Personal Brand Marketing – Brand Buzz 101

I understand the importance of visibility. As a small business owner, being "known" can be the difference between a steady flow of revenue or closing your doors. Yet, being visible is not enough. Being remembered is most important and means you occupy some prime real estate in the mind of someone. Garnering "share of mind" means that you somewhere along the way that they sampled your character and competency and you became memorable.

Marketing, by definition, is creating an exchange environment. For an individual, that could mean breaking a referral, speaking positively on your behalf, a promotion or an introduction. Branding, by definition, is an emotion or image tied to a product. YOU are the product. Even in businesses, people are the brand and define the company, more than any mission mission statement hanging in the lobby. So, how does an individual create "buzz" for their brand for visibility and more importantly to be remembered so that they can develop credibility?

1. Know what makes you unique.

Whether you're job hunting or wanting a position on board of director's, you need to confidently know what value you bring to the table.

2. Get really good at communicating what makes you valuable.

Ninety-three percent of communication is tone and body language. Spend time on the words so that what you say and how you communicate are congruent with your value. Yet, know that communication includes your image, the way you present yourself, your workspace, your phone skills and even your lunch meeting etiquette. They must all be congruent with what makes you valuable. Any discrepancies will jeopardize your credibility and could produce negative word of mouth which is a problem that I will address in future articles.

3. Manage that communication.

If you're creating "buzz" around your brand, it will require you to proactively manage the communication. For example, if you're new to a company or a position you will need to build a credibility wall. Yes, a physical wall if possible. It showcases every plaque, certificate, service honor, licensing, certification and degree you've received. This wall is your visual third party testimonial on the character and competency of your brand. Since that wall can not travel with you, make sure that anytime you're honored for volunteer service or recognized for a contribution that a copy of the "thank you" letter, note or card be placed into you personnel file.

Even if you're on your own, these "proof of credibility" tools will take you far. As the vice president of a business concern in college, I invited speakers to speak to our fraternity for professional development. I asked each of them to write a letter for me about their experience working with me so that I could include that in my personal portfolio. Many of these speakers went on to become regional directors, chief operation officers, chief financial officers, company presidents and further that my portfolio has become quite valuable. Actively "buzz" your brand! Doing that will develop credibility; credibility will lead to influence; and influence with lead to leadership.

Family Life – Today’s Extended Family – Two Or Three Generations Sharing One Home

As if the worst recession since World War II, near collapse of the financial system, double-digit unemployment & rising health care costs weren’t enough to deal with. Today’s modern family needs help.

Extended family living is the answer. Pull together, pool your resources with the ones you love and you will survive. Whether by necessity or choice… “before it becomes necessary”. Today’s families are looking back into their family history for crisis management answers.

After world war ii, with our economy in shambles, families struggled to rebound, instinctively they counted on one another, some family members, older and wiser, some young and strong. Life savings “nest eggs” usually provided by the elder members of the family secured immediate financial relief. In turn the younger members of the extended family worked on building a solid future, they sought out and worked jobs, sometimes two or three minimal pay jobs, anything to contribute to the family’s financial future. Everyone worked together, the work ethic was amazing, even children contributed to the family security. Household chores were done mostly by the kids, while the grand parents kept a watchful eye on the kids’ well being.

So the strong, young parents could focus on improving the job and wage possibilities. It took a while, but it did happen: families recovered, even thrived, and the family bond became even stronger.

If your family finds itself needing to expand, you must set clear and respectful boundaries and guidelines. Consider everyone’s need for private space and if possible develop affordable additional living space within your home.

Consider finishing the homes basement. You can virtually double your much need living space and basement finishing is the least expensive approach when adding true living space to your home!

It’s true…you can finish your basement for roughly 1/3 of the cost of, building an addition to your home! Your only other option to add living space to your home.

Investing in the Commercial Tampa Real Estate Market

For years, financial expert have made it clear that one of the best investments that a person can make is real estate. Of course, in this day and age – as has been the case throughout history – the most important investment most people ever make during the course of a lifetime is that of his or her primary residence. Indeed, you may be like many, many people who have invested a significant amount of their life savings in your own home.

With that said, you may also be interested in making the purchase of additional Tampa real estate for investment purposes. Of course, a good number of people who take this course end up buying residential real estate that they either remodel and resell (oftentimes called flipping) or that they utilize as rental property. On the other hand, an increasing number of people are also investing in commercial real estate as a means of enhancing their financial portfolios.

If you are interested in investing in commercial real estate in your community, there are five tips or pointers that you need to keep in mind before you make the plunge and make the purchase of commercial real estate for your own investment portfolio.

1. Learn how to identify appropriately the most suitable commercial real estate prospects. In other words, you need to take the time to consider which types of commercial real estate options will make the most sense for your overall financial portfolio.

2. Learn the basics of commercial real estate investing. You need to understand and appreciate that there are some significant differences between purchasing and owing residential real estate as opposed to investing in commercial real estate.

3. Learn how to quickly assess and evaluate different potential commercial real estate transactions. The Tampa real estate market can be competitive for commercial property. Therefore, you need to be able to swiftly analyze a particular investment to determine if it is appropriate to your situation. A professional Tampa real estate agent can be helpful in aiding you in these calculations.

4. Come to a logical understanding of all factors relating to a particular commercial real estate opportunity and the financing you can access for the purchase. The bottom line is you need to understand what your financial obligations will be when it comes to purchasing a particular piece of property. You need to make certain that it is an investment that you not only can afford but that will financially benefit you well into the future.

5. Come to an understanding of the potential risks and benefits associated with becoming involved in any Tampa real estate transaction. In other words, you will want to undertake a cost and benefit analysis. Generally speaking, the typical commercial real estate investor simply cannot afford to invest in such property that does not allow for a regular and strong stream of revenue. Indeed, it will be the revenue generated from the property that will service the mortgage loan that needs to be obtained to make the purchase and investment in the first instance.

Overseas Manufacturing and Clearing Goods Through Customs

When importing into a country, there are a number of terms, regulations and procedures an importer should be familiar with. The following is a guide of different issues to be aware of when importing.

For first time importers, it is highly advisable to pay a customs broker to enter and clear goods through customs. Customs brokers are licensed by the countries in which they operate, and they act on behalf of the importer to file the necessary documents for products to enter a country at the port-of-entry. Depending on their relationship with their client, they may also pay customs duties and other importing expenses on their client's behalf. Finally, they advise importers about issues of which they may need to be aware such as country or origin marks and other issues importers need to be aware of.

When choosing a customs broker, the importer should first make sure they can enter goods at the arrival port. In the US, customs brokers are licensed by the US Customs and Border Protection Service.

Prior to placing an order with a manufacturer, the relevant nation's customs agency and the importer's customs broker should be consulted to avoid possible problems such as the following:

  • Any legal issues that may exist with the product in the country of import.
  • Finding out after the product arrives at port that the it is subject to import quotas.
  • Possible health, safety or other regulations which apply to the product to be imported.

One easy to avoid, but common problem encountered when importing is the failure to mark the product in compliance with country of origin regulations. To avoid this, contact the relevant customs agency of the nation where the merchandise will be imported to ensure the goods are in compliance. For example, custom laws in the US require each imported good be marked with the English name of the country of origin (eg China) as reasonably, indelibly, and permanently as the nature of the article permits. Furthermore, this marking must be visible to the ultimate purchaser of the product.

The tariff rate levied by customs must be paid before the importer can take possession of the goods. While tariff rates in countries like the US average around 5% for most products, they can be significantly higher for some goods, particularly those with higher labor content. Therefore, it is important to know the rate before product arrives at port.

Before the goods are shipped, ensure the packing regulations for the destination country have been adhered. For example, every box, bale or case may need to be numbered with the exact quantity in each.

Other regulations include the type of pallets that can be used.

Problems with customs clearance often center around paperwork. Different goods often require different types of documentation, but the three major types of documentation the shipper must prepare include the following:

1. A bill of lading: This document, issued by the carrier or shipper, is basically a receipt of the goods acknowledging that they have been received on the vessel for shipment. This document indicates the particular vessel on which the goods have been placed, the destination of the goods, and the terms for transporting the goods to their final destination.

2. A commercial invoice: This is used as a customs declaration by the entity that is exporting an item across international borders. This document is required by customs to determine the value of the goods to assess duties and taxes, and goods must be invoiced in a systematic manner.

3. Packing list: This document is an itemized detail of the merchandise in a particular shipment. A copy is usually attached to the outside of the shipping container or inside the container itself so the merchandise may be counted by the person opening it.

It is crucial to make sure these documents, and any others that may be needed for a particular shipment, are carefully completed and reviewed before the goods arrive.

To avoid excess storage fees, arrange for a freight forwarder or some other type of transporter to ship the goods to their final destination as soon as they have cleared customs.

Being aware of these points, as well working closely with customs and a customs broker, will make the importing process smoother and will reduce the possibility of unnecessary difficulty or expense.