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  • 07/18/2016 9:32 AM | Lisa Pisano (Administrator)

    When I was working in the Public Relations department in-house at Liz Claiborne Inc. many years ago, it was customary to plan our holiday gift mailing to key members of the media, as well as send Season’s Greetings by way of corporate holiday cards to our various vendors, partners and colleagues.

    We would spend THOUSANDS of dollars on pristine packaging, beautiful gift items and work diligently for weeks on snappy card sentiments with clever phrasing and eye-catching designs.

    Our efforts were not done in vain – our editorial contacts would often commend our group for the thoughtfully packaged sentiments and our relationships remained strong and thriving, all thanks to a little holiday cheer sent via NYC bicycle messenger.

    Fast forward 15 years later, and I’ve continued to apply the holiday cards and gifts to my work as an independent consultant with my Public Relations firm, Groupe a la Mode LLC.

    Now, let’s be very clear about something – my budget is FAR LESS than that of the Liz Claiborne days.  But the impact is just about the same.

    Over the past few years that I’ve been in business on my own, I’ve made a point to keep a list of previous clients, current clients and prospects. Around the holidays, I send custom cards to them, while select clients also receive a personal gift. 

    It’s a personal touch that I bring to my business, and being in PR, it shows current and prospective clients the way I approach client relations, branding, etc. while at the same time, is just a nice thing to do.

    Of course, the added bonus is when the phone rings or the email hits the inbox in early January with a new business lead – which I’m happy to report, has been the case for the past three years. In fact, I landed my biggest client engagement yet, all thanks to keeping in close touch over the years with a former fashion industry colleague via these holiday cards!

    It may be the middle of the summer, but it’s not too early to start planning – both from a budget standpoint and a creative standpoint – what your holiday outreach might look like.  Take advantage of the summer slowdown to canvass your existing and previous client lists, vendors, contacts and your prospects and start to pull together your target list.  Then, find a graphic designer (there are many here at BCPWN!) or scour the web for an online card design service and take it away.

    I know of some business owners who take advantage of more off-beat times to send greetings – some at Halloween, others at Thanksgiving.  Some even on April Fool’s Day!  Do whatever you think is right for your brand and your business to stand out in the mind of your clients and potential clients or contacts.

    Lisa Pisano

    President, Groupe a la Mode LLC



  • 06/28/2016 7:17 AM | Anonymous

    Today is a personal story that came out of an extremely painful experience. Early on

    in my business, I learned the hard way how to put together a successful speaking event for a group of professionals.

    I prepared for two weeks, got together great content, and was eager to answer any and all questions from the audience.  I was on fire!

    Once I got up on stage, it didn’t take long for my enthusiasm to be squashed.  I made three critical mistakes that day that sent me home with zero leads to follow up with afterwards.

    I started my talk with the usual introduction, and then moved into content.  As I was going though each of my points, the hands started to go up.  Questions started flying my way, and I was actually quite happy with the way I was able to handle and fully answer them.  The crowd loved it!  The questions started to come even more fast and furious.  

    Soon after, there were so many questions, the room started to talk amongst themselves.  Then, things got so out of control with side conversations, that another business consultant felt the need to jump in with their expertise and appease the hungry crowd.

    I lost control of my room. I never got to finish my presentation AND now another consultant was wooing my audience! Nice opportunity for that chick, right?

    I left there feeling terrible.  My talk ran out of time, and people told me what a great presentation I had, but I heard from no one afterwards.

    Hard lesson learned.  Here are three keys ways to conduct a successful talk, lead the room, and walk out with gaggles of follow-up appointments.

    Step 1:  Always command the room:  Drive your audience to look where you want them to look.  Instruct them to take out a piece of paper and write down key points, get buy-in by asking them questions they will respond "yes" to.  Get them raising their hands. This establishes you as the leader of the pack.

    Step 2:  Delay the Q&A:  Have you ever owned fish?  If you keep feeding them, they will keep eating!  This is no different than your audience.  Think of your “free” advice during Q&A like fish food.  Your audience will consume it, and always ask for more…as long as you allow them to do so!  If you answer all of their questions, then why would they need you going forward?

    Step 3:  Turn audience questions into a one-on-one conversations:  Drive all questions to the back of the room after your talk.  Invite people to schedule some complimentary time with you.  Bring your calendar, an assistant, and schedule time with them before they leave the room. This way you don’t have to chase people, and fling endless emails back and forth trying to coordinate schedules. Everyone’s situation is different, and carving out special time to be focused and attentive to their issues is a much better way to serve your people. Be sure to get them scheduled before they leave the room.  Because once they leave, you are now an afterthought.  You will be competing with the 50 zillion other things that will come across their radar.

    These steps are what keep audiences engaged, and gives them an opportunity to speak candidly about their situation once everyone has left the building.  Being the great listener you are, now you can turn a room full of strangers into your best clients. 

  • 05/18/2016 12:54 PM | Anonymous

    Have you been looking at the calendar in dis-belief that we’re almost halfway through the year?  And have you looked at your revenue numbers wondering, how am I going to hit my goals?


    As I was clicking through at lightening speed with my remote this past weekend, and stumbled onto the movie Field of Dreams (with Kevin Costner). 

    Do you remember that catchy phase from this movie?


    It’s also a HUGE pet peeve of mine when it comes to business.


    “Build it and they will come.”


    Much like what most business owners think when they start their businesses – I know I did!


    We soon realize it takes more than a field of dreams to have a consistent revenue stream.


    Remember?  You set everything up for people to come knocking down your door.

    But that didn’t last long.


    You look out the window…nope, no one lining up.


    Then you start to stare at the ceiling.  You move your chair around your office, still gazing upward. Waiting for clients to drop from the sky, of course!


    Everyone is looking for the secret sauce when it comes to creating more revenue for themselves.  And it takes something a wee bit different than just building it.


    And it’s not as difficult as you think. 


    If you dedicate at least one hour a day to money-generating activities, you can get that revenue rolling.

    But why aren’t more business owners able to pull it off?

    Here’s the problem:

    1.    Most business owners aren’t clear what a money-generating activity is

    2.    You are constantly distracted and robbed from creating focused time

    Here’s how to get started with an action plan for revenue:

    1.    Focused time – create one hour with zero distractions. No phone calls, texts, Facebook, or emails.  Leave your home for the library if you have to, and literally un-plug.  Tell your loved ones what you are up to so they honor it.  It’s only an hour…you will survive…and so will everyone else…I promise!

    2.    Set a timer – Put 60 minutes on the clock. Once your time is up, it’s pencils down.  Get used to this!  The point is to start training you to avoid procrastination, getting caught up in perfection, or delaying your decision-making.  This is a strength that every successful CEO possesses – the more you do this, the more successful you will be.

    3.    Check In With Former Clients – did you know it costs six times more marketing dollars to get a new client than to sell a prior client? Check in with your favorite people and see how you can serve them based on where they are today – things change rapidly – get back up to speed on their frustrations and challenges. 

    4.    MGAs – Choose and complete as many money-generating activity within one hour.  Choose from this list:

    ·       Reserve your attendance at a networking event

    ·       Book a speaking event, workshop

    ·       Schedule complimentary initial sales calls

    ·       Call list of follow-ups

    ·       Contact referrals

    ·       Reach out to potential referral partners

    ·       Process payments

    ·       Track your numbers

    Call To Action:

    What is your easiest money generating activity you can do in less than an hour today?


  • 05/10/2016 11:48 AM | Deleted user

    Lean Marketing Is Like Summer Party Leftovers

    Maybe your company doesn’t have a huge budget to spend on marketing initiatives. That’s okay. As long as you’re developing great content that is created in a way that can be made into “snackable” pieces people can consume over a period of days or weeks.

    Here’s how.

    1. Create one substantial piece of content that your clients would read, for example an eBook with problem solving tips and processes. Develop a landing page for the eBook to capture email addresses and lead information.
    2. Each chapter from the eBook could also become a blog article that links back to the eBook using a call to action like “To learn more, download our free eBook.”
    3. Since people consume content in different ways, consider short video tips from each chapter and post them on your video channel. Leverage the same call to action using in the blogs; but, create a unique URL for the videos to track link effectiveness in your website analytics.
    4. Infographics are another popular way to display data in a fun way. Organize data from the eBook into separate infographics.
    5. Share each piece of content on social media over a period of weeks, in client emails, within online ad campaigns, in staff email signatures, and more.

    There are dozens of other leftovers you can make from a large piece, such as slide decks, podcasts, cheat sheets, checklists, how to’s, webinars, and so much more.

    Make your marketing party memorable. Create a theme and then develop “snackable” pieces from the whole.

    What summer “snackables” can you create from your company’s marketing assets?

  • 05/10/2016 11:46 AM | Deleted user

    who wants to blog like a pro?

    Let’s face it, it can be daunting to write for the Internet; especially when you’re not a “writer.” But, don’t let that stop you. Here is an easy formula you can use to create compelling blog articles you can share on social media and email.

    Let’s get started.

    First, if headlines are the thing that hangs you up, here is a list of headlines formulas to start your creative mind to thinking.

    Six Steps To Be Successful

    1. Know what your audience wants.
    2. Keep the content short and concise.
    3. Use strong words and active voice.
    4. Keep paragraphs short.
    5. Use a list.
    6. Identify a call to action.

    Blog Format

    Now that you have the basics, put your fingers to the keyboard and fill in the blanks, including the:

    • Headline
    • Subhead(s)
    • Bulleted or Numbered List
    • Call to Action

    Remember to use action-oriented words (no passive writing) to stay focused, and to chunk content so you don’t overwhelm the reader.

    Call to Action

    Now that you’re armed, what are you waiting for? Download this activity sheet and get writing!

  • 04/19/2016 1:18 PM | Deleted user

    Your website is your companys nucleus, home base, heartbeat. When serviced well, it piques customer curiosity and fuels your brand as the most efficient and effective system to funnel business.

    We live in a digital age, meaning your website is the brick and mortar of your company. Style, content, and functionality must flourish in tandem to best serve your online presence and thus everybodys favorite buzz word search engine optimization (SEO).

    But before you dive into developing a new site or launching a redesign, youll want to think clearly about the role your website plays as part of your companys overall strategic plan. Here at Hype, we dont set foot out the door without having a plan to best serve you and your team. Bring us the concept, and well flesh out the ideas.

    But captivating web design isnt just about getting you noticed, and its definitely not about taking the cookie-cutter route. At Hype, we believe in building a site tailored to the specific needs of your business: one that directs traffic, offers a clear and compelling message, and promises customers an enjoyable user experience.

    Today its not enough to just have a website you need an online presence with a serious wow factor. Heres a basic checklist we keep handy when working with clients, whether theyre building a site from scratch or upgrading their existing one to work harder and generate more business:

              Know your website goals, i.e. increase traffic to the site, generate online sales, improve functionality, grow your email list, rebrand, etc.

              Make sure your website is mobile-responsive. It should render well on all mobile devices.

              Understand that function comes first and while eye-catching design is important, it must align with the goals for your site.

              Invest in remarkable content that tells your unique brand story.

              Consider a smart SEO strategy and let keyword research guide your copywriting.

              Maintain ongoing and engaging content such as a blog, gallery, or social media pages.

              Differentiate your sites copy with graphics let word and image share the spotlight.

              Create conversion opportunities by having smart web pages and links that drive leads.

              Measure the impact of your site with Google Analytics.

    Spring has sprung, so nows the chance to let your website bloom! Take some time to consider (or reconsider) your big-picture strategy. If you already have a site, evaluate what is and isnt working. Determine your priorities and map out a plan using this checklist as your guide. Most importantly, create something that excites you. 

    What would you seek in a website?

    We might be hopeless romantics, but were betting the result will be love at first site.” I'm happy to chat with any BCPWN member anytime. 

  • 04/08/2016 11:13 AM | Deleted user

    As a writer for more than two-dozen years, there are some writing pet peeves that give me a twitch. But, I didn’t want this to be all about me; so, I conducted a friends and family test to see what bothers other people I know.

    The Twitch List

    Some of the items make me laugh, like “intregal,” while others make me sad, such as when to use to, two, and too. In the end, this list was fun to put together.

    Incorrect Word Usage

    1. Than vs. then
    2. You’re vs. your
    3. Their, there, and they’re
    4. To, too, and two
    5. Affect vs. effect
    6. Advise when they should use advice. Loose when they mean lose.

    Made-Up Words

    1. regardless of context
    2. Anyways
    3. Fustrated
    4. Shouldn’t of
    5. Intregal, which people mash up somehow between INTEGRAL and INTRICATE
    6. ESPRESSO with an “S” and not EXPRESSO with an “X”
    7. Punkin
    8. Definately
    9. Supposably

    Grammatically-Correct Twitches

    Though these twitches are grammatically correct, several people found issue with them.

    1. Starting the very first sentence of correspondence with “I,” followed by nearly every other sentenced started with “I.”
    2. Starting a sentence with “So.”
    3. Starting a sentence with “And.”

    Want Help?

    For those who would like writing help, below are four resources that might come in handy.

  • 04/07/2016 10:05 AM | Anonymous

    As a business owner, do you ever wonder if your products or services are priced correctly for your target market?


    If so, you are not alone.



    You are asked to bid on a project for a new client. You interview them to find out what they are looking for and provide an overview of how you could help solve their dilemma. The potential client sounds excited about what you have to offer and asks you to provide a proposal.

    You toil over it for a few days to make sure you’ve got everything in place.

    Then comes the hard part, the pricing structure. Some companies use a fixed-price method, where the product or service price is not negotiable. Other companies used a flexible-price model, where the price is open for negotiation between the buyers and sellers. In your case, you use a fixed-price model.

    You share your proposal with the potential client, requesting a review and signatures to get started. You even invite them to be on a call to discuss particulars. To your shock, you received the signed agreement the next day.

    You wonder, “Was my price so low, they jumped on it?” Or maybe, “That seemed really easy, my reputation precedes me.”

    Let’s hope it’s the second. If it’s the first, it might be time to review your pricing model, and do some competitive research to make sure you’re not low-balling your pricing.

    Lesson Learned

    Pricing can be more complex than we realize, and we may end up shooting ourselves in the foot trying to figure out how cheaply we need to sell our wares, when in fact, consumers are willing to pay more! 

    Mike Michalowicz, author of Profit First and The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, offers this great advice, “If you’re moving a lot of product at unsustainably low prices, it’s bad for your business. You must raise your prices or perish.”

    The Four-Step Profitable Pricing Model

    When it comes to raising prices in your business, you might be hesitant. Will the market and clients be able to handle the increase? How much should you increase prices? When should you do it?

    In this four-step process, you will get out of your own way and begin to make a profit path you can live with.

    Get Over It

    You are your own worst enemy when it comes to price increases. You might be afraid you’ll scare away your existing customers and deter new ones from becoming customers. Remember, you can always increase prices, and then offer a sale or lower them in the future. However, if you never increase them and inflation does increase, it will eat away at your profits. If you have a range of services, try increasing only the most high-profile or profitable ones first. Then increase the others on a schedule. The increased margin will make your bottom line shine.

    Tell Your Customers

    If you plan to increase prices, alert your customers to the change in advance. This gives them the chance to digest the change and how it could impact their bottom line, and it also gives you a chance for good will. You may be able to offer some referrals, which could reciprocate in the end. Also, explain why you’re increasing costs. There could be a valid marketplace reason for the increase, such as the cost of goods, shipping increases, or perceived value. Consider this, if you feel you’re charging a fair value for your product or service, your clients will too.

    Offer A Less-Expensive Option

    When you offer a higher-priced item, remember to offer a similar version for a reduced price. For a service-based company, that may mean offering fewer services in a package, such as a basic, intermediate, and exceptional package. If you own a product-based company offer alternatives to the product, and share why it’s offered at a lower price.

    Price Of Goods

    You make money in the margins; that’s the retail price minus the cost of goods. If you can lower the cost of goods or services, then you automatically increase the profits. Find ways within your business to decrease costs of goods or services. That may include using out-of-state vendors, creating products in bulk, changing shipping companies, and more.

    Check out the tips offered in the Accelerate: The Magazine, the Spring edition, for some creative ways several business owners are increasing their bottom line by focusing on the price of goods and services within their own companies.

    Also, download this four-step process infographic or pin it to your wall or your online pinboard for reference.


    Contact Me

    If you need help finding cost-cutting measures within your business, or need assistance determining your pricing model, let’s chat.


  • 03/16/2016 11:21 AM | Deleted user

    When it comes to social media engagement, think of your accounting firm’s (or any company) post headlines like newspaper headlines. If you cannot grab readers with the headline, you’ve already lost them.

    Here are some social media headline formulas you can use to help increase clicks to your website, content, registrations, and downloads.

    1. 8 words plus a link: example, “Free Webinar: Awesome Quickbooks Payroll Tips and Tricks yourlink.com”
    2. Social proof headlines: example from the AICPA, “Studies show people w/ flexibility to work where they want performed as well as employees w/ a traditional schedule http://spr.ly/6017Bd8BW”
    3. Threat headlines: example from @IRSNews, “Don’t let the April 18th #tax deadline sneak up on you! Get your taxes done for free #IRSFreeTaxPrep. http://go.usa.gov/cXuqJ”
    4. Gain headlines: example “Read this an in 5 minutes you’ll know how to reconcile more than one bank account in #Quickbooks. [link]”
    5. Question headlines: example from @MarketWatch, “Guess which 65-year-old billionaire put this at the top of his reading list? #WorldBookDay on.mktw.net/1LCj3v2”

    Bonus Tip

    Rather than making a headline a statement, jazz it up using one of these tips.

    • Include “how to” in the headline to draw interest.
    • Communicate an aspect of time in the headline to create a sense of urgency.
    • Add fascination to tease the reader with curiosity.

    Now that you have the formulas, which will your firm begin using?

    Additional Resources

  • 03/15/2016 9:26 AM | Anonymous

    I recently listened to the Daymond John interview on LIVE with Kelly and Michael about how this high-powered Shark and American entrepreneur started out, and was amazed at how his story sounded so much like many of my clients and other business owners I knew.

    I waited to hear the ah-ha advice he had for those looking to expand their business and wasn’t disappointed. Below are some of his tips about becoming a successful business owner, plus his insights on how to get out of debt.

    Realistic Tips For A Successful Business Owner

    Daymond said in the interview, that if you’re afraid to fail, you might not be passionate about your business. Because when you’re passionate, you may fail, but you’re also going to learn and grow. He had these other tips for business owners who want to be successful at what they do.

    1. Surround yourself with good people.

    2. Leverage other people to help expand your business, other people’s money, marketing, manpower, and manufacturing when you can.

    3. Read your goals every single day, and prepare them for review at six months, five years, and twenty years. Also, be sure to include goals for your health, family, and business.

    4. Look to long-time business owners in your community as a mentor. They have been through everything – recessions, gas shortages, and competition.

    5. Take affordable steps to move forward rather than large sums of money, especially if you haven’t sold anything yet.

    6. Surround yourself with like-minded people.

    7. Understand you’re going to fail more than you’re going to succeed.

    8. Know that the business you start may not be the same business you end up with.

    Tips About Getting Out of Debt

    During the interview, Daymond confessed he nearly went broke due to his lack of financial intelligence. Here are several tips he shared for staying out debt and avoiding going broke.

    1. Have separate checking accounts for the important parts in your life, such as children, vacation, mortgage, etc.

    2. Keep the small things in check. For example, if you buy three coffees every day, that’s maybe $3 – $4 each, that adds up to $10 per day, $50 per week, $200 per month, and $2,400 per year, plus tax, that’s $3,500. If you make just $40,000 per year, that would be eight percent of your annual income – on coffee!

    3. Take affordable, small steps and learn along the way. Avoid taking out huge sums of money to pay off debt. Chip away at it.

    One of my favorite parts of the interview was when Daymond was talking about failing. He reminded us that you should take affordable steps and learn along the way. That’s exactly what a business is. You’re going to have moments of failure, but you’re going to learn from them and you’re going to grow.

    Gather your passion and make the business of your dreams. Use these tips and find a mentor or two along the way to keep you focused, energized, and educated.

    What’s your business dream and how do you plan to get there?

    Additional Resources

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