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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Terms of Agreement Parts and Purpose

Terms of Agreement clearly outlines the contractors responsibilities, price, scope, and detailed services to be provided. Both parties must agree upon the terms that will define the relationship. The contractor will usually draw up the agreement based upon the services and quote given to the company. This is a legally binding document that should leave no questions unanswered and can be referred back to if necessary.

General Terms
As a business operator, certain policies should be transparent for all clients to be aware of while conducting business with your company. These can include late payment policies, what to do in the case of a stalled project, payments options, and other specific things relevant to your clients industry or project.

Parts of the Agreement

  • Description & Scope of Services - What services will you provide? Be as detailed yet concise as possible
  • Deliverables - Will you provide reports or any physical or electronic paperwork?
  • Price & Payment Arrangements - How much will the services costs and how will you accept payment? Do you require a deposit? What does it cover? When are payments due?
  • Responsibilities - What will you be responsible for completing or sending the client?

A well written terms of agreement can resolve any challenges that could arise in the future between contractor and client. It is a good practice to use a uniform agreement and only alter those portions pertaining to the client. Once work has commenced on the project, any changes in the agreement should be documented as well.

Do you use standard contracts from services like RocketLawyer or have you created your own Terms of Agreement?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Writing A Business Proposal

All business owners should be familiar with a business proposal or sales proposal, when it is appropriate, and important information that it must include. Government agencies and companies of all sizes will either need to write or solicit business proposals for projects. When companies outsource upgrades to their facilities or technology, or hire consultants for specific duties like financial, business or marketing, most companies will require a bid proposal.

The formality and length of the proposal should be based upon guidelines for the proposal (if there are any given), the scope of the project, and including necessary details to execute the project. Informal proposals can be written on company letterhead, as short as two pages.

The proposal serves a dual purpose. It details the actions / responsibilities of the contractor for the assigned project ( for the benefit of the contracting company), and if signed, it is considered a legally binding contract, (now benefiting the contractor). Regardless of the size the project or the additional information that may be necessary for each proposal, every proposal should have the following components:

  • Your Name, Business Name, and Address
  • Company Business Names, and Address
  • Introductory comment about your relationship with the company, your knowledge of the project, and a concise statement about the project.
  • Objective of the proposal and the project. What will your company accomplish? What, specifically, have they contracted you to do?
  • Scope of Services details exactly what your company will be doing to accomplish the objective. It is good to be as detailed and clear as possible so there are no blurred lines of responsibility or questions that cannot be readily answered by looking at this document. It is good to identify projects that may be considered in the future, but are not part of the project. 
  • Qualifications can be placed here or after the schedule and fees. This is where you will reinforce your ability, experience, and benefit gained by working with your company.
  • Schedule and Fees will outline how much the project will cost and the schedule for deliverables and payment. If 50% of the payment is required to start the project, state that here. 
  • Assumptions may not be a necessary component for every proposal, however, in most services based businesses, it is good to be clear about any business arrangements that have already been arranged before the agreement, or any other assumptions you have going into the project. For example: will there be weekly conference calls?


  • Authorizations are any permissions that the company may have to grant you to execute the project. If you are a web designer, you will need permission to use company logo's, byline, etc.
  • You can list any additional services that your company provides that would enhance or create more value for the customer, but you do not have to.
Optional components may include an explanation of software costs or professional fees. Be sure to incorporate any industry specific licenses, certifications, or other necessary documents or affiliations. As pointed out above, when signed, this will serve as a legally binding contract. This fact should compel you to include as much information, concisely as possible. 

What is your experience with proposals? 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Technology Guru Steve Jobs' Dies, Leaves Fingerprint in History

Steve Jobs
( February 24, 1955 - October 5, 2011)
Steve Jobs built a multi-billion dollar business with only $1300 in start-up funds and a garage. Looking at the products that continuously roll out of Apple, Inc, one could hardly believed the humble beginnings of this risk-taking, $1 salaried technology guru. But sadly, increasing sales, an imminent unveiling of the new iPhone, and being the comeback story of a century all take a back seat as politicians, technology giants, and other top figures react to the passing of Steve Jobs on Wednesday, October 5, 2011 from pancreatic cancer. Google's homepage has a link to Apple's homepage tribute to their former CEO. There is even a contact email for fans to express condolences.

A little more than a month ago, the ailing CEO announced his retirement, along with his replacement, Tim Cook. Having been a part of a generation that has been able to benefit from his innovations so early in life, I can only imagine what more we will see from the company. However, I am not alone in the sentiment that the loss of such a unique human being will not be evident. Apple Inc creates products allowing users to easily and quickly access information from almost anywhere, at any time. History books would be incomplete without highlighting Steve Jobs as a pioneer in the technology age, setting new standards and creating jobs, and creating a market for other businesses and technology to emerge .

So how would the world be different without Steve Jobs contributions?
  • Steve Jobs patented his sleek and slimmer laptop designs that have become a trademark of all Apple products. 
  • The iMac G4 debuted a separate base with a monitor attached 
  • iPhones that can be described as mobile computers that fit in your hand with the ability to also make telephone calls.
  • Macintosh computers have been widely known for their security as Windows computers get viruses and crash more; though it is technically not impossible for a Mac to get a computer virus, just less likely than a PC.
  • iTunes is designed to give users almost immediate access to music, books, podcasts, and a plethora of other useful technologies that are made with Apple products in mind.
  • Entrepreneurs around the globe are constantly creating software and products that would not be possible without the invention of many of Apple's revolutionary products. 

FACTS ABOUT STEVE JOBS
"Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." 
~Steve Jobs to Stanford's Class of 2005

For the past few years, Steve Jobs has only collected $1 in annual salary from the prosperous technology company. He owned about $2 billion in shares. His fortune also includes 7.4% of Disney, valued at more than $4 billion.

Steve Jobs has mastered the art of overcoming adversity. In fact, it appears to be the most profitable thing for him. After leaving Apple in 1985, he returned in 1997. It was not an amicable split either, he was fired! To add insult to injury, the company also filed a lawsuit against him. Recently, Apple Inc has lost and recovered two prototypes, obviously creating to several risks. Perhaps all of this was mere preparation for the fact that the company is sued almost daily. In some ways I imagine Mr, Jobs as an Olympic athlete well skilled at getting over obstacles -- without losing much speed.

He was openly criticized for his lack of public philanthropy. Unlike Warren Buffett and Bill Gates who pledged to give away at minimum half of their wealth, many wondered if he gave. However, Mr. Jobs could have given anonymously. He strongly believed that what he was doing was a major contribution to society. It is possible that he did not want to feel pressured into anything either. 

Steve Jobs was a Buddhist described as a "tyrant that you would not want to meet in the elevator" by some employees, according to CNN. After visiting India, the San Francisco native converted and is said to regularly walked around his neighborhood and office barefoot. 

Steve Jobs personally held more than 300 patents as an inventor. These range from packaging materials to desktop computers, Apple televisions, laptops, iPod, and many others.

There is no question that while the technology world mourns this great loss, it is also gearing up for the positive residual effects of his contributions. 


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Offline and Online Marketing Mix




To be truly successful in the marketing of your product and services, a proper mix between online and offline marketing vehicles is what small businesses need to achieve their goals. While many more people use the internet to do research before purchases, and learn more about vendors, services, and products, word of mouth advertising still reigns as the most tried and tested method for success. 

The first step to creating a proper mix of online and offline marketing efforts involve creating a realistic budget for the entire marketing department. Which funds will be allocated to marketing and PR? Blurred lines between what is considered marketing and public relations allows companies to execute strategies that market services and relate directly to consumers. What percentage of the budget can be dedicated to each strategy?





Offline Strategy
Every marketing vehicle used to reach customers offline or away from the internet is considered offline marketing. This can be network marketing, advertisements, newspapers ads, billboards, radio, television, posters, direct mail, postcards, or any other medium used to notify customers of  products, services or specials.

For local products and services, placing ads in magazines or newspapers that target your market within your city or niche can produce great results. Check out any marketing data associated with the periodical, including the geographic territory for readers and how often it is distributed. Smaller newspapers that only service a small section of a city or a specific population may have more competitive prices and longer run times than larger newspapers. 

Companies with complementary products or services may also be willing to give you window space for a flyer or counter space for cards. You will never know unless you ask, and the worse thing anyone can say is no. Attending community events is also essential to put a face behind your product or service. People are more likely to refer new clients when they feel they know you better and can vouch for your professionalism and quality of work. 

Introductory offers and limited free services can also build credibility, a client base for future services, and allow customers to "try before they buy."

Online Strategy

Marketing online gives small businesses access to customers beyond their local area through blogging, online ads like Google Adwords, social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Triberr, etc) and classified ad services like craigslist, Thumbtack.com, or ebayclassifieds.com. Be prepared to invest time, money, or both for an online marketing campaign. Landing pages, ebooks, and article marketing are also highly effective for internet marketing. 

Some business owners will immerse themselves in every vehicle available online, not realizing that every medium is not beneficial for them. For instance, travel agents can use sites like TripAdvisor to get ideas, see about placing ads, and engaging prospective clients. Business to business services might benefit more through forum marketing and answering questions and commenting on other business owners blogs. 

Regardless of the online approach, it is important to do research prior to committing funds. Consult with knowledgeable colleagues about their experiences and get feedback. Read reviews and any books that offer facts and projections about your industry and applying internet marketing for maximum results. Content  marketing like newsletters and updating clients via email help businesses stay in touch with clients, solicit information about what they need, and how services can be improved. 

Do you have any tips for business owners and the effectiveness, success, or failure about your online or offline marketing efforts?

Listen. Engage. Write. Repeat.

ChrissyBiz Solutions provides clients with customized, results-driven internet marketing strategies. Our primary business writing duties include: article marketing,  search engine optimized web copy, blog management, social media, press releases, and newsletters, designed to drive traffic to your website and influence buyers’ decisions when purchasing products and services.

Contact ChrissyBiz for a complimentary consultation today to discuss the impact that web marketing copy can have on your business.


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