Archive for November, 2010


Beyond Facebook

So what’s next? You have established your personal and business Facebook page. You are totally connected on LinkedIn. You’ve documented your successes and failures via your blog and send several Tweets a day.

Podcasting should be next on your list! Podcasts (rich media) are simply audio files. Non-text files are considered “rich media.” Creating a podcast is actually very simple and you have the necessary tools on your computer. Many computers today have a built-in microphone (or you can purchase an inexpensive external one), free audio-recording and editing software and your own imagination. Once you decide what your message is, just hit record, save and upload your podcast to a Website for distribution. One site to consider using is www.podbean.com

Your podcast can contain one short informative message (2-5 minutes) or can be over an hour in length. It depends on your content. Your audience can listen to them on any MP3 player, iTunes (if the podcast is published there) or from the podcast hosting site (such as BlogTalkRadio).

First ask yourself a few questions:

  • Will podcasting build my business?
  • Is there an ROI (return on investment) on podcasting?

Will podcasting build my business? Podcasting is a very inexpensive platform that can reach a very wide audience. Millions subscribe to podcasts! Building quality content and having something worth talking about that is interesting to your specific audience will allow you to build a following as well as communicate to your audience that you’re an industry leader. Podcasting is also a great way to build SEO (search engine optimization). Google and Ask for example have incorporated the distribution format into the search ranking pages. Podcasting will help you build your presence on the Web and develop new relationships as more individuals search and find your podcasts.

Is there ROI on podcasting? The investment is small but there is a time commitment. Combining your messages that you post on Facebook, LinkedIn and/or tweet about into a podcast is an effective distribution to a different audience. People tend to support a business when they know the individuals that are involved. Podcasting should be used as another platform to allow your audience to get to know you, your personality and the voice behind the written word. Consider uploading your podcast to iTunes to reach a wider audience and it’s free! All you need to do is visit www.apple.com, and download iTunes. To get started uploading your podcast visit this link for a few simple instructions: link here – your podcast directory will look like this: link here

Like most social technology tools it’s a matter of getting started. The more you know and the more you participate the better you become in building a strong Web presence and following!

Joan and Wally Kusnierz

Joan and Wally Kusnierz operate a thriving COMPUTER EXPLORERS (CE)  franchise that covers 35 towns in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. The husband and wife team have one regret: that they didn’t go in business for themselves sooner. “If I had to do it all over again, I would have owned my own business from the beginning,” Wally says. “I’m going to teach my son that this is the way to go.”

CE: How long have you been a franchisee?
Wally: Three years.

CE: Why COMPUTER EXPLORERS?

Wally: COMPUTER EXPLORERS offers a great opportunity in the long run, but it’s more than that. Besides being a good business model, it’s inspiring. That’s something we were looking for, a business concept that could keep us interested and engaged. Life is too short to grind away at something just to make money. From the business side, COMPUTER EXPLORERS  is solid.  There will always be children who need the classes. Technology will always be advancing. Parents will always spend money on their children to improve their lives.

Joan: We were serious about buying a business. We got to the point where we were narrowing it down, and we thought we might go with a drapery franchise. But we realized it would demand too much time from our weekends and nights. We kept tire-kicking until we met Deb Evans, the CEO of COMPUTER EXPLORERS, at a preliminary Discovery Day and really felt a strong connection. COMPUTER EXPLORERS gave us the flexibility we needed. We also loved it because it was a business that our son can relate to and be involved in. Our son Kristopher is our lead software tester.

CE: How did you hear about us?
Joan: We worked with Entrepreneur Source, a franchise finder’s company. That was an interesting process because they help you make a profile based on your wants and needs.

CE: What’s your background?
Joan: I worked as an executive secretary and project manager.
Wally: I have a computer networking background as an engineer and systems programmer. We both worked for IBM.

CE: What do you like best about the COMPUTER EXPLORERS franchise opportunity?
Wally: I call this a freedom franchise. You aren’t micromanaged. It’s flexible. You can pick up your kids for lunch if you want to. You are in charge of your own schedule.
Joan: I love the connections with the people and the idea that you are really helping children understand technology. It’s very gratifying, and it’s important work.

CE: Can you share one of your secrets?
Joan: Take advantage of the corporate support in Houston.
Wally: You can be in business as a couple and it can really work extremely well. Our skills compliment one another. Joan’s a natural marketer and good with people. I’m good on the back end. I’m a good negotiator.

CE: What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned?
Joan: You don’t have to have an accounting background to run a successful business.
Wally: Get the word out and network. You can have the best product in the world, but if no one knows about it, you aren’t going to get very far. You have to go out and talk to the decision makers.

CE: What keeps you active in your free time?
Joan: Family and church.
Wally: Family and fishing.

CE: Why would you recommend COMPUTER EXPLORERS to someone interested in owning a business?
Joan: COMPUTER EXPLORERS doesn’t feel like Corporate America. It feels like a family. If you are looking for flexibility and a good income — and you love children — it’s a wonderful franchise.
Wally: You have to know your priorities. If you are looking to make millions and want to own a 35-foot yacht, this probably isn’t the franchise for you. It’s not McDonald’s. It’s a very good income and satisfying work.

It’s a very inspiring group to be a part of. COMPUTER EXPLORERS is a franchise I can have faith in.

Experiment Without Fear

COMPUTER EXPLORERS visits Blinds.Com

You will often hear the COMPUTER EXPLORERS corporate team encourage franchisees to visit one another. We believe it’s vital to business to observe and learn from peers and those that are more experienced.

Everyone on the COMPUTER EXPLORERS team is extremely passionate about our business and anxious to learn more so decided to follow our own advice and visit the Blinds.Com Complex.

I first heard of Blinds.Com, CEO Jay Steinfeld via the Website Not All CEOs Are Jerks His business Blinds.Com is the industry leader in  online window covering sales. I personally met Jay at a local Houston TweetUp and immediately recognized he is a strong leader and started following via social media. This year alone Jay has received the following recognitions: American Marketing Association’s Marketer of the Year, National Call Center of the Year and most recently the Houston Business Journal ranked Blinds.Com as one of the best places to work!

Jay’s blog “No-Nonsense Boss” is a must read. His September post about core values convinced me I needed to visit his complex with my team. Jay says he has two core values: Improve Continuously and Experiment Without Fear. He believes the success of his business comes from “the drive to want to improve, and in the process, tinker with things, fail, and ultimately find better ways…It’s not about the destination; it’s about the process.”

Jay was a gracious host and we left with new ideas and renewed passion to grow COMPUTER EXPLORERS. We are anxious to “Experiment Without Fear.”

Experiment Without Fear