Reconnect with your 2011 contacts
In these transitional economic times, says networking expert Hank Blank, president of Hank Blank Inc.,in Laguna Niguel , California , it's important to stay top-of-mind with all of the people you meet and with whom you have networked in the past.
Here, Blank offers five tips on building your career or business in 2012 to help you grow financially and personally.
Did you meet a number of people in 2011 that you didn't follow up with? If so, he advises, it's a lost opportunity that you can capitalize upon early in the New Year. A major danger in networking is meeting people and not following through. It doesn't build a connection point and certainly not a network. Review your networking meetings from last year and contact those people from 2011 that had the most connection points for you and reach out to them. They will remember you.
Enter those Christmas card addresses in your database and follow up early in the New Year by reeducating your personal contacts on your business ventures and goals in the New Year. Your business model may have changed dramatically and your personal contacts may not be aware of your current activities.
Get personal as well as business finances in order
While almost all business owners put together plans for their companies' 2012 business growth, many may be too busy to take stock of their personal finances.
Amalgamated Bank, along with LaGuardia Community College/CUNY has put together some useful tips for taking control of personal finances. Here are some that can help you maximize your household cash flow:
- Obtain a personal credit report from all of the following credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. Individuals are entitled to one free report per calendar year from each one. A useful site is www.annualcreditreport.com . Correct any errors on the report.
- If you have personal debt, list the debt, interest rates, annual fees and minimum monthly payments. Pay off the interest on your highest-rate cards first.
- Create a balance sheet to assess your net worth.
- Set short-term (one year or less) and moderate-term (1 to 3 years) goals; create a realistic spending plan that will help achieve these goals.
- If you're expecting an income tax refund, have your tax return prepared and filed sooner rather than later; decide ahead of time how you'll use the refund.
- Low-interest lures are always attractive, but the pitches may contain costly small-print details. Be sure to read them. For example, credit card offers that allow the transfer of high interest rate credit card balances to zero-interest accounts may charge a transfer fee of 3%, with a minimum fee of $5 or more and a maximum of $75 or more.
Better communications can add to the bottom line
Improve your company's written business communications and you're likely to increase company profits. That's the conclusion reached by a new study conducted by communication firm Information Mapping, Inc., in Waltham , Massachusetts .
Poorly written presentations, proposal, memos, employee manuals and even e-mails are responsible for many business problems, the study revealed. Among them: mistakes and performance errors, stress, low morale, high employee turnover, overwhelmed help desks, and a high number of support calls.
The study, released in December 2011, pointed to common problems in a wide range of industries:
- 55% of those surveyed said employees could not easily find information they needed to do their jobs;
- 45% complained that the information they used in business was not accurate, complete, or up to date; and
- 44% reported that their current information doesn't contain the right amount of detail to make it effective.
he irony revealed in the report, according to Deborah Kenny, vice president and general manager of IMI 's Learning Solutions, is that “managers feel they have bigger, more important issues to worry about – like poor sales performance, low customer satisfaction ratings, skyrocketing operating costs, failed audits, high turnover, or costly compliance or manufacturing errors. They don't see that their organization's ineffective communications are costing them money and are often the root cause of each of these problems.”