend of any of these elements, the competitors are working on taking advantage of certain opportunities to pry these customers and take business opportunities away.  In order to prevent this or at least minimize the possibility is to successfully secure and expand new and existing relationships with your customers.  For example:  there’s been many times when companies that are rich in intellectual capital who have significantly under leveraged this important asset at the market and customer interfaces.  For the competitor, this opens up a wide-array of opportunities to tap into these customers and take the business.  

Few weeks back, I was talking to an executive and we discussed knowledge-based CRM where you design and build as an integral part of a business this intellectual capital or the knowledge, experiences, expertise, and processes and integrate them within your customers’ processes.  This is not only a proactive measure but also a way of partnering with your customers.  It is also known as first-mover advantage play, so get going! 

Friday, March 20, 2009

Opportunities You Might Be Interested In...

I’ve been very busy over the last week reaching out to people, connecting them with helpful information, possible job leads and other resources.  It’s amazing how much you’ll learn by getting involved.  Personally, I find it rewarding to be able to help out.  The last couple days, I met some people for coffee, some for lunch to just catch up and reach out.  Last night, I was at the PMI-SNC meeting and I’ve met some good people.  I even met someone I worked with years ago and another gentleman that I’ve only known online.  Before I start today’s post, I want to say “Hello” to my new connections — Bill, James, Adam, Tamyalew, and Verner.  Welcome to my corner on the web.  :)

Considering there’s been more and more job-related information I’m receiving, I might have to create a separate category for job seekers that will contain job postings, announcements, free services, unemployment info, etc.  This will also help me reduce my typing and yapping.  :)

Before I get into today’s post, just a friendly reminder and disclosure, I am NOT affiliated nor do I have direct connection nor compensated by any of these companies.  I’m simply volunteering my time and sharing information that I come across.  Please contact them directly for job opportunities you’re interested in.  Thank you.

In Las Vegas, NV:

In Southern California (San Diego, Oceanside, San Marcos, Carlsbad area):

Although there are tons of jobs posted online, I highly recommend building and growing your professional network and remain connected with your contacts.  Networking is key to your next opportunity.  Considering almost everybody under the sun that’s unemployed is going on the internet for job search, that really makes your chance of getting a job slim to zilch.  Majority of the jobs are filled internally .  The rest, through referrals.  There’s only a small percentage that get their foot in the door through job boards.  Here’s a study conducted by CareerXRoads.  You can increase your chances tremendously going for the unadvertised jobs by connecting with people.  

Build your profile on LinkedIn for professional networking.  Join social networks such as FaceBook.  Get onTwitter.  One other thing that I’m passionate about and highly recommend is volunteering.  Remember my post on giving first before receiving???  Well, here’s your chance.  Visit Volunteer Match for more info.  To take it a step further, be THE CHANGE America needs.  I’m a citizen co-sponsor of the Serve America Act. Don’t wait for change. Change starts with each and everyone of us.  Get involved.  Let’s make service central to citizenship and building a brighter future for our people and our children.  To become a citizen co-sponsor, click here.  To learn more about the Serve America Act, visit Be The Change Action online.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Update Your Image --- FREE!

This is a special post as I want to announce and promote Macy’s By Appointment Personal Shopping Service.  How many of you know about this service?  I’ve been shopping at Macy’s for years but it was only yesterday that I found out about it.  

I was in the middle of going through my mail and I received a catalog from Macy’s and at the very back cover, they had this tiny blurb about it.  This Macy’s By Appointment is their FREE shopping service.  It’s really simple and it’s not only for females but also applies to males as well.  Basically, all you need to do is allow Macy’s personal shoppers show you how this season’s hottest looks can work for you and/or help you get to that “look” that you’re going for.  Here in Vegas, this service is available at Macy’s at the Fashion Show Mall.

So, after I read that tiny blurb in tiny font, I decided to call to check it out.  I made my appointment and met with Arlene at the Fashion Show Mall at 11 this morning.  She helped me pick some great pieces that worked well with my body type, height, etc.  I’m very happy and pleased with this service.  Arlene did a great job.  I just wish that they advertise it more.  Seeing the sign, “Macy’s By Appointment” at the store doesn’t quite give it away.  In fact, it can be somewhat intimidating like as if it’s only for affluent people who have no time to shop.  I’m sure if more people knew about this service, more people can actually benefit from it especially now.  It would be great for job seekers who want/need to improve how they present themselves in a dress or suit or separates enhancing their appearance and overall image to boost confidence and increase personal power.

When I went, I was ready to try something new, something a bit different.  My mind was set with a thought of, “OUT with the old and IN with the new!”  My updates are more along the lines of business casual — separates that can be easily interchanged with other pieces to get a different “look”.  Some of them still have the conservative/classic look but coupled with a nice shell or a nice blouse, gives it that umph factor, losing the “boring, same-o, same-o” style.  It’s time to have that new character come out!  Not only does an updated look make you look better but also, feel better as it greatly helps boost confidence.  

Considering that there are a lot of us in search for a new job, attending networking events, mixers, etc., this is a perfect reason to make an appointment and meet with one of Macy’s personal shopper.  You’ll end up with a new and updated image.  I guarantee it!  How you present yourself is very important as it can certainly help maximize visual first impression in an interview or important meeting to project an overall image of confidence and success.  Your image communicates a message without you having to say a word.  Remember, we only get one “first impression”.  So, make it matter…  make it positive…  make it last.    

I love Macy’s and enjoy the rewards.  You get quality pieces at reasonable price especially if you have star REWARDS.  Macy’s is a great place to shop.  They have great products and great service.  When I’m feeling blue and nowhere to be found, try Macy’s.  You’ll find me there.  :)  Retail therapy certainly helps get that “feel good” feeling.  With how things are going these days, we can all use some “feel good” experience.

For those of you who live in Vegas and are interested, feel free to contact Arlene at Macy’s West (Fashion Show Mall).  The number is 702.731.5111 ext. 4444.  Arlene will help you find and enjoy the new YOU!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Free Resume Printing - One Day Only!

Good news everyone!  Get your resumes ready and error-free then take them to your nearest FedEx for FREE PRINTING.  Read below for more details.

Yey to FedEx and THANK YOU!  :)  [People, please do not forget to say the two golden words to whoever will be helping you print your resumes.  Be nice and be patient as I'm sure there will be a lot of people and prepare for long lines.] 

FedEx Office locations around the country will offer job seekers a free printing session for resumes on March 10, the company said Thursday.

Citing the unemployment climb of the past six months, parent company FedEx Corp. is inviting clients to bring their resumes, on paper or in digital form, and print 25 black-and-white copies on the house on Tuesday.

“Printing resumes is one small way we can use our resources to help those who need it,” FedEx Office President and CEO Brian Philips said.

Source here

Related news here.

What Can I Do to Help?

These are some tough times we’re faced with.  In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of unemployed people increased by 851,000 to 12.5 million last month, increasing unemployment rate to 8.1 percent.  

We all know about the challenges of unemployment, housing, credit, and so on and so forth.  However, I do believe that as individuals, we can make a difference and united, coupled with the commitment to help others, we’ll thrive.  

Today, I’d like to encourage all my readers to ask yourself, “How can I help someone today?”  and act on it.  There’s no special requirement for this.  All it takes is a sincere, conscious effort and decision to lend a hand.  It’s simple yet powerful.  

I’ve been to social functions where you’ll hear people talk about “networking to get a job.”  Hmmm…  that may be your ultimate goal BUT again, can we not focus so much on personal gain as the first and foremost agenda?  When people are approached in a way that they’re being networked with, they cower.  It gives an implication that they’re being used, being put on the spot or being asked for contacts that they’re not comfortable providing.  A self-serving approach can make people feel uncertain if they even want to share any names or any other type of information with someone of this MO.   

There’s nothing wrong with networking to exchange information for professional or social purposes but it must be valued and properly maintained.  If you’re the one who is seeking information or relationships, instead of just thinking about what you can take out of the networking opportunity, think about what value you can add or offer and share it.  Change your ways a tad —  Give in order to receive [not receive in order to give]…  Instead of the “what can you do for me”, try “what can I do for you“.  Last but not least, if and when you do receive, also remember to give back.  Always think of long-term effects and not short-term rewards.  

Let’s make a greater impact in our society and in each other’s lives.  Reach out and see if there’s anything we can do to help.  So, whenever you’re in some type of a mixer, an event, or some type of gathering (online or offline) get involved and participate.  Think about how you can positively contribute.  

Now more than ever, we need to be supportive of one another and lean on each other.  This is our country…  our economy… and these are our people.  So with all that being said….  what can I do to help?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Spreading the Word...

Spread the word.  Get involved.  You just might end up helping someone in need and meet new friends.  :)

If you live in SoCal or considering relocating to SoCal:

  • Job Search Workshop Oceanside Public Library April 4th10-12n call (760) 435-5586 for seats.  Host:  Robert Patterson, author of Five Steps to C.A.L.M.
  • Join OCJobTalk.  Helping Job Hunters Become Job Finders in Orange County. Need a job? Looking to hire? Want to make a referral? Need to vent? Do it at OCJobTalk.

Or if you live anywhere else…

  • Join JobAngels.  A grassroots movement to help get people back to work, one person at a time.  You can also join the JobAngels group on LinkedIn.  
  • “Who’s Hiring” Spreadsheet.  Check it out!  This great little spreadsheet published and updated via google docs posted by Rafe Needleman over on  Thanks to Justin-Moore-Brown of OCJobTalk!
  • To those collecting unemployment needing unemployment extension.  Updates here

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Key Elements to Basic Strategic Strengths

To the few of you who follow my posts and sent me emails, thank you and my apologies for falling behind on my intended weekly entries.  My excuse???  Well, last week was my birthday week so I took the week off.  LOL!  :)

Moving on to today’s topic…

Business strategy is our selection of ideas and assets tomeet long-term business goals.  However, it won’t mean much without a marketing strategy, relationship with the marketplace and our customer base.

Let’s skip the business and marketing strategy technobabble for now and save it for another entry. The key elements to management strategic strengths are excellence in execution and systematic relationships with anyone and everyone we deal with:  employees, peers, customers, suppliers, vendors, etc.

Below are few basic bullet points of advice for creating a winning strategy that are fundamentally sustainable:

  • Hire enthusiastic, positive people who are passionate about the job — ANY JOB.
  • Take time to meet new people that are knowledgeable, smart, and interesting to learn something new.
  • Go to lunch with other managers.  Get to know them and build relationships.
  • Take care of your people and they’ll take care of you.
  • Delegate and give others the opportunity to grow and learn from the experience.
  • Promote people for going above and beyond NOT for what is expected of them to do or what they’re getting paid to do.
  • Hire qualified people who can EXECUTE and DELIVER on job requirements, no exceptions!
  • Don’t be afraid to consult with the right people so change is done in a sensible way that strengthens the business and supports company vision, mission, and values.
  • Practice and promote decency.
  • Commit to excellence.
  • Base performance reviews on measurable value and significant contributions.
  • Two golden words, “Thank You”.  These two simple words show recognition and appreciation that can go a long way.  To get you started, thank people for their time, their effort, their dedication, and their contributions.  It’s not hard.  Do it!
  • Smile.  People are more willing to work with you if you at least appear pleasant.  Besides, it takes less muscles to smile than it is to be a grouch.  :)

As basic and simple as these may seem, they make a BIG difference.