Kentro Cortino was born on April 13, 1983 in Naples, Italy to Paolo and Nicoletta Cortino. Paolo worked as a shipbuilder in one of Naples’ many ship construction yards. He specialized in building commercial fishing vessels at the very same yard that manufactures the popular Oceanis, Chronos, and Orion brands, since he was a teenager. Now, at 33 years old, he and his wife Nicoletta welcomed their first child into the world. Nicoletta, two years younger than Paolo,worked at Naples’ largest canned vegetable producer, Cirio, for three years until she met Paolo about seven years ago. The couple spent their first two years together dating and Paolo finally proposed to her at a romantic steakhouse with a spectacular view of the Plaza Plebiscito. The couple moved into a tiny but comfortable apartment flat within walking distance from the Port of Naples to better accommodate Paolo and his shipyard.
The arrival of Kentro obviously marked a turning point in the young couples’ life as it most certainly always does when a child is born into a family. However, for Paolo and Nicoletta, the birth of Kentro signaled a time of change and optimism. You see, Paolo’s uncle, Peter, had been living in the United States, Queens specifically, for the past 15 years, had just opened his own liquor store in the New York City borough and had just asked Paolo if he was interested in making a permanent move to the United States and bring along his wife and son. Peter would take care of all the legal immigration requirements as he had a business contact who happened to be an attorney specializing in these matters. An H1B Visa would be issued and citizenship would be possible a few years after that. Peter needed Paolo to help him run his liquor store, plus, since he had just gone through a divorce, his Queens duplex had a few extra rooms and Peter could sure use the company right about now anyways. Once Paolo was able to save up some money of his own, Peter would show him some nice apartments he could rent.
Paolo, although pretty content with his shipbuilding career, had always had a burning desire to start a life of his own in the United States. With a newborn son, and he and his wife still very young in their years, Paolo decided that they will indeed take Uncle Peter up on his offer and make the permanent move to the United States.
Approximately one year later, the small immigrant family of three set their first footsteps on American soil. Well, with the exception of 1 year old Kentro as his mother was actually holding him, but the metaphor still applies. As they walked outside the baggage claim of JFK International airport, Uncle Peter was standing near the exit and ran up to Paolo to give him an exuberant welcome. “Welcome to the land of opportunity Paolo” said Peter. “Although the streets are not literally paved with gold a smart man like you can do pretty well here!” “And what do we have here?” continued Peter as he caught a glimpse of Kentro. “How lucky this kid is and he doesn’t even know it yet…your parents decided to move here while you are still an infant, and not giving you a choice in the matter. Haha! If only my parents had brought me here at your age I’d be richer than Donald Trump by now. I’m barely learning what this country can give you if you are willing to work hard and take smart chances, but you, I will teach you all of that from this point forward.” And with that last comment, 1 year old Kentro burst into an excited giggle as if he actually comprehended what his Uncle Pete was telling him. It wouldn’t be long until he actually would.
I am releasing most of my upcoming fiction novel on this blog as I write it. For the previous chapter, click here.
So for those of you who may know me, you probably know that I have written several ebooks exclusively available on the Amazon Kindle and any Kindle mobile or desktop application. However, the books that I have written so far have all been non-fiction and are extremely niche, focusing only on the subject of clinical trials (for now at least).
With the success of my clinical trials blog and the associated products and services that I generate mainly because of that blog, I am now convinced that the more transparent and authentic you are online, as well as the more value that you give your audience (for free) will come back to you in spades. I know this is anecdotal evidence, but other “mediapreneurs” who share this same philosophy are also doing very well for themselves both online and off.
I plan to use this strategy for industries beyond clinical research. In fact, I anticipate getting my CA Real Estate Sales Agent License this year and will be looking forward to testing this same theory in that space. The days of uninformed consumers is long gone. The problem for them now, believe it or not, is finding and filtering the mountains of data that are freely available online and using what they need to help them achieve their goals.
One of the things that I have always wanted to do was write a fiction novel, so just a few weeks ago, a buddy and I decided to co-author a book that will be completed in under 6 months. I am not going to reveal what the book is about, but I have already released an excerpt, which is actually the beginning of my book and I plan on releasing just about every chapter that I write on this blog for free. My co-author is writing his portion now, which is a story parallel to mine, but our stories will meet and develop about halfway through the novel. So, what you get will be every chapter that I write published on this blog shortly after I write it, and all for free!
But “why?” you may be asking yourselves. Well, I really believe that this is the future of publishing. Not only am I marketing the book before it’s even made available (we don’t even have a title for it yet), but I hope to engage the public, or at least my audience for now, to contribute, provide feedback, share ideas and perhaps even help me in forming some parts of the plot as I myself am not even sure how my portion of the novel will fully develop itself. I really am not worried about killing my own sales. In fact, I actually think this will help my sales. I think this will be a great way to write what I hope to be a pretty awesome book. Let me know your thoughts on this, and subscribe by email to get notified as I publish future parts of the book.
It was a frigid, winter day in Providence at Rhode Island Hospital Comprehensive Cancer Center as eight year old Joseph Moltesanti was holding his father’s hand ready to hear the news regarding his mother’s prognosis. “Joey” as everyone referred to him, was a quiet kid. Although only in the third grade, young Joey had developed a strong interest in science. Joey’s father bought him several chemistry kits and Joey could often be found in the basement of his parents’ home tinkering and experimenting with chemical reactions. This interest in science would likely continue as Joey, with the encouragement of his ambitious, middle class, overprotective parents, were planning on enrolling Joey into private school starting next year. This wasn’t just any private school, it was SAGE Private School For The Gifted, located in Foxborough, Massachussetts, about a quick 30 minute drive from Providence, Rhode Island. Joey’s parents had big hopes for their gifted and only child.
Today, however, was not a day to focus on Joey as was normally the case on a typical Thursday. Today was not a typical day. On this dreary afternoon, all attention was placed on Joey’s mother, forty-one tear old Anne Moltesanti. Anne, a former mortgage broker prior to Joey’s arrival on this planet, was now a stay at home mom, as Joey’s father was earning a decent salary as a mid-level sales manager at the local community bank. While the family was not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, they were indeed, fairly comfortable and certainly able to begin paying for Joey’s expensive private schooling. Just three weeks ago, during a routine physical, Anne’s doctor discovered a sizable lump in her left breast. Technically diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer, Anne was rushed into chemotherapy that very same afternoon. Having the most aggressive form of breast cancer was just the beginning of Anne’s misfortune. While in chemotherapy, further examinations revealed the cancer had already spread to her lymph nodes, liver and lungs. Had the cancer been detected just a few months earlier, Anne may have had a better outcome.
As Joey and his father were shortly expecting the doctor’s prognosis in the waiting room, Joey, although a little too young to understand the full complexity of the situation, could tell from his father’s body language and demeanor that something was very wrong. As the doctor entered the private waiting area, Joey and his father stood up, father clearly nervous, son observant. “Mr. Moltesanti…” began the chief oncologist at The Comprehensive Cancer Center. Joey just held his breath as well as his father’s hand tightly.
Despite having to deal with the sudden death of his mother last winter, nine year old Joey was adjusting to his new school and interacting with his fellow child prodigy classmates surprisingly well. Anne’s final conversation with Joey left an incredible resonance in young Joey’s mind, and whether he recognized it or not, essentially sealed his inevitable fate as one who would accomplish great things in life. “I love you so much Joey and I know you are probably too young to understand the full meaning of what I am about to tell you, but I know you are a smart boy and you will understand some day. You are so special, me and dad have talked so much about the tremendous things you will accomplish in life. I want you to know that mommy is already so proud of you and even when I am not here any longer, I will always be with you to try and remind you of how great you are. You are so talented that some people may try to stop you from accomplishing your goals. Don’t you ever, and I mean EVER, let anyone stop you from doing what you know is necessary. One day you will understand exactly what I am talking about, and I will be here to guide you through the good times and the bad.” At that point, Anne reached over and gave Joey her gold necklace with a pendant that had an image of her and a two year old Joey engraved on it. Joey would never forget this moment. “I love you mom,” he said, “I promise I will make you proud.”
It’s hard to believe that the conversation between Joey and his mother was a little over a year ago. Joey was already a standout, even amongst his gifted classmates. Science was his favorite subject although math, specifically algebra at the moment, was a close second. As Joey started high school courses at SAGE five years later, he was also gaining an incredible amount of social skills. No longer just the “quiet smart kid”, Joey demonstrated a real propensity for leadership, running for class president, and winning an unprecedented four years straight. Debates had become second nature to Joey. His popularity kept growing amongst his peers, maintained a 4.2 GPA and Harvard didn’t flinch when presented with the opportunity to offer Joey a full academic scholarship where he would double major in Molecular and Cellular Biology as well as Genetics, all the better to help him enter Medical School . Anne Moltesanti was right, Joey was destined to be special, little did he know that around this very same time, someone was being born that would inadvertently change the plans up a bit.
I am releasing most of my upcoming fiction novel on this blog. For the next section of the book, click here.
In my day to day activities as an entrepreneur I have noticed and continue to take mental notes of my customer service techniques and skills. In the hustle and bustle of regular business activity, it is very easy to lose focus of what I believe is one of the most critical determinants of a business’ success: customer service. I am not talking about the typical “customer is always right” bullshit because I do not necessarily believe in that, what I am talking about is something much simpler than that: acknowledging that your customer is above all else, first and foremost a human being. This applies to business to business sales by the way as well, so for those of you in that area of entrepreneurship, there is no excuse for ignoring this sacred concept either.
Businesses have become so accustomed to going for the “close” that everything else, including basic human decency and manners go out the window, and I believe that these next few decades will be dominated by those who truly embrace the customer service model that I am about to discuss.
Thanks to social media, blogging, and your customers’ ability to effortlessly communicate not only with you but with other businesses and fellow customers as well, many sales opportunities will be lost to individuals and organizations that understand that customer service does not begin after a sales transaction has occurred, but rather that it actually can begin at any time, before your customer is actually your customer. At this stage of the sales cycle, many refer to these potential customers as prospects, and that is fine, but I truly believe that the business or entrepreneur that will eventually have this customer as an actual customer, should be providing real value to these people way before a sale is ever even considered by this prospect.
The sales and marketing industry has gotten way too noisy, and consumers have a very large amount of options to consider when they want to actually purchase something. So how does a business improve it’s chances of landing these customers? Is it by constantly bombarding their brand into their potential customer’s minds? That is one very expensive strategy, and even if one can afford that, we still end up competing with distractions such as mobile phones, tablets, dvr’s, etc. I believe the strategy to use is to out-hustle your competition by providing something valuable for your sales prospects before they ever buy anything from you. This value may come from information that your competitors may deem “trade secrets”, or something as simple as a having a blog where your customers can interact with you and have some sort of context with your brand. I understand that many businesses won’t have time to invest in this type of customer service. Some don’t even invest in their customer service for interactions that occur after the sale. Case in point, being placed on hold for 20 minutes when calling your service provider for issues. In either case, the businesses that understand this concept and execute on it will win, and the others will lose out on tons of opportunities. What do you think?
I love love love love reading as many books as I can about entrepreneurship and other such related topics, and in my quest to buy the Clippers, I am constantly reading new ones. A very interesting one I came across recently is this one called Trust Me Im Lying written by the head of marketing for American Apparel. The book is unlike many of the other books on blogging and social media because it shows us the darker side of blogs, which is their ultimate ability to create the news headlines and ultimately shift public opinion towards their liking. On the bright side, if you have a blog yourself, or perhaps a small business looking to gain some attention, you can use this towards your advantage. The basic premise of the book is the fact that we live in a headline-hungry and attention-poor world where blogs (and all websites for that matter) fiercely compete with each other for pageviews and traffic. As this economy has evolved, the sensationalism of blogs has increased while the fact checking and credibility has been completely thrown out of the window. The book lists numerous examples of the author using these blogs to promote American Apparel’s brand, while also illustrating various instances where these blogs were used against American Apparel, hence a double-edged sword of sorts. The point of this blog post is to show you that you do not need to look far to see the economics of the business of blogging at work: TechCrunch, AOL, Yahoo News, Gawker, Drudge Report and essentially any blog which competes for eyeballs (which is just about all of them unless any blogs exist for the purpose of NOT attracting attention) operate with these tactics with the sole agenda of getting you to read/watch/listen/comment/share the story and essentially give them more links/comments/pageviews/likes/shares which will only increase this vicious cycle. I am not saying that this new economy is a good or bad thing, ultimately it is the new reality which we all must navigate in and create commerce for ourselves and our companies. I as a blogger am not beyond using these tactics at times. I as a reader fall for these tricks frequently. You as a reader or blogger most likely play by these very same rules as well, whether you know you are or not. The issue for entrepreneurs now becomes, how can you enhance your business in this economy where blogs rule the landscape.
Lead generation is a business sales strategy that is being used by an increasing number of employers. It’s a process that generally starts before or after a prospective customer reaches out to a business, leaving their contact information. Lead generation can also begin with a cold call, something a lot of sales professionals would love to shun more than anything else. In fact, distaste for cold calling, and some recent results from cold calling, find business leaders saying that cold calling doesn’t work anymore.
However, not everyone shares this view. As reported in the March 4, 2010 B2B Marketing Zone “Stop Telling Me That Cold Calling Is Dead” article, business leader Peter Gracey says, “While I am a firm believer in the benefit of driving inbound traffic to your site and then to your teleprospecting reps, there is still (and always will be) a huge need for cold calling.” Peter continues, “Our clients close leads that have been passed via cold calling at a higher rate than those that have been generated via inbound efforts.”
As part of the lead generation process, cold calling connects one or more humans directly over the telephone. If prospective customers demonstrate an interest in your business, in-person meetings can be scheduled with a member of your sales team. Look at the lead generation process as getting a good start in a relay race, and you could get a clearer image of how lead generation works with your business’ advertising, marketing and entire customer relationship process. Each part of the process should focus on a single goal, helping you to gain more
valuable customer relationships. Nurture these relationships correctly and it’s likely that you’ll also gain more customer sales.
Akin to social relationships, cold calling requires focus and consistent effort. It also requires you to have a list of targeted contacts. After all, you don’t want to call everyone. You want to connect with the “right” prospective customers, people who have shown, based on their previous Internet searches and online and offline purchases, that they want the types of products or services your business sells. Furthermore, cold calling can:
· Create new customer relationship opportunities for your business
· Define and control your business’ sales goals
· Interpret the perceived needs of prospective
· Discover components of your sales script that
need to be tweaked or reinforced
· Offer you opportunities to educate and inform
prospective customers about your business, including advantages of partnering
· Provide you with more chances to keep in touch
with current, past and prospective
Even after you start using lead generation services, make sure that you measure the results of the efforts. To do this, you can run reports that track the numbers of customers who contact your company, asking to receive information about your upcoming annual conference, community event, latest products or enhanced services before, during and after you start and stop using lead generation services. Of course, you’ll also want to track the numbers of new sales you receive after you start using the services.
Now, don’t go getting all uppity. Don’t start thinking that I mean that you can’t write more than 400 words when writing a blog post. I’m not saying that at all. In fact, it’s actually better when you write blog content n varying lengths and mediums to keep things “fresh” on your blog.
I’m not saying that you can’t write an 800 word blog post or article for your website. All I am saying is this: Writing for blogs, is naturally a more casual, conversational type of writing. You should keep your blog posts as short as they can be and still keep the topic and quality of the content first in mind. However, that’s sometimes easier said than done.
Tips for Shortening Your Blog Posts
1. Use Small Words. Remember, not everyone is going to be up on business specific lingo an terminolofy, so you should want to keep your words easy to understand for readers who are new to your
business. Even if you feel that you’re writing a little under your literary level…keep the words simpler. Simpler scans easier. People scan web content.
2. Use Bullet Points: Bullet points will take what would normally be large chunks of text and break it up for the reader to digest easier. You’re doing the work for them and they’ll appreciate it by staying on your site longer because it’s easier to consume.
3. If You Can’t Bullet…then Write Short Paragraphs. Same concept as above. Small words, simple sentences and short paragraphs. Too much information will turn people off. So, give them the same amount of info…only in smaller chunks. They are more likely to read it.
4. Space is Good: I know, you’ve all heard that white space on a blog or website is wasted space, right? Eh. I have my own feelings about that…especially in blog posts. The more light, background space with dark text on a page makes it even easier to read. Stay away from fancy themes and colored backgrounds and text. Black (or dark) text on white background works best.
We live in a time when people are all over-inundated with constant information flow. It’s a strain on most of us. Do your part and make the world a better place by blogging shorter and simpler.
Ken Muise is an active-duty Soldier and freelance blogger He has been in the Army for more than 18 years, is married, has a bunch of kids, and a parrot named “Boom Boom”.
Keeping your employees motivated creates a happy and productive workplace. This task can be somewhat difficult and even more challenging to keep constant. The following article lists three simple ways of keeping your sales employees motivated.
Reward hard work
Providing your employees with a commission incentive is the obvious selection to motivate your employees. You need to be sure that your commission or reward actually encourages the desired outcome. Whether you want to increase profit margins, introduce a new product line or develop a new target market. The reward and commission need to be adequate for the goal. You need to be careful that you don’t create an expectation from your employees that they should always be rewarded for completing tasks. It’s also important that other employees don’t see this as a dis-incentive because they aren’t involved in the same project. This is a great opportunity to ask your employees for feedback. What did they think of the commission? Do they think it’s fair etc.? You may need to experiment a little to find out what works and what doesn’t and must adjustments accordingly. You can bring in someone whose expertise is in this area for advice. The employees will feel more motivated to go beyond their comfort levels, to break goals, succeed and push themselves. It’s supplying them with a reason why this is personally beneficial for them.
It’s time to get rid of the saying “no news is good news”. In most businesses there is a serious limitation of the amount of communication that occurs. However it has been shown that employees want to be kept up to date about not only their personal performance but also the performance of the overall business. You don’t need to physically talk to every employee individually as that can be time consuming. You can take advantage of technology by sending out a memo, email, telephoning and group meetings. Don’t be scared to talk to your team members, this will insure that they feel comfortable enough to provide you with feedback. Let them know what is happening with the business and what challenges are being faced, they work there and therefore deserve to know but may also have suggestions.
Individual and Team Performance
This key method of motivating your employees is about celebrating when your individual or team of staff does a great job. This is about not always providing a reward or commission. This is about noticing an employee doing something right or going above and beyond. This is great for setting an example for other employees as well. You can issue awards, let people know at the next meeting or put it in the corporate newsletter. For post team performance projects you can throw a get together or fill in a performance chart on the wall. Just paying for lunch is a great way of saying good job.
Jasmine runs a
business consultancy firm. She specialises in finding cost-cutting measures for small businesses without compromising on productivity. From using free cloud storage services to ordering business card printing from online retailers such as Vistaprint, she reckons cost saving is the fundamental to any small business’s success.
I got to interview Saleem Yaku, CEO and founder of my favorite blogging service lately, PostJoint. Basically PostJoint allows bloggers and advertisers to connect and exchange their services with each other. In this interview I talk to Saleem about the history of PostJoint, the service that it provides, the future of content marketing and much more! Check it out!
Starting up a small business is a good, new endeavor to take for individuals who have spent all their entire career working for a company. It can be quite scary to leave your well-loved company as you may feel doubts and anxiety, but the rewards of taking a new path for your and family’s future is worthy of risk. Establishing your own business can be lucrative, especially if you acquire an experienced staff, talented manager and productive workers. The recent economic recession may threaten your business’ status but with using your extensive experience and knowledge you have accumulated while working in the industry can be a great advantage. Having worked at a formidable, well respected company to managing a start-up business would be a great opportunity to have mastery of working at bond ends of business formation and size spectrum. So, if you think entrepreneurship is for you, consider these tips below about starting a
● Before anything else, it is mandatory to start by writing your business plan. It is a document that contains all your operational and financial business objectives. Thus, it must include your
detailed plans for the business, budget, and ways to show how your objectives should be realized at the end of the year and as the year progresses. A business plan is the very framework of your business, from its launching to success.
● Always take advantage of training and consulting services that are offered for free by certain companies. There are those that give you training about how to prepare a comprehensive business plan, ways to secure for financing and when to start your business expansion. Several business organizations perform initiatives that are set to encourage collaboration among business entities altogether as a new strategy to move forward in the industry. It is important to participate in these initiatives to get to know your colleagues in the industry, other business opportunities and potential competitors and investors. This is also where you can gather a handful of shared information and easy access to business assistance across the state.
● Look for the right business location that will suit your industry and objectives. You can also get pieces of advice from business experts about the proper selection of customer-friendly and convenient location and to be able to comply with zoning and building codes.
● Search for government-backed finance programs for your business’ financial needs. You can also try any research grants available across your area to help you launch your business and support its
needs for the first few months.
● Do not forget to identify what kind of business formation that your business is going to be for a long period of time. Legal structure may vary depending on how you want to establish business, in which you can choose whether a sole propriety, partnership, limited liability company, corporation, S Corporation, or Cooperative.
Business registration, Tax Identification Number, local and state taxes registration, and acquire permits and licenses. This should be done in your state government wherein you are required to
register the business name you will use and pay some fees to start the process.
Nicole McGrey is a teacher at Edinburg High School for 5 years and currently taking PHd at University of Illinois. Her writing includes few notes about Eric Schiffer Seop. Follow her on Twitter @NicoleMcGrey