Preparing For Your Next Business Meeting

3 Steps To Prepare For Leading A Meeting

As you grow and develop in your professional career, a time will come when you will need to lead a business meeting for your company or will need to make a pitch to a perspective client. When that time comes, you want to make sure that you are prepared with all you will need to lead the meeting well, impress your coworkers or prospective client, and continue to grow in your communication skills and professional development. Here are three simple steps to walk through and think through as you prepare for your next meeting.

1) Take Care of the Logistics

While the actual content remains the most important part of any meeting, your coworkers or client will be extremely distracted if the right logistics are not accounted for. To start, make sure that you have a space reserved and set up for the meeting. It will look quite embarrassing if you don’t have a room ready when it comes times for the meeting. As part of preparing the room, make sure you test out any technology that you will be using. Whether it is as simple as hooking up your computer to a projector or have clicker to move along your slides, you will want to make sure each technological component isn’t your downfall come the day of the meeting.

Depending on how long the meeting will last, you may want to consider food and beverage. If it a breakfast meeting or company luncheon, you want to find a caterer in Richmond like DeFazio’s Catering to provide the food. You’ll want to think ahead of time of how many people will be attending and what food allergies there might be as well. Food and beverage is always a great choice to impress clients or make your coworkers feel appreciated.

2) Put Together Your Content

When you start to put together the content for your meeting, you want to make sure that you stay focused on who your audience it, what message you want to convey, and how you want them to feel walking away from the meeting. Is your meeting strictly for educational purposes? Is it to pitch a product or service to a new client? Is it to train the team on a new tool or process? Whatever the answer is to these questions not only dictates the information you include in your meeting but also the structure in which you organize the meeting. If you plan for the meeting to be largely conversational, then you’ll want to be light on content. However, if you’re really planning to take charge and be the one talking most of the time, you’ll want to include more content.

Once you have put together the content, it is never bad idea to review the content with a coworker to correct any mistakes you might have made, brainstorm any changes to the content that need to made, and also to just bounce ideas off of. You’ll want to make sure that you review the content for any spelling or grammatical errors, especially if the meeting is with a client. Typos will also be very important if there are numbers in the presentation as you do not want to misstate your data or prices.

3) Practice Your Delivery

While it may be common for you to go through your presentation in your mind, oftentimes professionals overlook the delivery of their meeting. So much of how the content is understood or digested will come down to pacing and tone. You’ll want to make sure that the meeting flows smoothly and doesn’t overwhelm with information unless absolutely necessary. If the meeting will run for a couple hours, you’ll want to consider placing a break in the middle of the meeting to help with the digestion of material. You’ll want to be mindful of everyone’s time, being sure to use enough time to not rush along the meeting but also be respectful of everyone else’s schedule.

While your meeting might be pretty straightforward, always be prepared for questions to arise. If your meeting is more conversational, you may want to consider different directions that the conversation can go. In either situation, you want to make sure that your tone and delivery seems confident and sure, but you also want to empathize with whoever you are addressing, whether that is a client or a coworker.

If you keep all of these steps in mind as you prepare, you will be well on your way and ready for whatever may come in the meeting. This will not only help you have the confidence you need to lead the meeting well, but it will also convey to your audience that you prepared well and are confident in what you are sharing. Ultimately, your audience will walk away with more information and understanding since you have put in the thought and work to prepare ahead of time!

Tips On How To Run A More Successful Dental Practice

It takes hard work, business acumen and patience to build a successful dental practice. Here are five tips on how to run a more successful dental practice to get you started.

Great First Impressions and Customer Service

According to research, it takes only three to five seconds to make a first impression. Unfortunately, first impressions can make or break your dental practice. For this reason, you should ensure your staff, particularly your front desk team, always creates a great first impression with your patients. In particular, your team must possess the necessary communication skills, attitude and professionalism to leave a lasting positive impression on your patients. This means you should train all your staff accordingly. For instance, to ensure your front desk team has the necessarily skills to provide excellent customer service, enroll the team in a quality front desk training program. In addition to flawless customer service, you are your reception/waiting area should be spacious, clean, uncluttered, comfortable and welcoming to approach.

Invest in a Good Medical Appointment Scheduling System

Online medical appointment scheduling services such as Zocdoc and Demandforce are becoming increasingly popular in the healthcare industry. In fact, according to Accenture, a management consulting firm, nearly 70% of patients will book their medical appointments using digital tools by the end of 2019. What’s more, nearly 40% of appointments will be self-scheduled. These systems typically come with myriad features that can improve the efficiency and productivity of your dental practice. Examples of such features include charting, scheduling, charting, note taking, automatic billing and treatment planning features. These features would allow you to streamline your processes, allowing your staff to dedicate more time to patients. Some of the benefits associated with these systems include optimal patient flow, increased flexibility and productivity, as can also help reduce the stress levels of your employees.

Get More Dental Referrals

Referral marketing is one of the best ways of attracting new customers and generating new business. In fact, a recent survey from Harris Poll found that more than 90% of adult consumers in America aged 18 to 34 seek recommendations from family and friends before purchasing any product or service. Additionally, according to Nielsen’s 2015 annual “Trust in Advertising” survey, more than 80% of American consumers completely or somewhat trust the recommendations for family and friends, whereas 65% trust online reviews. Meanwhile, a 2015 survey by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry found that referral marketing attracts 65% more new patients.

Based on these studies, dental referrals can help you bring in new patients and more importantly, grow your practice. Fortunately, you can use tried and tested strategies to achieve this goal. One of the easiest and most effective strategies is to ask for referrals from your existing satisfied patients. In other words, you should encourage your loyal patients to tell others, including their friends and family, about your cosmetic dentistry services. To be proactive in asking for dental referrals, you can tuck cards into your dental practice mailings, ask patients to review your practice on credible review sites and social media platforms, hand out referral cards or offer special promotions such as free dental exams. Other effective strategies that you can use to generate more dental referrals include building partnerships with other medical experts, hosting dental events and joining your local business community.

Expand your Service Offerings

According to a 2015 survey by the American Dental Association, general dentists don’t have enough to do. For this reason, general dentists are increasingly offering a wide range of specialty services such as periodontal surgery, cosmetic dentistry and placing dental implants. This means that, as a general dentist, you, too, should expand your service offerings.

Flexible Financial Options

To build a successful dental practice, you have to offer your customers a wide range of payments options including insurance coverage, cash, debit and credit card options. Beyond that, you can offer your patients special financing options to ensure their current financial situations don’t interfere with their dental care decisions.

Use the tips above to build a more successful dental practice.

Successfully Designing a Tradeshow Exhibit

How To Successfully Design A Tradeshow Exhibit

Congratulations! Your company has secured a spot at this year’s big industry tradeshow. But now you have a problem – How will you successfully communicate your message to the audience? Words are powerful, but they can only take you so far. To draw attention to your product or service, you’ll really want to look at all your options for a custom tradeshow exhibit to make sure you come away with a cohesive marketing statement that leaves an impact on your audience.

Creating an engaging tradeshow exhibit requires both an eye for design and great communication skills. There are methodologies that are invaluable when creating a great looking trade show display – but it isn’t strictly science (there’s an art to it, too). If you have multiple items or modular elements, they’ll need to face the right direction to maximize the impact on the audience. You’ll need to think about their spacing and where they are in relation to other elements of your custom display. You’ll need to consider things like color, artwork, and the types of graphics you want to utilize. There are lots of details you might not think during your initial planning session. What kind of font should your messaging be in? Where will your booth staff be in relation to the rest of the display? Will you make use of video or be demonstrating any products live?

Designing a Custom Tradeshow Display

Unfortunately, putting together a successful trade show exhibit isn’t like outfitting a new home on a budget. You can’t collect pieces over time and throw them together hoping your exhibit will have impact based solely on your presentation skills. With a tradeshow exhibit, the sum is greater than the parts that go into it. Your custom exhibit should be something you’re proud of and a refined marketing statement that grabs attendees’ attention. In essence, it’s how you’re presenting your company to your audience – you’ll want to put your best foot forward with a powerful display that is well-executed. Beyond capturing your audience’s attention, you’ll want to continue to hold onto it. After all – engaging new prospective leads is the primary goal, right?

Once you start putting together some solid ideas about your overall concept and the messaging you want to impart, you’ll need to briefly stop yourself for a reality-check. Like all successful marketing vehicles, trade show displays cost money. What kind of budget do you have to work with? You’ll want to know how much of this budget you wish to allocate to the display, as well as how much you’ll need to allocate for overhead. The costs of exhibiting in itself can add up quickly. Things like travel arrangements, transportation, training your staff, paying for labor to install and dismantle your display – it all adds up. It might seem a little out of the norm, but it’s often beneficial to be up front with an exhibit design agency about your budget. More detail is great, because it gives them perspective on what you can afford and will give them some guidelines during the creation process. An enormous video projection might not end up being in the cards – you might have to get a couple monitors instead. This saves both you and the design agency time and money – keeping realistic goals and expectations is good for both parties. Any design agency worth their salt will be able to work with you to come up with creative solutions and create a great looking tradeshow display that still maintains your budget.

Designing a Trade Show Event

When you’re looking for inspiration, there are lots of online resources available to review to get new ideas. If you don’t have an in-house designer, consult your display manufacturer to work with one from their team, or for a recommendation for a third party designer. Keep in mind that this will be an additional cost, so factor this into your overall budget. A good exhibit design agency should be able to help you through every step of the process while maintaining your goals for design, messaging, and budget.


Building An Entrepreneurial Attitude

When it comes to business, it is a dog eat dog world out there, and existing corporations and competing companies won’t hesitate to take all of your business and customers and leave you stranded. It’s absolutely vital that in today’s world, you build and maintain the right mindset and attitude if you want to succeed in your business or franchise endeavor.

Whether you are a furniture store such as Mann Kidwell, or the next Wal-Mart founder, the steps apply to you regardless.

If you are interested in starting a company, or building off of an existing business’s groundwork, take the time to help build and develop the right mindset and attitude beforehand, and save yourself plenty of trouble once you’ve begun.


We’ve compiled some of our top tips on helping to build the foundational entrepreneurial attitude that is one of the most important building blocks for growing a successful company.

  1. Wake up every morning inspired and ready to begin the day – if you are on this page, then you are more than likely on the right track!
  2. Become passionate about a hobby or job path that you desire. There is a way less likelihood of you succeeding in your business without having any passion behind it. Passion is what will drive you to show up to the office or crank out the late night work sessions when your business isn’t doing so well.
  3. Take the time needed to fully educate yourself on the business or field that you want to pursue. It’s not what degrees you have, or where you went to school, it’s how you apply the knowledge that you learn that truly propels you ahead of the crowd.
  4. Spend time on the forefront coming up with a truly innovative or creative idea. This will be a major differentiator between yourself and the companies that you want to overtake.
  5. Communicate with others constantly, whether it is your family, friends, or co-workers, about your ideas and plans, and don’t be quick to cut off any criticisms that may be directed your way, it could potentially save you a ton of headache in the future.
  6. Research, research, and research some more! Creating a business plan from day one is one of the most important foundational blocks you can take to building a great business. Not being prepared and having forethought for a variety of issues, problems, or situations that may arise can cost you your entire business!

Becoming a top business in your field doesn’t come easy, and there is plenty of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears that go into nearly every business. If you aren’t prepared to put in the effort and spend lots of time dedicated to your business, whether or not it’s succeeding at the moment, then developing your entrepreneurial attitude will not come easy. It will take a lot of persistence, dedication, and all-around hard work to build a great, successful company from the ground up, and that starts with you and your mindset!

Custom Window Graphics for the 21st Century Office

When you run a busy office, it can be easy for decorations and other aesthetic changes to slip your mind. Unfortunately, chances are good that these kinds of things won’t go unnoticed by your potential clients who visit the office. Maintaining an inviting and professional office environment is an integral part of getting those all-important potential clients to sign on for your services.

One of the best ways to promote a neat appearance while continuing to push your branding is with custom commercial window films. If you’ve ever been to a fancy office building that features glass as a large part of the interior design, chances are you’ve seen some form of this window tinting before. Many businesses use it to help identify their office in an otherwise uniform sea of doors.

There are several benefits to having custom commercial window films applied to glass surfaces in your office building. Let’s dive into some of the most important benefits that branded window film can offer.

Better Visibility

As anyone who has been in a large office building or complex knows, it can be a confusing maze of doors, number plaques, and uniform looking offices. Nobody likes wandering around these mostly blank corridors searching for the office they came to visit, and while directories can be helpful, without good signage it can be hard to determine whether or not you’re in the right place without awkwardly asking someone what office you are in.

Take the guesswork out of looking for your office by having custom branded window films applied to the glass on the door or exterior windows of your office. This will improve your visibility for prospective customers, and make it easy to direct them straight to your office. With custom window films, your customers or prospective clients will know without a doubt that they are in the right place.

Professional Appearance

When trying to impress potential clients and customers, your professional appearance is incredibly important. You don’t want your prospective clients walking into a nondescript office with no decoration or style. You want to impress them as soon as they walk in, and let them know that they’re in your office.

Custom window films show that you care about the professional appearance of your office. These films can be branded logos that you affix to doors and windows, or stripes or other patterns on glass walls in your office to help break up the space. When used properly, creative window frosting or films can be a huge boost to the design aesthetics of your office.

Increased Privacy

This is a must for offices that have glass walls separating offices and conference rooms. Having plain glass walls around your conference room can make prospective clients very uncomfortable, as it feels like they are in a fishbowl with everyone watching. With some creative window treatments, you can add a touch of style, while giving added privacy for meetings and consultations.

Extra Branding

You can never have too much branding for your business, and with custom window graphics and decals, prospective clients will see your branding on the way in and out of your office. This exposure will help your office to look more professional, while keeping your clients and customers aware of your name and logo. A well designed logo can go a long way for maintaining a positive image and staying in the thoughts of your prospective clients.

Custom commercial window films are a great idea for any office, and can set you apart from your competition. Maintaining a strong brand image is important, and it all starts at your main office where your largest clients and customers will be coming for meetings.

All Photos Courtesy of Solar Concepts Window Film Solutions.

What Do You Need to Know about the Franchise Disclosure Document?

Many people are turning to buying a franchise as an alternative to the standard corporate job. They are attracted by the numerous franchise opportunities and the prospect of gaining control over their destiny. The numbers paint a pretty picture as well: according to recent reports, the local franchise industry continues to grow and accounts for more than 3% of the annual GDP.

But, regardless of the business niche you are interested in, if you contemplate the prospect of buying a franchise, you need to first familiarize yourself with the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD).


What is an FDD?

The FDD is a legal document that every franchise for sale must provide to prospective buyers. The FDD is usually sent by the franchisors a few days before signing the contract or agreeing on any financial transactions.

Most FDDs include the following information:

  • An overview of the company’s history
  • Initial franchise fees
  • Legal obligations for both parties
  • Proprietary information and patents
  • Termination, transfer, and renewal

Some franchise agreements can also include financial performance representations.

How to Read a Franchise Disclosure Document

A Franchise Disclosure Document runs in hundreds of pages, and it’s usually written in an intimidating language. If you are not familiar with the jargon, it can be hard to comprehend all the important pieces of information. To help you make sense of it and ensure that you won’t be missing any franchise opportunities, we’ll walk you through some of the most important items in an FDD.

Pay Attention to the Franchise Company

Most FDDs begin with a brief history of the franchise for sale and and often include detailed information about the business model, profits, and so on. Although pretty basic, this section can provide valuable insights into the franchise’s past, especially if it has been sold and purchased many times over the years.

Make Sure You Understand the Litigation

Franchisors are required to disclose all litigation they’ve been involved in during the last few years. Don’t get worried if you notice a few claims – even the most successful businesses are bound to have a few cases listed. However, be wary if the franchise has multiple lawsuits or class actions pending that could bankrupt the company.

Carefully Analyze the Estimated Initial Investment

This section details the various costs that you’ll have to pay to become a franchisee. To make sense of the numbers, you need to know what the average initial fees for a similar business are as well as the costs for marketing, equipment, real estate, and so on.

Don’t Neglect the Fees and Expenses

Do yourself a favor and carefully analyze the fees section. Royalties are a regular ongoing fee, but they are not the only ones. Depending on the industry, look for software licensing fees, advertising fees, and so on.


The Financing section of the FDD tells you whether the franchise for sale offers a lending program or if the company has deals with outside lenders. Make sure you understand the financing plan and stipulations. Keep in mind that borrowing from your franchisor is similar to lending money from a bank. Ensure that you follow and respect the credit terms. Otherwise, the franchisor might choose to terminate the agreement.

Trademarks, Patents, and Proprietary Information

This section of the Franchise Disclosure Document is pretty straightforward, and it lists the patents, copyrights, and trademarks that the franchisor has obtained. A trademark that isn’t registered is a red flag, so keep your eyes opened for any potential problems.

Review the Terms of Termination and Renewal

One of the most important things when reading a franchise agreement is ensuring that you understand the relationship between the franchisee and the franchisor. Carefully review the terms of termination and renewal and make sure you understand how disputes will be resolved. As a rule of thumb, try to include as many financial conditions into the renewal as possible.

Analyze the Financial Statements

One key question to ask yourself is whether the franchisor is making the bulk of its revenue from ongoing royalties (a sign of a profitable business) or from selling new franchises (a potential red flag).

Financial Performance Representation

Some FDD can include details about what the franchisees may expect in terms of sales and profits. This critical information can help you determine whether you should invest or keep looking for other franchise opportunities. Unfortunately, this information is voluntary, and about 70% of franchisors choose not to include it in the document.

In some regards, and FDD is similar to a prenuptial agreement: not very romantic, but you’d better read it carefully before you sign it. Keep these tips in mind when selecting your next franchise opportunity.


Bright Market Prospects for Home Businesses

Employees thinking of starting their own business from their kitchen or bedroom but have misgivings about the wisdom of their plan may get the push they need from two fronts: proponents of home businesses and the latest market research. Both indicate a long-term uptrend that will continue to accelerate in the coming years. In short: home-based business are here to stay, and grow.

“Over the next 20 to 30 years, you could see the percentage of people who are self-employed and home-based double, potentially,” says small-business blogger Steve King. He bases his prediction on new developments that favor the home business segment, mainly having to deal with technological advances, low operating costs, and the outsourcing of business functions by large companies to overseas providers.

There is also the changing perception about home-based entrepreneurs. Once dismissed as amateur hobbyists and part-time crafters — given “a kind of second-class citizenship in the small business world,” according to business journalist Carol Tice — “homepreneurs” are now being recognized as legitimate business practitioners.

This is due largely to trends that are making home enterprises acceptable, says King. “[You’ve] got the technology, the legitimacy, and the fundamental fact that it’s cheaper.”


Home Businesses as Economy Drivers

Two reports released last year reinforce the view that home businesses are serious and viable sources of alternative income for workers, with a crucial role to play in economic growth.

“Homepreneurs: A Vital Economic Force” was published Emergent Research, a home-based research and consulting firm in Lafayette, California, that is run by King and his wife, Carolyn Ockels.

Among the report’s findings: Homepreneurs in the United States comprise a seldom recognized economic force that numbers about 6.6 million businesses. They account for some 34% of all small businesses that provide more than half of the owner’s household income. About 35% of these homepreneurs have annual revenues of more than $125,000, and 8%, more than $500,000.

“Home Business Report” was released by Enterprise Nation, a Web site for home businesses in the United Kingdom. Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation, notes in the report that 2015 “has been a good year for home business” in the U.K. The number of people starting and growing a business from home rose to 2.8 million, an increase of 300,000 businesses over the past 12 months. These home-located entrepreneurs contribute a total of £284 billion to the annual UK economy, says the report.

U.S. Home Business Report Highlights

Here are more findings from “Homepreneurs: A Vital Economic Force.”

  • Some 75% of homepreneurs report working full time in their home business.
  • Homepreneur businesses employ over 13 million people, with an average of two employees (including the owner) per business.
  • These businesses are typically well-established and long-lasting. Almost half of the homepreneurs surveyed had been in business for more than 15 years. Only 20% had been in business for less than five years.
  • Homepreneur businesses are as competitive and successful as businesses located outside the home.

According to a news release from the U.S. Census Bureau, the top home businesses are engaged in the professional, scientific, technical, construction, retail trade, and other services (e.g., personal, and repair and maintenance services).

U.K. Home Business Report Highlights

The “Home Business Report,” on the other hand, shares these facts:

  • The recession contributes to the increase in home businesses in the U.K.
  • Most popular factors for starting a business from home are lower start-up costs, better work-life balance, and being close to the family.
  • Home businesses are growing by outsourcing and subcontracting, as opposed to taking on staff.
  • Technology remains a key enabler to starting and growing a business from home.
  • Home businesses are early adopters of social networking sites to keep in touch with other businesses.
  • The number of people holding down a day job and building a business at nights and weekends is increasing.
  • The most significant growth areas are business services such as business consultancy, legal services, accountancy, architecture and design, training, and outsourced services, and consumer services such as arts and crafts, domestic repairs and services, beauty and wellness, tutoring, and caring.


Starting a Home Enterprise Today

Often shrugged off as sideline endeavors adding little to the family coffers or general economy, home businesses are slowly being accorded the respect that other kinds of small businesses enjoy. Latest statistics show that they are a growing industry that augments, if not completely provides, the income of households as well as contributes to economic prosperity.

For workers who wonder when might be the best time to join the home business market, now seems an opportune time to do so. The combination of technological advances, low operating costs, and increasing acceptance of this sector tilts the odds in favor of the aspiring home entrepreneur.