Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Business Goals and New Year's Resolutions – WHO do you want to BE in 2008?

I've written about New Year's Resolutions in a recent post and here we are almost to the end of 2007. Have you thought about your business and where you want to take it? I know exactly where I'm going because I just updated my business plan.

Here are a few of the questions I asked myself while working on my business plan:

What do I want to do differently in 2008?
This year I want to do more writing about things I'm passionate about. Being an entrepreneur in the business world; characteristics of successful business owners; the benefits of a positive attitude. I also want more time for reading. I have a stack of books with topics that range from internet marketing to learning to train our brains to be more efficient. I just need to carve out time.

What do I want to delegate?
I definitely want to do less administration. Less bookkeeping and reconciliations. Oddly enough I'm fairly good at accounting. This is all thanks to my best friend Laura Klump who taught me how to keep a perfect set of books. I will be delegating the PR side of my business especially since I'm not good at Public Relations. I can help my clients promote themselves any old day, but I don't seem to be great at it for my own business. I don't want to delegate marketing because I LOVE IT! My mantra is: Keep doing what you're good at and delegate the rest.

WHO do I want to BE a year from now?
I want to be a wiser and better-rounded person. For the past 3 years I've had my head down while building this coaching business and now that I have a smoothly running machine I can take my foot off the accelerator and ease up a bit. This means I can devote more time to BEING a better friend, sister, auntie, wife, and community resident.

What exciting vacations do I want for 2008?
I don't know about exciting, but I want to go to Rocky Point Mexico at least a few times this year. There's nothing better than staying in a house on the beach with close friends and cooking and drinking wine on the patio while watching the wildlife go by. While I love the fancy resorts, I also crave simplicity and authentic relationships. That's what going to Rocky Point gives me - Time, space, great seafood, sand, ocean, and sunsets.

Take some time in the next few days to do some business planning and thinking about WHO you want to BE in 2008.

Grow Your Business and Prosper!
Suzanne Muusers
Business Coach for Entrepreneurs and Financial Advisors

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

29 Perfect Business Card Tips That Will Make You Loads of Money

I talked about the importance of Branding and New Year's Resolutions in my last post, so I thought I would post an article I wrote some time ago about how to make money from your business card by turning it into a Branding and Marketing piece. Read on for some useful tips.

I love networking and meeting new people. I enjoy the pleasant etiquette of exchanging business cards. Unfortunately, I have seen some poorly designed business cards in my travels. I have been handed a boring dull business card from someone claiming to be a professional graphic designer. I have been handed a torn and frayed off-size card by someone claiming to be a marketing consultant. I’ve seen cards with outdated contact information and scribbled corrections.

This article is intended to help business owners create and design a business card they can be proud to present – a card that will pass the trash test.

The goal is to be memorable. What I want for you is for prospects to remember who you are days, weeks, and months after the networking event and for you to make loads of money because of your business card!

Please use the tips listed here to design a card that makes money:

1. Don’t use plain white card stock for your business card. There’s nothing more boring than a white card.

2. Don’t use raised printing also called thermograph printing. This is considered passĂ©.

3. UV coating is the shiny coating you see applied to many business cards. Make sure you coat only one side of your card as people like to write on cards to remember who you are and where they met you.

4. Make sure there are 3 methods of communication on your business card. Prospects have a preferred method and if you don’t include it, you may not hear from them. List your phone number, email address, and mailing address.

5. Use your business card to drive traffic to your website. Advertise on your card “download my free report” at

6. Use a nice quality card stock for your card. There’s nothing that screams unprofessional as a thin card.

7. Don’t list your fax number unless your business regularly receives faxes as a normal part of your business workflow. This is extra information that doesn’t need to crowd your card if not appropriate. And you won’t be bothered by fax advertising.

8. Include a Tagline on your business card. Tell your target clients what it is you do for them. This will serve to polish your image and create a brand for your company. Put your Tagline on the front of the business card.

9. Maintain a consistent brand by utilizing your unique design on both your business card and your website.

10. Keep your business card simple. Don't try to cram too much information on your card. You need some “white” space to even out the design.

11. Use no more than two fonts in your card design. Fewer fonts make it easier on the eyes.

12. Don’t use all caps on your card. All caps are difficult to read.

13. Don’t use odd sized cards. Prospect keep regular sized business cards after networking events. Odd sized cards eventually end up in the trash.

14. Use the back of the card for something useful, like a listing of the benefits your clients receive from utilizing your services.

15. If you really want to be cutting edge, use the new video business cards available today. This technology is said to be the wave of the future and especially useful if you exhibit at tradeshows.

16. Do utilize a photograph of yourself on the front of your card if you are in a relationship building profession. This helps to make you more memorable.

17. Do utilize a four color photo of your creations on the back of your card if you are in the creative professions.

18. Make sure your business card fits who you are. If you’re an artist, include a photo of your work and make sure the card has an artistic feel. If you are in a conservative field, keep the design simple.

19. Make a digital version of your business card and include it in your email signature.

20. Use a professional email address on your cards: is not appropriate for the business environment.

21. Add certification titles to your card to add credibility.

22. When handed a business card, make sure to study the card and ask questions about the prospect. This makes you a more “interesting” person.

23. When giving out business cards take them from a case and hand them to your prospect so that the card is facing up. I don’t know how many times I’ve been handed an upside down business card.

24. Include an offer on the back of your business card such as a free consultation, or free service offered in the form of a call to action.

25. Include a card with all correspondence.

26. Use a logo that is visually appealing and tells prospects what it is you do for a living.

27. Use a 4-color business card. They are not expensive and are more memorable.

28. Make sure you list your title near your name.

29. Hand out your business card as much as possible. Keep a supply in your car so that you never run out!

Professionalism Counts

The best advice I can give you is to use a professional to design your business card. This is a one-time investment in your company identity. Just think about the additional fees you can command when you are perceived as an expert. How much is your professional presence worth to you? A well-designed business card shows that you are a successful entrepreneur and not a fly-by-night. It also positions your business for success by presenting a clear image of a company that can be trusted.

©Copyright 2007 Suzanne Muusers All Rights Reserved
About the author:
Suzanne Muusers is a Business Coach and Business Expert based in Scottsdale, Arizona. She has owned or managed a business every year for the past 25 years. She is a credentialed member of the International Coach Federation and works exclusively with entrepreneurs and financial advisors who want to leave behind their lives as business workers to become business owners earning six figures and above annually. Download her Free Report "Top 5 Business Mistakes Entrepreneurs Should Avoid" at

Monday, December 17, 2007

Branding and New Year’s Resolutions

* Do you have clip art as your business logo?
* Did you use a business card template from one of those inexpensive print websites?
* Do you feel that using the services of a professional designer is an expense you can skip?

Well, I’m here to tell you that it matters a great deal that you have a professional brand identity and there’s no better time than the New Year to get one! I’m writing this because very few people will tell you the truth about your business card or brand identity, but I will. People will take your card, glance at it, and decide what kind of business owner you are right there on the spot.


I run into a lot of bad business cards. I don’t want to be rude so I look at the cards with a pleasant face before putting them away all the while thinking “Don't people realize that they're making a bad first impression?”

I started my first business in 1985. It was an international fine jewelry company selling to upscale department stores. I hired a graphic designer to design a first rate brand. It worked. I was in 400 department stores within a few years and it had a great deal to do with how I presented myself, including my business cards.

If you’re using clip art, please stop right now - Step away from the clip art! If you’re using a template, it was good in the beginning and saved you money, but now it’s time to invest in your business. If you think you can skip the expense of a professional designer, think again.

What sort of message do you think you are sending to your target clients by not having a professional brand? I’ll clue you in: it sends a message that your business is under-funded, hasn’t been around long, is lacking in credentials and credibility, or is a fly-by-night.

What benefits come with a professional brand?

1. Being able to command higher fees (who doesn’t want this?)
2. Pre-sell yourself, less work on your part to acquire new clients
3. Attract better quality clients
4. Credible or professional image
5. Ability to brand products that you create and promote
6. Effortless Marketing is at work in the world for you!

So, what I want for you is to be a professional business owner, not a business worker, and one of the ways you can do this is by getting smart and presenting yourself as a successful, professional entrepreneur. I don’t care who you hire. Just make sure it’s someone with experience and creativity. Look at their portfolio and decide if they have the style you’re after. There are all types of budgets. Expect to pay between $600 and $1200 for a professional.

(another Monday night football post)
Grow Your Business and Prosper!
Suzanne Muusers
Business Coach for Entrepreneurs and Financial Advisors
Branding Packages

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The 4-Hour Workweek – Tim Ferriss - Book Review

This book review is about The 4-Hour Workweek, written by Tim Ferriss, a self-described serial-entrepreneur, scuba diver, tango dancer, and world traveler. The book is about how to live a meaningful lifestyle without delaying retirement and without wasting your life. This book has many "coach-like" tools and techniques which leads me to believe that Mr. Ferriss has at one time had a business or life coach who guided him in developing these principles.

As entrepreneurs we often dream about freedom – freedom to live a life of our own choosing, freedom to travel internationally to exotic locations, and freedom to create our own schedules.

Why should we wait unit age 65 to live the life we want? Why should we slave year after year to make someone else’s dreams come true when we can take control of our lives and live the dream now?

Ferriss breaks people down into two groups: the Deferrers and the New Rich. The Deferrers (D) work like the devil 80 hours a week to make the money to finance a highbrow lifestyle. They slave, save, and then retire. The New Rich (NR) design their business to finance a more meaningful lifestyle that includes travel, hobbies, and outsourcing.

What I got out of this book:

Does your Life have a Purpose? - What do you stand for? Are you working just to work? Are you buying new and better “things” but feel empty inside? Does your life have meaning? What are you contributing to the world? Figure out why you are on this planet and vow to live a life of meaning by contributing something of value to this world.

Create a Virtual Business and Delegate – create a company not a one person shop! Have others do the work for you. You’re a CPA that focuses on tax return preparation. A client is looking for someone to do their monthly accounting. Take this client and delegate or farm out the business. Put procedures in place for how your clients will be handled. Ferriss goes into detail about hiring Virtual Assistants (VA) to do much of your "busy" work for you so that you can concentrate on the important details of running a business.

Simplicity and Space – Did you buy a bigger house to hold all your possessions? Are your closets full of stuff you rarely use? What big-boy toys do you have but rarely use? Create space in your life to live. Clean out the clutter that prevents you from living a life of meaning.

Get Rid of Your Unprofitable Clients – when we've reached a certain level of success we can muster the courage to pick our clients based upon certain parameters, namely how much we enjoy working with them and how profitable they are. Some entrepreneurs chose to refer the unprofitable clients to someone starting out in the business, usually for a referral fee. The profitable clients are retained and used to grow the business.

Time Management – one of the major points of this book is how much time we waste by trying to "stay busy" rather than being "productive". Email is now our enemy rather than a tool to help us manage our business effectively. Ferriss points out that he checks his email only once per week. I'm not sure how easy this would be for the majority of entrepreneurs. I am certainly aware of how email is a time waster. I personally don't check or answer email on the weekends. I use that time to live my life. How often have you been "busy" the entire day, but when you look back you can't quite put your finger on what you actually got done?

Focus on Your Strengths, not Your Weaknesses – as a business coach for entrepreneurs, I support this notion wholeheartedly. All too often I hear about business owners who are trying to "fix" the things they're not good at. I'd rather see us delegate weaknesses, and do what we're REALLY good at – and do it well.

The book also goes into depth about how to create a business that runs on Autopilot (MBA - management by absence) based on product creation and internet sales. Of course, automation is the key!!!

While I think this is an extremely beneficial book for entrepreneurs and small business owners, I also believe it proposes some out of the box solutions to common problems that will take some getting used to. However, I believe it will take some radical changes to "fix" our overly complicated, revenue-driven, valueless lifestyles.

This book is a good read and I recommend it for all entrepreneurs seeking a better quality of life.

Grow Your Business and Prosper!
Suzanne Muusers
Business Coach for Entrepreneurs and Financial Advisors

Monday, December 3, 2007

Go ahead. Google me! Make my day.

Have you ever done a google vanity search?

You know what I mean. Have you ever googled yourself late at night when no one was watching? If your name is Joe Smith, have a seat and good luck searching. But if your name is Suzanne Muusers, and you happen to be a Business Coach for Entrepreneurs and Financial Advisors, and you are of Australian Dutch decent, then it’s pretty easy.

Tonight while watching a fascinating evening of Monday Night Football with my husband (warning – sarcasm present), I decided to google myself on my husband’s laptop (he has wireless internet access AND a MAC). I became acutely aware of how important it is to know how to OPTIMIZE YOUR WEBSITE FOR THE SEARCH ENGINES.

It never fails. When I first start working with a client they are nowhere in the organic search engine results for their key words (the unpaid natural results). They may have used a no-name, bargain-basement web designer to create their site without understanding that it takes more than design skills to build a successful site.

There’s no shame in it. I did it way back in 1999. I hired a guy to create my gallery/gift store website not understanding that a low price is not always a good value. Not only did the guy not know a thing about good design, he didn’t know anything about search engine optimization (SEO). It was a complete waste of my $500.00.

So tonight I googled some of my key words (internet search terms associated with what I do best, what I’m known for) without adding my name. I typed in “Business Coach for Financial Advisors”. I came up number 4 NATIONALLY for these key words. I typed in “Business Coach for Entrepreneurs” and I’m number two NATIONWIDE.

I have intentionally made myself a specialist in Search Engine Optimization. I have taken classes, workshops, teleclasses, attended conferences, all so that I could understand for myself what SEO could do for me and my clients.

How are you ranked?

Did your web designer utilize design and SEO? Did you obtain a good value or waste your money? No matter your answer, let me coach you how to create an Effortless Marketing strategy to draw clients to you. This is what I do best.

Grow Your Business and Prosper!
Suzanne Muusers
Business Coach for Entrepreneurs and Financial Advisors

Cashflow, marketing, and new clients

Most of my clients hire me with the intention of being in the top 10% of their industries within one to three years. What are the indicators of success? Who are the clients who are most likely to succeed? I find that those who learn how to focus, set priorities and cut through the gobblygook are the winners.

In a breathless voice my client called and told me about an idea he had to revolutionize his industry. He had been thinking about a system that would allow a service technician to perform the job with faster service levels and superior results. It would take time, and money, and take him away from other duties. Then he mentioned he really needed to bring in more revenue. He had bills due and marketing he needed to concentrate on.

How, he asked me, was he going to balance cashflow with all the things he needed to do?

First I asked him to make a list of all his marketing and business priorities. Then I asked him to place three stars next to actions that would result in cashflow within 30 days, two stars for 60 days, and one star for 90 days or more.

Possible Activities that needed to be done
1. Create advertising for print media - *
2. Calling and/or meeting with contacts made at networking events – this is very effective and can result in new clients within 30 days ***
3. Leveraging alliances with people he already knew – new clients almost immediately or up to 60 days **
4. Sending out an email marketing campaign and following up with phone calls – cash flow almost immediately or up to 60 days **
5. Email marketing, phone calls, AND booking appointments – cashflow immediately ***
6. Developing a new product or service line – 180 days to one year before cashflow – no stars

What is the most effective activity to build cashflow? Without a doubt it is direct contact with prospects. Email campaigns, newsletters, and advertising are all great, but nothing comes close to the effectiveness of speaking or meeting in person with prospects.

To be in the top ten percent of your industry you often have to do the activities that you most want to put off. Pick up the phone and call your clients or prospects. Get out in the field and talk to people. Sitting at your desk will not get you new business.

Grow Your Business and Prosper!
Suzanne Muusers
Business Coach for Entrepreneurs and Financial Advisors