Monday, September 30, 2013

BD-PRo Marketing: An Uncensored Networking & Marketing Event - This Week’s “Small Business Spotlight”!








Need Help Networking?  Want to increase your sales and close more deals?  If you are in the Pittsburgh area, BD-PRo Marketing’s Networking event “Networking Uncensored:  What Do Pole Dancing and Networking Have in Common?” is for You!


Now is the time for you to “move beyond outdated networking practices and experience what true strategic networking is all about”.  During this workshop, you will participate in hands-on activities to strengthen both your networking skills and follow-up techniques.  You will learn and apply goal setting and networking strategies for better sales results.  In addition, you will uncover ways to supercharge your marketing message so you stand out from your competition.


So what does Pole Dancing have to do with networking?  This “netWORKing” event will show you how the “mindset of pole dancing” can teach you successful networking techniques to help you reach your goals.


Guest speaker Darieth Chisolm, popular area news anchor and now studio owner, will tell her story of how pole dancing can help you gain confidence in any networking situation.


Rest assured, actual pole dancing is not required!




Check out BD-PRo's flyer for this one of a kind event here!  


The event’s agenda is filled with information to help you “take the illusion out of networking” and activities to help you put the strategies you learn into practice.  You will have the opportunity to interact with other attendees and learn “power questioning techniques” to ramp up your networking effectiveness.


BD-PRo Marketing will also help you create follow-up techniques that will give your networking a boost.


You will leave with a list of qualified connections, a “World Mastery Report Card” to find out if your follow-up message is clear and compelling,  a one year subscription to BD-PRo’s exclusive “Network PRo Toolkit”, an online networking resource that breaks networking down to a concrete process so you can turn relationships into revenues, and more!


In addition, the workshop includes wonderful food and entertainment.  You will be able to enjoy crepes prepared to order by a local Pittsburgh crepe company and sleight of hand by a local magician.


This event is perfect for everyone from the entrepreneur looking to create connections to grow their business, to professionals that want to connect with others in the community to increase their visibility and contact list.


There are also sponsorship opportunities available for businesses and networking groups interested in supporting small businesses.  Examples include companies that specialize in website design, promotional products, photography (head shots anyone?), business coaches, and even those that promote health and fitness.



“Networking Uncensored:  What Do Pole Dancing and Networking Have in Common?” will be held on Thursday, November 7, 2013, in the Clear Story Studio, Southside.  Registration will begin at 7:30 a.m. and the event will wrap up by 1:00 p.m.


Check out the registration page for more details on this exciting networking event:  http://networkprotoolkit.com/events/networking-uncensored/

BD-PRo Marketing is also offering a 20% discount for anyone reading this article.  Just enter code “discount20” while registering on the above link.  Thanks BD-PRo!


So free your calendar for the morning November 7 and learn real networking strategies, make new connections, and have fun doing it!


To find out more about BD-PRo Marketing Solutions, be sure to visit their website, http://www.bdpromarketing.com/.  They have a lot to offer anyone looking to learn more about the art of networking!


Authored by   





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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I Know Why I Do What I Do!

#SmBiz #Entrepreneur 

Recently I came across an article titled; “Why Do You Do What You Do?” by  John Murphy, John Murphy International.

I shared this article in my online paper and my social media sites and it really struck a chord with many. 

Often we do not take the time to 
consider “why”, 
we are simply too busy 
doing what needs to be done - 
both in our businesses and our lives.


However, for quite awhile now, 
I have known exactly Why I do What I Do. 

Want to Know Your "Why"~Discover Your Core Values First!  "Tweet This"


The best way I could do this was to 
really consider my core beliefs.  
In doing this, I discovered my “why”.

#SmBiz #Entrepreneur
By nature, I am a trusting person.  I choose to believe the best of people and find myself disappointed when my expectations prove to be false.  I also love to help people.  Whether it is with advice, or simply by listening, if I can help, I will.

Many may think that this conflicts with the type of business I run, but I disagree.

I have discovered that by providing my clients with the quality Background Checks they need, my business is completely in line 
with my values and what is important to me.  This is my “why”! 


First off, I am able to establish a sense of trust between my clients and their new employees.  Proving to them that their applicant is truthful on their resume is instrumental in establishing that trust. While I firmly believe that most people are honest, my clients know it pays to check.

This speaks to my desire to build a trusting relationship with those around me.  My clients trust me to provide them with quality information and I help them forward that trust on to their employees.

Secondly, my services protect my clients’ businesses.  Each time I help them hire safe candidates, I know that I play my part.  I also lessen the possibility of litigation due to non-compliant hiring practices.

By doing this, I am able to fulfill my wish to protect others from harm.  Knowing my services are instrumental in achieving this is very gratifying.

Lastly, and most importantly, I find great satisfaction in being a partner in my client’s success.  Each time they begin the hiring process, I am there to work through it with them.  I can also be assured that by helping them build a strong work force, they will have a solid foundation on which to grow.

I am also cognizant of the challenges in running a business and am flexible and fair in dealing with my clients.  I am honored to have created a relationship of mutual respect and loyalty with each of them. This is extremely important to me.


All this keeps the drive alive to do what I do. 
Running the type of Background Check business where I feel a sense of accomplishment and that speaks to my desire to help others has been a blessing.


#SmBiz #BackgroundChecks
That is why I can honestly say that I Do Know “Why” I Do What I do, and I am grateful.  It has helped me focus on what is truly important and renewed my passion for the Background Check industry.

Knowing Your “Why” can do the same for you!


Please Pay it Forward and Share this on your favorite social sites!  And Leave a Comment ~ 
We would love to hear from You!



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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Griffiths Sheppard Consulting Group - This Week's "Small Business Spotlight"!






Based in Calgary, Alberta Canada, Griffiths Sheppard is a management consulting company.  Their focus is on workforce development and workplace performance.


Founded by Kevin Sheppard and Jeff Griffiths, Griffiths Sheppard is focused on strengthening companies that they believe “form the backbone of the Canadian economy”.  They work closely with construction, transportation and logistics, oil and gas, mining, agriculture, and manufacturing companies to develop exceptional occupational and training standards and competency-based workforce development programs.


Sheppard and Griffiths are both Certified Management Consultants.  Before becoming consultants, Jeff Griffiths was an officer in the Canadian military and Kevin Sheppard was a successful construction contractor.


They began collaborating informally in 2002, and this lead to the incorporation of Griffiths Sheppard in 2004.

Jeff Griffiths
Kevin Sheppard

Griffiths Sheppard believes that the strength of the company is due to their willingness to be the consultants with “dirt under our nails and mud on our boots”.  Griffiths and Sheppard both understand the challenges faced by what they call the “front-line workers”.  They also recognize that these workers are the key to any company’s success.


Their combined experience, talent, and knowledge is at the core of what they call “StrategicSkilling™”. This program is structured to identify, quantify, and develop “critical skill sets that are key to achieving an organization’s strategy”.


Strategic Skilling™ is designed to get your company’s skills and strategy on the same page.  It identifies the level of existing skills and design a plan to fill any “gaps” that may exist.


Jeff Griffiths believes that the work ethic he learned from his father (a tin-basher who immigrated from England in 1953) and his time in the military have helped form Griffiths Sheppard’s core beliefs.  In his own words, “if you look after the troops, they’ll look after you”.

"Rosie the Riveter" - The "Face" of Griffiths Sheppard

The entire foundation of Griffiths Sheppard stems from this philosophy.  Their premise is that “the people who really make money for companies aren’t in the boardroom; they’re on the shop floor, adding value for customers through their skills and talents”.


It is by working with management to create an environment that encourages workers to excel that Griffiths Sheppard Consulting Group helps their clients achieve success.


The company plans on bringing their perspective to the greater North American market from their western Canadian base, believing they can help their clients succeed in an increasingly competitive global economy.


Visit the Griffiths Sheppard website to see what they can do for your Small Business:  
http://griffiths-sheppard.com/.

You can also find them on LinkedIn:  ca.linkedin.com/in/griffithsjeff/


Griffiths Sheppard Consulting Group Inc.
105-150 Crowfoot Cres NW, Suite 935
Calgary AB T3G 3T2
Toll Free:  888-505-0639, Ext 101
Direct:  403-374-1950


Griffiths Sheppard is ready to help you forge your company’s future!


Authored by  



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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Background Checks and Online Databases - What You Need to Know!

#backgroundchecks & #SmallBiz

Questions continue to swirl around the validity of using "online databases" in background checks.  In my view, while they may have a place, relying on this information alone results in error-filled reports that can hurt both the subject of the report and the hiring company.  Read on....



Online information is everywhere.  You can virtually type any words in a search engine and a wave of links will instantly emerge on your screen.



There is an allure to this type of “instant gratification”. However, as with any information obtained online, it should not simply be taken at face value.


And nowhere does this matter more than in the world of Background Checks.



I am constantly approached by potential clients about the use of online databases in background checks. They contact me expecting that is how I obtain my information.  Many are surprised by my answer.


I think databases can be a great “jumping off” point in a Background Check investigation.  By using one you can quickly find past addresses, names used, and possible criminal records.


But it is not the best way to obtain accurate and complete information.  You can do better.


There are benefits to using an online database search as part of your Background Check process.  The biggest “pro” is speed and area of coverage.  Most criminal searches are conducted at a specific court.  With a database, multiple sources are checked at once, and the results are often immediate.

By running this broad search, information can be discovered that would not have shown up in the narrower court search.  This can be valuable in any background check.


However, that is where I end it.  Now comes the time for the real investigation.  It is crucial that any information obtained through a database search be verified.  For a criminal record, this means verifying it through the court system.  For education and employment searches, I go to the source.


The fact is, Databases have errors.



You can find many articles illustrating how applicants have been denied jobs due to inaccurate database searches.  There have also been instances where a criminal history is not discovered at all through these online searches; Errors in Background Checks Cost Job Seekers” by Olivera Perkins, The Plain Dealer.



Common names like Jones, Smith, and Johnson are also very challenging when using online databases. Many databases do not contain the identifiers necessary to make sure the results match your subject. Date of birth and social security number are necessary to verify which, if any, records found during a search can be attributed to your subject.


There is also the misconception among many that there is a “National” Database.  No nationwide repository exists that houses all data from all the nation’s courts.



Even the FBI database is not all inclusive.  The FBI system is dependent upon the lower courts submitting their information for inclusion.  This is often done sporadically, slowly, or not at all. Many of the cases that do make it to the FBI are not updated to contain the final disposition.



You can read more about the misconceptions about a National Database in this article by Angela Preston of Employee Screen IQ;
"National Background Checks: What's in a Database?".


Multi-state databases, although a valuable tool, should be used only as a starting point.  They cannot replace the more reliable method of court records, education, and employment verifications done at the source.


The bottom line.....Relying on online databases as the sole basis of information during a background check is negligent.  A combination of database records and direct source records provides the best, and most error-free, picture for any background check.


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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Find it Difficult Setting Your Prices? You are Not Alone!


Created by Kimberly Kline, API

“Pricing is actually a pretty simple and straight forward thing.  Customers will not pay literally a penny more than the true value of the product.”

               Ron Johnson


Still confused?  So was I!

What is “true value”?  Determining that was not “simple and straight forward”.

In the beginning, 
I was afraid of losing or scaring away 
potential clients by overpricing my services.  
I also was having a difficult time determining a fair price.

For me, it was much harder deciding on prices for my “services”. Services are not tangible and, therefore, more subjective. 

Over time, I learned that 
You need to find a way to 
set a price on your services 
based on your expertise, knowledge, and time.  The more you believe in what you are selling, the easier it becomes to charge what it is worth.


This can be especially hard for women to achieve.  Placing value in our own worth is sometimes difficult.  Consequently, the prices we place on our services also suffer.

First, it is essential that you believe in yourself.  You know you are providing a quality service, so make no apologies.  If you act with confidence, it will not be long before your clients believe in you too.
Consider these 3 Things
When Setting Your Prices:

  • What Does it Cost You to Provide Your Service?
Knowing what bills you need to cover, whether there are any out of pocket fees, and how long it takes you to complete your service is crucial.   Each of these needs to be factored into your price.

  • What are Your Clients Really Paying For?
Think of what you provide that others in your market do not.  What do you do better than them?  Exceptional quality and true customer service are often more important than price.  

You can’t forget that your clients are paying for your expertise.  It has taken you time to gather your knowledge and skills.  It can be what sets you apart.  That needs to be factored into your prices.

  • Is What Your Competitors Charge Relevant?
The truth is that it may not matter.  Proving that you are offering more “bang for their buck” will eliminate the response “but I can get the same thing for _____”.

Make sure what you are offering is not the “same thing”.  Show how you are different, and you will make the sale regardless of your price.  

There is a perception that “you get what you pay for”.  Don’t fall into the rut of setting or lowering your prices to the point that your perceived value plummets.  It can be difficult to recover - and raising your prices afterwards can be hard to justify.

In this economy, that can be a hard line to take.  What I have done is a little different.  Instead of lowering my prices during these hard times, I have held them steady.


My clients appreciate that I understand their own struggles to keep their businesses going.  And they also realize that I am in the same boat.  It has really helped me generate loyalty and the feeling that we are partners in each other’s success.

Through it all, my focus stays on the Value of my Services.  My value goes beyond what I charge.  It is a culmination of my knowledge in my field and the way I treat my clients.

When I began to truly Believe 
that I offered Quality, it showed.  
I found myself recognized in my market and able to build a reputation on it.

I know You can Do the Same!



Authored by  






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Monday, September 2, 2013

What Professional Women and Entrepreneurs can Learn from Football!


Let me start off by saying, I love football.



Every time I make the 4 hour drive to D.C., I listen to the NFL network.  Year round I get NFL stories and highlights emailed to me.  I “like” my favorite team and players on Facebook.  And every game day during football season, I watch my own team, and every other game I can get.


While I love most sports, football is my favorite.  And now that the season is getting in full swing, I look forward to every minute.


Besides the entertainment factor, I also believe that Small Business owners, and women especially, can learn a lot from team sports.  


The success you can find working as a unified group is one. While I am sure many would find others, I have broken it down into these Top 3: 


1.  Team Work

When watching a football play unfold, it is clear that all players have a choreographed role.  If any one of them is not fully committed to and completely executes the play, it is not successful.

Much is the same in a company.  All employees and managers must work together to ensure the company accomplishes its goals.  You need to recognize that everyone’s role is important and should be valued.



2.  How to Quarterback

A good quarterback knows the strengths and weaknesses of his team.  He must think quickly and react to any outside pressures and changes, while still scoring points.  A QB also knows that he cannot do it alone.  He needs his entire team to be working at their best.  My favorite quarterback does not point fingers or take all the praise.  That makes him a leader and a team player.3.

As the owner or manager of your company, You must do the same. An effective employer quickly realizes that it is impossible to do it all.  So you need to surround yourself with good, quality people and realize you are only as productive as those around you.  You need to act as a motivator and learn to lead by example.

3.  Prep Time

Football players use the off season to rehabilitate, reflect, and re-energize.  The best of them keep in shape by continuing to work out so they are able to jump right back in at the start of camp.

You can use these tactics in your business.  Companies also go through “down times” and periods of change.  What is important is to do it wisely.  Hone your skills, revamp your methods - whatever it takes to achieve your goals.


While football, really any team sport, can teach business owners a lot, it is especially valuable to women in business.



According to a June 18, 2013 press release from Ernst & Young, results of their recent survey solidify the “important role of sports in the development of leadership skills for female executives and their ability to motivate teams”.


I found particularly telling that 96% of women at the corporate level had played a team sport, 55% of them at a University level.  A majority of them (72%) also agreed that women who have participated in team sports, at any level, worked better and more productively within teams.


You can read the entire Ernst & Young press release here.


My Junior High Basketball Team
Women who have or still do play team sports know the value of team work.  They have seen first hand the bonding and success that comes from all working towards the same goal.


They also know the strength of will it takes to compete at a high level.  All this breeds self-confidence, determination, and the ability to motivate ~ each one of these are qualities of good leader.


No matter what team sport you are drawn to, take a moment and watch them play.  Learn to recognize what works and what doesn’t.  You will find that the successful teams work as one to earn that win.


Then take what you see and use it to reach your goals.  Who knows, if you are lucky you may win your own “Super Bowl”!


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