Thursday, December 29, 2016

Looking Ahead to 2017 - Some Positive Steps to Success

By now, you have probably received your share of Happy New Year wishes and email newsletters providing great advice on how to start the new year off on a positive and successful note.    As soon as the Christmas and Chanukah holidays are over, the next focus is the New Year ahead.

2016 was a challenging year from me personally and professionally in a good way.  But through adversity, I learned how to navigate through the bumps in life by always looking ahead and not to dwell on the past.   I made some mistakes, but rather looking at them from a negative perspective, I learn and spin it into a positive outcome.

Through my various business ventures, I am involved with Health/Wellness, Digital Marketing, Entrepreneurship and Business Networking.  What I like to do is provide a tip for each venture for you to focus on in 2017.

Health/Wellness:    Exercise in the morning whether it is at home, at the gym or going for a run and take a mutli-vitamin supplement.

By exercising in the morning, you are kick starting your day by being less stressed, more alert, and full of positive energy.   If you wait till after work, you are more likely to skip working out and go through a stressful day.   I have noticed since I have been exclusively working out in the morning,  I have leveraged my time for resulting producing activities in the evening.

Finally, take a multi-vitamin supplement in the morning.    By taking a good vitamin, you are strengthening your immune system and will allow your body to recover from your workout and the stresses of the previous day.   Unfortunately, most food today and especially your breakfast cereal do not have the vitamins you need to get through the day.

Digital Marketing:   Keep it positive and offer advice to your social media connections.

Unfortunately events in 2016 brought out the worst in people especially with the US Presidential Election going on and it was reflected in the social media posts..  Social Media has exposed the worst side of the First Amendment.

Going into 2017, follow a simple strategy, if what you like to post is negative and can offend anyone, do not post it.  It is that simple.   Instead post something that is positive and encouraging.   If you have a skill such as financial advice or how to exercise, provide some tips for your connections.

Entrepreneurship:  Even if you have a day job, start a side business.

You hear the stats all the time.  3 out of 4 millionaires have multiple streams of income or no job is safe anymore.   We are now in an entrepreneur economy and we are not going back.   The days of working 9 to 5 at the same job and then going home to watch TV or have a hobby and expecting Social Security and that 401k to cover retirement are OVER.   I experience it all the time, good friends of mine at the same job for years and years and they look at me like I am some crazy unstable person with multiple ventures and going from job to job.   But that is today's reality.

Do you have a hobby or a drive to dictate what you earn.  Do you want to have control of your own financial destiny?   If so, start a side business alongside your day job.  It is that simple.  With the internet today, you can do anything from anywhere.   What the side business will allow you to do is build another income that can be used toward retirement or investments such as real estate while the day job pays the bills.   There are so many options out there for side businesses whether it is consulting or network marketing or even owning a traditional business.   If you like, contact me if you like to discuss some options.

Business Networking:  Go to networking events even if you have never been and make friends.

Just like I mentioned in the entrepreneur section of my blog, we are in a different economy now.  The traditional way to connect with people and to look for work has changed.   Gone are the days of looking through a newspaper or on for your next opportunity.   You have to network at events to meet professionals and build great relationships.  It is extremely likely that your next opportunity will come from someone you met at a networking event.

Everyone at networking events are there for the same reason, to meet professionals and build relationships with like minded professionals.  So with the new year upon us, make 2017 the year you attend at least one networking event a month and build that contact list.   Linkedin is the best social network to track the people you meet and stay connected to them.  Finally, join my group on Facebook and contact me if you need help getting started in the world of business networking.

So hopefully,  I was able to provide some great tips to start the year for you.  It will be exciting year ahead with lots of great change.  Let's connect and help each other out and be successful together!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Networking Tips From Yours Truly - In My Own Words

Ever since I had an epiphany back in 2007 that my professional world is changing and that I will need to always keep my options open for success, I have networked with other professionals.   It started at my alma mater, Northeastern University, going to the Alumni networking events and meeting entrepreneurs for the first time along side corporate professionals.  It was a whole new world, that led me to become an entrepreneur myself and start various businesses alongside my primary career in IT.  Over time, I went to more networking events managed by various organizations in Greater Boston and then eventually I started my own group called Mass Professional Networking.     So, I have had some experience including meeting people from all walks of life and with different motives for going to networking events.

What I like to do now is share some observations and tips on how to conduct yourself and be prepared when going to a business networking event.

First, it is a business networking event, not a place to find a date.  
Recently I have met younger female entrepreneurs that were really green (no business cards - I will get to that later) when it comes to networking that seem to put their guard up when a male tries to introduce themselves.  Um, you are at a business networking event, it is not a social "pick you up" event.   My tip here if you are married or in a relationship, mention your significant other in conversation and focus on questions about their profession and why they are at the event.   And guys, look at the ladies in the eyes, not "below the eyes".  Show respect and you will get their respect.

Second, a networking event is not a place to get buzzed on booze.  

Yes, you may need a drink to loosen up and build confidence, but I have seen people get kicked out of an event or say inappropriate things after having a few too many.  Think, would you get drunk at work?   Going to a networking event is for work, so take it easy on the alcohol.

Third,  have a game plan before you go to a networking event. 
What is the reason you are going? What are you focusing on if you have multiple businesses/ professions.   If you meet me, one of the first questions I ask is what are your goals at the event, so I will be able to add value and help that person out.   An example, if you are a realtor, you may want to meet a real estate lawyer or a mortgage broker.

Fourth, bring business cards!  

I was at an event recently and met about 20 people and only 5 had business cards.   The whole goal of a networking event is to meet other business professionals and follow-up with any contact that you may want to do business with.  How can that happen if you don't have your business card with you?

Fifth, mingle.   

You didn't go to a networking event to stay in a close circle talking to your friends.  You go to networking events to focus on people that you don't know and expand your network.  You never know who you will meet.   When chatting with someone else, stand in a V format so that another person can come over and join the conversation.   If you don't want to talk to anyone, then you shouldn't be at the event.

Sixth tip, don't be shy and stand by yourself.    

Everyone is normally at a networking event for the same reason and want to meet you.  The best places to mingle is by the food or near the front of the event.   Walk around and observe people and I bet someone will reach out and shake your hand and start a conversation with you.

Seventh, don't be a salesman.    

I have met countless people where the first ten minutes they blurt out their scripted sales pitch and why their product or service is best and I find myself looking at my watch, my phone or the food, hoping they would stop.   Only give your thirty second elevator pitch when asked.  I will say it again, when asked.    Introduce each other and ask why they are at the networking event and bring up another topic like sports or weather.  Make the conversation natural, not one-sided.

My final tip is go to an event with the intention to help others.  Whether you have a product or service to help someone or know someone that can help, chances are that something will come out of every relationship you build through an introduction at a networking event.

I hope I was able to shed some light on what to do at a business networking event.   I have been out there for a while now and have seen it all.  It is what make this time in our lives so exciting.   Happy Networking!

Friday, December 23, 2016

2016 - What A Year and What About 2017?

It is absolutely insane that another year has gone by and what a year it was!

We lost some amazing musical talent from David Bowie to Prince to Leonard Cohen to more recently George Michael.

We had the most controversial US Presidential Election in recent memory which unfortunately has divided our country more than ever.

On a personal level, it was a sad year where I lost my dear mother-in-law and sister-in-law within four months.    We are doing better but it is always tough to lose close family members.  You never know when you are going to lose someone close so it is always important to be nice and respect your family and friends.

The old saying is to always focus on the positive, even when you are faced with adversity and 2016 was no stranger to adversity.

On a positive note, 2016 was a great year from me professionally.  I continued to enjoy working as an IT Director at a leading behavior health company in Boston.  My business ventures continue to grow and I am learning a lot more about business and marketing.   My networking group, Mass Professional Networking, had a great year with increased attendance and awareness by leading publications such as the Boston Globe and others.   AIMC Business Solutions has expanded its offerings to companies including the debut of SHOP Local.

Looking ahead to 2017, I am looking forward to taking my businesses to the next level, in particular my amazing business with Market America.   I feel it is getting to crunch time to find the right people to partner with and build an amazing organization.   I am also looking to take AIMC Business Solutions and AIMC Health Solutions to the next level and expand the knowledge of our amazing and effective products and services.   Finally, Mass Professional Networking and the new DeSocial Connector will be in place to help me connect my business colleagues to what they need.     All of this on top of my day job as an IT Director in Boston.

Ok, that is it from a business perspective.   Breath.

So what about the year ahead?

More importantly, I would like to focus more this coming year on building relationships and helping others.   Years and years of networking and "moonlighting as an entrepreneur" has solidified what I have known all along.  It is about the relationships, following up and making sure you are there for others.   2017 will be all about being there for others, being a positive influence and being determined to succeed.    I have the framework in place,   It is a matter of just doing it.

You Can Make Yourself Rich or some CEO of a Company Rich - Your Choice

Sometimes there is negativity about direct sales careers or network marketing so here is a different perspective because perception is everything....
When you buy MAC make-up, you're helping Fabrizio Freda's 5 year compensation to grow over $17,780,000.
When you buy Motives Cosmetics at though you're helping a Mom stay at home with her kids or maybe someone pay off their debts.
When you buy supplements from GNC, you are helping Michael Archbold make over $950,000 a year.
When you buy Isotonix Supplements at though you're helping a Mom stay at home with her kids or maybe someone pay off their debts.
The direct sales market is growing and a large amount of companies are shifting towards this approach.
SUPPORT those who choose these careers just like we would support you in yours, instead of supporting random people you don't even know.
Invest in yourself & build the life YOU dreamed of instead of funding someone else's goals.
Are you sick and tired of living paycheck to paycheck - or maybe not even able to stay above afloat some months?
Are you sick and tired of working long, tireless hours away from home, but there’s no choice... You must do what is necessary to pay the bills and put food on the table?
Are you sick and tired of paying the astronomical costs for someone else to raise your children, while you’re answering to a Boss?
Are you sick and tired of going to school with no GUARANTEE you will even find a job in your field?
Then we want to show you how you can DESIGN YOUR LIFE!
And here is your option - HERE. Leave us a message if you like to learn more about our business opportunity.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Why it is Not Good to Go Cheap on Your Website for Your Business.

I have had my own IT, Digital Marketing/Website Solution business for a few years now and have met thousands of people through my extensive networking in Greater Boston.   About 75% of the people I meet either have their own main business, a side (part-time) business or are in sales and marketing.   About 50% of those people have their own website or are working on their own website.

A website is the focal point of your business.  Not the Facebook page, Pinterest page, your website is the main source of revenue, interaction with clients/customers and where people land to learn about what you do.   The first page of your website is the most important page.  It is also the page where you would want the connections to take action whether it is to sign up for a webinar, purchase a product or service or simply contact you.   Your website should be hosted on a secure platform that allows you to change the content as much as you want.   The buzz word is content and without changing it, you will never get on that first page of Google.   Your website should also be on a platform that allows you to grow your business to meet your financial and customer goals.  Finally, your website should have the capabilities to be able to reach out to potential clients in a professional manner.   Think email marketing or outbound marketing.

So why do the majority of business owners go cheap on their website?  When I meet professionals at events, the typical answer on who is building their website is that they are either doing it themselves, having an intern or their cousin build it and hosting it under their desk in their living room or for heavens sake, they got sold one of those expensive SEO/Website packages from some large company that could care less about their business.  In all respects, your business website is the most important marketing investment you are going to make, so why not spend your marketing dollars wisely and build a great website that your connections will remember you for?    In today's world is all about being online, even if your business has a brick and mortar presence. 

Finally, when you are in business, get your website up and running as quickly as possible, build it with the take action on the first page, and don't look for that free labor or make it your side project.  What will happen is that potential clients will not take your business seriously and then you may be out of business.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Networking Tips Going Into 2017

It is hard to believe that I have been hard core networking for almost ten years now.   From my infancy days going to the Northeastern University Alumni Networking Events to now running my own business networking group called Mass Professional Networking,  the landscape has changed.   Back in 2008 and into 2009, the economy was at its worst and networking events were the place to be seen and heard.    Almost all of the events were packed mostly with professionals looking for their next job or trying to start a new business venture.   From Foxboro to Providence to Framingham to Boston, every event had well over 100 hungry professionals trying to meet as many people as possible.   I fell into the same routine, and aggressively build a large network myself.

Fast forward to the past year, I noticed the networking events have become smaller, but the quality of people and relationships are much better.    It is probably because the economy is much more stable and growing now.    There are not many unemployed attendees but instead professionals with great business ideas, expansion and growth.  It is actually a shame some stopped networking when their situation got better.    I always thought when things get better, professionals should network more than ever.

So we are now about to enter the year 2017.   The networking events are smaller, more focused and the attendees are more seasoned.    Here are some of my recommended tips to survive networking in 2017:

Stop the sales pitch now.   When you are at an event, look to make friends.  Would you go to a bar and start pitching your product or service?   Probably not.

Know why you are attending a networking event.   Who would you like to meet?  What questions you would ask to understand if someone you meet is worth following up with?   What is your thirty second non-salesy elevator pitch?  Having structure going into an event makes it worthwhile.

Only ask someone for a business card if there a possibility of following up with that person.   I am guilty of being a business card collector.  I have three full shoe boxes of cards to prove it.   Chances are, I have a card from every company in Massachusetts.

Go to as many events as your schedule allows. As I mentioned earlier, even when the going is good, you should continue to go to events.   You never know when your scenario will change.  You lose your job or your business no longer exists.

Stop thinking social media is for kids.   I still meet people that think Facebook or Twitter are for children and they wouldn't be caught dead using social media.  Social media is here and now and the #1 way to meet the right people.   The best way to use social media is for follow-up with professionals you have met at an event.

Your goal is to become a people magnet.   I am going to end this blog with this tip.   When you are popular and a great resource, people gravitate to you.   Be a nice person and make everyone you meet to be about them and not yourself.

Happy Networking in 2017!    

So what does the "AIMC" in AIMC Business Solutions mean anyway?

I started my own business a little over seven years ago called AIMC Websites which eventually became AIMC Business Solutions a couple of years later, when we offered more business services with social media management and IT Consulting, among other services.   It has been a great ride and there is no slowing down.  The goal is to expand our network and help small businesses take the next step in their vision to success.

Ok, I did not answer the question yet.   AIMC initially stood for All In My Cart, our internet marketing portal where our customers convert spending to earning.   It has been a wild success, since it is a no brainer for our customers, since they can convert all their online shopping onto one website and build a little annuity doing so.    I also cannot forget the great products in health/wellness and cosmetics too.

However, since the AIMC Business Solutions is a business services company, the "AIMC" needed to have more meaning in the business world.   I have always had a successful career in IT and more recently in social media management and have learned that in any technical or marketing challenge is important to develop an operational process/ structure in everything you do.    

Before you kick a project off the ground, you need to Assess (the "A") what you will need for financial and personal resources to design/define the system needed to meet the client's need.   Assess is the most important part of the project, so there are no surprises later in the project.  

Once the assessment and plan is complete, it is time to Implement (the "I") the system.   Implementing in the IT World can be building the system, going through a pilot or test cycle, and then going live in production.   In a social media campaign implementation, this would be the setup of the social platforms and activating all postings and interactions.

Once you go-live with an implementation, it is important to closely Monitor (the "M") how the new system is running or how the public is responding to a new social media campaign by reviewing analytics.   The first 30-60 days are very important.  Adjustments can be made and monitoring tools start providing good data on the system or campaign.  After 60 days, the system should be a well greased machine!

Once the monitoring tools are in place it is important to stay on track and Control  (the "C")how the system or social media campaign is performing.  In the IT and Social Media world, it is making sure you are proactive and not reactive to customer needs.    The IT System or Social Media Campaign cannot be a burden to the customer.   This is why the Control phase is important and when we never lose sight of this.

So there it is Assess Implement Monitor Control - AIMC Business Solutions.  If you need anything give drop us a message.   We would be happy to help your business plan your next project!

Mount Washington Auto Road New Hampshire w/ DeSocial Connector

Travel down the mountain from the Summit of Mount Washington in the White Mountains of New Hampshire on an amazing clear day. Thanks ...