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January 22, 2013

Written by Bob Meyer, Editor of BarterNews

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From the desk of Bob Meyer... 01/22/2013

Great Entrepreneurs Have Two Key Qualities

According to Ben Horowitz, a founding partner of the venture capital firm Andressen Horowitz, the entrepreneur is vastly more important than the idea. That’s because if the idea is lousy, a great entrepreneur will see that quickly and then change the idea.

Horowitz says all great entrepreneurs have two key qualities … brilliance and courage. The reason for the first one (brilliance) is obvious. The second one, courage, is important because the other virtues that everyone wants to see in successful people — honesty, integrity, etc. — all flow from courage. And if you don’t have courage in times of stress, then honesty, integrity, and other virtues can quickly go by the wayside.

Active International Supports Families Of Newtown Tragedy

Active is joining with other barter companies in raising and providing funds for The Love for Grieving Children organization. The corporate barter company will contribute $50,000 in Universal Currency trade dollars to provide counseling for all those who are suffering.

For more on Active International click here.   (www.ActiveInternational.com)

Geithner Blames Greed For Financial Crisis

Outgoing Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner explained in a leaving interview with the Wall Street Journal why he’s uncomfortable with accusations that bankers haven’t been punished enough for the financial crisis. “A huge part of what happened across the system was just a mixture of ignorance and greed, or hope over experience, and not illegal. Most financial crises are not caused by fraud or abuse.”

All back issues of "From the Desk...” can be accessed by clicking here.

(Please feel free to forward our newsletter to your friends and colleagues. We have a “box” at the end of the newsletter for your convenience. See you next week. . .)

Attention Trade Exchange Owners … It’s GROW OR GO!

The magic bullet for growth is sales, always has been and always will be. Yet the industry’s overall growth is anemic. Why? Maybe it’s because we’re not providing on-going education about our unique way of doing business. Knowledge is always a prerequisite to taking sustained action.

And for those newcomers, the lifeblood of an exchange — awareness of and understanding about the value of trading — is even more important.

If you expect prospects to come aboard and become active traders, but you are perplexed when the results are less than you anticipated, there’s a good reason. You must continually educate and motivate, each and every month. That is, month after month after month!

Such action is necessary because (let’s face it) more cash business, not trade, is of paramount importance to your members. You must break through this “cash only” focus, and redirect their thinking toward barter. Although most exchanges don’t see the importance of doing so, many industry leaders are taking action and so can you.

As the owner of your own operation, there is an easy and inexpensive solution for moving forward, look into using The Competitive Edge newsletter. It’s a 4-page, professionally written, informational marketing tool that is available in PDF format as well as print. So regardless of how you reach your prospects and clients, you will have the necessary vehicle.

As a busy trade exchange owner, this marketing tool is written exclusively for your type of business. It will certainly be one of the best investments you ever make for growing your barter company.

For more information about The Competitive Edge newsletter, and how it can benefit you, click here.  



Why Frequent Flyer Miles Are Profitable ... And What You Must Do To Play Their Game

(Editor’s Note: One of the best stories we’ve ever read on frequent flyer miles (FFM) was written by Peter Greenberg, travel editor for Today. This is a reprint from a past 2008 issue of Tuesday Report. In it Greenberg says 120 million Americans have FFM, and there are 92 FFM programs available.)

The average active member of a frequent-flyer program earns 11,364 miles per year. And there are 9.7 trillion unredeemed miles in current liability among all FFM programs. Frequent flyer miles are the second biggest currency in the world, after the U.S. dollar. With approximately 15 trillion FFM issued, at 2-cents per mile, that is a $300 billion currency.

What does an award cost an airline? With airlines carrying unredeemed mileage on the books as a liability, the airlines then estimate that when they do actually redeem miles they do so with the valuation of 40-cents for every 1,000 miles. So, redeeming a 25,000-mile award costs the airline about $10! (Note: with the recent rise in fuel, the price might reach $15.)

For the airlines, the mileage programs have become one of their few profitable divisions — that’s right, profitable. How could that be when airlines sell miles to thousands of marketing partners — such as florists, grocers, gas stations, restaurants and banks — so that you can “earn” those miles when you make purchases? But here’s the rub: since the airlines also manage and control redemption of those miles — without any oversight, regulation or control — they build in a huge profit.

And while the airlines claim that more miles were redeemed last year than before, the actual redemption percentage, that is, the percentage of eligible miles that were really redeemed by the airlines last year hovered at slightly below 10%. That’s an amazingly profitable margin! And for consumers, that’s an amazingly painful experience.

Now that you’ve heard all the bad news, how then do you go about redeeming your awards and beating the airline mileage game?

Airlines will argue that their members are happy with their programs and their ability to redeem those miles. Really? Dig a little deeper and you’ll find that what the airlines are not telling you is that they are playing a game, which they are allowed to do under deregulation. Since these programs aren’t regulated, no airline is required to provide any seat free of charge in these programs. This is similar to the way airlines are allowed to advertise a discount fare without revealing how many seats are actually available at that fare.

And what is the game? Almost all mileage programs of the major carriers get you to enroll by strongly inferring in all of their advertisements and promotional materials that as soon as you get to the first redemption level — 25,000 miles — you’ll be sitting on a beach with a pina colada.

But the reality is that airlines often double the ante. In almost all cases, when you call to redeem those 25,000 miles for a free coach domestic ticket, or 35,000 for a free coach ticket to Hawaii, the airline informs you that no seats are available at that level. However, the airline magically does have your seat for double that amount — 50,000 or 70,000 miles! It’s a clever but painful way for airlines to dispose of their mileage liabilities. And that’s only if they want to release any seats at all. So what can you do? The answer, it seems, is to be creative in a number of ways:

  • Alternate airports. Don’t just look for award seats to Los Angeles airport, for example, but also to Burbank, Ontario or Long Beach as well.

  • Alternate routings. Don’t just think point-to-point trips or non-stop flights. Seats might not be available on non-stop flights, so make a stop in Chicago en route to San Francisco from Miami. (In my search for Hawaii flights, one routing offered to us to redeem our miles was Los Angeles to Denver to Chicago to Honolulu!)

And when all else fails, then look to the airline’s mileage partners. Let’s say you want to redeem your miles on a flight from Los Angeles to Frankfurt on United, but there aren’t any seats available. Try flying United to Chicago and then Lufthansa to Germany (a United mileage partner). How about from Los Angeles to Hong Kong? If there aren’t any seats on American Airlines, try one of its partners, Cathay Pacific or Qantas through Sydney.

In many cases, you may need to book as much as 320 days in advance to get those seats. Some airlines, like Continental, offer a feature on their web sites that allows you to check mileage seat availability up to 11 months ahead. That’s the good news. The bad news: you have the luxury of being disappointed online!

If all else fails, and the reservation agent tells you there are no seats available on any flight on any route to any nearby airport on your primary or any partner airline, it’s time to speak to a supervisor. Why? The key reminder here is that loyalty programs are worthless if they don’t reward you for your loyalty! In almost all cases, supervisors have the discretionary power to override computer blocks and release mileage seats.


Is Your Trade Exchange Missing Out On Valuable New Business?

If your barter company’s listing on BarterNews.com isn’t current, you are definitely missing out on new business. The web site BarterNews.com receives heavy traffic — with over 150,000 page-views every month. Entrepreneurs and corporate executives check the thousands of articles, the weekly “Tuesday Report,” and the “Contacts Section” of our site. They use the latter to find barter companies with which to do business.

Is your barter company’s listing up-to-date?

To keep your listing current is very easy. See the links below to (A) update any changes to your company’s listing, such as new location, phone number, web site or other information, and (B) if your company has not been listed.

Here’s how to get on board:

To make changes to your listing click here.

For new listings click here.


10 Ways To Ensure 2013 Is Your Year For Positive Change

If you’re ready to make 2013 the year opportunity knocks on your door, read on for a few of successful entrepreneur Vickie Milazzo’s suggested action steps:

1) Go boldly after your biggest goals. When is the last time you set a goal and truly went after it? Milazzo encourages people to identify their “Big Things” — those goals that connect to their passionate vision. Then choose one to schedule their day around.

Be your own number one fan. If you don’t announce your own achievements, you can bet that no one else is going to do it for you. With humility, make sure that you’re keeping your name, your accomplishments, and your skill set in front of everyone.

2) Don’t under-price yourself. You’d love to ask for more money but frankly, you’re afraid to. The economy still isn’t great so I’d better lie low, you reason. This just seems like common sense. But settling for less than you’re worth is a big mistake — even in the wake of the Great Recession. In my eyes and in the eyes of many other CEOs, job candidates actually lose credibility when they underprice themselves.

3) Make sure you stand out. Many people get stuck in ruts at work because they become viewed as commodities. Commodities are easy to obtain and easy to replace. And that’s certainly not how you want to be perceived at your job — whether you’re an employee, a leader, or an entrepreneur. Do everything you can to ensure that you aren’t seen as interchangeable or dispensable.

4) Network with big players. Generally, we tend to gravitate toward people who are similar to us: those who think similarly, who find similar things fun, and who are in similar walks of life. That’s fine when it comes to your friendships, but you need to aim higher when it comes to networking. More than 60% of people find jobs through networking, for example, and you can bet that most of them didn’t achieve this goal because they knew someone at the bottom of the pecking order.

5) Turn off cyberspace. There’s no greater blow to productivity than breaking your concentration to reply to an e-mail as soon as it hits your inbox. Remember, no award will be handed out at the end of the day for the person who responded to the most e-mails the fastest. If you’re doing nothing but responding to e-mail, you’re bouncing around like a pinball.

6) Break the feel-good addiction. In today’s world, we’re constantly sabotaged by nonproductive energy wasters. There are emails to read. Facebook statuses to update. Receipts to locate for that already-late expense report. Dishes to be washed. Files to be organized. And on, and on, and on. These are the easy, albeit often unproductive, tasks that make us feel good. They may not get you any closer to accomplishing your greater goals, but at least you’ve checked a couple of things off your to-do list.

“Unfortunately,” says Vickie Milazzo, “this addiction comes at a high price, because that cheap check-mark high is guaranteed to frustrate, overwhelm, and stress you out in the long term. By majoring in minor things, we never get to our big commitments. Breaking these addictions opens the door to achievement, because what you focus on is where you will yield results.”

7) Set aside sacred “momentum time.” Momentum time is precious time you are able to set aside for yourself each day, to work uninterrupted toward achieving your goals. To carve out time, examine every activity and decide how to eliminate it, delegate it, hire it out, or do it faster.

“If part of your day is rarely interrupted (such as early morning or late evening), reserve it for momentum time. Keep your momentum time sacred. Use phrases such as, ‘I’ll be available in one hour. What time after that works best?’ Start your day with a two-hour uninterrupted chunk, and then gradually add more two-hour momentum sessions each day. Claim your momentum time and you’ll find those lost hours you’ve been looking for.”

8) Have confidence in your abilities. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll reach any goal you set for yourself if you don’t believe with your whole heart that achieving it is possible. Among other things, you won’t be confident enough to take calculated risks, if you don’t believe that the limitations in front of you are surmountable. Anytime you find yourself entertaining doubts or trying to limit what you think is possible, remind yourself of your past successes. Let them infuse you with pride and bolster your resolve.

“Believing you can do it—whatever ‘it’ is—is 90 percent of the win,” assures Milazzo. “When I walked into my first meeting with a potential client, my legs were literally shaking. I forced myself to remember that this attorney needed specialized knowledge that only I—a critical care nurse—could give him. I walked out of that meeting with my first client. Plus, I learned that when you expand what you’re willing to believe about yourself, you can transform who you are and what your life looks like.”

9) Surround yourself with mentors. There are two ways to develop the skills, habits, and mindsets that you’ll need to achieve wicked success. The first is to go it alone and learn by trial and error in the school of hard knocks. The second (much smarter) path is to learn from others who have encountered and surmounted problems that are similar to your own. That being the case, surround yourself with as many mentors as possible and practice the skills they pass on to you.

10) Safeguard your momentum. Accept that you won’t please everyone. Someone is bound to be unhappy about the changes you make to focus on your big things. A friend might get upset because you can no longer meet for lunch on Wednesdays. Your spouse might complain because you won’t run his errands on a weekday.

“Bottom line, they’ll get over it,” says Milazzo. “Stop feeling guilty and stay true to your goals. Surround yourself with friends, family, and peers who support your vision. Discard all discouraging messages. These are your passions and goals, not anyone else’s.”

“You can’t snap your fingers and suddenly become successful,” admits Milazzo. “And the successful people you envy weren’t able to do that either. They worked for it. They set big goals. They didn’t settle for small-time achievements. Wicked success can be yours too, if you make the same big commitments.”

Vickie Milazzo is the author of the New York Times bestseller Wicked Success Is Inside Every Woman. She shares the innovative success strategies that earned her a place on the Inc. magazine list of “Top 10 Entrepreneurs” and “Top 5000 Fastest-Growing Companies” in America.


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