Archive for March, 2007

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admin on March 25th 2007 in Web Stuff

Living The Dream

Website Strategy: let’s start at the beginning. Your website is alive. With proper care and feeding it will thrive and grow to become a strong and effective member of the World Wide Web. Are you ready to take responsibility for your website’s success?

Did you know that websites have dreams? They want to change your world…and with your care and attention, it will happen! Websites aspire to be someone…like an effective silent salesman, a great promoter, a life-changing teacher and a motivational leader… They are committed to become a fountain of knowledge and to serve actively their community. With good content and quality links, they can grow to be the center of this community and rank high on search engines.

Websites exist to inform and help others. When easy to use and navigate, visitors find what they want in a few clicks. Web designs that use the most current internet “best-practices,” offer multiple ways to find what a visitor seeks. Through informative copy, pictures, site maps, and traditional navigational buttons, a good website is clear, creative and fun to surf.

The greatest achievement of a website is to inspire. It can help people live happier lives, be more productive and achieve greater rewards. Your website knows it can make the world a better place for every visitor that sees it. Make your “call-to-action” understandable, and easy to respond to, with clearly placed phone numbers and/or email addresses on every page

As a responsible owner of a website, you are challenged to understand what your website needs, where it is going and what it can do, to make your business or organization function better. Be committed to helping it achieve its full potential!

Accept this responsibility and your website will reward your many times over!

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admin on March 21st 2007 in Web Strategy

Don’t Sell Me Things

What is the most effective copy for a website? A good website has meaningful content. It will sell more by giving the visitors fresh ideas, reasons to buy and encourage impulse sales. A site should speak directly to your best prospective customer’s dreams, fears and desires. The copy should offer solutions, not products, and leave the impression of how beautiful life can be with those solutions in the customer’s hands

 

I grew up selling Point of Purchase (POP) sign machines (big mechanical typewriters), and later graphic/database signing software. We provided the systems and taught merchandisers how to write an effective retail sign. Many of the techniques we showed them work for websites too. Effective signs will increase sales through clear, concise, well-engineered messages and supporting information. Effective websites operate on the same principles.

In the 1960’s, the Reynolds Printasign Company pioneered research on how to increase retail sales by making effective POP signs. Jim Reynolds said in a letter to Sears Roebuck and Co. “A good sign will sell more merchandise by giving the customer ideas, reasons to buy and encourage impulse sales.” (Sound familiar?) His conclusions were supported by several university studies documenting increased transactions using Reynolds Printasign’s time-tested methods.

To help retailers use our equipment more effectively, we conducted seminars on how to write effective sign copy. At the end of each clinic we read this poem. It is worth reading before you work on your website too.

 

 

SALESMANSHIP

 

Don’t sell me clothes.

 

Sell me neat appearance, style, attractiveness.

Don’t sell me shoes.

Sell me foot comfort and the pleasure of walking in the open air.

Don’t sell me furniture.

Sell me a home that has comfort, cleanliness, contentment.

Don’t sell me books.

Sell me pleasant hours and the profits of knowledge.

Don’t sell me toys.

Sell me playthings to make my children happy.

Don’t sell me tools.

Sell me the pleasure and profit of making fine things.

Don’t sell me tires.

Sell me freedom from worry and low-cost-per-mile.

Don’t sell me plows.

Sell me green fields of waving wheat.

Don’t sell me THINGS.

Sell me ideals — feelings— self-respect — home life and happiness.

Please don’t sell me THINGS.

James M. Reynolds
REYNOLDS PRINTASIGN CO.
9830 San Fernando Road

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admin on March 13th 2007 in Web Strategy

Get Over it

Picture a college athlete in a motorcycle accident losing a leg and deciding to compete in an Ironman competition. During the race he is hit by a car and paralyzed from the chest down and yet still does not quit trying and you have Jim MacLaren who believes there are no excuses in life This video is a must see.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4K9GM3ZB7GcHow often do we get in the way of our own success? It is too easy to blame others, curse fate, or fall victim to our own limitations –all excuses for a lack of success, bad attitude or failed behavior. For me, this video takes me back to my favorite poem, Invictus, (quoted in total in an earlier posting on my blog), “I am the master of my fate, and I am the captain of my soul.I am fortunate to have a hero like Jim in my own family. My brother-in-law Roger Boesche has crippling rheumatoid arthritis but I never hear him complain about his pain, his plight or his limitations. http://www.medicinenet.com/rheumatoid_arthritis/article.htm In public he always acts positive and seems more worried about how the Atlanta Braves baseball team is doing than his health. Recently Roger was interviewed by the LA Times and had his picture in the paper for being a professor to Barack Obama at

Occidental College. In that image you could see what this disease had done to his body. When asked how he felt about the picture, Roger simply said he was just excited about having his picture in the paper…just like anyone else.When I met Roger he could hit a softball out of the Brown Bowl (our neighbor’s backyard) into my family’s pool (over 100 yards)…a feat never done in the 15 years we played back there. He was a passionate liberal thinker with a gift for teaching and writing. In college he passed a test to be a “Kelly Girl” typing over 100 words a minute with no mistakes. Today his intellectual passions are still there but the athletic body is not. Roger walks with difficulty between classrooms. (his shoulder, wrists, and elbows are badly dislocated) uses a wheelchair off campus (he has had 15 surgeries). Like clockwork he stills teaches, gets his newsletter out on time and his 6th book is in the pipeline.25 years ago Roger said he wanted to travel and see the world. In spite of his challenges, he travels 4-6 weeks a year. He has been to Timbuktu, made it to the top of monasteries in Tibet and crossed the Himalayas in Pakistan, traveled throughout Iran and explored the Amazon jungle. None of these places have laws like Americans With Disabilities Act so with determination he can get himself up, down, in, and out of the most amazing places! Everyday for strength, Roger swims and his daughter says if he went any slower he would sink….but he always finishes.

My sister Mandy is an amazing companion. She is the sunshine of his life and the enabler he needs to achieve all that he does. What is beautiful is that she would describe him the very same way…. the sunshine of her life and the enabler she needs to achieve all that she does. They both walk the walk and talk the talk of “No Excuses”. Roger continues to inspire students and our family everyday!

The next time you feel like using the words unfair, or you think you can’t do it…step back, count your blessings and remember life is unfair. Think about attitudes like Jim and Roger’s…and get over it. Even more important…get beyond it!

Where Did All the Mentors Go?

We all should look for mentors. I have had, and continue to have wonderful people influence my life as mentors. They have come from many places, various ages, ethnic backgrounds and genders. They have taught me wonderful things and shown me direction and passion. I know when I have been mentored because I have been given the gift of time from someone I respect and it left me feeling better, seeing an issue clearer or just pondering very worthy subjects. I recommend looking for mentors all the time…it certainly is better than the school of hard knocks! (Although there is value in that school too… if you don’t get hurt to badly…another blog)

 

How do you find a mentor.  It takes time. They rarely come to you. You have to actively look for them.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions, listen and evaluate what you hear. Open up your heart and mind to people you meet. Understand that no one is perfect, give people a chance to show who they are and what they stand for. There are things to learn form everyone. It might be a gardener, a teacher, a neighbor, or a manager who is not a direct report.

What do mentors look like? Ask people you respect for references. Look at people who get involved in your business or community but don’t hog the spot light. I look for are people who are principled. Are they consistent, trustworthy and helpful? They are good listeners offer opinions,  without being judgmental.  Most importantly and possibly most difficult, do they give you the gift of time.

 

Why should business promote mentoring? Any organization will benefit greatly if they promote mentoring. In the February 2007 issue of California Lawyer they are an article of why women are quitting law firms.  One reason given was a lack of mentoring. The explanation for a lack of mentoring was both social and environmental, but the bottom line is that mentoring does not happen in most law firms.  Losing these valuable, bright hardworking women cannot be healthy for that industry

 

Lawyers are not the only one’s who have trouble creating an environment where mentoring flourishes. In my experience most people do not know how to mentor, and are not willing to invest the time one on one with people. Training in this area is available and would be a good start.

 

All businesses would benefit form the sharing of knowledge experience and encouragement that comes with mentoring. Morale will improve and innovations occur when people share ideas and collaborate. It all starts by giving a person the gift of time. Interesting, it takes time to find a mentor and time to experience a mentor. No wonder in these time-crunched days people ask “Where did all the mentors go?”

 

 

As a final note…it is my experience that this works with children too!

 

Also see http://www.sacredleadership.org/blog/

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admin on March 5th 2007 in Coaching

“The Envelope Please”

Meredith Viera of the Today Show mentioned last week that when she watches the Academy Awards she imagines what she would say when she was voted Best Actress. When I watch other people sprightly Blog I do the same thing. I imagine what I would say in front of billions of potential readers who will judge me by my content. Will I sound smart? Can I be relevant? Will people like me? Can I get it all in before the music starts playing? Will people really care? All possible topics for future blogs!

Let’s see now, where was I ?….”I would like to thank all the people who got me to this blog. First to my mother, Zelta Burrows Reynolds, you never stopped believing in me and taught me to live by Invictus (see below). To my father, Jim Reynolds, who showed me how to be a father, a business person and how to live by the Boy Scout Oath and Laws. To my Grandfather, Milt Reynolds, who inventted the Ball Point Pen (or stole it) and taught me another side of business which includes “even pirates have a code”. Milt also believed you never to give up in the quest for the next big idea. To my big sisters who love me and let me sing with them if I behaved. They also made me proud to be a “Hegge Women”. To my wife, Meredith, who makes me believe I am ok because a smart, funny and beautiful woman loves me. To my children who have grown to be my new best friends and heroes. To my band www.MisplacedPriorities.com who help me live a dream. Finally to my business associates Mark Armstrong, Kathy Hernandez and Debra White Doty and Anton Dreesmann who are smart, talented, hardworking, loyal friends who are rocks and make my work fun. Thanks for covering my back team!”

To conclude:

My mother gave me this poem. I keep it near to read when I need a kick in the ass. Now I give it to you

INVICTUS

By William Earnest Henley

Out of the night that covers me

Black as a pit from pole to pole

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate.

I am the captain of my soul.

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admin on March 3rd 2007 in Family