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Well, folks, we've made it to the end of the year and what a ride it has been. 2005 was a great year for me personally and professionally. I saw my business grow almost as fast as my kids. Both gave me great joy and just enough trouble to keep me on my toes. I heard from people this year who were making tremendous progress building their eBay and online businesses and I heard from others who were just getting started.I heard from people who were thriving and I heard f...

It's All Up To You

ItWell, folks, we've made it to the end of the year and what a ride it has been. 2005 was a great year for me personally and professionally. I saw my business grow almost as fast as my kids. Both gave me great joy and just enough trouble to keep me on my toes. I heard from people this year who were making tremendous progress building their eBay and online businesses and I heard from others who were just getting started.I heard from people who were thriving and I heard from others who were struggling.I heard from some who were making thousands of dollars a month and others who were fighting to pay the bills. Some people asked for my advice. Some people asked for my money. Some damned me because I am successful and they are not. My message to them all was the same: It's not up to ME. It's all up to YOU.YOU Have To Keep Moving ForwardIn business as in life, you must keep moving forward to be a success. You must have goals and you must have a plan. There is no such thing as an "idle success." Successful people are not satisfied to just stay in one place. They are not satisfied with what they have. They know that when you become satisfied with what you have, you will always have just that. Successful people are always looking toward the future and moving forward. YOU Must Never Give UpWhen life knocks you down it's easy to wallow in your own sorrow. Life becomes a pity party and you are the star. Finding a successful wallower is like trying to find Bigfoot: there is no such thing. When you fall off the horse, get back on. When life knocks you down, you have to get back up. In the words of my friend, comedian Ron White, "When life gives you lemons find someone life has given tequila and have a party." Never, ever give up.YOU Can't Let Your Circumstances Dictate Your OutcomeAt one time I was dead broke and working 3 jobs just to survive. I was living on coffee and cigarettes and sleeping 3 hours a night. It would have been very easy for me to let my circumstances get the best of me, but I refused to give up. I set goals for myself. I created a plan. I took action that would get me out of those circumstances, not keep me there.Only YOU Can Truly Motivate YOUThe only person who can motivate YOU to take the action necessary to be a success is YOU. Too many people are looking to others for motivation when only self-motivation really works in the long term. When you were a kid your mother motivated you to get out of bed and go to school and make good grades and come home on time. Well, you're a grown up now and you have to be your own motivator. You have to make yourself take action. You must have the drive and determination to do things on your own. Without motivation and action, you will fail and it will be your own fault.No One Can Do It For YOUThe only person who can make YOU a success is YOU. Others can provide you with advice and tools to help make your journey more fruitful, but in the end it is up to YOU to make YOU a success. It is up to YOU to start your business and learn to market your product. It is up to YOU to make sales and carry the money to the bank. If YOU won't do it for yourself, no one can do it for you.YOU Make Your Own LuckFinally, remember this: there is no such thing as luck. YOU make your own luck. Luck occurs when opportunity and action collide. So if you're waiting for Ed McMahon to show up on your doorstep and proclaim, "This is your lucky day!" you are going to have a long, miserable wait.Ed can't make you a success. I can't make you a success. It is all up to YOU. Now get off the couch and make 2006 a Great Year!

WEBconference integrated with CRM

WEBconference integrated with CRM

Because eMeeting participants figure normally among your contacts, the necessity to integrate WEBconference with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) application is obvious. In the case of a prospecting WEBinar, the list of registered people is imported to constitute contact files automatically in corresponding CRM software. Tele-efficiency offers WEBconference service in 8 languages, under the trademark Conferenceware, integrated with most of the CRM applications as well as with Skype and Outlook. Among CRM softwares with which Conferenceware integrates, we mention:Accpac (Sage), ACT! (Sage), Clarify (Amdoc), Commence, Goldmine (Front Range), Maximizer, Microsoft CRM (Dynamics), mySAP CRM, Onyx, Pivotal, Salesforce, SalesLogix (Sage), Selligent, Siebel (Oracle).Conferenceware generates the data automatically for an invitation in the template of a new email; description, agenda, the hyperlink to get to the meeting, password if required and, voice broadcasting mode. Therefore, you only have to select people you want to invite amongst your contacts. Consequently, a copy of your invitation is saved with each contact file. The report of a WEBconference indicates not only the participants, but also the answers they have provided to the questions submitted. Moreover, by recording a meeting, in which voice and image are synchronized, it can be replayed to check for fine tuning and be kept in the file as a potential attachment opportunity. The cost of WEBconference services is usually based on per-minute and per-participant rates and, therefore, these services are very expensive among our competitors. Whereas, Conferenceware offers not only a free 30-day trial period but it is also followed by a fixed-rate quarterly or annual service contract that includes an unlimited number of meetings of up to 25 participants.

The Rise of Condominium Developments

The Rise of Condominium Developments

Condominiums are no longer for the retiree and well-to-do. Whether a first-time home buyer looking for a safe place to raise their children or the young professional looking for luxurious living, the growing market of condos offers another option to buyers of every kind. While most may consider condos to be new or extravagant, the fact is condos do not have to be. There is a growing trend of reconstructing rental units into condominiums and the market is taking it in stride. Condo conversions are, however, causing a decrease in the rental inventory in major cities, such as Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Miami. This is not stopping developers, however, as the condo conversions are priced affordably and are being snatched up by first- time homebuyers everywhere.Developers are purchasing run-down apartment buildings in properties that are close to jobs and schools, converting them into affordable condo units, and refurbishing them with more extravagant upgrades, such as carpeting and stainless steel appliances. They then will revamp the common areas and put them on the market. To help them sell, many are including incentives and even offering to pay the closing costs for buyers. Many first-time homebuyers and retirees are purchasing them as they feel more secure.Luxurious condos are also on the rise. While the ownership of these are centered more around a buyer looking for a quality lifestyle, extravagant amenities, and great locations, there are many that are willing to pay the price. In Florida last year, a 4,800 square foot condominium was sold for $4.65 million dollars. In 2005, California experienced a 90% jump in condominiums priced over one million. There were 1,677 condo sales, all in the one million dollar price range.Many of these luxury condominiums are located in areas of wealth and many have top-notch views. Amenities in such luxury condos may include quality furnishings, such as appliances, granite counter tops, and window treatments. Many luxury condo buyers like the fact that the properties are secure and feel their items of wealth are protected in this type of environment and they dont have to pay the added cost of security.Condo hotel developments are on the rise in larger cities, as well. This type of luxury living affords one the opportunity of living in their own condominium with all the amenities of hotel living, such as room service, maid service, and concierge service. Research shows the average condo hotel buyer to be between the ages of 35 and 50 years old and many simply are purchasing them as either an investment property and vacation property.The 576-unit condo hotel, the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, sold all its units during its preconstruction stage within a two month period. In other areas, such as Florida where the first condo hotels were developed, sales are doing well. In many of the areas, such as Miami, there isnt any undeveloped land available. Therefore, developers are simply taking advantage of the market in any way they can. These condo hotel sales are hot and when they are not on the water, they offer luxurious living at an affordable price.There are several reasons why many prefer condominium living over a single-family dwelling. Many consider themselves to be living in a community within a community. While there may be strict regulations or rules in the condominium development, most find themselves feeling safer, as well as more involved, than they were when they lived in a single-family dwelling. Condominium developments generally charge a monthly fee to all owners to take care of the outdoor maintenance, as well as security of the building and upkeep of the common area. This allows the condo owner to simply enjoy all the amenities of condo living.The fact is condo development is on the rise all over the United States and Canada and will continue to do so as long as there are buyers. These condo buyers are simply looking to purchase the lifestyle of condo living. For many, feeling more secure in an affordable home, being pampered by a doorman, and living close to the city is what condo living is about.

Minding Your Global Manners

Minding Your Global Manners

To say that today's business environment is becoming increasingly more global is to state the obvious. Meetings, phone calls and conferences are held all over the world and attendees can come from any point on the globe. On any given business day you can find yourself dealing face-to-face, over the phone, by e-mail and, on rare occasions, by postal letter with people whose customs and cultures differ your own. You may never have to leave home to interact on an international level.While the old adage "When in Rome, do as the Romans do" still holds true, business clients and colleagues who are visiting this country should be treated with sensitivity and with an awareness of their unique culture. Not to do your homework and put your best international foot forward can cost you relationships and future business. One small misstep such as using first names inappropriately, not observing the rules of timing or sending the wrong color flower in the welcome bouquet can be costly.There is no one set of rules that applies to all international visitors so do the research for each country that your clients represent. That may sound like a daunting task, but taken in small steps, it is manageable and the rewards are worth the effort. Keeping in mind that there are as many ways to do business as there are countries to do business with, here are a few tips for minding your global P's and Q's.Building relationships: Few other people are as eager to get down to business as we Americans. So take time to get to know your international clients and build rapport before you rush to the bottom line. Business relationships are built on trust that is developed over time, especially with people from Asia and Latin America.Dressing conservatively: Americans like to dress for fashion and comfort, but people from other parts of the world are generally more conservative. Your choice of business attire is a signal of your respect for the other person or organization. Leave your trendy clothes in the closet on the days that you meet with your foreign guests.Observe the hierarchy: It is not always a simple matter to know who is the highest-ranking member when you are dealing with a group. To avoid embarrassment, err on the side of age and masculine gender, only if you are unable to discover the protocol with research. If you are interacting with the Japanese, it is important to understand that they make decisions by consensus, starting with the younger members of the group. By contrast, Latin people have a clear hierarchy that defers to age.Understanding the handshake: With a few exceptions, business people around the world use the handshake for meeting and greeting. However, the American style handshake with a firm grip, two quick pumps, eye contact and a smile is not universal. Variations in handshakes are based on cultural differences, not on personality or values. The Japanese give a light handshake. Germans offer a firm shake with one pump, and the French grip is light with a quick pump. Middle Eastern people will continue shaking your hand throughout the greeting. Don't be surprised if you are occasionally met with a kiss, a hug, or a bow somewhere along the way.Using titles and correct forms of address: We are very informal in the United States and are quick to call people by their first name. Approach first names with caution when dealing with people from other cultures. Use titles and last names until you have been invited to use the person's first name. In some cases, this may never occur. Use of first names is reserved for family and close friends in some cultures.Titles are given more significance around the world than in the United States and are another important aspect of addressing business people. Earned academic degrees are acknowledged. For example, a German engineer is addressed as "Herr Ingenieur" and a professor as "Herr Professor". Listen carefully when you are introduced to someone and pay attention to business cards when you receive them.Exchanging business cards: The key to giving out business cards in any culture is to show respect for the other person. Present your card so that the other person does not have to turn it over to read your information. Use both hands to present your card to visitors from Japan, China, Singapore, or Hong Kong. When you receive someone else's business card, always look at it and acknowledge it. When you put it away, place it carefully in your card case or with your business documents. Sticking it haphazardly in your pocket is demeaning to the giver. In most cases, wait until you have been introduced to give someone your card.Valuing time. Not everyone in the world is as time conscious as Americans. Don't take it personally if someone from a more relaxed culture keeps you waiting or spends more of that commodity than you normally would in meetings or over meals. Stick to the rules of punctuality, but be understanding when your contact from another country seems unconcerned.Honoring space issues: Americans have a particular value for their own physical space and are uncomfortable when other people get in their realm. If the international visitor seems to want to be close, accept it. Backing away can send the wrong message. So can touching. You shouldn't risk violating someone else's space by touching them in any way other than with a handshake.Whether the world comes to you or you go out to it, the greatest compliment you can pay your international clients is to learn about their country and their customs. Understand differences in behavior and honor them with your actions. Don't take offense when visitors behave according to their norms. People from other cultures will appreciate your efforts to accommodate them and you will find yourself building your international clientele.(c) 2005, Lydia Ramsey. All rights in all media reserved. Reprint rights granted so long as the article and by-line are reproduced intact and all links are made live.

The Many Benefits of Video Conferencing

Almost everyone is familiar with video conferencing today, and for good reason. Video conferencing is convenient. Video conferencing saves money. Video conferencing makes money. And it is so much easier than it used to be. I know because I installed one of the first video conferencing systems for a former employer when I ran the information systems department of a large company. In those days that meant a very substantial investment in equipment and installing a dedicated ISDN line (that was when 56kpbs was considered blindingly fast!). At first it wasn't easy to convince people to sit in front of a 25-inch TV for a 30-minute video conference instead of traveling and giving up those nice travel reimbursements, but soon they realized the many benefits. The rest is history.Today, of course, video conferencing has become part of doing business. There is no longer a need to waste time and money traveling, and the technology has advanced to a point where there is a solution for every conferencing need. Audio, web and video all combine to provide cutting edge conferencing solutions tailored to anything from one-on-one to large conferences with Q&A sessions and private chat. There are even solutions specific to industries such as accounting, banking, insurance or legal. Why is video conferencing so successful when other technologies have come and gone? Because it is convenient and cost-effective. At a time of skyrocketing costs for gas, air travel and hotel accommodations, conducting video conference meetings makes more sense than ever. And in addition to saving time and money, video conferencing from one's office or board room is a lot less stressful than a meeting after a day of hassling with cabs, airport security, delayed flights and bungled hotel reservations.But cutting edge conferencing has grown beyond mere time and cost savings; it has become a business opportunity and strategic advantage. Conferences can be recorded and made available for call-in playback. Moderation tools allow for large conferences with operator services, toll-free audio call-in and unique PINs to track attendance. For especially important calls, conferencing companies and service providers can assist for a professional touch, making sure that everything goes right.The sky's the limit when it comes to new and exciting uses for web casting and video conferencing. We've seen new product announcements using the technology, reaching far more potential customers than conventional press conferences. Webinars provide new ways of training people or making sales presentations. And today's office tools can easily be integrated into a conference. Sharing PowerPoint presentations, documents and even applications is easy, as are multiparty video and virtual whiteboards. Best of all, video conferencing no longer requires a large capital investment. Web, video and audio conferencing service providers can quickly get you up and running, often without setup fees, steep per minute charges or pesky contracts. With all that's available today, the question is no longer if a business can afford professional, cutting edge video conferencing, but whether it can afford not to use it.

How Turn A Franchise Agreement To Your Advantage

Deciding to buy a Franchise is a huge decision. Once you have convinced yourself that franchising suits your character and business aspirations, have identified the right franchise, done your sums, attended the initial training and perhaps paid an initial deposit you will be presented with a Franchise Agreement to sign.Typically this agreement could run to 40 or 50 pages and can be a daunting read to those unfamiliar with commercial contracts. The very nature of a franchise business structure means that the agreement will be fairly complex. Remember that this document provides the framework for your business life over the next seven years or so.Franchisors, particularly established ones, will rarely change or negotiate the terms of their standard Franchise Agreement as they will want to maintain uniformity across all the franchises. However, it is essential that you understand what you are being asked to sign. Once you have signed an agreement as a business person (without the cotton wool treatment given to consumers) you will struggle to persuade a court later that the terms were unfair or sufficiently unreasonable to be void. You will be stuck with it! I strongly recommend that you seek legal advice from a commercial solicitor familiar with franchising.Key areas include establishing the true cost of the franchise including ongoing royalties, advertising costs, minimum stock purchases. What location and territorial rights have been granted? Are these exclusive to you? What property and equipment is required? What obligations are there on you and the Franchisor relating to the ongoing operation of the franchise?Often the most complex area relates to renewal and termination of the franchise. Are you granted an automatic renewal right beyond the franchise term of 5 or 7 years? What renewal fee is payable? Can you sell the franchise on? Usually you will need to give the franchisor first option and/or a right of veto over the acceptability of any proposed transferee, often coupled with a % fee. What are the consequences of an early termination by you if you want or need to get out prematurely? There will usually be a minimum period with forfeiture of the franchise fee, stock and possibly other financial penalties and compensation. What if you are in breach? What circumstances would lead to an automatic termination? Are you given a period in which to remedy your breach?Ask yourself some "What if?" scenarios. What if you died or were seriously ill? What if you failed to meet your sales targets? What if you wanted to sell product out of your territory? What if a customer sued you for faulty products? If you cannot answer all your What ifs, do seek more advice. Don't be afraid to ask the Franchisor these questions. But don't expect an impartial response. The Franchise Agreement will usually have an express term preventing any reliance upon representations or claims made by the Franchisor in the initial presentations or documentation. Much to the disappointment of many clients who come to us for advice having run an unsuccessful franchise, this applies particularly to any claims as to how much money can be earnt Buyer beware!

Summary

Well, folks, we've made it to the end of the year and what a ride it has been. 2005 was a great year for me personally and professionally. I saw my business grow almost as fast as my kids. Both gave me great joy and just enough trouble to keep me on my toes. I heard from people this year who were making tremendous progress building their eBay and online businesses and I heard from others who were just getting started.I heard from people who were thriving and I heard f...