The Biz Minded Muses Podcast
Episode 019 - Ashley’s Tips for Getting Unstuck.

Episode 019 - Ashley’s Tips for Getting Unstuck.

June 22, 2016

In this episode, Muse Ashley covers some great ideas on how to get unstuck no matter what situation you are in that makes you feel stuck.  

Feeling of Stuck
     - Don't feel like you are making the progress you should
     - Weighed down feeling
     - Feel like you are spinning your wheels

Find the Physical Manifestation 
     - Dirty/cluttered living/work space
     - Difference in social life
     - Difference in financial life

Control the Physical Manifestation
     - Clean - up your space
     - Get your social calendar organized
     - Get control of your finances

Journal
      - Record everything on your mind as you discover and control the physical manifestation of feeling stuck

Books Mentioned in this Podcast:
      - Getting Things Done
      - The Art of Tidying

Episode 018:  Inappropriate Behavior at Networking Events with Brian DeLeonardo

Episode 018: Inappropriate Behavior at Networking Events with Brian DeLeonardo

June 6, 2016

When you attend many business events, you cannot avoid the occasional mishap, so today we share our experiences and big No-Nos, and the alternatives. We hope you get a good laugh but also learn from our discussion!

The NO NO... Hitting On Other Guests | THE ALTERNATIVE... Business events are not dating events. It's a time for relationship building, yes, but not at an "intimate" level. No 'set-ups' either, even if your son is super amazing.

The NO NO... Taking Too Long  Around The Table | THE ALTERNATIVE... If the rule is "30 Seconds", don't go over. Stick to your business details and keep it brief! First, it takes up too much time if everyone goes over the mark, and second, everyone in the room will tune you out... so taking MORE time will ultimately hurt you.

The NO NO... Being Dry and/or Repetitive | THE ALTERNATIVE... Don't be too dry or repetitive - make sure you give something interesting, something easy to remember. Don't blab on an on about your specialties either, and don't always give the exact same 30-Second elevator speech!! Connect on a more personal level.

The NO NO... Walking in with NO PLAN | THE ALTERNATIVE... Have a goal in mind before you walk in the door!

The NO NO... Pushing Your Business Card | THE ALTERNATIVE... Get to know the people at the events first... build the relationship, and give a card before you part ways if it seems like there's a good connection for one or both of you.

The NO NO... Ignoring Attendees | THE ALTERNATIVE... It doesn't matter if you probably will not get business from this new connection, still get to know them! It's all about impressions, and if you're rude or non-existent, it's a fact that your meeting will never lead to something.

The NO NO... Typos In Your Printed Materials | THE ALTERNATIVE... Proof it proof it proof it! And if it's wrong, fix it and replace. Business cards, postcards, brochures, they are cheap. But your reputation for poor attention to detail is priceless.

The NO NO... Too Little Focus On Business | THE ALTERNATIVE... When a particular business group begins to loose their original focus (business, duh) and tends to do more activities for fun or whatnot, the group will begin to loose value to the attendees and will ultimately drop the attendance rate. Make sure the group is always nurturing the growth of businesses and connecting them.

The NO NO... Promoting Someone or Something Else | THE ALTERNATIVE... We understand you want to plug other business providers and talk up upcoming events and non-profits, but you have to keep it short. Keep in mind if you have too many focuses, the others listening will not remember what YOU do.

The NO NO... Unengaging Speakers | THE ALTERNATIVE... "Sponsoring" businesses often get the microphone for a short talk... SHORT is the key word here. Paid speakers should be carefully selected at the benefit of the attendees/members. 

The NO NO... Messy & Hard To Eat Food | THE ALTERNATIVE... Stress on the finger-foods. At networking and business events, our hands need to be clean and readily available to shake hands. We are at these events to meet people. If you need to sit down to eat, or use silverware, the food is taking away from the benefits of the event.

The NO NO... Hanging With Your Crowd | THE ALTERNATIVE... Break away from your colleagues and friends and go meet new people. At the same time, give your connections a chance to get away and meet new people too.

The NO NO... Heavy Talkers | THE ALTERNATIVE... If the conversation is one sided, one person isn't learning and the other probably isn't feeling connected. Try to make sure your conversation is actually a conversation rather than a mind-dump. If you tend to talk a lot, learn to leave breaks in your conversation so others can weigh in, ask questions, etc. 

The NO NO... Shutting Down Due To Intimidation | THE ALTERNATIVE... Don't choke up just because the other person is a big shot! Everyone can connect on multiple levels... talk about interests, hobbies, anything!

The NO NO... Making Assumptions | THE ALTERNATIVE... First impressions go both ways! Don't assume someone is or isn't a certain way just because of their appearance (short hair, long hair, tattoos, attire, etc.)... but at the same time, cater your appearance to the event you are attending.


If you have a tip to add, check out our Facebook page or Website and post your tip there!

Brian DeLeonard, Carroll County State's Attorney, leads a team of nearly 20 attorneys and over 50 total team members. Brian has practiced law for nearly 20 years and previously provided legal instruction for 15 years. While cracking down on crime and developing educational programs for our county, Brian is very involved in our business and non-profit community, supporting many a cause and taking on many causes of his own. To learn more about Brian and the State's Attorney Office, please visit carrollcountystatesattorney.org and you can follow Brian on facebook.
Episode 017: Turn Your Car Into a Mobile University

Episode 017: Turn Your Car Into a Mobile University

May 31, 2016

Muse, Kelly Heck, offers some great tips on turning your ride into a mobile university is easy... take all your commute time and turn it into learning, growth, and self-development time. How? Listen to amazing speakers, podcasts, and anything else that adds value to your life. In this episode, Kelly shares some of her favorite speakers and specific recordings that will keep you engaged to and from work for hours upon hours.

Suggested Speakers & Audio Recordings


Want to listen to audio from your device, but no wifi in the car? Kelly purchased a Universal FM Transmitter.

Want to convert files such as YouTube Videos to MP3s or other formats? Kelly uses a free program called Freemake Video Converter to create her audios and then uses Slice Audio File Splitter to segment the files into more manageable lengths. *Please note that these are 3rd party programs and we highly recommend you speak with your computer tech before downloading or installing any new software.

Who and/or what do you listen to in the car?
Share your audio suggestions in the comments below!

Episode 016 - Putting Together a Winning Team with Brian DeLeonardo

Episode 016 - Putting Together a Winning Team with Brian DeLeonardo

May 20, 2016

Episode 016 - Putting Together a Winning Team

Today the Muses introduce our first guest, Brian DeLeonardo State's Attorney of Carroll County!

In this episode the Muses interview Brain L. DeLeonardo  about building an award winning team.  Having an amazing background in law, working in non-profits, and now as the state's attorney for Carroll County Maryland, he's learned a thing or two about building up an award winning team.  Listen in on how he was able to achieve this so that you too may be able to also build your own award winning team.

To reach Brian L. DeLeondaro with any questions, he can be reached at 410-386-2671 or via the website...http://carrollcountystatesattorney.org/ .  He is also on Facebook!  

Be sure to subscribe to this podcast via Stitcher and ITunes so you do not miss an episode.
Be social with us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/bizmindedmuses.com) - we'd love to know your thoughts, read up on articles we share and love, or pose a question for us to answer!!!  
Get more info about The Muses on our website, www.bizmindedmuses.com !
Episode 015 - Muses Musings, Annoying Sales Tactics and Practices

Episode 015 - Muses Musings, Annoying Sales Tactics and Practices

May 3, 2016

Welcome to Episode 015!  This one is a Muses Musings where we all chime in on a topic that is on our minds.


Today's topic is Annoying Sales Tactics and Practices
Random advice on things to do and not do...
-  Be considerate/respectful.  Do not walk into an establishment and demand/ask to talk to the owner and expect the owner is free to talk.
-  Realize you are one of a million.  Businesses and business owners get hit up from all types of company's wanting to have a few minutes (which never is a few minutes) to sell them something.  Consider the business already has the service you are offering.  Also know just because the business you are contacting may be new to you, it very well could be an established business that is not in need of insurance, credit card processing services and so on.
- If you want to meet a person to just catch up, do not start handing out brochures or other company material and start selling.  You have to develop a relationship with a person first and then if they need your service or can recommend you to a friend, they will contact you.
-  No means no.  If a person rejects your offer bow out gracefully and ask if it is ok to still leave a business card incase the service may be needed at a later time.  Talking over a rejection or add additional "but this or that" is rude and a sure way to get kicked out and never allowed back.
-  Take the time to do some research on a business before you meet with them.  If you already had the time to exchange business cards prior to meeting, take the time to learn about the business through looking over their website or Facebook page, learn who works in the company and what they do, etc.   
- Be yourself.  It is very refreshing to talk to a sales person who does not come across as a person who reads from a script, but has a genuine personality and does not come across as a hard seller.  The best approach is to introduce yourself as someone who is new to the area or a new rep to the area and learning about the community and ask questions that pertain to that.  Follow up with if you or know of someone looking for help with "xyz" here's my card and then leave.
-  Know your audience.  If you enter a business and know nothing about them, look around at the business when you step inside it - if it is a retail establishment notice what they offer and do not offer.  The same goes for restaurants, those in the service industry, and so on.  For example, if you are a sales rep that typically handles accounts with businesses of 20+ employees, a small mom and pop Main Street shop would not be a good lead.  
Have a good annoying sales practice tale, or need advice on how to deal with sales reps who just don't take no for an answer,  share it by commenting below.  Also please leave a review on iTunes or Stitcher, this helps people find us and learn something new too!
Have a great week - The Muses!
Episode 014: When to Pivot in Business

Episode 014: When to Pivot in Business

April 22, 2016
Episode 014:  When to Pivot in Business


Here in this episode we cover the topic of pivoting in business and all the things one should consider when facing a crossroads in one's own business future.  

Whether you are wondering if you should stay with a new partner, close a business, move a business, make changes in one's business, a pivot will happen.

Hear Muse Michelle's advice as she talks about making a pivot in her own business and the results of that pivot at the very end.  Please note, this episode was recorded at the end of December/ early January with the follow up this April.  Some info we could not disclose at the time of the podcast so felt it best to delay it to give our listeners all the info at once, as opposed to piecemeal.  Enjoy!
Episode 013:  “Working” for Exposure - Muses Musings

Episode 013: “Working” for Exposure - Muses Musings

April 1, 2016

Episode 013:  “Working” for Exposure

Intro - Improv solo by Kelly with a cute take on the tune “Born to be Wild” with back up vocals from the Muses

Guidelines for Saying Yes or No when asked if your business is willing to donate money or time for an event or charity…

1.  Do not be afraid to say no.
2.  Consider your options if the person asking for the donation is in support of your organization or vice versa
3.  If the exchange is for a mutual amount of time or money, it may be worth doing.
4.  Do not do it if the asking person just says, “well you can just write it off on your taxes”.  Your time and money is valuable and if the asking person doesn’t see that they do not deserve your time or money.
5.  If you do help out local charities make it known to other solicitors on your website, front door of your business, etc.
6.  Be open minded to helping a local charity if they are a frequent buyer/client and inform and encourage new solicitors of this policy.

Guildelines for Solicitors 

1.  Understand you are probably one of many who ask each business for a donation so if the answer is no, it most likely because the business cannot donate to every charity.
2.  Understand and get to know the people who want to target for your charity.  Understand that there is more than just handing over a donation that goes into making a donation.  Donating items can put a business out by not making a sale on the items donated or time to make the donation happen such as setting up a tent knowing someone still have to be paid to do the work and the time taken away doing the work that could be used for other paid jobs.
3.  Keep in mind, the more you ask for a business to donate the more likely the business will not be able to be around in the future if they continue to give and do not receive anything in return.  

Check our out video promo via the youtube link below!
Episode 012 - Ashley’s Tips for Preventing Burnout

Episode 012 - Ashley’s Tips for Preventing Burnout

March 21, 2016
Welcome to another fun and informative episode of Biz Minded Muses!  In this episode Ashley takes the reigns to discuss the topic  of Avoiding Burnout in 5 Steps!  We also answer the "get to know us" question, In what ways are you a nerd?
A recap on Ashley's 5 Tips on How to Avoid Burn Out:
1. Mix things up
- Get out of your routine - For example wake up 5 minutes earlier or try taking a more scenic commute to work
- Hang out with friends  
- Go out and have fun - throw that party you have been meaning to do or get a manicure/pedicure
2.Take care of yourself
- Meditate - daydream or try finding alone time in a park 
- Exercise - use the stairs, park farther away from your office/work, eat at your desk so you can use your lunch time to take a   walk or hit the gym.
- Sleep - get to bed at a decent time and ween yourself off of caffeine before bed
- Eat properly and regularly
3.Take some time off
- Rest
- Regroup
- Slow down to take a look at your situation
4. Refocus
- Do your personal and professional goals line up?
- Are you ignoring one aspect of your life to build another?
   -Mental
   -Emotional
   -Physical
   -Social
   -Spiritual
   -Professional
5. Get organized
-Clutter is taxing and stressful
-Will help you achieve more in less time
Episode 010 - SEO and Local Listings

Episode 010 - SEO and Local Listings

March 11, 2016

SEO Tricks to Rank Above Your Competition & Increase Website Traffic

 

Have you ever wondered How SEO WORKS? It all begins with a crawler/robot/spider that indexes webpages one at a time. They begin on high authority webpages… pages that have been around a long time, have high trust and high traffic volumes. The robots scan the page, indexing descriptive words and phrases to learn more about what categories the page fits in for search purposes. Once the robot has completed scanning  page, it follows any links it has found, and the whole process repeats.

We all need to be doing internal and external SEO… tactics within your website, and techniques outside of your website. External SEO can also be called link building, which includes social media, article marketing, blogging, listings, reviews, (to name a few), and my favorite for geographic based businesses is local listings…

If you have a physical business address, fill out your Local Business Listings. If you’re not sure what websites offer free local business listings, use a paid online listing service strictly as a checklist generator (never Never NEVER BUY the service!!). Go down the local listing site checklist, and attempt to claim, create, or update your listing on each one. Some you will get into, others you can’t. The process for each maybe a bit different (some requiring confirmation, others do not). When filling out your local listings, make sure your Company Name, Phone Number, Address, and Website Address are identical across each, because Search Engines like to see consistency. Some listings allow you to include all kinds of information, so fill them out as completely as you can, and vary your descriptions so that you have a variety of phrasing.

Organic SEO is just that, organic SEO. They want to see organic growth… that means they want to see that it appears a human is doing the work. If you pay for an online listing service, it will look like all your listings updated at the same time. That looks like a robot did the work!

 

REFERENCES FROM KELLY:

I enjoy using www.Yext.com to create my local listing checklist.

(One of many) SEO Terminology lists: https://moz.com/blog/smwc-and-other-essential-seo-jargon

Episode 009 - Michelle’s Top 5 Business Book Picks

Episode 009 - Michelle’s Top 5 Business Book Picks

March 2, 2016

Michelle's Top 5 Favorite Business Books 

  1.  Shark Tales by Barbara Corcoran and Bruce Littlefield
    1. About:  This book is all is about Barbara Corcroran's rise to fame - from pigtailed diner waitresses to real estate mogul and shark on the tv show Shark Tank.  
    2. In this book expect to get a healthy dose of homespun lessons that are masterfully tied to Barbara's business journey where you meet interesting people that greatly influenced Barbara's such as her 9 brothers and sisters and parents.
    3. Each chapter offers a tale from young Barbara's childhood such as over coming a learning disability, dealing with siblings, going out on her own, white washing stones to make their home stand out while telling a chronological tale of how she got her first job, struggles working in the real estate market, and how that lead to her role on Shark Tank.
    4. What I like about it is it is relatable.  The tools and tricks she has used to better her company, I actually implemented such as a $5 idea reward program.  What I also love about this book is it's underlying lesson of finding ones own courage and not be afraid to have fun as well as make tough decisions.  Bonus, Barbara narrates the story if you get the audio version of the book.
  2. The Lean Start Up by Eric Riles
    1. This an amazing book for start ups!  It's true - many startups fail. However those failures can be prevented and this book covers strategies to combat that as well as look at the changing way companies grow and how new products are launched.  It also looks at the commonalities of all types of businesses and offers  tips to bypass distractions and uncertainty to find the clear path to a sustainable business.
    2. Ideal for those in product development. Those looking for help in test marketing their product and the real world, case study like examples.  
    3. This book has a real Build-Measure-Learn process that I helps determine whether or not one should continue on the path or pivot and try a different direction.  This is one I can and will read over and over - lots of nuggets of joy.
  3. Talk Like TED by Carmine Gallo
    1. This book looks at numerous TED talks and dissects them so you can deliver a powerful presentation or speech.  TED which stands for technology, entertainment and design - brings together world thinker’s where they share their knowledge to really try and improve our world.  TED speakers are truly awe inspiring talking on dynamic topics and info that really fire up an audience.  As this book analyzes these talks in ways anyone could give a great presentation  so you can sell your ideas persuasively!
    2. I LOVE this book.  For anyone who ever has to give a presentation to a group of people - whether it be a board meeting, pitching in front of investors, you’re asked to be a guest speaker at an event or even at a networking event, you can really get valuable info from this book.  It offers useful tips to build confidence when it comes to public speaking or if you are insecure about your ability to give a presentation.   
    3. The bonus is that there are amazing case studies to help illustrate 9 public speaking secrets such as story telling, using humor and delivering jaw dropping moments and painting a picture with multi sensory experiences.  I loved the TED talks mentioned in this book and while some of it may seem like common sense, when presented as they are in this book, to me they are revolutionary. 
  4. 57 Hot Business Marketing Strategies by Tom Corson-Knowles
    1. Simple and to the point, this is a great Marketing resource book.  You don’t need a degree in business or marketing to read this book - everything is in easy to digest tips.  It is designed for those who want to start a business but not sure how to market that business, idea or product.  After all it is marketing that connects customers to your products or service and if people don’t know you exist, you’re in trouble!
    2. What makes this book stand out is the way the info is delivered - simple and to the point.  Many of the points are low cost ideas to implement and overall great resource book that goes beyond the “get on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter”.  
    3. At the end of each chapter there is an “action step”  and at the end of the book is some great bonus material.  All in all it is a great guide book to help you create a marketing plan.  
  5. Leaders Eat Last AND Start with Why by Simon Sinek 
    1. My whole business strategy is based on Simon’s theologies.  This is why it is hard for me to just choose one of his books, so I am choosing both - it’s a tie!  His first book Start with Why focuses on a bullseye target where the center is the why, the “how” is the middle ring, and the “what“ is on the outside ring.  When most business company’s focus on what we do, how we do it, and then why - such as Microsoft, it’s those who do the opposite that make a bigger impact - like Apple who’s focus is the why we innovate (clearly seen in their keynote presentations), how they innovate, and oh by the way, the product is the new iPhone - don’t you want one?  This book gives amazing examples from Martin Luther King Jr. and the Wright Brothers on how they are historic figures we still talk about today compared to company’s like Tivo.  I first learned about this book after watching his TED talk - which is a great, but super brief summary of his book, yet the book is chock full so much more info! 
    2. The second book Leaders Eat Last is all about leadership and how to be an effective leader.  The focus is about you see in leadership today and why some companies succeed while others don’t simply based on the leaders in that company.  It’s those who feel undervalued, unfulfilled, or even frightened in their work place due to their bosses or how their boss’ boss runs the company.  This book gives amazing examples on how to set up work environments and allow people to work naturally in order to create and put out remarkable work.  You do notice military leadership characteristics is prominent in this book yet puts them in to the workplace situations.  
    3. Simply put I love these books because it is my goal to run an amazing company where the products we create are customer driven and employees are happy to come to work because they know what they do each day makes a difference in the world - not only by meeting their needs and feel safe in a great work environment but know the products they help improve and sell and making a difference in the lives they are reaching on a daily basis.