Sunday, November 25, 2012

Essentials for Business Success

Welcome to The Parian Company's newest form of communication: We hope you'll visit often to read what we have to say about succeeding in today's competitive business environment. We'll also share with you some ideas and opinions that will challenge your thinking and stimulate your imagination. After all, business is a work in progress.

If you found us elsewhere on the Internet, be sure to visit our newly-renovated Web site Either way, you'll find your way to our blog. Look for new content posted periodically.

What's Your Plan for Success?

When it comes to advancing or promoting your business, there is no safe time to rest. Steady and consistent efforts through business and marketing planning will keep you in the spotlight and prevent the surges and lulls of sporadic marketing and promotional activities.

Regardless of your business type, annual planning is essential to ensure a flow of activities that will keep your business in motion. And if you're more technically adept than creatively inclined, delegate the task to a performer in this area or outsource the project. And don't delay. Where your business is concerned, avoidance can predict demise. Keep your business on-track and stay ahead of the obstacles that can derail you - plan to succeed and do it now.

For more information on business and marketing planning, contact The Parian Company, specialists in the health and beauty fields and selected corporate environments.

Keeping Your Business Top of Mind in Tough Times

An interesting phenomenon occurs when businesses start to feel the pinch of tougher economic times - they reduce their marketing and advertising budgets. Curious isn't it? Just when a push for sales is crucial for success.

Instead of slashing the marketing budget and hunkering down still the storm passes, reassess your expenditures and consider smarter ways to promote your organization. If adjustments need to be made, you might find more affordability - and credibility - in corporate editorial.

If you aren't regularly publishing articles that promote your business, you're missing out on an impressive method for boosting your firm's visibility. Article content is considered to be more credible than advertising copy, and the publication of articles is usually a bargain when compared to the cost of a similarly-sized ad. But if you're thinking you can delegate this project to someone in your office, there are a few things you should know first.

To maximize your editorial opportunities, choose an experienced professional writer who is also familiar with your line of business. And be sure to select someone who understands the nuances of the editorial process and how to get your articles published - in the right places and at the right times.

In addition, your writer should be able to produce compelling and appealing work that speaks to your audience and sells your message. Amateurish compositions by accidental authors can offend editors and be the source of great embarrassment for an organization. When your reputation and your brand are at stake, choose wisely. Select a professional communications consulting firm that is well-qualified to promote your business through creatively-written content and strategic editorial placement.

The Parian Company has more than 15 years experience creating high-quality editorial for a range of industries. Please call us for a complimentary, and confidential, consultation. You are welcome to view some of our past editorial projects by touring the article links at the bottom of our Services page.

Turning Mixed Messages into Marketing Music

Mainly the task of corporate marketers, identity and image planning are critical strategies that can benefit even the most modest enterprise. These core business features are the foundation of brand development, directing both internal and external messaging. Without them, businesses are rudderless ships.

But it's very common for businesses to "start in the middle," bypassing the introspection and analysis that this type of planning requires. The consequence is often a continual series of reinventions, looking for the missing link to success. Both the business and its customers become confused as intention, performance and communication become conflicted and weak.

However, once identity and image are clear, every aspect of business operations can adhere to an underlying theme that is reinforcing of the organization's intentions and optimal strategies. Then, marketing messages become highly intentional and consistent, as opposed to the chaos generated by mixed messages.

If you want your business to "sing" to your customers, consider identity and image planning. Regardless of your organization's tenure, there's always room for improvement in this very important area of business planning. Read more about these topics by touring the article links at the bottom of our Services page.

In the next Column, read more about essential business planning that can help keep your firm on track and producing in challenging economic times. For more information about the author, Alexis Parian, visit and
or e-mail Alexis at

Competitive Communication - Gaining the Advantage

When you think about it, business is really a series of communications - from business plan to promotions, advertising to PR and sales presentation to follow-up. How are you and your business succeeding in these areas?

Today, there's no room for error or miscommunication. Business efficiency is at stake as well as your customer base. And there is no time like the present for retaining and attracting customers. Your competitive edge in a densely-populated field of competitors could be the quality and consistency of what you say and how you say it.

Here are some tips for keeping your organization "on the same page":

Always have a clearly-defined organizational identity and image. This planning establishes the format for all subsequent business decisions, including communications. Never overlook the value or importance of how brand should apply to every aspect of your business.

Adequately inform all staff about how this planning relates to their individual work responsibilities in order to ensure organization-wide compliance. Involving employees in building these parameters will increase buy-in and performance.

Continually reinforce organizational communications standards and strive for consistency in all areas of your business. Also, consider using a communications mission statement that is brief and easy for employees to remember. While language skills may vary, strategic communications techniques can be effectively maximized.

Take a serious look at the quality of your external business communications. Press releases, marketing content, advertising and other distributed communications should follow your brand features and speak well of you. Fractured English, erroneous grammar, inconsistent style and generally poor quality communications cast doubt on the quality of products and services. "Known by the company you keep" illustrates the relationship between business and communication.

When times are tough, look for every opportunity to distinguish yourself in the marketplace. Effective, quality communications could be your winning advantage.

And always know when to seek professional advice. An expert can fast-forward your communications objectives and help you achieve a competitive edge in a fast-moving marketplace. Whether your communications services are in-house or outsourced, adjunct consulting services can solve a variety of business communications needs. You can read more about these topics by touring the article links at the bottom of our Services page.

Words Can Make or Break Your Business

It's very likely that your language has deteriorated and it could be costing you money. Traffic-induced expletives are exempt from this discussion since they're unlikely to have any impact on your business unless, of course, your clients are in the car with you. But hear this: fast and loose communications should be a solitary practice. Fractured English and other linguistic atrocities may be amusing but they're poison to your business and your reputation.

Those of us who specialize in communications are collectively horrified by what we see and hear. The media conduct daily assaults on the Queen's English and grammar seems to have become obsolete. Punctuation skills have deteriorated so badly that it has been proposed we just eliminate the process altogether. Unfortunately, many businesses have adopted this careless attitude, taking little pride in what they publish. Just be aware that sloppy communications eventually take their toll on companies, both internally and externally.

First impressions have never been more important. Both personally and professionally, quality counts.
And in today's business environment, high standards are essential. Competition for customers is intense and organizations can't afford missed opportunities. Your communications need to effectively impress your potential customers while setting your standard for organizational performance.

It's common today for managers to delegate their communications projects to an available staff member who may not have the necessary skills for producing corporate or marketing communications. This decision defaults the quality of those communications to the level of that individual's talents. Larger organizations with dedicated communications departments have a decided advantage. However, any business can lose its perspective and fail to derive the benefits of effective communications. In either case, outsourced communications consulting can offer valuable guidance and essential services to ensure businesses are maximizing their corporate and marketing communications efforts.

The importance of your primary business presentation cannot be overemphasized, but have you considered its impact on referrals? Can your associates feel comfortable recommending your business or are they embarrassed by what their clients will see? Tacky brochures, unimpressive newsletters and Web pages full of grammatical gaffes may not be their standard, making referrals an uncomfortable process. You may have the services or products they endorse but you won't be the business they recommend.

I recently encountered this situation when I visited a community member's Web site and found embarrassing grammatical errors on the home page and beyond. I knew that my client would not be impressed by this so I did not make the referral. To have done so would have discredited me and offended my client. Sometimes the best business cannot overcome the detriment of a poor presentation.

Aim to distinguish yourself from your competition and don't overlook the importance of what you say. Remember that customers will assume that the quality of your products or services is equivalent to your business presentation. When potential customers see communications mistakes, they assume your services or products will be equally error-ridden. Don't permit your credibility and sales to be lost to poor-quality communications. Invest in a professional review of your internal and external communications and choose a qualified consultant for these services.

The Parian Company offers organizations a variety of outsourced communications services on an hourly or project basis. The Company provides writing and content development, editing and proofreading and a full range of communications and editorial services. Visit The Parian Company and Alexis Parian for more information.

Putting "Team Effort" to Work in Today's Economy

The old adage, "Two heads are better than one," is more pertinent than ever in today's business environment. Corporations and entrepreneurs alike have become increasingly aware that there is neither time or money for managerial missteps in a wavering economy. In addition to expanding their in-house planning, many businesses are seeking input and guidance from external resources. 

As a result, the once maligned "committee" has come back into favor as a method for acquiring and incubating new ideas and concepts, and gaining solidarity for needed change. Input from the ranks, as well as industry experts, has never been more important for business growth and survival.Taking a team approach to your business development could be the wisest move you can make. 

The often multi-factorial needs of many businesses are best served by a team of consulting professionals that offers specific business solutions in a think-tank setting. Much like the doctor who chooses himself as a patient, business perspective can be limited or skewed when input and decision-making are too autonomous. For many smaller businesses, a range of viewpoints, expertise and services is essential. Often, this fresh perspective and assembly of readily-available resources is provided by outsourced consulting services. 

Who are the professionals on your team? In addition to industry-specific advice, many businesses also require marketing planning and implementation, branding, internal and external communications, Web content and a range of competencies that are essential to the success of new programs and projects. Research and surveys, strategic planning and the identification of additional professionals may also be required. Choose a consultancy with experience and expertise in your business specialty, and one that can offer you the additional benefits of a team of industry professionals, and their services. 

Avoid fragmenting your efforts and budget among a range of unrelated service providers; a method that is counterproductive and frequently more costly. Lean, mean and efficient are crucial buzzwords today. Maximize synergy, efficiency and savings by choosing a consulting team that can offer the talents and services you need while addressing your business objectives in a consultative environment. 

Business today is a team effort. If you've been making decisions in the proverbial vacuum, consider the benefits of building the right team. You'll no doubt discover just how valuable a "committee" can be.

Alexis Parian, DC is principal of The Parian Company, a business consultancy specializing in the health and beauty fields. She is a regular contributor to
Chiropractic Economics Magazine. She also serves as contributing editor, health and beauty, for U Magazine, and is a columnist for UMEN Magazine. For more information about Dr. Parian or The Parian Company, visit or .

Get a Jump on the Competition - Start Your 2013 Business Planning

The holidays are closing in quickly now, just like your best opportunity for getting a jump on business and marketing planning for 2013.
Time is of the essence. Postponing the New Year's business strategies is a risky proposition in these volatile times.

The current economy demands that businesses take a pro-active approach for maximizing opportunities and remaining competitive. Today's evolving business environments require organizations to analyze and plan in the context of both micro- and macro-economic flux. Wise entrepreneurs adapt quickly to these conditions and respond accordingly.

The small-business owner has access to the same tools larger corporate entities use - organizationally-specific business plans that address strategy, marketing and promotions, advertising and editorial, and more. To remain maximally competitive while preserving and growing capital, every business today needs to be especially diligent with this critical business process. Entering the New Year without solid planning puts businesses at heightened risk for becoming vulnerable to both known and unknown threats.
The approaching holiday season is a great time for retrospective analysis of your organization's successes and failures in 2013. It's also the time for professional advice on how to make your business "shine" next year. If you use the winter months wisely, you can hit the ground running in January - while your competitors are still recovering from the holidays. And we can help you do your homework right on our Web site. Just take a tour of the article links at the bottom of our Services page.
If your business planning could use a boost, we can help. Our business development specialists can put you and your plans on a winning track by the end of the year. We can also help you acquire the confidence and training you need for personal and professional success. Just ask about our mentoring programs that are tailor-made to address your specific business needs.