Sunday, 22 May 2011

15 Techniques for Winning Negotiations

By Mike Daley

As a small business startup or current owner, learning negotiating skills is very important. Believe it or not, there are literally thousands of negotiations that can affect your business and your bottom line. These can be items as simple as getting a discount for your business cards or as complicated as a facility lease. It might be negotiating pay plans with employees or payment terms with a supplier.
The bottom line is most schools do not teach the art of negotiating. And believe me, it is an art, a talent, a skill! For some small business owners it comes naturally. For most of us, learning the art of negotiations comes through necessity, effort, and experience.
Here are 15 techniques that you might consider as you become a master of negotiating: 
  1. Always leave some money on the table.
  2. Never compromise on your principles.
  3. Try to judge what's fair from the other side's point of view.
  4. Write down your goals and scenarios before every negotiation.
  5. Ask questions.
  6. Information is power.
  7. Discuss only broad terms and conditions on the onset.
  8. Whenever possible, let the other person make the first offer.
  9. If you must make the first offer, make it high.
  10. Always encourage the other party that we are making a deal.
  11. Always come down very slowly if you are selling, and up very slowly if you are buying.
  12. Never give up a concession without getting one in return.
  13. Never lose track of how many concessions you have given up.
  14. Be skeptical about deadlines. Most are negotiable.
  15. Never let an issue be discussed unless you are prepared. Sleep on it.
The next time you are in a position of give and take, you are in negotiation. As a small business owner, this can happen more frequently than not. Most of the time there will be no clear winner but rather some manner of satisfaction on both sides. When this results, your negotiations have probably been successful. The important thing is to understand that the skill of negotiating is a learning process. The four Ps of negotiating: plan, patience, persistence, and practice are crucial to developing strong alliances and relationships that can continue in the future.
Think about these 15 principles and watch as you get the discount, free rent, the next sale, or extended payment terms. Then get ready to move on to the next negotiation, because there is always another one right around the corner.
MJD Business Advice LLC is owned by Mike Daley, an award winning, small business expert, who has over 37 years of experience helping entrepreneurs start, grow, buy, and sell businesses as well as conducting many seminars and training programs. The business website is
Some of the specialties at MJD Business Advice LLC include business planning and execution, financial forecast reviews, capital infusion strategies, strategic marketing, and sales process improvements. We develop and help you implement the processes to get to the next level of success. Let's Grow Together!

Article Source:

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Email Etiquette 101

By Patty Juan 

Email is probably the most common form of business communication in use today. Whether you are a solo business owner or an employee of a large corporation, you probably send and receive email messages many, many times each day. But truth be told, too often many of us send email messages that have a tendency to sound snippy, bossy, or even ditsy. Even worse, we sometimes fail to send a reply altogether.
Oftentimes, we are sending emails to people whom we have never met in person. These relationships are based solely on the emails we send back and forth.
You are not a snippy, bossy, angry person. And you absolutely are not ditsy. Do you want Mr. Smith to think you are snippy, bossy, angry, or - heaven forbid - ditsy? And of course you want Mr. Smith to know that his email message is very important to you.
Here are a few dos and don'ts that will help you showcase your professional image and allow your true intent to be read with a smile each and every time you click send:
  • Always include a concise subject line. This will make clear what your message is about and will help recipients prioritize their inbox.
  • If this is the first few communications with someone, begin the message with a greeting, such as "Dear Mr. Jones." It's polite and it's professional. Later on "Hello, John" is perfectly fine.
  • Do not write your message in all caps. It sets an angry tone, and NO ONE LIKES TO BE YELLED AT.
  • Do put your main point in the opening sentence. Let people know exactly what you are writing about. They are just as busy as you are.
  • Do write short, polite paragraphs. Your message should not be a novel.
  • But... don't be so short so that your tone is bossy. Read over your message. Do you sound bossy? "If you have a moment, I would like to speak with you right away," sounds so much nicer than, "I want to talk with you ASAP." I am not seven, and you are not my father.
  • Please do not use abbreviations or acronyms, unless you are 15 and texting your BFF.
  • Do use spell check. Never skip this step. Never.
  • Please do remember to say please and thank you. You have manners. Please use them.
  • And finally, do always reply to an email within 24 hours. If you need more time, for instance, you are not sure how to respond, send a brief reply to acknowledge you received the email and provide a time or date when you will be back in touch. After all, do you like to be left hanging?
Send the right tone from the beginning and showcase your professionalism and efficiency. It's your business. Be an expert!
If you struggle with setting the right tone in your email messages, there is a new email plugin called ToneCheck. ToneCheck checks for emotionally charged words or sentences within email messages and works similarly to spell check. Any angry or potentially accusatory phases will be highlighted, giving you the option to rephrase your message. At this time, ToneCheck works exclusively with Outlook, but will soon expand beyond Outlook as market demand increases. It does seem very useful and worth checking out.
Patty currently owns and operates eXPERT Business Support Services. Patty teams up with small business owners and corporate executives who are looking to cut administrative costs and improve their business' efficiency. Her enthusiasm and honest work ethic, together with her 25 years of experience in the corporate world and as an independent contractor, are the foundation and core of eXPERT Business Support Services. Patty loves spending time with her family, surfing, and devoting time to Habitat for Humanity and to her local chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, which aims to protect and preserve our oceans and beaches. Visit and see what an expert can do for you.

Article Source:

Friday, 6 May 2011

Is Modern Technology Good For Your Business?

By Jason Robert King 

We all use technology in our businesses, at least to some degree, but is technology good for your business, or your health?
Nowadays technology influences our lives and businesses in many different and subtle ways. We're so used to using it that it's easy to forget that ten years ago most of it wasn't even invented. You might use DVDs, Podcasts or the Internet for your learning material. You'll probably use spreadsheets to track different aspects of your business and word processors to write documentation.
Then there's email, social networking (Twitter, Facebook, etc) and of course the flat screen monitor you're probably reading this on. All good stuff you might be thinking and it sure makes your life easier, right?
Yes I agree, until it goes wrong and it goes wrong a lot, all the time, but why?
Are You Fighting Bad Technology Too?
I've been involved in the software industry for around 20 years now and I've been using the internet since the early 1990s, well before most people knew it existed. I consider myself reasonably tech savvy as a result.
I think that most (but not all) people will agree that technology has transformed our lives, usually for the better. However, the reason I'm writing this post at all is because I still think it performs badly. I'll give you some examples as to why, going back no more than the last two days.
Yesterday, Excel crashed on me losing half an hours work, auto save failed so it was gone for good. As of last night Facebook no longer lets me post to my own account from my iPod Touch.
I did a little keyword research before writing this post and the tool crashed, taking ages to close properly and restart.
The internet connection I'm using is extremely slow and drops out occasionally losing it altogether for a few minutes at a time. Whilst trying to submit some articles to a website earlier I had to give up because I saw nothing but "timed out" errors and I lost yet more work.
Oh, and my wireless mouse stops working every few days with a flat battery and my spare (with a wire) has a mind of it's own.
I'm sure there's more and there will be by the time I manage to publish this, but I'm sure you get the picture.
This isn't intended to be a rant, because believe it or not the last few days haven't been particularly bad as far as fighting technology is concerned.
But it does feel like a fight sometimes, with more time and effort being taken fighting the tools to make them work than solving the original problem or performing the task at hand.
Why Is Technology So Bad?
Having used computers since they first appeared in the home I'll use them as an example as to why I think technology fails to work much of the time.
I believe it's for two main reasons:
Software - computers (and many other gadgets) run a lot of software nowadays, they run it simultaneously, it's often from different providers and it's very complex.
Technology is young - although we're at the cutting edge with computers and software it's easy to forget that it's still very young, extremely young in fact.
It's these two reasons which cause so many problems with modern technology. Most of it runs software, your phone, your car, your washing machine, your TV. Software by its very nature is complex and very prone to errors.
Most technology around now wasn't even invented ten years ago. We're only at the very very beginning of the Information Age. It may feel like we're well into it sometimes but we're really not.
If this were the Industrial Age (which is long gone now) we wouldn't have even invented steam powered machinery yet, we'd still be peddling the machinery ourselves.
So, is technology good for your business? I still think Yes when it works, but when it breaks it stops being a help and can cause you some immense stress.
Do I think things will improve any time soon? I'm afraid not. While we remain at the cutting edge and on the fast, exciting part of the curve we'll always be a few steps ahead of what we can actually do well.
Technology will continue to advance at an astonishing rate, but it'll continue to fail and cause us problems at a similar rate.
However, unless we plan to live in a cave we just have to live with it because in this day and age it's near impossible to avoid technology, especially in business.
Jason is a freelance Software Engineer who is a keen blogger, has run a number of online businesses and is also in the property letting business. His interests include researching and teaching the business mindset, his goal being to learn all there is to know about how to be a successful entrepreneur and to pass this information on to others. For more information visit: or follow him at

Article Source: