Friday, March 28, 2008

It's About Who Knows That You Know

As someone who is growing a business in a new locale, I'm very aware of the time, energy and relationship building it takes to turn a business idea into a viable enterprise. Yes, it's very important to be a knowledge leader in your field, but if no one knows who you are, what knowledge you have and how that knowledge can benefit them, you'll not be on their radar.

Establishing yourself as an expert involves utilizing a wide variety of marketing and relationship building efforts. All of them take time, persistence, creativity, research, analysis and faith. Here are just a few ideas to consider:
  • Article Writing - Placing articles in trade publications, magazines, newspapers and on other websites
  • Speaking - For local and national organizations, conferences, tradeshows, etc.
  • Interviews - This includes radio, t.v. and being interviewed as an expert by a reporter/writer of an article
  • Advertising - Web ads (banners, etc.), Google ads (and similar types), display ads in newspapers/trade publications, etc.
  • Authoring Books - Getting a book published related to your expertise and in doing so, creating an additional revenue stream
  • Networking - Attending events where your target market may be and meeting people who are decision makers
  • Volunteering - Working with decision makers in organizations related to your area of expertise. This provides an opportunity for others to get to know you and your skills
  • Keeping in touch - Keeping connected to business contacts and keeping them abreast of your offerings
  • Producing Related Products - Producing other products that may be of interest to your target market and in doing so, creating an additional revenue stream
  • Newsletters & Blogs - Creating opportunities to write about your area of specialty and through subscriptions, making regular contact with your target audience
  • Whitepapers/Special Reports - Writing about your area of expertise and making the paper or report available as either a Free item or an incentive in exchange for subscribing to your newsletter
  • Adding an Advertising Signature to Your Emails - Using your email program, add a permanent signature line that is included in every email response you send. Use it to market your website, products or events by including links

These are just a few of the many ways you can market your services. Most of them are free or low-cost marketing tactics. The key is to be consistent.

It is important to include "Author Info" at the end of each post, article, book, whitepaper, newsletter or blog. This should include info about you, your books, products, services, website and how to reach you.

Better get going. You've got a lot to do.

Kennette Reed

Monday, March 17, 2008

After The Storm

"In our lives there is bound to come some pain, surely as there are storms and falling rain;
just believe that the one who holds the storms will bring the sun."
author, unknown

This past weekend, the Atlanta area was hit by a storm that shouldn't have occurred. You see, no one would have ever thought a tornado would hit the downtown Atlanta area. It wasn't something that most people would have ever imagined. The news reports of the damage, property loss, injury and loss of life are heart wrenching.

Please reach out to those you know who are in the Atlanta area. Make sure they are safe. For those who have experienced losses due to the storm, please put them in your prayers, offer them assistance and lend support. This experience will be one none of us will ever forget. Let your empathy and generosity be part of the memory. Offer assistance to storm victims and volunteer to assist with clean up or help victims by provding clothing, food or shelter.

We're all in this together.

Kennette Reed

Friday, March 7, 2008

Foreclosures Skyrocket - How To Avoid Foreclosure

Yesterday, I saw the all too real affects of foreclosure. A neighbor suddenly packed up his possessions, said his goodbyes and moved. However, we noticed there was never a "For Sale" sign posted in the yard and they never mentioned where they were moving to. Within a couple of days of their departure, the sheriffs arrived at their home, kicked in the doors and threw the departed neighbor's remaining belongings into the front yard. What remained was substantial. It was heartbreaking to see the remnants of a family's past scattered throughout the yard. This scene made the reason for the neighbor's sudden departure all too obvious.

Everyday, I hear of someone who is losing their home due to a layoff, medical expenses, escalating mortgage payments (due to a variable interest rate) or some other reason. However, people often don't utilize some of the options available to help avoid foreclosure. Many people start down the road to foreclosure and think there is no way to turn around the car once they start down that road.

In an attempt to help others avoid this painful experience, I wanted to include some helpful information. If you or someone you know is facing foreclosure, here are tips from the HUD (Housing and Urban Development) website:

If you are unable to make your mortgage payment:

  1. Don't ignore the problem. The further behind you become, the harder it will be to reinstate your loan and the more likely that you will lose your house.
  2. Contact your lender as soon as you realize that you have a problem. Lenders do not want your house. They have options to help borrowers through difficult financial times.
  3. Open and respond to all mail from your lender. The first notices you receive will offer good information about foreclosure prevention options that can help you weather financial problems. Later mail may include important notice of pending legal action. Your failure to open the mail will not be an excuse in foreclosure court.
  4. Know your mortgage rights. Find your loan documents and read them so you know what your lender may do if you can't make your payments. Learn about the foreclosure laws and time frames in your state (as every state is different) by contacting the State Government Housing Office.
  5. Understand foreclosure prevention options. Valuable information about foreclosure prevention (also called loss mitigation) options can be found on the internet at
  6. Contact a HUD-approved housing counselor. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds free or very low cost housing counseling nationwide. Housing counselors can help you understand the law and your options, organize your finances and represent you in negotiations with your lender if you need this assistance. Find a HUD-approved housing counselor near you or call (800) 569-4287 or TTY (800) 877-8339.
  7. Prioritize your spending. After healthcare, keeping your house should be your first priority. Review your finances and see where you can cut spending in order to make your mortgage payment. Look for optional expenses-cable TV, memberships, entertainment-that you can eliminate. Delay payments on credit cards and other "unsecured" debt until you have paid your mortgage.
  8. Use your assets. Do you have assets-a second car, jewelry, a whole life insurance policy-that you can sell for cash to help reinstate your loan? Can anyone in your household get an extra job to bring in additional income? Even if these efforts don't significantly increase your available cash or your income, they demonstrate to your lender that you are willing to make sacrifices to keep your home.
  9. Avoid foreclosure prevention companies. You don't need to pay fees for foreclosure prevention help-use that money to pay the mortgage instead. Many for-profit companies will contact you promising to negotiate with your lender. While these may be legitimate businesses, they will charge you a hefty fee (often two or three month's mortgage payment) for information and services your lender or a HUD approved housing counselor will provide free if you contact them.
  10. Don't lose your house to foreclosure recovery scams! If any firm claims they can stop your foreclosure immediately if you sign a document appointing them to act on your behalf, you may well be signing over the title to your property and becoming a renter in your own home! Never sign a legal document without reading and understanding all the terms and getting professional advice from an attorney, a trusted real estate professional, or a HUD approved housing counselor.

I believe the current mortgage crisis and foreclosure rates will get worse before they get better. Everyone, please consider your options and unload assets you can no longer afford, before the financial hole gets too deep. Once the foreclosure ball starts rolling downhill, it can quickly build speed and get beyond your reach. Stay on top of your options and make decisions that will keep your finances manageable.

I wish everyone the best during these challenging economic times.

Kennette Reed