Wednesday, January 3, 2018

NJSBDC Ramapo Case Study: Hafco Foundry & Machine
Small businesses and even non-profit organizations, which by and large are also businesses with a mission rather than profits in mind, have the good fortune to turn to Small
Business Development Centers for comprehensive guidance on many day-to-day business issues ranging from how to start up a venture, to expansion and even succession advice.
These centers are situated in many locations in every state, oftentimes affiliated with a university or college business school.
I recently learned of an interesting and fruitful collaboration between the New Jersey Small Business Development Center at Ramapo College of New Jersey and Hafco Foundry & Machine Co., Oakland, NJ. As a result, the company successfully emerged from succession difficulties and set out on an energetic course of prosperous business development.
Hafco is a family-owned distributor of metal castings and machined parts to the rail industry, and manufacturer of industrial pneumatic vacuums and dust equipment for the coal mining industry. Founded in 1969 by Horace Fornaci, the company is managed today by brother co-presidents, Basil and Billy Fornaci, who are third-generation owners of the business. During nearly five decades in business, Hafco experienced steady and consistent growth, achieving more than $6 million in annual sales.
Basil and Billy Fornaci joined the company in 2011 and 2013, respectively, with Basil as the head of sales, and Billy as the chief engineer. Their uncle, Michael Fornaci, served as president for 16 years, and their father, William Fornaci, the CFO.
In September 2015, Michael Fornaci unexpectedly passed away.
With no written agreement in place to cover ownership succession, his widow became the default owner, and placed her trust in a law firm that cared only for her personal gain, without considering the needs of the business or its employees. Having cast CFO William Fornaci as an adversarial party, instead of the next rightful president, the company’s future was anything but certain. Legal and accounting fees were mounting, with little communication with William Fornaci.
Then in March 2016, William Fornaci passed away, before any ownership rights were transferred.
The Fornaci brothers took control of day-to-day operations, while also reviewing a draft of an agreement, proposed by the original lawyers, written to cover the ownership and define the future operations of the company. It was at this point that Billy Fornaci reached out to the New Jersey Small Business Development Center at Ramapo College.
Vincent J. Vicari, regional director of the center, assigned the Hafco case to business consultant Jim Palumbo, whose experience and knowledge was a perfect fit for the company’s immediate needs. At the very first meeting, Palumbo pointed out some significant flaws in the way this agreement was written. The agreement was then re-written and accepted based on recommendations of Jim Palumbo. Basil and Billy Fornaci were quick to realize that business people cannot take business advice from lawyers and accountants without verification. The NJSBDC at Ramapo later connected Hafco with a law firm that ultimately served as a neutral party, drafting the formal agreements and handle the transfer of ownership.
Palumbo’s advice turned out to be invaluable for Hafco. In fact, he saved the company from what could have been a disastrous agreement. Over the past year and a half, Palumbo has helped to transform Basil and Billy from family business employees to confident and knowledgeable business owners. In addition to managing day-to-day operations, they’ve learned to create a business plan, generate yearly and quarterly budgets, and forecast the company’s sales. More importantly, they’ve realized the value of implementing all of these business tools.
The company’s growth was recently recognized by the state-wide New Jersey Small Business Development Center. Hafco was presented with the center’s Small Business Growth Success Award.
“The SBDC was a blessing in disguise for us. Our company was at such a fragile point when we reached out to Vince. We were able to use many of the resources and knowledge that the NJSBDC could provide,” observed Basil Fornaci.
His brother Billy noted “Being paired with Jim Palumbo was exactly what we needed. His knowledge and expertise were so valuable to a point where I was ready to make him an offer to get him out of retirement. We will be continuing to meet with Jim once a month as our business is now growing faster than ever and the ability to execute some of his ideas really shows. Thank you and see you at the top.” 
Today, Jim Palumbo and the NJSBDC at Ramapo continue to offer advice to Hafco in areas such as human resources, distribution agreements, marketing plans, customer relations, inventory management, etc. Going forward, Basil and Billy will continue to implement these new skills and knowledge, and carry on Hafco’s legacy of success.
Small Business Development Center locations can be easily searched online. In New Jersey, the main office is located at Rutgers University in Newark. The Center is committed to guiding established small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs to create and expand their business enterprises, which will, in turn, result in sustainable growth, job creation and statewide economic development and prosperity. NJSBDC counseling is free. Training workshops are fee based but affordable.

NJ Small Business Development Centers
Rutgers Business School
1 Washington Park, 8th Floor
Newark, NJ 07102

NJSBDC at Ramapo can be contacted at this address:
Vincent J. Vicari, Regional Director
NJSBDC at Ramapo College of NJ
Anisfield School of Business
505 Ramapo Valley Road
Mahwah, NJ 07430-1623

Small businesses will be interested to know that there is a wave of optimism on the horizon. Check my previous blog. In view of this buoyant mood, it would be wise to promote your goods and services now using all traditional and new wave media and social media. Don’t forget to tweet and retweet often – up to a half a dozen times a day – about what you produce and offer.
If you need help, contact me.

I’d also like to invite you to visit my Thought Leadership website:
http://thoughtleadership.yolasite.com/              
If you’re looking for advice on recruiting, company handbooks and other human resources topics, I’d like to suggest to you this interesting website:
Scroll down on the Boosting Your Outreach blogsite to read or reread older posts.


PHOTO: At the NJSBDC Small Business Growth Success Awards luncheon: Brenda B. Hooper, CEO and NJSBDC director, Basil and Billy Fornaci of Hafco Foundry & Machine Co., Joe Palumbo, and Vincent J. Vicari, regional director, NJSBDC at Ramapo College.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A Wave of Business Optimism is on the Horizon
Are you prepared to ride the crest?
According to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), optimism among small businesses in the US advanced in November to the highest level in more than 34 years as owners became more upbeat about future economic conditions and sales prospects, reported Bloomberg News.
Among the highlights that brought a smile to small business owners are:
·         Index rose by 3.7 points to 107.5 (est. 104), highest in monthly data back to 1986; highest since 3Q 1983 when looking at earlier quarterly figures;
·         Net 48% expect better business conditions in next six months, biggest share since January and up from 32% a month earlier;
·         Net 34% expect higher sales, largest share since October 2005 and up from 21% in September.
Hopefully, you’re also anticipating growing your business.
The NFIB said the small-business optimism index showed all but two of the 10 components increased from a month earlier, including a record net 24% share of small business owners who said they plan to add jobs. Construction, manufacturing and professional services registered notable increases in planned hiring.
The figures indicate the recent solid pace of job growth will be sustained and help extend the economic expansion, the NFIB underscored.
In order to capitalize on this business boost next year, savvy business owners must prepare now. The economic figures demonstrate that your customers are primed to buy. However, they must be aware that you have what they’re looking for.
You should inform them about the products and services as well as discounts and specials that you are offering by regularly and often outreaching to customers.
Reaching out to your existing and new customers cannot be a last-minute effort. If you wait too long, the wave will pass you. You must launch your marketing campaign now in order to whet the marketplace’s appetite for your goods and services. Actually, you should roll over your special holiday outreach effort into next year’s promotion before The New Year.
Social media and Twitter are the fastest and least expensive means to tell the world about your plans.
However, you can’t wake up one morning telling yourself “I’ll start tweeting today.” You have to develop a plan, strategy and community of followers about what you want to accomplish. Making your company well known for its products or services is a legitimate goal for your business.
To succeed in social media or Twitter marketing, you must create a topic or area of expertise, build an audience and invite the world to join your conversation. It’s about talking to your prospects, consumers and vendors, and interacting with them. If you are not going to do this, don’t use Twitter as a marketing tool; it simply won’t work. Make friends, be a friend, follow and reply. Show your followers that you want to engage and be involved with them – this provides ideal customer service and states that you are, in fact, personable – worthy of their attention.
Give people useful information and answer their questions, and they will consider you a valuable member of their community – a thought leader. That’s an important first step to winning new customers via social media outreach.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then adding an image to a tweet will greatly expand what you can share beyond the new 280-character limit.
You can’t build your business by keeping to yourself and you surely cannot have success on social media without virtually shaking hands. Create followers and their followers and readers may become your followers and readers. This builds your recognition in Twittersphere. If you don’t interact with the world, the world will leave you by the side of the road and your products and services will not see the light of day.
Use hashtags “#” that focus on keywords or buzzwords that are used in your industry and also Twitter handles “@” that direct your information to specific people, companies, vendors and industries. This requires that you spend time researching both tools. Don’t underestimate the benefits of hashtags and handles.
Additionally, discuss your sales projections with your vendors and suppliers so they are aware of your plans and can fulfill your grand design.
How will you reach out to the marketplace?
Join the conversation in cyberspace about boosting your business and outreach by using Twitter and social media and let me know your thoughts. If you have examples of how you’ve tweeted to boost outreach, let me know about it and I’ll help you spread the word about your success.
Don’t forget to tweet and retweet often – up to a half a dozen times a day – about your products and services.
If you need help, contact me.
I’d also like to invite you to visit my Thought Leadership website:
http://thoughtleadership.yolasite.com/              
If you’re looking for advice on recruiting, company handbooks and other human resources topics, I’d like to suggest to you this interesting website:

Scroll down on the Boosting Your Outreach blogsite to read or reread older posts.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Cyber Security is Your First Responsibility
Read today’s news and you’ll quite likely read about a cybercrime. It’s as prevalent as robbing a bank used to be. You feel sorry for the victims but you go about your business.
However, you must realize that you could be next. Cyber thieves and extortionists are not only targeting multinational corporations and governments. They are also aiming for small businesses and non-governmental organizations.
As a matter of fact, anyone who possesses a computer system with access to the Internet can be a victim of a cybercrime. Anyone who maintains a database of individual customers or business-to-business statistics can be subjected to a data breach.
NGOs or non-profits that maintain fundraising data that include donor names and addresses and how much they donate are as alluring as beehives for bears. Jessica Robinson, founder and CEO of PurePoint International, prompted non-profits to imagine what their fund raising campaigns would look like if last year’s database was breached and your supporters’ vital information accessed.
If you fall into these categories – and who doesn’t nowadays – you must be doubly careful. Unlike victims of other crimes, victims of cybercrimes can be held criminally responsible for being negligent with their customers and stakeholders’ information. Indeed, as a result, the victimized small businesses and NGOs will have their reputations harmed, can inadvertently subject their clients and advocates to cyber breaches, can be sued, and ultimately can be forced to close their doors.
Every person and business is in danger of cyberattacks and it would be the height of folly to think it won’t happen to you. “If you’re a consumer or business, they’re gunning for you,” warned George Waller, co-founder, Strike Force, an expert in cyber security. With breaches at an all-time high, companies should focus on cyber resilience round the clock because security is never guaranteed.
Earlier this month, I attended an informative and sobering daylong session on what businesses and non-profits must do to protect themselves, their clients and stakeholders. Taking its cue from today’s headlines, the Small Business Development Center of New Jersey at Ramapo College organized a “Cyber Resilience” conference about how to diminish the damaging effects of a cyber security breach.
More than 100 businessmen and women attended the timely event at Ramapo College and heard cyber experts offer advice on protecting their businesses. The speakers explored how entrepreneurs can lessen threats and vulnerabilities, what defenses should be developed, and the resources needed for mitigating a security failure after it happens.
Cyber security and cyber liability insurance today have evolved into business necessities. The task of preventing cyber breaches cannot be delegated to one person or department because cyber security is the responsibility of the owner, director, every manager and all employees.
David Weinstein, chief technology officer, State of New Jersey, pointed out that in today’s business climate, small businesses are as vulnerable to cyberattacks as big businesses. Consequently, owners and directors must pay attention to how they do business via the Internet.
According to Michael T. Geraghty, chief information security officer, State of New Jersey, phishing emails is the number one threat facing Internet users. Phishing is the fraudulent practice of sending emails purporting to be from reputable companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers.
“We’re being bombarded with phishing emails,” he emphasized.
Geraghty said the NJ Office of Homeland Security is mandated to protect citizens and businesses in the Garden State against cyberattacks and other catastrophes. Threats come not only from major global players but also local gangs and hoodlums, he pointed out. To protect your organizations, entrepreneurs and civil society activists must “think like a criminal not like an IT expert.”
Eric Hodge, director of Consulting, CyberScout, noted that state cyber actors are not hacking for financial gain but rather for influence or to undermine our confidence in our system of government. Proof of this is Russia’s recent successful cyberattacks that subverted our election system and spread distrust.
The task of protecting your computer system is never ending because hackers know when you are most distracted and create situations to deflect your attention from what’s going on in your groups. The speakers emphasized the necessity of maintaining good cyber hygiene and installing software upgrades when they become available.
Karen Painter Randall, partner and certified civil trial attorney, Connell Foley LLP, detailed the wide extent of cyber threats by saying businesses should understand that the question is not if they will be breached but rather when. Cyber security is no longer an option, she said, adding that cyber liability insurance is a necessity.
Waller of Strike Force warned that another weighty online threat comes from hackers, who transform seemingly safe websites into locations that could violate visitors’ security. Anything on the Internet can be turned into a harbinger of spyware that threatens businesses and NGOs, he said.
The speakers indicated that small computer users are as vulnerable to cyberattacks as large businesses. They are being bombarded by dangerous phishing emails while the greatest Internet predators are hackers – technologically skilled criminals that can break into any computer system. Of commercial and non-commercial organizations that have experienced hacking, statistically, 60% of them have been forced to close their doors within six months due to irreparably injured credibility.
Businesses were advised to keep track of their employees’ Internet usage since 80% of breaches are the result of employee mistakes, carelessness or malice. Entrepreneurs and NGO managers must keep in mind that their trusted employee could be their weakest link due to a lack of training.
Vikas Bhatia, founder and CEO, JustProtect Inc., said people are key in cyber security and urged managers to perform system scans and penetration tests. If not, he cautioned, someone else will do that and that person doesn’t work for you.
Cyber criminals create more than 400,000 viruses each day that unlawfully penetrate computer systems looking for personal and financial information. Ransomware, or extortion, is successful because it is easy to execute. General data breach costs companies $4 million while globally the figure could reach $5 billion. The average payment to cyber extortionists is in the range of $20-40,000. A personally shocking statistic revealed at the session was that 82% of social security numbers have been hacked more than once.
Vincent J. Vicari, regional director of the NJSBDC at Ramapo College, emphasized the importance of the conference by saying “Today’s event was invaluable for small businesses because small businesses have only one chance to get it right. When they fail or they allow their client list to be compromised, they don’t have a second chance to rebuild their credibility. Today’s event gave hard takeaways that clients can use to protect their businesses so they don’t get attacked the first time.”
The takeaway for small businesses and non-governmental organizations (nonprofits) is that cyber security is not an end, it is a value that should be ingrained into the culture of your business and NGO. You will not begin to be cyber safe until you admit that you are in danger. You cannot hide behind a veil of denial.
On the other hand, thinking about cyber security after it occurs is too late. You have to be engaged in your own cyber security from the moment you first open the door to your office. It’s the owners and NGO leaders’ responsibility to instill confidence in clients and stakeholders that their computer system is secure. Failure to do so threatens reputations and damages operations. Businesses and civil society are responsible for maintaining their cyber security otherwise they could be held liable by their clients.
Companies that you do business with that are cyber safe want to do business with companies that are also cyber safe. If your organization doesn’t meet cyber requirements, it will be taken off your customers and stakeholders’ preferred supplier list.
It is impractical to suggest a return to the days of paper records. So it is incumbent upon you to pay close attention to your digital/cyber records.
Join the conversation in cyberspace about cyber security. I’ll help you spread the word about your concerns.
I’d also like to invite you to visit my Thought Leadership website:
http://thoughtleadership.yolasite.com/              
If you’re looking for advice on recruiting, company handbooks and other human resources topics, I’d like to suggest to you this interesting website:
Lao, if you’re in northern New Jersey, I’d like to direct your attention to the free services and consultation of the NJ Small Business Administration of Bergen County at Ramapo College. Tell Vince Vicari, executive director, that I sent you. https://www.njsbdc.com/locations/bergen-county/

Scroll down along the Boosting Your Outreach blogsite to read or reread older posts.

Monday, November 13, 2017

How to Keep Cool under Stress
The only differences between small businesses and their larger colleagues are in the number of employees and headquarters size. The intensity of stress is the same across the board.
As a small business owner or a non-profit director, you are faced with a range of issues that keep you up at night.
  • Will we conclude the important contract?
  • Will we secure a new line of credit?
  • Will we be ready for the new product launch?
  • Will we convince stakeholders of the importance of our mission?
  • Will we raise enough funds in this year’s campaign?
  • Will we hire enough employees to get the job done?

And so on and so forth.
For the good of your small business, your non-governmental organization and your own health, it is important to keep stress from debilitating you. You must control anxiety and remain mission driven in order to overcome the problem, keep your business alive and your employees and staffers employed.
So what to do?
I came across an interesting article about how the National Aeronautics and Space Administration officials keep their cool when they encounter mission and life-threatening glitches in a moon launch.
In an article in Business Insider, former NASA flight director Paul Hill explained what his team does in difficult situations. Hill had a high-stakes job managing 24 space shuttle and International Space Station missions for the program.
Hill, the author of “Leadership from the Mission Control Room to the Boardroom: A Guide to Unleashing Team Performance,” led the investigation into the 2003 Columbia disaster. He said NASA’s flight controllers employ certain strategies and thought processes to combat stress during crises. Those tactics came in handy during the 2001 incident, Hill pointed out.
With intense focus, flight controllers are able to deal with potentially catastrophic situations. Instead of “running down the halls with our hair on fire,” Hill said the team would focus on a series of questions:
  • What was everything they knew — and did not know — about the situation at hand?
  • What did the data actually say about the situation at hand?
  • What was the worst thing that could happen as a result of the situation?
  • Did the team have enough information to know for sure — and how could they get more information?
  • What immediate steps could be taken to continue making progress in the mission or keep everyone safe?

Hill recounted that it’s important not to let past strategies or outcomes bias your understanding about a new crisis whether you’re flying people into space or launching your own business.
He explained that trouble occurs when a calamity happens and you feel the urge to say “No problem, I’ve been in this situation before. This is what we did the last three times. It’s always worked so I'm going to do it again.”
Past successes do not guarantee current or future successes.
Hill said that’s why he always tried to instill a bit of “fear” in his team members, lest they allow their past successes go to their heads.
“What we do today, the decision we make today, matters,” he said. “We have to look at this data and make the right decision and take the right action or make the right recommendation to protect these astronauts, these people who are friends of ours.”
You may not be preparing for the first manned Mars launch, but taking into consideration these NASA tips may help you and your team survive your earthbound complications.
Join the conversation in cyberspace about overcoming stress let me know how you fared. I’ll help you spread the word about your success.
I’d also like to invite you to visit my Thought Leadership website:
http://thoughtleadership.yolasite.com/              
If you’re looking for advice on recruiting, company handbooks and other human resources topics, I’d like to suggest to you this interesting website:
If you’re in northern New Jersey, I’d like to direct your attention to the free services and consultation of the NJ Small Business Administration of Bergen County at Ramapo College. Tell Vince Vicari, executive director, that I sent you. https://www.njsbdc.com/locations/bergen-county/
Scroll down along the Boosting Your Outreach blogsite to read or reread older posts.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

More Social Media Success Stories
If you are still harboring doubt about the viability of social media, here’s more proof directly from today’s headlines.
In an attempt to undermine the political structure of the United States, the Kremlin created a diabolical plot aimed at subverting the 2016 Presidential Elections with social media.
The plan was simple. An institution created content and information, and developed a foolproof plan of execution – the Internet. The formula is straightforward and one that I have been writing about for a while.
According to reports, Russia-linked accounts sent more than 1.4 million automated tweets about the US elections. Ultimately, to its credit, Twitter suspended these accounts. Furthermore, “fake information” posted on Facebook reached 126 million Americans – about one-third of the population.
Emphasizing how widely content on the social media platform can spread, Facebook said in prepared testimony it submitted Monday, October 30, to the Senate Judiciary Committee that while some 29 million Americans directly received material from 80,000 posts by 120 fake Russian-backed pages in their own news feeds, those posts were “shared, liked and followed by people on Facebook, and, as a result, three times more people may have been exposed to a story that originated from the Russian operation.”
Note what Facebook pointed out: share, like and follow. Content that you create and disseminate via Twitter or Facebook should be shared, liked, followed, or retweeted to win as many views and followers as possible. This means following this procedure 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
Posts from Russian-backed Facebook accounts from January 2015 to August 2017, by Facebook’s estimation, reached potentially half of the 250 million Americans who are eligible to vote. None of the 80,000 posts generated by fake Russian-backed pages includes the 3,000 Facebook advertisements purchased by Russian entities, according to others familiar with the issue.
The shared content that Facebook estimates reached 126 million Americans was likely hard, if not impossible, for users of the social media platform to identify as originating from Russia. But nonetheless it did appear in cyberspace.
Google said in a blogpost yesterday it has discovered 1,108 videos uploaded to its YouTube video site, which were viewed a total of 309,000 times in the U.S. from June 2015 to November 2016, by accounts linked to Russian operatives. The videos encompass 43 hours of content from 18 different English-language accounts, it said. In addition, Google said two accounts linked to the Internet Research Agency spent $4,700 on search and display ads during the 2016 elections.
Tech giants Facebook, Twitter and Google are expected to testify before Congress about Russian disinformation today and Wednesday.
Social media platforms are being vilified for falling prey to destructive Russian propaganda. Indeed, they weren’t careful. While oversight of their activity will not benefit the beneficial commercial and social interaction and intercourse on the Internet, their common task is to step up self-policing.
For small businesses and nonprofits, the lesson here is that social media works. As I have written, all you have to do is create a strategic plan about why you need to be involved in social media, develop content, build a community of followers, formulate a plan of execution and then fulfill it recurrently.
How will you tweet?
Join the conversation in cyberspace about boosting your business and outreach by using Twitter and social media and let me know your achievements. If you have examples of how you tweeted to boost outreach, let me know about it and I’ll help you spread the word about your success.
I’d also like to invite you to visit my Thought Leadership website:
http://thoughtleadership.yolasite.com/              
If you’re looking for advice on recruiting, company handbooks and other human resources topics, I’d like to suggest to you this interesting website:
If you’re in northern New Jersey, I’d like to direct your attention to this timely topic: Cyber Resilience seminar at Ramapo College, Ramapo, NJ. Wednesday, November 8. All day. Sponsored by NJ Small Business Administration of Bergen County and Small Business Administration. Admission Free. Registration Required. www.sbdcbergen.com

Scroll down along the Boosting Your Outreach blogsite to read or reread older posts.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Wanted, Social Media Manager – Are You Available 24/7?
Advice blogs and columns on how to do social media abound. You can’t open a professional website like Linked In without being inundated with articles about how to succeed in promoting your business or nonprofit organization via social media.
Many writers reposition colleagues’ thoughts by expanding the material with their observations, comments and experiences.
Recently, I came across a succinct opinion about what it means to be the manager of social media outreach that perfectly dovetailed my writings on the subject.
Jeff Bullas writing about “10 Essential Skills a Social Media Manager Needs to Have on Their Resume” on Linked In, noted that a decade ago social media wasn’t a profession and it didn’t even enjoy a job description. It barely had a definition. Facebook was a year old and social media marketing elicited perplexed expressions.
“Fast forward a decade and every organization must have a social media manager, whether full time or part time,” Bullas wrote.
Truer words about the effectiveness of social media and the responsibility of being a social media manager couldn’t have been written. The job of being a social media manager requires 24/7 attention to the cyber venue to ensure that your audience, customers and other interested parties are given every opportunity to learn about what you’re doing. Tepid dedication to social media can have damaging results.
Twitter is an incredible tool that can provide your brand, your small business or your civic organization with a voice and personality. Twitter can also work to turn you, the small businessperson – the owner, into a thought leader about what is happening in your industry and your sphere of interest. The benefit of such a distinction is that you will become the go-to-person for answers and advice on what’s happening.
To be successful in tweeting, you will have to develop your personality and a unique style. That’s what makes the difference and can increase your Twitter followers and turn tweeting into a successful marketing tool for you and your company. As a small business owner, your social media activity should engage the world in the conversation that you initiate.
As the leader of your organization, you are goal driven, growth driven or mission driven. You focus on the bigger picture of promoting your company, product, service, NGO or issue. Consequently, you have to delegate the social media job responsibility to a trusted associate. Just as bookkeeping or human resources, social media management is a full-time or at least part-time task.
In addition to content, successful tweets should include a link to your website and other websites, blog posts, PDF documents, photographs or videos for greater impact. By doing so, you direct the readers’ attention to more information about the topic of your expertise. If a picture is worth a thousand words, adding an image to a tweet greatly expands what you can share to beyond the 140-characters.
However, you can’t wake up one morning and tell yourself “I’ll start tweeting today.” You have to develop a plan and strategy about what you want to accomplish. Becoming a thought leader is a legitimate marketing goal for you as the proprietor. Making your company well known for its product or service is an equally legitimate marketing goal for your business. But as the business owner, you must remember not to overlook daily chores as you tweet.
You can’t build your business by keeping to yourself and you surely cannot have success on social media without virtually shaking hands. You have to get out of your niche and interact. You should tweet the same information several times a day with slight differences. You have to invite readers to join your conversation and you have to participate in conversations. You should also follow likeminded people, similar businesses and vendors, common industries, and supportive stakeholders, like their tweets and retweet their tweets. Their followers and readers may become your followers and readers. This builds your community and recognition in Twittersphere. If you don’t interact with the world, the world, your potential clients and prospective supporters will leave you by the side of the cyber-road.
As Bullas noted, social media managers “need to be like a juggler at a circus and keep a lot of balls up in the air and make them all land safely. It requires skillsets which means managing many moving parts. Technical, analytical, creative with a bit of project management thrown in.”
Because tweeting and retweeting are never ending, managing the space is almost a 24/7 job. There’s always someone awake in Twittersphere – nearby or far away. It means monitoring, managing, updating and being inspired by the clients, advocates and other sources and addressing the issues raised.
Among the skills needed to do the job are:
1. Strategy planning
2. Tactics and execution – when to tweet or retweet
3. Community creation and management
4. Create content
5. Understand how content works on a social web
6. Optimizing content and technology
7. Creative mindset
8. Writing skills in a limited word count
9. Be on top of the latest digital marketing trends – which venue to use
10. Analytical skills – how to read SEO
11. Leadership and communication skills – internally and externally
It’s a major commitment and investment on the part of business and NGO management that should not be underestimated.
How will you tweet?
Join the conversation in cyberspace about boosting your business and outreach by using Twitter and social media and let me know your achievements. If you have examples of how you tweeted to boost outreach, let me know about it and I’ll help you spread the word about your success.
I’d also like to invite you to visit my Thought Leadership website:
http://thoughtleadership.yolasite.com/              
If you’re looking for advice on recruiting, company handbooks and other human resources topics, I’d like to suggest to you this interesting website:
Scroll down along the Boosting Your Outreach blogsite to read or reread older posts.

I’d like to direct your attention to this timely topic: Cyber Resilience at Ramapo College, Ramapo, NJ. Wednesday, November 8. All Day. Sponsored by NJ Small Business Administration of Bergen County and Small Business Administration. Admission Free. Registration Required. www.sbdcbergen.com

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Twitter: Powerful Tool to Reach out to Your Marketplace
Twitter users who haven’t yet mastered getting their point across in 140 characters, have no fear, you will soon have the ability to say twice as much in one tweet.
Twittersphere has been abuzz with news that Twitter is experimenting with expanding its character limit for each tweet.
The social media venue announced last month that the test would start with small groups of users in various languages including English. In a blog post, Twitter product manager Aliza Rosen and senior software engineer Ikuhiro Ihara said the test would not be available in languages like Japanese, in which expressing longer sentiments in fewer characters is easier.
Twitter users have frequently complained about the limited amount of space available for each tweet, and have begged for an expansion for years. It takes time and effort to become proficient in the art of saying something pithy or salient in 140 characters. Last year, Twitter reportedly considered expanding to a 10,000-character limit, which could have dramatically changed the way people use the service, but that idea was ultimately abandoned. Then, in the meantime, Twitter unveiled a new handy feature that makes it easier to avoid exceeding the 140-character limit by no longer counting additional media against that total, such as photos, videos and GIFs.
Indeed, now you can use all 140 characters and add an image without being forced to reduce your word count.
While Twitter’s efficacy and charm as users compose quaint abbreviations has been in its brevity, its other feature has also contributed to its virtually universal usage in all languages – swiftness. You can quickly tell the whole world about something good or bad, beneficial or detrimental. You can launch a new project or offer a new product or service by merely pressing “send.” You can monitor what is being said about you as well.
Given its universality, Twitter has surpassed other media as the source of information or news about any topic.
Markandey Katju, former Judge of the Supreme Court of India, opined in his blog that historically media arose in Western Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries as an organ of the people against feudal oppression. Then, all the organs of power were in the hands of the feudal authorities, and so the people had to create new organs to represent their interests. The media, which was at the time only the print media, became a powerful organ in the hands of the people to fight against feudalism. The media represented the voice of the future, as contrasted to the feudal organs which wanted to preserve the status quo.
Today, Twitter represents the voice of the people and many powerful and average people tweet to get their thoughts out before the media spin it in another direction. Just read President Trump’s voluminous daily tweets.
As I have noted in the past, Twitter is a powerful tool for reaching out across the street, marketplace or ocean. It is too powerful to be left to the whims of teenagers.
Twitter has become a valuable platform for online communication and, yes, conversation. TechCrunch reported that Twitter is receiving 8 million unique visitors per month and about 500 million messages are posted daily. So your potential audience is incredibly vast.
Twitter is a fantastic tool to provide your brand and your small business with a voice and personality. Twitter can also work to turn you, the small businessperson – the owner, into a thought leader about what is happening in your industry. The benefit of such a distinction is that you will become the go-to-person for answers and advice on what’s happening. Consequently, the small business’ sales team will then be in a better position to sell.
Being successful in tweeting, you will have to develop your personality and a unique style. That’s what makes the difference and can increase your Twitter following and turn it into a successful marketing tool for you and your company.
Social media platforms have emerged as popular marketing channels for small businesses, according to G2 Crowd’s poll. It revealed that 80% of respondents used Facebook for marketing purposes, while 51% turned to Twitter. While both are good while serving distinct purposes, I tend to favor Twitter because with Facebook you deal with an audience that you’ve allowed to enter your space. With Twitter, you have access to far more people and they have access to you. Your messages have the potential to reach a greater audience.
To succeed in social media or Twitter marketing, you must create a topic, build an audience and invite the world to join your conversation. It’s about talking to your prospects and consumers, interacting with them. If you are not going to do this, don’t use Twitter as a marketing tool, it simply won’t work. Make friends, be a friend and reply. Show your followers that you want to engage and be involved with them – this provides ideal customer service and states that you are, in fact, personable.
For every business, the usage is different. In general, you want to find the optimum spot between what your target audience wants to hear and things that promote your business. For many businesses, the answer is to focus on how your products and services benefit your customers.
Give people useful information and answer their questions, and they will consider you a valuable member of their community – a thought leader. That’s an important first step to winning a new customer.
As a small business owner, engage the world in the conversation, but don’t sell. Let your sales team sell.
Successful tweets should include a link to your website and other websites, blog posts, PDF document, photograph or video for greater impact. By doing so, you direct the readers’ attention to more information about the topic of your expertise. If a picture is worth a thousand words, adding an image to a tweet greatly expands what you can share to beyond the 140-characters.
However, you can’t wake up one morning telling yourself “I’ll start tweeting today.” You have to develop a plan and strategy about what you want to accomplish. Becoming a thought leader is a legitimate marketing goal for you as the proprietor. Making your company well known for its product or service is an equally legitimate marketing goal for your business. But as the business owner, you must remember not to overlook your daily chores as you tweet.
You can’t build your business by keeping to yourself and you surely cannot have success on social media without virtually shaking hands. You have to get out of your bubble and interact. You should tweet the same information several times with slight differences. You have to invite readers to join your conversation and you have to participate in conversations. You should also follow likeminded people, similar businesses and vendors, and common industries, like their tweets and retweet their tweets. Their followers and readers may become your followers and readers. This builds your recognition in Twittersphere. If you don’t interact with the world, the world will leave you by the side of the road.
Twitter suggests that businesses follow what it calls the 80/20 principle. That means that 80% of your tweets should focus on driving interactions with your followers, using retweets, replies, and favorites. Once you’ve built a rapport with your network, you can start to mix in direct offers or promotions that get followers to take actions, such as clicking on a link or making a purchase from your website. If you push too much, too soon, your followers will abandon you.
Use hashtags “#” that focus on keywords or buzzwords that are used in your industry and also Twitter handles “@” that direct your thoughts to specific people, companies, vendors and industries. This requires that you spend time researching both tools.
Don’t underestimate the benefits of hashtags and handles. I have solicited responses from corporate giants like Kelly Services, Burger King and United Airlines with my tweets targeted at them. I have also solicited likes and retweets from strangers with my thoughts that aroused their favor – or ire. With the open, wild-west nature of twittersphere, where trolls can hide behind every hashtag, you should be prepared to encounter proponents as well as opponents.
Tweeting is serious business that must be treated seriously. Your usage will signal your seriousness as a businessperson. If you have time, learn it and do it yourself. If not, learn it and assign it to a staff member but monitor it the activity.
How will you tweet?
Join the conversation in cyberspace about boosting your business and outreach by using Twitter and social media and let me know your thoughts. If you have examples of how you tweeted to boost outreach, let me know about it and I’ll help you spread the word about your success.

I’d also like to invite you to visit my Thought Leadership website:
http://thoughtleadership.yolasite.com/              
If you’re looking for advice on recruiting, company handbooks and other human resources topics, I’d like to suggest to you this interesting website:
Scroll down on the Boosting Your Outreach blogsite to read or reread older posts.