Business Outlooks

FYI- What not to do on Linkedin…

Here is an interesting article I found while scouring and doing my daily research on I have advised many times on the powers of and what you can gain from having a presence there. But in order to have a presence and get noticed whether it be for your business or for connecting to potential employers, clients, or prospects, you must always be present. A consistent presence is the key to building your online reputation as well as offline.
If you have connected with someone from a networking opportunity and then connected online, occasionally follow-up with them and post relevant topics of interest in your industry. There was a reason why they connected with you in the first place. Not only because they had an interest in you, but also what your company or who you work for can provide immediately or down the road. The rules of engagement online is just as crucial as offline. There are an abundant number of offline networking opportunities to choose from, just like online. Networking can happen just about anywhere really, not just at “networking events”. But the key to it all is to engage!
Make your connections, but make sure your profile is in tip-top shape… stay on top of the game and you will get the connections and provide your products and services at any given time when needed. Businesses are depending on this tool to search for you, engage with you and most importantly, find out what you are all about in a concise manner. It’s the new version of your resume and business profile. And don’t forget to add any examples of what you do or have done. There are plenty of applications to add to your profile to highlight this information, i.e. slide share,, video, etc. That is the other reason why it is so important to maintain that up to date information, so they know to choose you when making that decision related to what you do!

Are there Hidden Powers of a Corporate Event?

How do you get the most out of any event, let alone a corporate one? What are the goals and strategies you need to PLAN AHEAD in order to maximize it for the ultimate “Business or Social” event?
So many corporations ask these questions and move onto handing over the responsibility to an administrative assistant or a group of people put on a committee with no defined roles, to take care of the details. They never really convey the message and goal of the event, especially if it is a “Goal/Client Schmoozing/Sales” driven event. The higher-ups just want the tasks handled. The admins main responsibilities and priorities are admin work, not necessarily event planning.
So the priority of the event, “The Goal”, gets put on the back burner and various tasks do get handled, but the tasks are sometimes thrown together and it ends up being just a so- so event. Maybe, just maybe the goal is attained and some back-end sales or client acquisition is accomplished. But it could have been done better. You can’t just throw something together and hope for the best, it has to be planned and planned effectively well in advance.
I am sure this resonates with some events where the goal is not always attained to the maximum capacity. So I ask you: Is it effective to not have a precise, goal oriented plan? NO.
How do we go about creating a GOAL oriented event that delivers RESULTS? Hopefully you would call on a professional Event Management company to take care of all the details, like CBJ Promotional Avenues, but if the budget doesn’t allow it, here are some steps you can use to deliver those sought after results.

* Set the Goal and Desired Results. i.e. driving sales, sales incentives, customer appreciation to drive more sales, employee appreciation to drive more sales, product launch, etc.
* Create the Planning Committee with defined roles and tasks.
* Financial
* Logistical & Contracts
* Marketing & Advertising
* Sponsorship if needed to offset costs
* Accommodations/ Transportation/Concierge Services if needed for out-of-town guests
* Attendee
* Staffing/Volunteer
* Day of Event Management
* Post Event Follow Up
* Set the Budget.
* Who to Invite.
* Marketing & Advertising This is the Hidden Power: The Powerful words of Persuasion!
* Registration Process
* Event Logistics
* Attendance
* Actual Event and enjoying it!
* Event Follow Up
This is the overall outline of planning an event. All of these things and more need to happen effectively and having a sequenced time line for the event to be handled seamlessly perfect. When any one of these items are not done in a timely manner, it throws the whole event off the time line and the “panic” effect takes control and everyone “runs around like a chicken with its head cut off!” Also, everyone starts to act like they could be managing the planning better and then it becomes the “Chief” syndrome…”too many chiefs and not enough Indians” Don’t let this happen.
Plan ahead far enough in advance realistically to get the desired goal and results that are needed to convey the message of the company and its goal: clients, sales, incentives, or whatever the outcome must be. When not planned out far enough in advance, that “panic” sets in and a miracle is expected and does not usually happen without the added stress for everyone involved.
So, call Christina Blandi-James at CBJ Promotional Avenues, to PLAN AHEAD and take care of all the details to attract the most attendees, clients, potential clients, etc. !
Christina Blandi-James
CBJ Promotional Avenues, LLC

all rights reserved and copy written by CBJ Promotional Avenues. 2010. Under no circumstances, written permission must be obtained to reproduce.

“Get Your Business Noticed “…..

For any business just getting started, money is tight, time is tight and you have to do everything yourself, you are a solo entrepreneur. The many hats you have to wear are quite the juggling act. You are literally burning the candle at both ends and your running on reserves. But, we knew that was going to happen when we put the “Open” for business sign on the front door, or so to say. We have all kinds of dreams of our businesses flourishing and immediate success and customers knocking on our door first. “Didn’t they know I was opening my business for (such and such a product or service), so why are they not calling?”
Not only does a business have to compete in the market place for the attention of the consumer, but we are jockeying our position against our competitors. So how do we do this? How do we get noticed in a crowded market place and offer the best possible solution for the consumer or business? Good question. So let’s explore just some of the marketing plan to get your business noticed effectively and efficiently.
The “Get Your Business Noticed” is essential when it comes to positioning your brand and getting the message across, that we are the best provider for whatever product or service your business is offering. We are all vying for a position in the market place to stand out, make a difference, or get noticed and to offer our customers, clients, or potential customers the value that our business products or service can offer.
Here are just some of the ways to get your business noticed:
1) The obvious, NETWORKING. Go out to these networking events ( so many to choose from) with the clarity in mind, that you are out there to build relationships and grow your network, but you must always shine as a person first! Let them get to know you.
2) If you don’t have the resources to pay for a website initially, BLOG! And promote the blog! Look for other blogs to attach your link to and vice versa. Getting noticed in the market place and being seen as an expert in your field by BLOGGING! It’s the quickest and easiest way to get noticed.
3) Another obvious, SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING. It is not too difficult to see that this so called fad is here to stay. So, get on Facebook, of course (professional social media and search ability for companies and individuals), and any other social media site that will give you the ability to promote your brand and message. Make sure to schedule it into your day, because it can be time consuming.
MY TAKE: These two are my preferred methods of social media branding. There are others that are just as effective. Take the time, figure it out, and be consistent. There is nothing worse than not showing up on a regular basis and having something of value to share. It is almost like not showing up for work at a regular full time paying job and the boss doesn’t see you sitting in your chair. You won’t be there for very long!
4) Another effective and “BAM” in your face kind of marketing would be to have an EVENT. Come up with some ideas to promote your business brand with a workshop, seminar, conference, presentation or social time for potential clients or customers to come and “visit” your company, offer them lunch or snacks, and involve them in the process of “Getting to Know” your company. Your company has value to offer. Target your audience, invite them and let them know your value.
MY TAKE: Sometimes, events, can be cumbersome to plan and money draining, but if done effectively and resourcefully, it can become a regular part of your marketing plan to invite your targeted audience to a “Open House” or any other event focus you have in mind. Of course, make sure to include SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING to “GET THE WORD OUT” about the event. And of course, CBJ Promotional Avenues, can help you plan all the details that you don’t have the time to do to be as resourceful as can be!
5) Another effective and sometimes resourceful way to get noticed is with PROMOTIONAL PRODUCTS. You know, give a ways that have your business information on it and your logo. It is concise and to the point, when you hand some one an item with your information on it. It makes it easy to remember a business, when they walk away with a UNIQUE item. Every business should have some sort of an item to give to another whenever you are networking, attending or exhibiting at a trade show, conference, sales calls or whatever the place where you are talking with another about your business.
Strategically plan your marketing efforts to maximize and exhaust all the possible avenues to “GET YOUR BUSINESS NOTICED!” There are so many other ways to get noticed, for one is advertising (which can be expensive), but sharing this information and getting you to think “outside” the box for getting noticed, are essential to any business and it’s branding efforts.
For more information on any of these avenues, on how to “GET YOUR BUSINESS NOTICED”, contact CBJ Promotional Avenues to help “get the word out”! Call me!!

All rights reserved and copyrighted by CBJ Promotional Avenues 2010. Express written permission must be obtained for reproduction of this content.

Tips of the “New and Old” Trade Ways to Build Your Business Reputation

Social networking can be an effective part of any marketing program, but it must be used correctly. The following tips will help small business owners, entrepreneurs, and anyone looking to solidify their message, reputation and credibility to enhance your network marketing outreach.
Social Media Marketing:

  • Use your social networking profile to develop and elevate your  brand.
  • When setting up your profile on the social media sites, make sure you fill it out completely. For, don’t put the places where you worked without putting exactly what you did at that company. And in the summary, that is where you not only speak about what your company or you as an individual can do, but what you are willing to do to get the job done. Additionally, add some of your personality.  Share some personal beliefs about work ethic, etc.
  • Manage online reputation carefully. Avoid posting political, religious, or controversial opinions.
  • Don’t speak badly of anyone online, regardless of negative experiences.
  • Balance out your posts.  Too many and your “friends” or contacts get annoyed if it isn’t relatable to what you do. Too few posts and people will lose interest and that hurts your business reputation just as much.
  • Don’t just talk about only what you do in your business.  Speak about relevant topics that people know about, share about themselves or even promote another person’s business if they did work for you or you have a desire to help them “get the word out” about their business. Giving back helps both in the long run.
  • When you help others in a true fashion, then others are more attracted to your energy and what your business does. But, be GENUINE, don’t always expect something back in return.
  • Don’t miss the “new” wave of marketing.  Internet marketing is replacing some of the archaic, traditional ways of marketing.   Unfortunately, those businesses are hurting but they can recover by adopting the internet marketing functions to create buzz-ability and branding.

As some of us dive head first into  social media marketing, we need to remember that being in front of the  person and making that initial connection is just as important, if not more.  While we’re creating our  social media marketing campaign, our reputation is being built offline at meetings, networking meetings, informational and developmental meetings, social functions, charity functions we support, and even “going out with the girls/guys” is networking.  We are giving the other a sense of who we are as human beings and what drives us and our businesses.
Face to Face Networking:

  • Make sure when you meet someone, that you don’t do the “Elevator” pitch of 30 seconds and expect an instant connection.  Take the time.  If something piques your interest in what has been said, take it a step further and ask questions.  It might even lead into a meeting later.
  • Make sure to be true to yourself by “Being Yourself”  never something all hyped up.
  • When you go to a networking event with someone, especially with a person you have done business with, it is an instant referral for you!
  • Face to Face Networking is so much more effective as a marketing strategy than “Cold” calling.
  • Ask something personal or find some commonality with the other person.
  • Don’t just shove your business card in their hand and do your spiel and run off to the next person to get out as many cards as you can.  That doesn’t work.
  • Make sure, when you do have the connection and it is felt by both parties, to follow up with the person in a reasonable amount of time.  Generally within 2-3 days.  There is nothing worse than having to retrace your thought pattern, then after you connect online and then can’t remember where you met them.
  • Build up your memory bank too, making sure to remember their faces and apologize for not remembering their name.   But the more you see them and talk to them, the name recognition happens.
  • To create the “Buzz” and get people talking about your business, who better than you to go out and network your way to more connections, more business, more vendor connections, and so forth.

When you network with others Face to Face and on a consistent basis, your trust factor, credibility and personality can shine through, unlike being behind the desk, typing a post and trying to be creative, then you get writers block about what to write.  Some people just do better in person.
written by Christina Blandi-James
copyrighted for CBJ Promotional Avenues

Procrastination….Where does it get you?

I for one, am a recovering procrastinator. There I said it! I am outed by my past I am a whole lot more in tune with what needs to be done and accomplished by a certain deadline. I have actually taught myself to overcome this bad habit, mainly because I got tired of nothing ever getting done. Boy is that irritating, when someone expects you to get something done and they nag and nag until you go crazy. Now, I actually love smiling when someone asks about a task that I already did!!! Yes, right now I am referring to my husband!!
Now I am not saying that I get everything done on time and don’t put off some things, because some things are better accomplished at a later time when another priority has to take precedence. No one on this planet is perfect. Period. But, as a whole, it is always better to get things accomplished than putting it off to another day. Then another day comes and goes, and another , and another. Then before you know it, it is two years later and some one is still asking for it to be done. Ugh. Please don’t practice procrastination in your professional arena. Not a good thing, you just might get FIRED.
Definition of Procrastination by Wikipedia:
It refers to the counterproductive deferment of actions or tasks to a later time. Psychologists often cite such behavior as a mechanism for coping with the anxiety associated with starting or completing any task or decision.

Accomplishing Procrastination: Where Does it Get You?

1) Nowhere!
2) It only leads to more anxious behaviors = STRESS
3) Decreased productivity = More STRESS and Disapproval of your peers and employer for not completing a project or task in time.
4) Physiological (distractability by other stimuli) and Psychological (not confident in the task to be completed) behaviors
5) Two common types of Procrastinators
a) Relaxed – ” Oh, I will get to it” type and time passes quickly before it is addressed again
b) Tense/Afraid – “Oh my gosh, I am not sure if I can do this all by myself, this is just too much” attitude. Not enough confidence in your ability to complete the task and even avoidance of it.
6) Perfectionism – The over zealous person who is not satisfied with the task at hand, until it is absolutely right. Overly critical of oneself and others ability to get the task done and on time.
So my question to ask ourselves is this Procrastination behavior a Habit or a Disorder? Or can we re-teach ourselves to overcome the behaviors with self-control?
Is it a learned behavior that we have been shown by our parents or others in the quest to put off everything?
Our parents are our examples, right? Or can we learn from theirs and others examples to never Procrastinate in order to get the job done and on time?

So here are some Procrastination behaviors that most of us are guilty of doing:
* Go get another cup of coffee
* Get a snack
* Answer email during the most important part of the assignment
* Go on Facebook or Tweet! And during work time, shame on you!!
* Doing a household chore if you are a home based business ( I am guilty!)
* Daydreaming
* Go talk to a co-worker
* Going out to lunch when you aren’t even close to get the task done by 1 pm.
How to avoid Procrastination and earn the right to “blow off some time”:
* Write the rough draft of the proposal and then take 10 minutes to daydream or log onto Facebook
* Call 5 leads and set appointments and then go get a cup of coffee
* Enter your weekly bookkeeping or expense transactions and then you can call a “Pal” to chit-chat.
You can change your Procrastination behavior and over come the stigma of being one.
1) Stick to the plan
2) Don’t avoid the task or project
3) Stay positive that there is a light at the end of the tunnel
4) Feel the sense of accomplishment.
Of course, you will then have to deal with all the accolades of the positive outpouring from your co-workers and boss, but then again, aren’t you doing what you are supposed to be doing and getting it done on time? And in the end, get the BIG bonus!! In a perfect world, right?
There, I finally got this post done!! LOL!
Written and copyrighted by CBJ Promotional Avenues, Christina Blandi-James

Bartering is Alive and Well!

Do you remember way back to grade school when you didn’t like what your mother packed you for lunch and neither did your “BFF” (Best Friend forever)? So the two of you decided to trade the 3 Oreo cookies for his/her chocolate pudding. Those were the days of innocence and adventure. Nothing could stop the exchange of goods. Neither one of you like the food choice so it was inevitable to do “the trade”!
Well, today, the same principle applies. Trading and Bartering is still alive and well in today’s society. We all have wants and needs. Some of us have those, but can’t justify the cost, but in order to survive in today’s economy or our businesses, we find a suitable partner “Do the trade” For example, I have a marketing service that I can easily use my time to provide, while the other person is helping me to build a website. Easy enough and understandably so. I need the website, primarily because I don’t have the time to learn how to build one and they are more knowledgeable about it , and he needs marketing assistance. Bingo, deal done, no money exchanged. It makes sense.
The most notable example of a “trade” was when a person traded a red paper clip all the way up to a house! Can you imagine the possibilities if done right? Amazing!
There are some rules that apply and must be adhered to in order for “the trade” to be a success. There are always advantages and disadvantages to every trade. We really do, in this instance, compare “Apples to Oranges.”
1) The “Tit for Tat” rule: The value of each must be equal. Or it sours the deal.
It doesn’t make any sense if the want or need is not the same. If the only thing you have to offer in the deal is something the other doesn’t need or want, then obviously the trade won’t happen. But, then there is always the “Triangular Exchange” Where a third party enters into the arrangement and you eventually get what is needed.
2) The “Tit for Tat” rule and Time and effort plays a part:
Do we really need to measure the amount of time it takes to accomplish the trade? Yes. The time and effort it takes one party, might not be equal to the other service or product in the exchange. That is where both parties have to agree on the scope of work and effort.
3) Another disadvantage: Tax consequences. If you are essentially on the “up and up” on your values, and a invoice is part of the exchange to justify the exchange, one is obligated to show it on the “books” of the business. That is when your CPA starts to question and the value of the service or product is recorded as income on the “books.” So because I am not a CPA I cannot give any more advice on the matter. Consult your accountant for the validity of the exchange and how it is reported. Yes, the IRS has set rules in place to account for the exchange.
4) Tax Credits: The best advantage of Bartering is even though the trade was not equal in value and you are part of an actual Bartering program, you can donate the bartering credits to a charity and write it off on your taxes. Some businesses can even further the bartering process to defer or avoid paying taxes by way of the 1031 exchange, primarily used for real estate. Consult a CPA or an accountant for further explanation.
Since the ancient times, bartering has been a way of life for many, especially to combat poverty and inflation. If done right and “apples to oranges” are essentially given equal consideration, the “trade” can be done effectively and all parties are happy. You have accomplished your goal. Congratulations!
Here are some resources and links to conduct bartering practices:
1) International Trade Association
2) IRS on Bartering practices
3) Raleigh Bartering group
4) Inside919 Barter group
copyrighted by CBJ Promotional Avenues. All rights reserved. Written permission must be given for any reprint of information.

Lease a Sales Rep hosts new networking group for CEO’s and Executives

The Triangle Catalyst
July 27th, Inaugural Networking Event
This event is for CEO’s who run businesses in the Triangle. As CEO’s our time is extremely valuable, not only in dollar value, but in opportunities lost if we are not focused with our time, energy, and networking efforts. CEO’s want to get to the point, go for the GUSTO! and make connections with like-minded individuals, that know what it is to start, grow and manage a business.
This is what Triangle Catalyst is all about.
This “CEO/Executive Only” event brings together the Biggest. Baddest, Smartest, and well connected CEO’s and executives that want to share with other like-minded people challenges that they may face in their business and get answers through relationship building and networking with peers. At the same time, we will forge new relationships, and serve as a Council of Advisors, to bounce around ideas, and to share success stories. Our Inaugural Triangle Catalyst Event will be the 1st of a series of quarterly events that will be welcomed strategic move for the busy executive.
The best part of these events will be sharing the room with major connectors and listening to other CEO’s and Leaders in their fields providing insight into what will make a difference in our businesses and economy. Big ideas, Big people, Well connected leaders, and Movers and Shakers that make decisions and make things happen will be there.
Come joins us. Don’t miss this opportunity.
This event is exclusive and limited to 50 participants. High level people with deep experiences running major companies will be attending.

You’re Invited:
July 27th, 2010
5:30 – 7:30 pm
Johnson Lexus
Test Drives too!
Speaker: Ron Smith of S & A Cherokee
Building a Business in a Challenging

Don’t wait, register TODAY!
About the speaker, Ron Smith, CEO of S&A Cherokee:
Ron Smith has worked in the communications field for more than 30 years. He has served as a newspaper reporter, newspaper editor, magazine publisher and editor and public relations counselor.
Ron began his career while in high school by working as a writer for a weekly newspaper. He worked his way through college as an employee of various newspapers and he completed his last two years of college while working at the newspaper full time. As well as, a city editor of a daily North Carolina newspaper for six years before entering the public relations field.
Ron first began in public relations from 1976 working for several advertising and public relations firms until he started S&A Cherokee in 1982.
Ron is a member of the Public Relations Society of America since 1976 having held several positions of leadership in the NC chapter society, as well as, being named NC Public Relations Master.
Host: Gilbert Pagan, CEO, Lease A Sales Rep, Inc.
Event Coordination: Christina Blandi-James, Pres.
CBJ Promotional Avenues

LinkingRaleigh presents Uplink “Social Media Marketing”

The UpLink Professional and Business Networking Luncheon is a networking luncheon opportunity for you to meet other local professionals.
Topic: Social Media Marketing and Business
This is your opportunity to come and hear from professionals of social media marketing. Gain insight, knowledge and inspiration that may help you find a new way to attract new customers and prepare you for the changes ahead.
The panelists will discuss how they use social media marketing in their role, discuss best practices and share insights into what is to come, followed by questions from attendees.
Panelists include:
* James Wong – Marketing Communications Manager at iContact
* Martin Brossman – Owner and Social Media Coach at Martin Brossman and Associates
* Greg Hyer – Founder of
Will you join us for lunch? Register TODAY!
A buffet lunch catered by The Matthews House will be provided.
Event Coordination by:
CBJ Promotional Avenues – Christina Blandi-James

Where are all the results? The numbers game….

How long have you been in the marketing arena? Have you made a difference in the world of business? Have you become a maven of sorts to bring more business to another business and been rewarded accordingly? It’s about the middle of the year, have you measured all the metrics to see where your clients stand? And if you have incorporated social media into the mix of the marketing strategies, how do you measure it and its return by way of customers, followers, fans, etc. and More BUSINESS!
More and more these days, marketers are pressured to show how they measure up to delivering the results by what they are preaching. It is about the numbers game. In this economy and the way things have gone here lately, we are hard pressed to deliver. Can you show me the results of this email marketing campaign? Can you fill the seats for this convention? Where are all the people and why are they not walking in the door? If you have had these kinds of questions asked of you, as a marketer, you about to fidget in your seat to deliver just what they ask. So how do we justify all the work we are doing? It’s simple: the economy has changed and the way business is done, is a completely different ball game. It takes time and lots of effort on the marketers part to continue to keep “pushing” the company information out and then ask or “hope” for the kind of return that is ideally wanted. The number one thing I can say is, it takes time to build a following, to build a reputation and customer loyalty.
The typical way of marketing and getting the word out there about your business and all its doing is not just the old fashioned way. Print, direct mail pieces (letters, post cards, flyers) tv, radio, etc. Now we have to incorporate new media into the mix and then figure out where all the business is coming from and focus our marketing dollars on those specific efforts that bring the most results. But, unfortunately like most small businesses who are limited in their budgets, we have to have the best metrics tools around that are cost effective and doesn’t break the “bank” until we are further into the growth cycle of our business. As statistics would have it, more than half of all small businesses fail within the first 5 years.
In order for us to not fail, these are the things we must do as small businesses to succeed the failure rate and live our passion.
* Determine what marketing activity best suits the product or service.
* Determine the exact audience that you want to target and focus your clients activities toward it directly.
* Determine how often the marketing activity needs to be measured and by what metrics.
* At first, measure the response rate to online ads, facebook ads, fans, followers, leads generated by sign up forms, surveys, email subscription to blog, etc and events (online or in person)
* Measure often, ask the person when they call or communicate, where they heard about you. This is the most important measurement a small business can do. Find out what is working to get them to you!
* When you are about to launch a new product, service or event, make sure there is ample lead time to accomplish the task. If not sufficient amount of time it can actually hurt the company reputation.
* Make sure all the media/advertising, promotion of such product, service, or event is covered. Promoting the concept is like giving it birth for the first, second, third time and so on. Word of mouth is always the best communication because it is real and genuine, whether positive or negative. There is some form of “Buzz” happening. So talk it up! It does help all the “chatter” on social media too! Whether we want to admit it or not, social media is our new “word of mouth” version!
Well, I could go on more about the steps to promote and get the “Buzz” going about a product, service or an event. But, you get the gist of what I am talking about. We want to measure the “Buzz”
Measuring the social media has been the hardest thus far to date, if we are getting it right, when we spend all this time blogging, facebook fan pages, twitter. You get the picture. All this time we are spending is it worth it and do we really need to be paying someone else to be doing it for us. YES!
So, what exactly is being measured:
* Visitors and source of traffic, where are they coming from twitter, facebook pages, facebook ads, google ads, etc.
* What are the people saying about the brand, product or service?
Let’s take a good look at all the marketing metric tools to see if you are utilizing all of them. And some you may never have heard of. Check it out!
* Google Analytics, best tool around
* shorten your url and get analytics
* Xinureturns:
dashboard, page ranks and backlinks
* PostRank:
good for bloggers
* SocialToo:
social surveys
So, when you are concerned with the numbers game, like we all are, think, strategize and analyze just how your going to get the “BUZZ” going to bring in the leads and make that sale!