Advice for those who are struggling with their business.
I am a business professional and entrepreneur who has worked hard to beat the odds. I successfully launched Cazarin Interactive almost 23 years ago and the solid education I have gained over the years has given me the experience needed to be able to help others improve their businesses.
My experience includes a BIS degree in Computer Science and Management Information Systems and a Masters degree from Carlson School of Business with a concentration in marketing. I am also a graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 program.
It’s been said that most businesses fail within the first 5 years. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), this isn’t necessarily true.
Data from the BLS shows that approximately 20% of new businesses fail during the first two years, 45% during the first five years, and 65% during the first 10 years. Only 25% of new businesses make it to 15 years or more.
Having clarity on your professional vision is key.
I can tell you with confidence that this information is extremely valuable. I have gained this information from books, business professionals talks, personal experiences, personal interviews, high-level education, and spiritual principles.
Create a solid VISION – a plan that describes your goals for your company for the next 3 to 5 years. Create a plan that is as visual as possible by using meaningful images, photos, inspirational quotes, etc. In your plan, define the following:
- Why are you in business?
- Goals for annual gross revenues
- What are the core values of the company?
- How many employees do you desire to have
- What will you offer your employees?
- What does your complete team want to be
Let’s break these down a little further.
Why are you in business
Many people go into business for themselves because they want to become millionaires. I simply wanted to have good financial income. The reason I started Cazarin Interactive was because I felt that working for myself and being my own boss was the right decision for me. As an educated professional, I wanted to forge my own destiny and have a high quality of life aligned with my personal values.
Annual gross revenues
How can you decide on gross revenues when you have not sold anything? It doesn’t matter as long as you have a goal and an objective. The better question is: Do you know what you want your company to accomplish in the next three years?
Core values of the company
Define your core values and live them. When you are all aligned, you build “Team Spirit”. As a leader of Cazarin Interactive, my goal is to create the vision for the company to get on the right path to fulfilling goals by creating an unwavering guide. I am the Vision Architect to make sure we harness the team spirit.
The values at Cazarin Interactive are:
- Commitment to Quality
- Value Relationships
- Operate with Vision and Purpose
- Value Collaboration
- Great Atmosphere for our Staff
How many employees you desire to have
I was encouraged to grow our company in the early 2000’s . I didn’t want to do it. We had investors ready, but I had experienced chaos in a previous company after we reached 20 employees. With under 20 people in a company, it was a close group and we had a lot of fun. Once it grew over, the social dynamic changed. For me, the number is 20 and this has always been the maximum.
What do you offer the staff?
Culture, friendliness, positivity, and quality of life are items that can’t be purchased.
Compensation, many times, is a low priority if you have a great culture. It is VERY important of course but can become lower in the priority if you have a great culture.
Flexibility, the ability to work from home, and odd hours have to be possible for more and more people these days. If you have the right systems, this can work.
What does your complete team want to be
This is OUR VISION:
- To be a premier digital marketing agency where both staff and clients enjoy working together in a creative environment filled with happy people.
Please note, we are complex individuals. The above suggestions are a foundation to create a business with great team spirit working towards a vision. The profit is a manifestation of doing the above correctly.
Where do you start? – Try to make an inventory of what you are missing. Talk to other professionals and business coaches to make sure you understand what you are lacking.
Decisions under fear – Don’t make important decisions under fear, more than likely, you will regret it.
Calm – Remain calm at all times. As a leader, you have to keep a solid foundation for the business. Learn to meditate, decrease stress, etc. If you are calm, you will be able to find answers. Reach on your spiritual beliefs to get answers.
- Goldman Sachs 10,000 program application
- Cazarin Interactive – Digital Marketing
- Top 6 reasons businesses fail
What is the vision for your company in the next 3 years?
Let us know if we can help you in any way.
Gift: Maia wanted to share her cookies with her friends and teachers.
On a recent Sunday evening, my cousin and his family decided to teach their daughter Maia how to make butter cookies. Maia is only eight years old and had a desire to learn something new. My cousin’s family has been affected like most people during COVID-19 and thought this would be a good way to spend time together and teach their daughter something new.
They baked a few dozen cookies and decorated each one. Maia then asked her parents if she could share the cookies with her friends. They created small packages filled with a few cookies and a loving message from Maia and delivered the cookies directly to the mailboxes of her friends and teachers.
After her friends received the cookies and tasted them, they started to call and ask to acquire more… and voila! One Smart Cookie was born. Maia, with help from her mom, came up with a name, a handwritten “company card”, and designed a logo to accompany the orders. Within a few days, orders for cookies were rolling in. Maia and her parents jumped back into the kitchen and began baking more cookies and have now upgraded to five different shapes: cactus, flowers, circles, bunnies, and hearts.
Maia writes hand-made cards to accompany each of the cookie packages. They have the name, a logo she created, phone number, and price for additional orders.
When I talked to Maia about her new venture, she told me that she enjoys making the cookies and has made over $112 in one week.
Maia started her business by trying to share her cookies with her friends and teachers during this pandemic, and it’s growing into something bigger. Asking her parents what they liked most about this new adventure, they shared that Maia has taken initiative in making the cookies and only utilizes them for baking now.
One Act of Kindness: www.oneactofkindness.org
What are you doing to spend time with your loved ones during this time?
What would you do if you want to create a business?
Early on Google dominated the search on the Internet. Perhaps it was their simplicity on the page. Perhaps their name, but it is clear that Google has become an important company for anybody or any company who desires to market on the Internet.
Google came from the word Googol which is one of the largest numbers named. Googol is a 1 with 100 zeroes. Very large number if you ask me!
Google has turned into a verb, its brand is incredible. My daughters when talking among themselves and can’t find the meaning of something just say “Google it!” Meaning find its meaning on Google.
The company dominates the searches online and tries to be ahead of its competition by looking, researching and investing into many different technologies. Google’s official vision statement is to “Organize all of the data in the world and make it accessible for everyone in a useful way.”
Since I sell digital marketing company and believe in Google my company is a Google Partner. Decided to take the courses, I am certified by Google on the following:
Google Provides all the necessary tools:
Google has an incredible Academy online available to anyone. Google tracks your progress and provides the certification for free. There is no need to pay any company or anyone.
We are currently Google partners, there are several of us certified. We should be Google Premier Partners by the end of 2019.
We adopted Google Docs a few years ago and the implementation of these tools have made us very productive.
Marketing is one of those things that everybody thinks they know something about. After all, every day they are exposed to it through emails, phone calls, direct mail, web ads and more. What they don’t see is the strategic thinking that goes into designing campaigns that reach them with the right message, in the right medium, at the right time that stimulates their interest to act.
For more than 20 years, I’ve worked with small business owners to create successful marketing campaigns to grow their businesses and educate them. Based on that experience, here is What Every New and Small Business Should Know about marketing strategy:
So much has changed over the years when it comes to marketing online. It used to be enough to have a good looking website. Now, it’s so easy to build a website that almost anyone can do it. My teenage daughter built one for $6 a month with easily available software tools.
Yes, a site should be attractive, but the overriding purpose behind the design must be to attract the market segment you want. And they you want that market segment to execute an action that is planned and gets you closer to having them call or fill in a form to doing business with you.
At Cazarin Interactive, we view a website as a “Digital Sales Channel.” We take that term very seriously because we believe your website should be part of your sales department. Rather than hire a sales rep for $60,000 plus benefits, you could upgrade your website and have your Digital Sales Channel achieve those sales.
To drive sales, your website needs to be creative and attractive. It should differentiate you from competitors. There should be a clear call to action, such as an enticement to fill out a form or pick up the phone. It should have Persuasion Architecture, which helps the user to navigate well and easy to find the necessary information.
Your website needs to be the hub of all your sales efforts. It needs to tie in with social media, direct mail, Google Ad Words, and other advertising. It will produce for you day and night! – That is the Digital Sales Channel.
There is truth in the old saying that 50 percent of your marketing money is wasted, but you just don’t know which 50 percent. That’s why it is so important to track results.
By tracking, you can figure out what marketing effort is working and what isn’t. When you know that, you can fine-tune your message or channel. Good marketing requires that you follow this recipe: Implement, review, fine-tune and repeat.
We elevate brands, both large and small, with cohesive, impactful presentation.
Establish goals for your marketing plan. It could be a goal like adding four to six new clients every month totaling a minimum of $40,000 in revenue. Or that a telemarketing campaign must provide two qualified appointments each month. Make sure you set up a tangible goal for your website and measure the results.
Keep It Fresh Search engines reward websites that have changing content with higher rankings. Make changes on at least a monthly basis. Add a page or an article. If your website isn’t evolving, it will look outdated and be harder to find in a search. Never forget that your website is often the first Impression for prospects. Old and outdated content can be seen as neglect. One of our newer clients has a beautiful building because they want to impress their high-end clients. Their website, however, was atrocious. They didn’t realize that making a bad first impression online can turn off prospects rather than leading them to take the next step to buy.
Watch Your Competition
If people are searching online for your products or services,they are also checking your competition. Follow their example. Visit your competitions’ websites to learn what they are showcasing. See if you can glean any insights that might benefit you. Then, like a prospect, compare the first impressions of the sites. If you are on the losing end of the comparison, it might be time to update your design.
Website Is an Asset
If what I’ve said about using your website to drive revenue is true, then it is also true that a website that produces sales is an asset that can increase the value of your company. A great example of this one of our clients. After we built their Digital Sales Channel, sales increased by 1,100 percent. When the time came to sell the business, they were able to get a higher value because the website was the engine that produced that growth.
Take a few minutes and take a good, honest look at your website. Ask yourself if it could do more to support and drive sales.
What kind of first impression do you think it presents?
Think about what is the tangible purpose for your website?
Think about what you could do to improve your search ranking. Check out what your competitors are doing. Start thinking of it as a Digital Sales Channel and as an asset.
In the early 1990’s I was working for a large company and a consultant was brought to help us to increase sales and increase customer satisfaction.
Since I like stories, I must use one of my stories to illustrate this point. I usually tear off when I think of it. I hope you like it!
The consultant explained that we all have different personalities and expectations. For those of us who are Type A personality we expect that someone would start working on our task as soon as we communicate it.
Recently I went to have my eyes checked, my prescription had changed and ordered glasses. The person who took my order said it will be two weeks before you can have your glasses. I am type A and asked for a shorter timeline. She said no, I told her I would pay extra. She said no, I agreed to wait for two weeks. My glasses arrived in seven days, I was very happy about it!
The consultant said the following steps are key to exceeding customer expectations:
- Understand your company’s production schedule: Know what your team and you can do and if there is a production schedule you need to be familiar with it.
- Define the Timeline and expectations: When you communicate with a prospect/client it is very important that you set the correct expectations. Use any of the following:
- You will have this widget shipped by Friday March 1 and you can expect it at your home by March 7.
- We can put this task in production in the next 24 hrs and you should be able to review it in 5 business days.
- We will cue your project on Friday for next week and it should be available for you to comment on it by the following Thursday.
- I will check with my team and will let you know tomorrow when you can expect this task done.
- I will be able to give you a timeline when you provide us with the missing content you owe us.
Notice the above have a clear timeline or defined.
Avoid the Following statements:
- We will get this done asap (as soon as possible)
- We will get it all done soon
- Let me get back to you
- Communicate effectively: The consultant then said that verbal communicate tends to be misunderstood. In order to communicate effectively you need to repeat, summarize and use two methods. Verbal and any of the following: email, voice message, text, project management milestone software, calendar notification.
Communicate effectively is a very important ingredient of the whole process. Say what you will do twice and confirming with email or any of the mentioned methods above is key.
- Give extra time to every task: When the person sets the timeline on step 2) mentioned above it must be done with extra time. For example if you know something can be done by Wednesday, then add 2 days and say Friday. If this is done correctly and you receive the task delivered by Wednesday, then communicate to the client you have just exceeded the customer expectations. If the production team delivered by Thursday you can still exceed customer expectations. If the production team delivers by Friday you have delivered on time.
- Verify: Please make sure the tasks were done correctly prior to communicating to the client. You need to review the task if possible to make sure the task was done correctly by the production team.
Recently I was thinking of situations that have made my life rewarding. I do believe I have a fantastic life. Would not change it for anything, came to realize that money can’t buy some of the most rewarding situations that I have been involved in the past.
Since I like stories, I must use one of my stories to illustrate this point. I usually tear off when I think of it. I hope you like it!
I am going to entitle my story “Dr Ricardo” , about ten years ago I was asked to donate some of our work/time to an organization called “Children’s Surgery International”. We did and provided a website to promote their cause. It was nice to receive a certificate of appreciation at a fancy dinner. A few years later I was asked to participate in one of their missions to help children who had been born with cleft palads in different parts of the world. I accepted and took the position as logistics manager and translator to a mission to Chihuahua Mexico. The group had four surgeons, six nurses and seven people who would help to play with the kids and aid as needed.
My job was to help the group to go through Mexican immigration and translate for the mothers and families from the time they provided their children to us at the time of surgery to the instructions needed for after care for their children. It was exciting and the comradery that I experienced with the group was fantastic. Surgeons who donated their time free of charge, nurses as well. We took many medicines and equipment from the US to Mexico. We had some issues in immigration, but we were able to resolve them easily once the nature of the mission was explained.
I was part of the team selecting the children to be operated. There were about 75 families wanting to have the operation, we had enough resources and time for 35 surgeries, but 37 were selected. We all agreed to work extra time and do whatever it was needed.
I had to wear scrubs which made me look like one of the surgeons and early on, families would refer to me as Dr. Ricardo. The first couple times I corrected them indicating I was just a translator. Since it happened so often, I let them call me Dr. Ricardo ?
I thought my job was going to be very easy, however on the first translation I almost fainted. There was a mother with an 8 month child. As she handed her child to the surgeon she started to cry and ask with broken words to take care of her precious child. As I started to empathize with her, my throat closed up and I had to translate to the surgeon. Quickly recovered and translated what she was saying. The surgeon was awesome and smiled, saying with his smile and embracing the child that all will be ok. I then took the woman out and spoke briefly to her. Told her about our American surgeons experience and their abilities. There were several situations similar to this one and then came one of the most rewarding experiences on the trip. A handsome boy we will call Pedro for this story came. He was 14 years of age, he came alone
to the surgery room and he was nervous. I asked him, Pedro how are you doing? – He answered “Bla ta eh no” I couldn’t understand what he said to me. He had a hole on the roof of his mouth and his enunciation was very hard to understand. I asked again and he answered “Te lo ka da “ this time I acted as if I understood and took him to the surgery room. I was able to hold his hand until he felt asleep for surgery and explained the process to him. He was one of the last patients we operated on the last day. The next day was a Sunday and the task at hand was to go through the hospital, check on the kids. By now we had three days of surgeries from 7 am to 9 pm, we were tired and of course I was Dr. Ricardo to everyone. I was the person providing the instructions in Spanish for after care, given to me by the real doctors in English of course. The surgeons instructed me to check on some of the kids for bleeding and make sure the kids were comfortable with minimal pain.
As I walked through the floor which had 37 beds in this large floor, Pedro’s mother held my arm and said: Dr. Ricardo, I have to share a story with you. Please share it with the rest of your team. Pedro came out of surgery at about 9:00 pm and I was by his side, he slept deeply and woke up at about midnight and yield at me and said “Mom do I speak ok now?” She answered yes honey you do. Pedro then said: “Great, I thought it was just a dream”. He was approaching puberty, he wanted to be heard and to be similar to all of the other kids. HIs mother then told me, Pedro woke up again at 3:00 am and 7:00 am and the same thing happened. He kept thinking it was a dream, but he now speaks like everyone else ? Her last words were thanks for changing my son’s life for the better…. As she said this, a warm feeling came into me, my heart rejoiced. I knew at that moment, she was right, we had changed Pedro’s life. It was very rewarding to me. A few minutes later I shared the story with my team. My team said, Ricardo, thanks for the story. It was a very exhausting experience but well worth it! We changed children’s lives …
Do you believe we all have the ability to change people’s lives?
Do you have a situation in which you knew there was not enough money to replicate it?
What life experience have you had which gave you incredible personal reward?
In the Spring of 2007, I was very happy. I had just sold a large project and put a few hundred dollars in my pocket. I went for lunch and behind me there were three roof workers, all of which were dirty and hungry. I had decided I was going to pay for their lunch; however, I didn’t do it. In my mind, I played the scene and thought they would be suspicious of me by giving them something for free. I took my sandwich sat down and began eating. As soon as I took the first bite, the idea of “One Act of Kindness” was transferred to me. It was a great idea and I began writing all I could and this was the birth of www.oneactofkindness.org
The idea was to create cards that anyone could print and give to people in the process of executing “Acts of Kindness”. See example of the cards below.
The cards give a sense of permission to help others without expecting anything in return. Something that I realized was lacking when I wanted to pay for the lunch of those workers.
In the past ten years I have received great emails from people around the world. Canada, England, Australia, Ireland just to name a few. These were from people who received cards from people doing Acts of Kindness and enjoyed whatever was given to them.
It is VERY gratifying to receive these type of messages and to know that a bit more kindness is being sprinkled around the world. You can see some of these messages from recipients.
Resources ::::: One Act of Kindness — www.oneactofkindness.org
Have you received a message from a stranger?
Are you willing to give an act of kindness?
Recently conversing with a young friend of mine, she recommended a very nice small book called “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho. The book is a story of a young shepherd in search of what the author calls his personal legend. The book is an easy read and surprisingly I had the time to read it in a couple days.
The book makes the case for everyone having a personal legend a destiny if you desire to see this way. The story makes the case for looking at life as a learning experience. Whether the situation is what you would consider bad, it has an ultimate purpose and can provide a teaching lesson. In the story, the boy had all of his money stolen by a thief in the middle of a trip, and this event caused the young boy to seek employment with the owner of a glass shop. While he was working at the glass shop, he learned much from the people he interacted with, as well as learning to speak another language.
While reading the book it made me reflect on my own personal life and those events that I thought were “bad” that actually made me into the person I am today.
My own personal legend had its own turns and it is only when I reflect on it that I see the positive effect. Some events that I thought were bad that were actually very good for me:
I grew up in Mexico City with a very nice family. My father was an entrepreneur and my mother was a housewife. I was the oldest of three and the only male. I always thought that not having a brother was a bad situation. This led me to appreciate the incredible male friendships that I have yet today after 45 years. They are my friends and call themselves my brothers. I then came to the USA and stayed with a family who had a two year old boy, he became my brother and he doesn’t remember a day without me. He is an uncle to my daughters and I am uncle to his.
While studying at the University of Minnesota, my father who was responsible for all of my financial affairs gave me two options: comeback to Mexico and go to the best Private University or find a job to pay for your expenses and stay in Minnesota. I had very good grades and INS (immigration and naturalization service) gave me authorization to work, rare for everyone. I believe it was a sign that I was meant to stay in MN. I became a janitor at the time, and I disliked it very much, but as I think back it was one of the best things that happened to me. I learned about hard work, sweat a bit, and the overall experience humbled me a bit. I learned the value of a dollar and finished my degree on my own with scholarships.
In 1985 I fell in love with a Minnesota girl. She introduced me to her parents and family and we were together for over two years. I knew it would not work for us long-term, but I really liked my relationship with her father and step-mother. I talked to her father and step-mother and told them I didn’t want to lose my relationship with them. They agreed and our friendship continued for over thirty years. Her father was my best man when I got married to my current wife. Without knowing her I would not have met her parents, my friends ?
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho — Amazon
Do you believe we all have a personal legend or destiny?
Do you think you know what your personal legend is?
What life experience you thought it was bad, has made you a better person?
Are you following your personal legend?
Wanted to speak to you about “Personal Brand Legacy” — Let me explain what I mean.
Particular characteristic that serves to identify a particular product or service. In this case a person’s legacy.
“The gift you will leave behind”
Personal Brand Legacy ——> How do you want to be remembered?
“I have come to reflect upon my life and realized that life today is different from what I thought it was or what it would look like. A few years ago, I realized something important and I want to share it with you. I hope it helps you in your own lives, or at least make you think and reflect upon your life. These lessons helped me to create what I want my brand legacy to be.
A few years ago, I was volunteering at our church and helped set-up a room. I did my job and helped, but there was this particular guy by the name of Tom Sweeney. He did the job plus much more and always did the extra effort and it was very noticeable. After a few days of working together I asked Tom, “Hey Tom, why are you so eager to help and work so hard?” He asked me if I had a few minutes to hear an interesting story. I agreed and told me a great story!
He Was Just a Mailman
He said, “Ricardo I have a very good education, a very good job, and I’ve earned a lot of money in the past and I thought I was happy. I had a brother who was just a mailman. I looked down on him because I felt I was more educated and earned more money and had more stuff. Certainly, I loved my brother, but I thought he was just a mailman. Then I attended his funeral in Ohio where we grew up. There were hundreds of people outside the church trying to get in to visit my brother. The church was packed to the max, many people came to pay their respects to my brother. You see … he had taken the time to meet the families in his delivery route. He cared for them, he had helped many people, and people loved my brother. Many of them told me stories after the mass of how kind and nice my brother was.
When I came back to MN I reflected upon my life and decided to help older people. I was inspired by my brother, who was just a mailman. He tried his best and I asked myself how many people would come to my funeral?”
“We ALL have the power to change people lives”
Let me introduce you to Nick. I watch this video when I need some inspiration. Born in Australia, he has inspired millions of people around the world.
Hope you enjoyed this, he is an amazing person. Now married and has a child a very inspiring person!
Your deeds are your monuments!
J. Palacio’s Quote
“…We should be remembered for the things we do. The things we do are the most important things of all. They are more important than what we say or what we look like. The things we do outlast our mortality. The things we do are like monuments that people build to honour heroes after they’ve died. They’re like the pyramids that the Egyptians built to honour the Pharaohs. Only instead of being made out of stone, they’re made out of the memories people have of you. That’s why your deeds are like your monuments. Built with memories instead of with stone.”
Resources ::::: No Arms, No Legs, No Problem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciYk-UwqFKA
Butterfly Circus Movie (20 minutes): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p98KAEif3bI&t=1210s
One Act of Kindness: www.oneactofkindness.org
- What do you think is your brand legacy ?
- What would you like it to be?
- What are steps you can take to enhance your personal brand legacy?
You should at least think how you would like to be remembered!
Do you want a few people at the end or a lot of people?
What Is Your Brand?
We all have a brand, whether you are aware of it or not. I will define this as the thoughts that come to you about a person and the character you perceive them to be. To give you a better idea of what I mean please do this exercise.
Get a pen and paper and write three thoughts after reading the name of the person below.
What came to mind for you? Tirant, antichrist, killer?
For the Nazi regime he was an idol, a leader. He is also given a lot of credit for pulling Germany out of an economic depression and improving their economy during his regime. Depending on who you are, a different perspective can be taken about the same person. How you are affected by the person directly or indirectly can influence your opinion.
Let’s do it again, with this person:
What came to mind for you as you read it? Humble, caring, Catholic?
For Catholics around the world he is a very caring person, a humble individual, and a transformational leader. Something unique about him is that many people who are not affiliated with the Catholic Church also like him. Others in the same position have approached this role differently. For me, Pope Francis is a very nice man and inclusive of everyone.
I like to play a game with friends to exemplify my point about the personal brand.
Let me give it to you. It is actually fun and a good point of discussion at social events for me. Imagine you are in a restaurant in a booth and behind you there are three of your closest friends. They don’t know you are there and they start talking about you.
What would you like them to say about you? We can try to be what we want them to perceive us to be, but ultimately we cannot control what people say. For me I would like them to say something like this:
* He is a very caring good friend, always there when I am in need.
* He knows how to enjoy life and loves his family.
* He wears nice shoes all the time ? In my mind this is part of my mojo.
Resources ::::: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2018/03/20/14-personal-branding-tips-to-help-you-grow-your-influence/#340139627ab7
- What is your brand today?
- What would you like it to be?
- What are steps you can take immediately to enhance your brand?
- What are you willing to do to enhance your brand?
You should define your brand, before others do it for you!