Archive for June, 2009

Business Success Requires Less Organization Than You Think

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Organization. It’s essential to running a successful business. And it’s often overwhelming to begin. Instead of stressing, we asked Sean Johnson, professional organizer and owner of Organized Bliss, to share with us tips on how to keep organized. 

As a Professional Organizer, I’m often called in to help business owners get organized in their offices. What I usually find are stacks of paperwork, file cabinets that aren’t properly set up, and random sticky notes all over the desk with important information that could easily get lost or forgotten. 

What I learned long ago is that, even though we value our clients and their business, we need to value our business and our office environments as well. It reminds me of the flight attendant doing the standard emergency speech, which states that parents must put their air masks on first before attending to their children.

The question we all need to ask ourselves is, how are we taking care of our business so that we can take care of others? How many times does a client call, and you have to call him or her back because you can’t locate a file needed for that conversation? Not only does this cost you time, but it could also cost you money. It never looks good if you appear disorganized in your business. Personally, I want to do business with someone who is on top of his or her game. And, usually, that person has incorporated a few organizing skills into daily and weekly business routines. 

Here are five tips that I recommend to get the order going:

1. Do set up your files in alphabetical order using hanging files (categories) and file folders within (sub-categories). This system should be for current files. Files that are no longer needed should either be recycled or placed in a storage box (if needed for tax / legal purposes) and stored away. If at all possible, print out your labels as opposed to using handwritten labels. Printed labels are uniform and make it easier to locate a file within seconds.

2. Get an Inbox. Place all incoming mail and projects that need to be addressed in an inbox. Make it a daily routine in the morning to go through your box to see what needs to be addressed that day. An inbox should not be the big, black hole. Whatever goes in must come out, and physically going through it daily insures that flow.

3. Get a notebook. Get in the habit of keeping a notebook by your phone. Each morning, start a new page with the date at the top to record any notes from conversations, calls, reminders, etc. This stops the confusion of random notes and pieces of paper all around the office. Keeping a business notebook is helpful in retrieving information and also serves as a backup in case you need to remember a conversation or detail from weeks or months ago.

4. Use a Daytimer. Whether electronic or handwritten, Daytimers are a necessity for keeping us in the know on where we need to be and when. I personally couldn’t live without one. I refer to my Daytimer several times a day, and it travels with me to and from my office. All appointments and plans are logged daily.

5. Set up a weekly cleanup routine. This is the time to address your filing and clear the deck in your office. Pick one morning or one evening a week to go through your paperwork. Turn off the phones and email. Uninterrupted time will help you focus on getting the job done quickly and efficiently. Avoiding this task will ultimately create disorder and stress. On the other hand, making the time for this routine creates a sense of calm and control in your business environment. Easy choice!

For more information, visit the Organized Bliss website at or contact Sean via email at or by phone at (843) 856-1847.

Top 4 Mistakes Preventing You from Connecting with Your Target Audience

Friday, June 26th, 2009

Message from Michelle

Welcome to the June 25, 2009, issue of Sūmèr Secrets. The Sūmèr team has left town this week, leaving Mama Mia and me to hold down the fort. I’ve been managing quite well; however, the longer work hours have exhausted poor Mama. She couldn’t even stay awake to read her favorite magazine, Lowcountry Dog.

The Center for Women here in Charleston extended an invitation for me to participate in their Entrepreneurial Women’s Series. On Tuesday, I was part of a panel and spoke about the importance of a clear business message online and how copy affects SEO. The positive feedback I’ve received prompted me to take my material, expand on it, and turn it into this issue’s feature article entitled Top 4 Mistakes Preventing You from Connecting with Your Target Audience.

Connect With Me Online at:

Feature Article:

Top 4 Mistakes Preventing You from Connecting with Your Target Audience

In order to attract prospects and turn them into paying customers, you must connect with your target audience in the most clear, concise, and effective way. Before you put pen to paper (or fingers to the keyboard), consider the 4 common mistakes businesses make, and take action to create a clear message.

Mistake 1: The #1 mistake companies make is not deciding or knowing what your website needs to do (its purpose) or where it falls in the sales process.

Action Steps to Avoid This Mistake:

  • Write down the purpose of the website. What action do you want visitors to take? Do you want them to call you, order online, or set up a free demo? Be as specific as possible.
  • Write down the purpose of each webpage. Remember, not all pages need to have the same purpose.
  • When you are clear about what action you want visitors to take, write clear calls to action for each webpage.

Mistake 2: The #2 mistake companies make is they focus their website message on what they think is important and not what the target needs and wants to see. You will not connect with your prospects or communicate effectively if you don’t know whom you are speaking to.

Action Steps to Avoid This Mistake:

  • Narrow down your target, and be as specific as you can. You want to know and understand your prospects. Not only do you need to know the demographics but also the psychographics.
  • Create a list of characteristics of your ideal client.
  • Know what keeps them up at night. If you don’t know, ask current clients or send them a survey.
  • Study your target audience, and speak specifically to them.

Mistake 3: The #3 mistake companies make in their online message is they don’t clearly describe their product or service and focus on the benefits. As obvious as it seems, many companies do not clearly state what their product / service is and what it does for customers.

Action Steps to Avoid This Mistake:

  • Start by listing what your service or product does. Then, list the correlating benefit. Do this for each service or product you sell. Don’t forget, there may be more than one benefit.
  • If you get stuck, interview yourself, or have someone close to you interview you. Doing so, you will get clear on what problem the product / service solves, how long will it take for benefits to occur, and what makes your service / product different from the others?
  • When writing your marketing copy, focus the message on the benefit to the customer.

Mistake 4: The #4 mistake is not updating your message. How many times have you been to a website and you can tell from a glance that it’s been neglected or it’s outdated?

Action Steps to Avoid This Mistake:

  • Frequently reevaluate your website copy and your marketing copy to see if it is current. Your web copy should to be up-to-date and well written.
  • Your message must be relevant to the target market - good copy will suck them in. Bad copy will bore them and drive them away.
  • Know your client, and always stay focused on the benefit or the outcome. What does the prospect get once they use your product, take your class, or hire you?

Tip of the Month

According to a study performed by the Participatory Marketing Network, only 22% of people ages 18 - 25 are using Twitter.

Playback Selects Sūmèr to Write Monthly Ezine

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

Sūmèr is excited to be writing Playback’s monthly ezine. Playback specializes in the design and installation of audio, video, and control systems for corporate and residential environments. Utilizing a client-focused approach and installing the brand names that define excellence, Playback combines the best in equipment and design with the flexibility of true custom integration and installation.

MOM Is In Charge Of Social Media Marketing

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

Social media marketing campaigns have amazing results, but don’t expect to have them one or two weeks from beginning the campaign. Social media marketing takes months of work in order to begin seeing a rise in website traffic from the social media sites you use to market your company. Just take some tips from Tarla Cummings of Location3 Media in an exlusive interview with WebProNews: 

More WebProNews Videos

Avoid the Top 10 Clothing Mistakes at Your Next Networking Event

Friday, June 19th, 2009


In an exclusive interview with Lee Heyward, style expert and owner of Charleston Style Concierge, Lee provides ten helpful tips on dressing for success:

Networking is one of the most important activities you can do for the success of your business. Your appearance is a big part of your networking success. You are your brand, and your look is your logo. Your look will help you sell your product or services. Before you can sell anything, you have to sell yourself. A polished appearance is no longer considered frivolous or egotistical. In the business world it is a requirement for success.

Before your next networking meeting, take the time to make sure you have put the same attention and detail into yourself as you do for your company.

Top Ten Clothing Mistakes Commonly Seen at Networking Events

1. Dowdy or outdated clothing:  If your clothing looks old or outdated, people will automatically assume your way of doing business is also outdated and will be more likely to pass you by.

2. Clothing that is too revealing:  It is hard to appear professional in clothing that is too revealing. Even if the networking event is at night, a plunging neckline (this goes for both men and women) may not be appropriate.

3. Too casual or comfortable of clothing:  Dressing too casually often translates as lazy. You may be the hardest working individual in the room, but your clothing says the opposite.

4. Forgetting that details matter:  The details of your clothing paint a picture about the character of both you and your business. Wrinkled pants and scuffed shoes will not give a potential client the confidence to believe they can handle the details of your complex business.

5. Wearing clothing with slogans, logos, or prominent brand names other than your own:  After all, who are you working for?

6. Clothing that doesn’t make sense for your audience:  Think about who you will be networking with before getting dressed. Will your audience respond better to your branded polo shirt or a very classic and professional button down?

7. Clothes that don’t fit or flatter:  Clothing that is too tight can look trashy and cheap. Clothing that is too big looks sloppy and unprofessional. Discover how to dress your body type and wear clothing that fits.

8. Ultra trendy clothing:  Clothing that is ultra trendy can look costumey at a networking event. Unless you are in the fashion industry, stick to classic pieces that are infused with elements of your own personal style.

9. Clothing that doesn’t make sense for the industry you are in: Your clothing should make you look as if you are a credible member of your industry. Your clothes tell potential clients that you belong and are successful at what you do.

10. Clothing you don’t feel confident in: The right clothes will make you feel invincible, allowing you to sell your product or services with confidence.

Below, Lee Heyward weighs in on the importance of dressing for success in the workplace on a segment from ABC 4 News:

What You Can Learn from a Fish to Grow Your Business

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

We have a new addition to the Sūmèr office – a gorgeous Beta fish name Little Napoleon. This stunning creature was simply meant to be a pet, but in the two days he’s been in the office, he’s done more for my peace of mind than anything I’ve tried. And he’s quickly becoming a constant source of inspiration as we write our clients’ web copy.

The title promises to tell you how you can learn from a fish to grow your business. It’s simple. All you need to do is follow the steps below.

1) Buy a fish.

2) Purchase matching rocks that accentuate the fish’s colors (even fish need to portray the business image you wish to project. And who wants a dull, ugly fish?).

3) Put the tank in your office.

4) Stare at the fish when you take a break, when you need inspiration, or when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Goodbye, Memo—Hello, Social Media

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Once upon a time, the dreaded memo was a popular way to communicate with the business workforce. It’s safe to say sending out a memo was a gamble. Perhaps half of the employees briefly skimmed, and the other half asked the skimmers what the memo was about. This one-way communication tool appears to be highly endangered, if not extinct.

If you’re looking to find a free and easy-to-use online communication tool for your employees to be motivated and engaged, social media sites are excellent platforms. Not only are social media sites being used by businesses as a website marketing and promotion tool, but they’ve also proven quite successful with fostering interaction among the workforce.

In a survey conducted by the International Association of Business Communicators and Buck Consultants, researchers studied how businesses are keeping employees engaged and productive through communication.

Communication is one of the most vital components in keeping businesses thriving and successful. Without proper communication from all members of a company workforce, it’s extremely difficult to keep a solid business structure from crumbling.

The IABC and Buck Consultants’ survey took a deeper look into what type of vehicles businesses use to communicate with their employees and keep them motivated to achieve company goals. Guess what? The memo wasn’t one of them.

Of the 1,500 survey participants, 79 percent say they use social media to communicate with employees and facilitate result-oriented behavior, compared to 75 percent who say they use email to communicate. Blogs take the top spot in social media popularity with 47 percent of participants using blogs as their main social media tool at work.

Using blogs to communicate is an excellent way to encourage employees to comment and read other employees’ comments. This type of communication is collaborative and engages readers, since it’s usually a more informal approach than a memo. Brief chunks of information on a blog can be digested easier and facilitate more conversation and interaction among the workforce than a long, formalized memo.

Other social media sites currently being used among business employees are Twitter, Yammer, and Facebook. Twitter at 21 percent, is the runner-up to blogs.

If you’re using social media sites for your website marketing and promotion, try using it for communication among employees. If it works for website marketing and promotion, it might just work for bringing your workforce closer together and more motivated.

How to Avoid the Traps That Block Your Entrepreneurial Success

Friday, June 12th, 2009

Growing a successful small business can be exhausting, overwhelming, and a lonely endeavor. But it doesn’t have to be.

Entrepreneurial prosperity comes from a combination of who you are on the inside and what you do on the outside. And there are key practices you must master and embrace to open the way for growth and success.

So, if you are stuck in your business right now or thinking of going into business for yourself, you won’t want to miss this two-part teleseminar as Michelle Salater, owner of Sūmèr, LLC, interviews her good friend and business coach Julio Blanco.

As the founder of Envision Lifeworks, Julio Blanco empowers entrepreneurs with mindset and marketing practices that enable them to create a thriving business doing the work they love in a life they love. He is a 19-year marketing veteran and conscious entrepreneur who believes small businesses make a big difference.

In this two-part call, you’ll discover . . .

  1. The biggest roadblock that is stopping you from creating the thriving business you truly desire.
  2. The marketing trap that’s wasting your time, money, and energy.
  3. How to make growing your business seem effortless.
  4. Simple steps you can take to stop being buried in your business . . . and start living.
  5. The practice you are probably neglecting that is costing you thousands of dollars.

Why spend years figuring out how to succeed in your small business when you can get on the path to prosperity right now? Sign up today.

There’s no charge for this call. The call will be recorded, but if you don’t register, you’ll never hear it.

Bing Positioned to Hit the Jackpot as Most Popular Search Engine

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

According to comScore, the new Microsoft search engine, Bing, had an extremely successful public debut. comScore’s results showed that Microsoft’s U.S. searchers increased from 13.8 percent to 15.5 percent over the course of one month.

What does this mean for Google? Perhaps it will lose its long-standing position as the powerhouse of the Internet. If you’re looking for a more “aesthetically pleasing” site, Bing tops Google with its international background photos, simple set-up, and colorful images.

What do you think? Are Bing’s features topping Google’s?

• Bing’s search engine results page offers visitors the opportunity to move their cursor to the right of the link results and read a more in-depth synopsis of the page. This synopsis can include the description of the page, contact information, links, and a list of additional page elements.

• Bing’s visitors can interact with the changing images on Bing’s homepage. Scroll your cursor over the image to find a question pop-up pertaining to the image. Visitors can then click the link associated with the question and find more information about the content of the image. This feature makes Bing much more exciting to visit and allows for more interaction from visitors than Google.

• Bing’s search engine results page appears more innovative than Google’s. Bing’s results page offers related searches to the left of your current search and has a crisper tool bar.

• Bing provides visitors with helpful information at the click of a button. To the left corner of the Bing homepage, click “Tour Bing” to use Bing’s travel, shopping, health, and local features. Visitors looking to view flights to a destination are able to view all the best deals to any destination—all in one window. With a click of a button, get instant flight status, or view fitness news and how-tos all in one window.

• Bing is the perfect place for online shopping. When you use Bing’s shopping feature, you can receive cash back from your purchase whenever you see a Bing money-sign image.

The possibilities are endless on Bing. Start playing now.

Stasmayer, Inc., the Best Information Technology Experts for Your Company

Monday, June 8th, 2009

In an exclusive interview with David Stasaitis, co-owner of Stasmayer, Inc., David shares his information technology expertise, the benefits Stasmayer, Inc., provides for businesses, and common misconceptions many companies have about IT companies.

Sūmèr: How do Stasmayer, Inc.’s services benefit businesses?

David: When you hire Stasmayer, Inc., you are not just getting a “computer guy” or “IT help,” you are getting a company that knows business and information technology. With our knowledge base, we help companies use their current technology effectively or make recommendations to satisfy their specific needs. These needs could be going home earlier to see their families, the ability to work from anywhere in the world, or giving them the peace of mind that all their data is safe.

We deliver a high knowledge base with excellent service. We pride ourselves in cultivating lasting relationships that go beyond our customers’ computers. We always exceed our own high expectations and the ever-growing needs of our customers on a daily basis.

Stasmayer, Inc., was created to provide outstanding technology solutions to professional organizations. Our slogan is “Technology for the Professional Organizations.” We are a full service IT company with a staff of IT consultants that have degrees in management and business information systems. When you choose Stasmayer, Inc., it means you are choosing a technology partner that will help you streamline your business and provide technology support where and when you need it most.

Sūmèr: What’s the number one thing you see businesses struggle with in regards to technology?

David: Many times we notice that businesses initially choose the wrong information technology company. When this happens, we notice technology that has not been implemented properly. This is costing the client time and money in the long run. Also, we notice that some other IT companies provide poor recommendations to their clients. Many times these recommendations make clients think they are saving money with their initial investment, but, in the long run, they are spending a lot more. One example we see a lot is with “white box” computers. These are custom-built computers, which are fine for computer enthusiasts or computer gamers, but they are not made for businesses. Companies can buy these “white box” computers from local IT companies for very little money. When these break, your IT company will usually fix them for you. But, if you ever leave your IT company, these are very hard to support and are not cost effective.

Sūmèr: What are the top three benefits you bring to companies?

David: Definitely knowledge base, our approach, and our objectiveness. We are efficient and effective in our approach to our work because we are highly educated in both business and technology.

Our objectiveness is another benefit we provide our clients. We have our clients’ best interest in mind. Because we don’t resell any hardware, our consulting is completely objective. We provide clients with the best piece of equipment that will satisfy their individual needs.

Sūmèr: What are the most common misconceptions people have about IT companies?

David: A common misconception is that technology and consultants are expensive. But, with the right IT consulting firm and the right products, clients can be much more productive as they depend on quality equipment and quality services to get the job done right. That’s why working with Stasmayer, Inc., saves money and helps them grow their business.

Sūmèr: What area do you serve?

David: We mostly serve the tri-county area: Charleston, Dorchester, and Berkeley. However, we have several clients in the southeast and northeast United States.

Contact Stasmayer, Inc., at or . Call Stasmayer, Inc., at 843-724-3440 for all your information technology solutions or visit their website at

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