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Archive for December, 2011

The Three Things Your business Plan Absolutely Must have

December 14, 2011 By: admin Category: Consumer Education

By Rieva Lesonsky

At the end of the year, most people are in dual modes of looking back at how their business did over the past year and looking forward to what can be improved in the New Year. It’s probably time to blow the dust off your old business plan and see what’s missing. Most likely, there’s room for significant improvement. Here are three ideas to craft a fresh and effective business plan for 2012.

1. Make a plan for social media. If you haven’t fully dived into the social media pool, you not only risk missing out on a crucial marketing tool, you also risk appearing behind-the-times to your customers, to your lenders and to the media who can bring you publicity. Being hip to social networking shows you want to communicate with your customers whenever and wherever. If you’re not an expert in the field, then find someone who is. Take a SCORE webinar on social media or find a workshop in your area. You can find local and online events at SCORE.org.

2. Make a Plan B. Especially in today’s uncertain economy, it’s important to have some backup plans and some flexibility in your target market, your product/service focus or both. Describe possible situations that might occur and how you’ll respond. Make a plan: If the market goes one way, you’ll go this way. If your service becomes obsolete, here’s how you’ll make it current.

3. Include your keen understanding of your market: What sets you apart from other businesses in your industry? Here’s the place to brag about who you are and why you are an important player in the industry. Whether you’re preparing this business plan to attract new vendors or you’re trying to get financing, it’s important to list all your advantages over your competition. You must take pride in yourself and know more about your product or service than your competitor—and if you don’t, you’d better learn. Attend trade shows, communicate with peers and keep an eye on the market by talking with experts. Make an appointment with someone in your field at SCORE, and you may learn a thing or two.

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow Rieva at Twitter.com/Rieva and visit her blog at www.SmallBizDaily.com. Visit her website www.SmallBizTrendCast.com to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.

The Art of Listening

December 14, 2011 By: admin Category: Consumer Education

by Julie Ann Sullivan

Listening is an aspect of your life that you do instinctively. You have been listening since you were born,
so this ability has become second nature. In some respects that is good, because without thinking you
are aware of your surroundings. However, familiarity creates unconscious behavior. You might have
forgotten that there is an art to listening. To be a good listener, you must be aware of what you are
doing at a conscious level. For some of us, it can be quite a challenge. You may have become so
comfortable with what you are currently doing, that you are unaware that there is room for
improvement. The better you listen, the more effectively you can respond. This enhanced exchange
creates better communication. Better communication leads to improved relationships. Improved
relationships create a better world to live in.

Here are some areas to focus on to become a better listener.

Make sure you are giving your full attention to someone who is speaking to you. Be aware of what
thought processes are going on in your head. Stop yourself from judging what is being said because of
some personal characteristics of the speaker. Don’t get preoccupied with who is speaking; rather
concentrate on what is being said.

Provide feedback when asked. It is encouraging to a speaker to acknowledge that you are listening by
nods or asking clarifying questions. However, don’t fall into the trap of giving your advice unless
someone actually asks for it. Some people just need to vent. If you are unsure of what is being asked of
you, then present the question, “How can I help?”

Keep an open mind while listening to others. You might think you know the point someone is trying to
make, but a good listener does not jump to conclusions. When you allow the speaker to finish their
thoughts first, you have a more definitive idea of the information they are sharing. Who knows, you
might learn something new.

Don’t create distractions. The world is distracting enough. Multi-tasking may be advantageous to
complete a project, but it is not representative of a good listener. You are not truly listening if you are
texting, interrupting or looking for someone you know in a crowded room. If a conversation is going to
be substantial, find a place where interruptions will be unlikely.

One of the most important aspects of listening is taking responsibility for being the receiver of
information. When you are not clear on what is being said, or the intent of the speaker, it is your
responsibility to clarify by asking questions. Every question is worthwhile if it allows a valuable
communication to be shared.

Concentrate on trying each of these tips for a day. Learn what type of listener you are and where you
can improve.

Attention media. This article is available for reprint as long as you include the following information:

Julie Ann Sullivan has been engaging people with her workshops and presentations for more than 30 years. She speaks to
educators, students and professional organizations about life’s journeys. She is the author of Life Lessons and Pocketful of
Inspiration. Julie Ann lives in Pittsburgh PA with her son Sean and her poodle Lucky. Learn more about Julie Ann by visiting

December 2011 Events

December 01, 2011 By: admin Category: Consumer Education

December 1 - The 4th Annual Women of Integrity Awards Luncheon
LeMont Restaurant Pittsburgh from 12noon-2pm - Guest Emcee Michelle Wright, WTAE 4 News - Register Online www.PittsburghProfessionalWomen.com
December 1 - WSBA Christmas Network Event - Natrona Heights - 6:00p.m. - Harrison’s Bar and Grill ,1840 Union Avenue, Harrison Township - If you have any questions contact marzullope@verizon.net. This is an informal networking event, open to any business woman and men who would like to increase her business contacts or clients in the Pittsburgh area. Please bring 10-20 of your business cards, cash for horse’devours and cocktails plus your $2 meeting fee and be prepared to network. We look forward to seeing you there!
December 1 -After Hours Mixer at Level 20 Sports Lounge in Bethel Park. It is located at 1033 Paxton Dr., Bethel Park (next to Wal-Mart Plaza on Library Rd. (Rte 88). From 5:00 P.M.-7:30 P.M. Appetizers and cash bar. You can network, play darts or billiards. Join us for a great kickoff to networking and the holidays.
December 2 - CWE Holiday Open House Gibsonia - 11:00AM - 1:00 PM - Dining Room, Chatham University Eden Hall Campus, 6035 Ridge Rd, Gibsonia Cost: Free (Lunch will be served) RSVP by November 30¬¬th at www.chatham.edu/cwe
December 2 - Business Women Connect is a free monthly networking group open to any woman in business who is interested networking and sharing information about her business with other professionals. This meeting is our ANNUAL VENDOR FAIR AND NETWORKING LUNCH featuring 24 vendors from a wide variety of business professions, networking, door prizes and lunch. Come meet and network with influential & resourceful women entrepreneurs - 1:30 p.m.- 3:30 p.m - The Comfort Inn - 699 Rodi Road, Penn Hills PA 15235 - Sponsor: Business Women Connect -Cost: Cost of your own lunch - RSVP: Suggested no later than November 30 - To register, contact Donna Cheswick at 724.837.1130
December 4 -The Krannert Center Student Association Presents
Winter Lights Festival 2011 - 4-6pm -This free annual holiday event, produced by the volunteers of the Krannert Center Student Association, will begin at 4pm with the sparkling sounds of the Justin Dyer Quintet in a 1920s-themed setting with enchanting and eco-friendly holiday decor. Children of all ages are encouraged to don their finest Roaring Twenties attire for the 4:30pm costume contest and are sure to delight in games and prizes throughout the event. The I.D.E.A. Store will be on hand with a table for yuletide crafting, the University of Illinois’ Life Drawing Club will create custom caricatures, and the UIUC Vintage/Analogue/Manual Photography Club (VAMP) will display a photo collection not only on December 4 but also throughout the week of December 2-9. Everyone on campus and in the community is invited to join in the pre-holiday fun with complimentary hot chocolate and a special Amphitheatre tree lighting to top off the evening! For more information, visit www.KrannertCenter.com or Facebook.com/KCSArocks.
December 5 - CWE Holiday Open House Shadyside - 5:00 - 7:00 PM
- Mellon Board Room, Chatham University Shadyside Campus, Woodland Rd, Pittsburgh - Cost: Free (Appetizers will be served) RSVP by November 30th at www.chatham.edu/cwe -Come meet our staff, facilitators, and past participants while learning about all of our services for women business owners and women in business. From business development classes, small business workshops, women’s leadership breakfasts, and our new online community CWE Connect, CWE has programs for women in all stages of business development. Learn more about CWEConnect, our new online business development and mentoring community at http://www.chatham.edu/cwe/connect. * Receive a 10% discount on all CWE Spring programs if you register on the day of the Open House
December 6 - The CCAC Women’s Council Presents: The 6th Annual: Deck Your Halls Event - 5 – 7:30pm - Proceeds benefit the CCAC Women’s Council Scholarship Fund - 808 Ridge Ave., Byers Hall, CCAC Allegheny Campus - (Corner of Ridge & Galveston Avenues) -Raffle Drawings, Holiday Decorations, Refreshments - Tickets available to win prizes - Admission: $5.00 - For information or to make a donation: 412-237-2723
December 7 - Toys for Tots Holiday Donation Party - An Annual Event Sponsored by The Musuneggi Financial Group & Single Steps Strategies - Bring your toy donation for the United States Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots program & enjoy an evening of tasty treats & holiday cheer with your friends & family. Student members of the Future Business Leaders of America of South Fayette High School will be on hand to “stuff a bus” with all of the toy donations - 4:00pm - 8:00pm - A new unwrapped toy - Manor Oak Two, Suite 520 1910 Cochran Road Pittsburgh - For more information or to RSVP please call 412-341-2888 or e-mail Sara at sdurzo@singlestepsstrategies.com - If you are unable to attend our event you can still drop off a toy anytime Monday through Friday from 9:00am to 4:00pm
December 7 - NAWBO Greater Pittsburgh Chapter and the
Pennsylvania Bureau of Minority and Women Business Opportunities Present: Eureka! Data Mining the Pennsylvania Web Sites - 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM- Best Western Parkway Center Inn
- 875 Greentree Road
Pittsburgh - Cost: $15.00 includes lunch - https://www.blacktie-pittsburgh.com/online_sales/rsvp_ticket_purchase.cfm?rsvpid=946 to register
December 8 - The Professional Woman’s Guide to Getting Paid What You’re Worth - 9:00am to 11:30am, Waterfront Place Hotel - Two Waterfront Place
Morgantown, West VA 26501 – visit to register http://www.pittsburghprofessionalwomen.net/morgantown.html
December 8 - Women’s Power Lunch–Westmoreland–”Holiday Cheer” Dinner - 4:00-6:00 pm - J. Cork’s Restaurant 25 E. Pittsburgh Street - Greensburg - 5 Course Dinner and 5 Special Wines to compliment each course! Next, hit the streets shopping with Downtown Greensburg participating Shoppes! Discount for Women’s Power Lunch members - $40.00 Prepayment required - RSVP: www.womenspowerlunch.com - melanieansell@comcast.net
How to Relax in a Chaotic Life
Friday, December 9, 2011
8:00 am to 10:00 am
Cost: $25
Register @ www.julieannsullivan.com/events
Spend the morning learning how to make it through to the New Year without stressing out!
 We all have stress. Come and learn about how much you might be creating  yourself.
 With that valuable information you will have the opportunity to be more flexible in stressful
situations.  In addition, I  will give you  strategies to adapt by taking better care of yourself.
Event Location:
Giant Eagle Market District – upstairs in event room
100 Settlers Ridge Center Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15205
December 9 - Join us for a Global Perspective on Family Planning and Environmental Health - WGF Policy Briefing Breakfast with Special Guest - Suzanne Ehlers, President/CEO, Population Action International - 8:00am-10:30am Omni William Penn Hotel - https://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/7066/p/salsa/event/common/public/?event_KEY=46001 or by phone 412-434-4883 to register
December 9 - WSBA Christmas Shopping & Network Lunch TM-Westmoreland - 12:00 PM - Ground Round Grill & Bar 960 E. Pittsburgh St., Greensburg - Price: $2.00 per person - plus the cost of your lunch and be prepared to get some Christmas shopping done - This special event will provide some gift ideas for the holiday season and effective networking that many area business women have benefited from! Select WSBA members will provide some product preview with the opportunity to purchase some perfect gifts. You will also network with this amazing group of supportive business women!
December 9 - Women’s Power Lunch–Pittsburgh– Annual Holiday Affair (Prizes and gift raffles) - Sponsor: Crystal Davis of Crystal Clear Solutions - 1:00-3:00 pm - Heinz Hall, Mozart Room Sixth and Penn Avenues Downtown, Pittsburgh - RSVP: www.womenspowerlunch.com - $32.00 Prepayment required
suzannef@zoominternet.net - 412-389-3420
December 9 - WOMEN BUSINESS LEADERS BREAKFAST SERIES - 7:30-9:00 A.M. - Venue: James Laughlin Music Hall, Chatham University, Shadyside Campus - Cost: $25.00 (including continental breakfast) - Register Online at www.chatham.edu/cwe - Elizabeth Terrell, Managing Director of Sales, UPS & Helen Hanna Casey, President, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services “Closing the sale” - “Closing the sale” can be one of the most challenging aspects of any business, regardless of size or type. It’s is really the final step in a long process that begins with listening, learning, asking questions, being in control, being prepared and being able to handle objections. Join us for this enlightening session, which will help you learn how to avoid those early mistakes that turn into costly or undesirable outcomes and start closing sales today.
December 14 - Annual Holiday Luncheon-Crowne Plaza –Doors Open at 11:30 A.M.-1:30 P.M. Visit our Tinsel Town - Shoppes, auction, prizes, entertainment and great food. The cost is $35.00 - We accept credit cards - If you want a vendor table ($40) it is on a first come, first serve basis. Please let me know by 12/8 - if you want to donate an auction item, please call me at 412-719-6761 or e-mail me at connie@shchamber.org
December 14 - Mount Lebanon - Pittsburgh Area Business Leads Exchange Networking Group LLC - YOU MUST RSVP TO THIS EVENT BY Monday - Dec. 12, midnight - You must also cancel your reservation by Monday midnight - If you do not cancel you WILL be billed $18.00 for the lunch you reserved - Atria’s - Mount Lebanon - 110 Beverly Road Pittsburgh (Mount Lebanon) - 11:30 am - 1:30pm - Presenter: To be Announced - Please RSVP to this event to Tina Nobers - TinaNobers@CMNNutritionGroup.com - All MEETINGS - Please bring cash! We cannot accept credit cards. You will receive a receipt! - You must RSVP to ALL events! Meeting Agenda - All Lunch Meetings - Open Networking from 11:30am -11:45am - Networking at tables while eating - 2 -10 minute commercials - Please bring your business cards and collateral to share with everyone - We look forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones.
December 21 - Monroeville- Pittsburgh Area Business Leads Exchange Networking Group LLC - YOU MUST RSVP TO THIS EVENT BY Monday - Dec.19th midnight You must also cancel your reservation by Monday midnight - If you do not cancel you WILL be billed $18.00 for the lunch you reserved - Bella Luna Trattoria 5060 William Penn Highway, Monroeville - 11:30 am - 1:30pm - Presenters - To Be Announced - Please RSVP to this event to Rob Magee - BLXMurrysville@gmail.com - All MEETINGS - Please bring cash! We cannot accept credit cards. You will receive a receipt! - You must RSVP to ALL events! Meeting Agenda - All Lunch Meetings - Open Networking from 11:30am -11:45am - Networking at tables while eating - 2 -10 minute commercials - Please bring your business cards and collateral to share with everyone - We look forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones.
Save the Date
January 4 - Announcing the Brand New Wexford Chapter of Business Leads Exchange Networking Group - It is my pleasure to announce that Michelle Zmijanac of Best Practices Delivered will be the facilitator - When: The first Wednesday of each month (except for major holidays)
- Atria’s Restaurant and Tavern 12980 Perry Highway, Wexford - 11:30am - 1:30pm - To RSVP to this meeting email MichelleZmijanac@BestPracticesDelivered.com
January 9 -Clever Connections Networking Dinner - 6pm to 8pm
Clever Connections Networking Dinner - BRAVO! Pittsburgh McKnight Road - Register Online www.PittsburghProfessionalWomen.com
January 14 – February 18 (six Saturdays) - Self-Defense for Women - 10 – 11:30 am - Wilkins School Community Center, Regent Square - Holiday Special: sign up with another woman and take $10 off each registration. Details and a registration form are attached. Contact us if you need more information - Lioness Martial Arts – (412) 241-6519 - info@lionessmartialarts.com - www.lionessmartialarts.com
5 to May 13, 2012
deposit of $300 is due by December 15, 2011
Contact: Debbie Papalia Worldview
Travel, West Mifflin (412)
 or Rev. Dr. Judith Moore (724) 474-7377 more
information - http//www.drpaulinelong.com