Monday, May 29, 2017

What You Should Know about Life Before You Graduate

As commencement ceremonies and celebrations come to a close, and new grads are getting ready to start their first "real jobs", I find myself reflecting on what I know now that I wish I had known then!

Of course hindsight is always 20/20.  But I certainly would have saved myself a lot of angst and restless nights if I had the chance to know more about myself, and what I truly wanted out of life, before I was expected to be "an adult".

I often wonder how anyone can be expected to graduate from college, let alone from high school, and know what they want to do for the rest of their lives! Seems pretty impossible to me.

Many times graduation is just when you begin to find out what it means to "come into your own". 

You have survived the insecurity and excitement of your high school, and maybe even college, years. You have had a taste of what it means to make some important decisions that can effect you and those around you. And you may have even chosen a career path that you think will be your choice for life. 

But this is only the beginning! There is so much more ~ and your path may often be a lot more bumpy than you would like!   

So as you graduate, I will share these 5 "life lessons" that will hopefully help things go smoother and that I really wish I had known when I graduated!

5 Life Lessons You Should Know Before You Graduate "Tweet This"

Take some time for Self-Reflection. 
Knowing more about YOU ~ your dreams, your priorities ~ is the best place to start! Find your passion and your purpose. Discover what success means to you, not what others think it should mean. Understanding these things from the beginning is the best way to reach your goals. 

Take it a Step at a Time and Be Happy in the Moment.
Learn to enjoy the process. There is much to be said about not rushing forward and, instead, taking the time to consider each step as part of the adventure. You will find yourself missing out on many great things if your eye is only on your end game.

Never Settle
Despite learning to enjoy the moment, that doesn't mean you can't strive for better! Having hopes, goals, and dreams is what makes life so exciting. So matter what obstacles you face, know that you can move past them. When I feel like quitting or life has become too much, I like to remember these lyrics from one of my favorite songs;  "Hey, come on try a little. Nothing is forever. There's got to be something better than in the middle. But me and Cinderella, we put it all together. We can drive it home, with one headlight"; lyrics from "One Headlight" by the Wallflowers. So no matter what dark days you may have, you can "drive it home" too!

Think of Others 
A self-focused existence never works in the long run. Cherish your family and friends. Practice empathy towards others and, sometimes, be willing to consider them more than you do yourself. Pay it forward when you can. Help others achieve their goals. Remember, any life worth living is one that makes a difference in their lives and in the lives of others!  

And, finally, Relax!

"If I have one regret, it is suffering many angst filled days because I thought I needed to have my life plan in place. I always believed that graduating from college meant I would be on my way. When that didn’t happen, the best thing I ever did was to leave myself open to new experiences.  I never stopped learning and trying new things." excerpt from; "The Top Piece of Advice of Advice I Wish I Knew When I was 22"!

Keeping your eyes and mind wide open, and your fingers crossed, can get you through whatever life throws at you. Never stop reaching for what you really, truly want ~ and great things will happen.

I will close with one of my most favorite quotes....

I whole-heartedly believe that at least considering the importance of these 5 lessons will help you be Ready to Move Mountains of Your Own!

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You can find out more about my journey towards fulfilling my dreams on our About Us page!

Monday, May 22, 2017

What it Really Means to Have Good Customer Service!

Do You Know what it Really Means to Have Good Customer Service?

Recently, a long time client called with an unusual request. He was pursuing a new account and needed a write-up of the criteria API uses in our background checks to present at their meeting ~ and he needed it in 10 minutes!

Needless to say, he sounded nervous that we wouldn’t be able to do it in time and he might lose the chance to land their business. After giving him a quick reassurance, we dropped what we were doing and focused on getting our client what he needed.

Within minutes our client had the document in hand and was on his way.

Later that day we got another call from him, this time thanking us over and over again for our prompt service and letting us know he landed this much needed new business!

It is this attention to our client’s needs that has been the backbone of our customer service policy since the beginning. 

Our focus is, and will always be, on what API can do to not only land clients, but to keep them for the long haul. And it all begins with Customer Service that is focused on their needs, not on ours!

Good Customer Service leads to Loyal Customers! “Tweet This”

At API, we are proud to say that many of our clients have been with us from the beginning ~ and we started our business in 1996!

We have worked with them through their “down times”, been flexible with their cash-flow problems, and even been there when they were faced with rush jobs ~ often times even when on vacation or after-hours.

And they have stuck with us when we have experienced the same. We share a Reciprocal Loyalty that comes from a place of understanding and shared experiences.

Find out more about how you can foster Reciprocal Loyalty in “Why You Need to Convert the ‘Fair Weather’ Fan!”.

The bottom line is that our clients recognize that we are dedicated to delivering customer service that is beyond that of our competitors.

We consistently go the extra mile to meet their needs and show that we value their business. Responding quickly to their most pressing problems also helps keep our relationship thriving.

Our clients feel valued.

This feeling is what builds the loyalty we need to keep our clients happy.

It is this long-term dedication that is the foundation of what it really means to have Good Customer Service!

Is Your Business Ready?

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Discover what API can do for you and your business! Check out our Background Investigation & Applicant Services, Business Mentoring, and Security Consulting services.

Learn more About Us and get answers to your FAQ too!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Tips to Help You Breathe New Life into Your Business

Every business gets in a rut.
Over the years, you may find yourself doing things the same way. You offer the same services or products. You use, or don't use, social media to your best advantage when marketing and branding your business. Generally, you are running your business the same way you have since you started.

But will operating under the Status Quo get you where you want to be? 
Doing things the same way, over and over, does a disservice to you, your employees, and your customers!

You will most likely find yourself becoming complacent, disinterested, and even downright bored, with your business. You have lost the energy and passion that drove you to become an entrepreneur in the first place. Soon your employees and customers will feel it too.
That is no way to run a business!

Is it time to Breathe New Life into Your Business? "Tweet This"
Instead of accepting it, this is exactly the time you need to breathe new life into your business!

What you need now are some tips and a plan to get you started!
The key is to discover a way that will not only bring the excitement back to you and your business, but will also attract and keep the clients you need!

The best place to start is with you! Your attitude towards your business can make all the difference on how your brand is received.

Start by focusing on "Why" you do what you do.
Remembering, or even recognizing for the first time, what it is about your business that drives you is key.

Understanding how your business speaks to your inner core will help you establish your brand and reach the perfect customers for your business.

Read about our journey towards discovering our "Why", and how you can do it too, in "I Know Why I Do What I Do"!

Now it's time to Get the Spark Back!

Once you reconnect with the driving force behind your business, it is much easier to brain storm on the different ways to get out of your rut and present a fresh face to the world.
First, take a look at your marketing. Does it mesh with your "why" and core values? If not, it may be time for a re-brand.

Do your social sites reflect that brand? Everything from the original posts you create, the articles you share, and even the color scheme you use on your sites, should present a cohesive and unique picture of you and your company. If they don't, then it is time for a change!

How about the products and services you offer? Are they inline with your current brand? Do they truly solve your customers' wants and needs? If not, re-evaluate them now!

Remove any that no longer stack up. Re-vamp others that may be a bit behind the times. Doing this will help your company become more exciting and relevant.  

However, the best tip of all for giving your business the jumpstart it needs is to launch an entirely New Product or Service!

The benefits to your company include:
  • Keeping Your Business Fresh and Current
  • Helping You Get Past the Slow Times
  • Reawakening Your Interest and Passion for Your Business
  • Solving a New or Existing Customer's Problems or Needs
  • Attracting new Interest in Your Company
Discover more in "Quickest and Easiest Way to Revitalize Your Small Business"!

Are You Ready to Get Your Business out a Rut? Then the time is now to re-energize yourself and your company ~ and these tips are the perfect start!
Contact API and check out our Business Mentoring services now to get more tips to help you succeed with your business!

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Monday, May 8, 2017

Is Working from Home Right for You?

Do You think You can be Successful Working from Home?
The coronavirus pandemic changed how and where we work. Out of necessity, many of us suddenly found ourselves thrust into setting up a home work space and juggling family and our jobs like we never had before.
But now, as we are slowly recovering from the shutdowns, many wonder what that means for the "traditional" way we worked. Will we all return to the workplace and carry on business as usual? Or will working from home be a viable option?
We believe that the choice of where to work will be more accepted and available than ever before. 

The question then becomes, is it right for you?
Running a business or working from Home is not for Everyone! Each comes with their own unique set of challenges and rewards.

When you work from home, there are definitely challenges. Feelings of isolation are common. You can't simply walk down the hall to have a chat with a co-worker. Team work is suddenly done virtually, not in a conference room. 

Not being taken seriously by those still working in a "traditional" setting is also a concern. Perceptions that you are watching television or playing online games instead of focusing on your assignments may worry your managers and co-workers. 

And projecting a professional image can be difficult when you work from your couch or even in sweats!

In the beginning, many will definitely feel this way.

You will find it hard to explain to family and friends that you don't have time for a chat ~ after all, you are at home! And you will have to resist the urge to do things around the house instead of working on a project or your own business. This is especially difficult when work is slow or clients are scarce.

But, over time, it will get better.

Eventually, you will get into a routine and will find that, for many, there are more positives than negatives to working from home. The flexibility will certainly be welcome and you can appreciate the chance to really focus without interruptions from co-workers, much more than you ever could working out of a traditional office!

Is Running a Business or Working from Home Right for You? "Tweet This"!

But despite these benefits, 
running a home-based business or working from home, even part-time, 
is not for everyone. 
Some may find it hard to deal with the feeling of always being "at work". Others may lack the self-discipline to succeed. And you may find that the feeling of being part of a "team" is just not happening when you don't physically go to a workplace.

Whatever the case, hearing from those that have "been there" before making the commitment makes sense.

we share the ins and outs from actual home-based small business owners.
They share their tips and tricks on what it really takes to make it work! Take a look at their stories, and share yours here! We would love to hear from you.

Authored by   

Learn more About Us and 
what API can do for You and Your Business!

to find out more!

Monday, May 1, 2017

It's Small Business Week ~ Let's Celebrate!

Beginning Monday, September 21st, we celebrate"National Small Business Week". 

While usually celebrated in May, the year 2020 is anything but "usual". Now more than ever we need to voice our strong support and admiration for our nation's Small Businesses! We all must recognize the hardships that this pandemic has caused and marvel at the many creative solutions so many small business owners have employed to keep their businesses going. But we also need to mourn those small businesses that could not survive.

It is also a time to honor the entrepreneurial spirit, celebrate how far Small Business has come, and realize how far we still need to go.

Sponsored by the Small Business Administration, this annual event began as a way to recognize our nation's top small business owners and those who support and advocate for small business.   

"As part of National Small Business Week, the U.S. Small Business Administration takes the opportunity to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and others from all 50 states and U.S. territories. Every day, they’re working to grow small businesses, create 21st century jobs, drive innovation, and increase America’s global competitiveness". 

Learn more about the events slated for Small Business Week, both around our nation and online, on the SBA Website!

Want to get in on the celebration?
  • Use the hashtag #SmallBusinessWeek in your social posts to share what you are doing to honor Small Business. 
  • Follow the hashtag #SmallBusinessWeek to find out what other small businesses are up to.
  •  Check out the live streams on the Small Business Administration Website.
  • Share Your Story! Let others know how and why you started your own Small Business. 
Every Entrepreneur has a Story! "Tweet This"

All entrepreneurs have a story. While many are similar ~ we wanted to be our own boss or needed more flexibility ~ there are also others whose stories are more unique.

But no matter what, every entrepreneur's story is interesting.

I started my small business, Access Profiles, Inc., for many of the usual reasons. I wanted the opportunity to be there while my children were young and still earn some money to contribute to the family. 

While that continued to be a driving motivation, it is what I learned about myself along the way that really surprised me.

I discovered my true strengths and weaknesses, and how to make them work for me and my business. I also found how important it was to build a strong relationship with my clients ~ one based on trust, communication, and honesty.

First and foremost, entrepreneurship has been a journey. 
It is a journey filled with many twists and turns, times of doubt and sacrifice. But I would not have had it any other way! 

You can find more about my story in "What I have Learned Starting My Own Business"!

So this week, and all year long, let's take the time to honor what Small Business has truly done for our country, and what it will continue to do. Are you ready?
Let's Celebrate Small Business and
Share Your Story! Leave a comment and let us know what drives You in your Small Business and you have learned along the way!

Please Pay it Forward and share this on your favorite social sites. 

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Find out more About Us and how our Background Investigation & Applicant Services, Business Mentoring, and Security Consulting Services can help You!