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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Grow Your Mind

As you wind down the year and look to next year, I hope you have time for some good mind-growing reading. One book I wanted to share with you that I re-read this year is my personal favorite from Napoleon Hill. I love his "Think and Grow Rich" which is a classic. I read and re-read it regularly.

This year I re-read what I think is his greatest work, How to Raise Your Own Salary. It has been re-issued and the title changed to "Wisdom of Andrew Carnegie as told to Napoleon Hill." This is the best! In it, Hill interviews one of my heroes and role models, Andrew Carnegie. AC, as his friends called him, was the mentor for Napoleon Hill. In this work, the two of them have a very frank and candid discussion about life, getting ahead and reality. Some parts of it will astonish you as to their candor. Remember it was written almost 100 years ago so the language is different from what we use today. Some of the thinking is different also. Yet, glean through this and gain a huge amount of information you can use to build you life and your business.

I highly recommend this book!

Happy Holidays.


Friday, December 23, 2005

Year End Tech Toys and Tips

Terry L. Brock

It is the time of year when we reflect on what has happened. 2005 was a banner year for technology. Here are some tips and toys that you should know about in your final year-end evaluation.


This is the one that made big news with free calls over the Net. 2006 is going to be a rough year for the traditional telecom companies (telcos) with services offering better quality for free. If you haven’t explored Skype and the many competitors that even Skype now has, you owe it to yourself to check out and download the free software. Free calls are only the beginning.

Spare Backup

This is a service on the web or available for backing up on disk. You can check out their automatic backup services at and find out more. For $9.99 pre month your small business can back up essential files automatically up to 1GB. Each additional GB is $1.99 extra. You can also try the yearly plan for $95.90 per year. Or, why not try the free trial for 6 months. That way you can see if something like this will work for you. Backup is essential. Backup can be a pain in the neck. Making it automated and easy with a service like Spare Backup makes it pain-free, convenient and easy. If your hard disk ever crashes or you lose that important file, you’ll be very glad you made prior preparations.

VoSKY Chatterbox From Actiontec

Actiontec is a company known for innovative, practical concepts that they turn into useful tools for small businesses. The company has a new device called the VoSKY Chatterbox that exemplifies what technology should do. It is simple, easy and affordable. This device is a speakerphone for Skype or other VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) telephony services. You plug it into your USB port and you hear the other party. They also hear you on the speakerphone. This means you can roam about the office without the headset or microphone attached. Voice quality will decline a bit, just like a regular speakerphone declines in quality when compared to using a handset. However, for quick, free conversations, this is the way to go. The unit is priced at $29.95. Find out more at and checkout the VoSKY Chatterbox.

ACT! By Sage

I’ve been a loyal user of ACT! for a long time. It’s ease of use and power features have been very welcome. So, when the new version came out I was very interested in seeing what they have under the hood. However, this version does not support some features that users have grown to know and depend on. Furthermore, if you upgrade one system, all other systems on that computer have to be upgraded. This is a poor oversight on the part of the designers. Several clients of mine have reported problems in the past with upgrades to ACT!. This version looks more like a “wait till next time” version. For the busy small business owner who doesn’t have time for the hassle, it would be better to wait and see what is coming next. Even though there are some nice features added (including linking company and contact info, better linking to Outlook, and viewing all group memberships for a contact), this is a version best left to the dedicated techies with time on their hands to work through the issues. (, $149.95 for upgrade, $229.99 for full version).

muvee autoProducer 5

Here’s one designed for home movie production but easily adapted by the smart businessperson to add value and sell more. This software allows you to easily create movies without all the editing hassle. You select a style you like and the footage you want and you have what you need. The $99.95 price tag is reasonable given the amount of time you can save in editing videos for a potential presentation. You can download the product in a trial at and try it. The quality of production is very good and makes for impressive demos of new products and services that you’d like to make available for clients. You can make these available on DVD, CD or on the Net. To deliver presentations that stand out from the competition consider video and use it for your presentations. muvee (always spelled with lower-case letters!) is a great addition to your marketing tools.

Think Online – Not Computer-Based

The world has shifted. In the past we bought lots of software, installed it on our personal computers and then did our work. Now we are connected through the Internet. More work is being shifted to be done over the Net and we access this through a Net-accessible device. That could be a laptop, a desktop or even a portable telephone. This is a huge shift for businesses and is only beginning. 2006 will continue this trend.

Watch for more applications like MS Office to have a web presence. This means you can get more done, have current versions always, have support from gurus that know the product best and be freer in your use of the application. Think Net. Think mobility. Think success in these areas for 2006.

I wish you and yours a very Happy Holiday Season with lots of good coming your way.

Terry Brock is a marketing coach who helps business owners market more effectively leveraging technology. He shows busy professionals how to squeeze more out of their busy days using the right rules and tools. He can be reached at 407-363-0505, by e-mail at or through his website at

Copyright © 2005, Terry Brock, All Rights Reserved Internationally. No portion may be reprinted or used in any way without prior written permission.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Amazing How Philosophy Dictates Life Results

I've been thinking recently about how a person's philosophy of life dictates his or her results. It is amazing to see people that are always down, dismal, complaining, etc. never acheive.

Yet, those that are positive, figure out ways to make things work regardless of what is happening, seem to do very well.

Recently I talked with a woman who complained about not getting ahead. She is not doing very well in her business. This same woman regularly adopts a personal philosophy that "the rich are just trying to hurt us" and "you only get ahead if you take it from others." Amazing how that kind of philosophy can ruin your life.

It might seem silly but it is true. Your philosophy of life will dictate the results you get. Just a little while ago I re-read a book I had enjoyed years ago. I read Napoleon Hill's book "How To Raise Your Own Salary" where he interviewed his mentor, Andrew Carnegie. Brilliant stuff about how we create in our minds what is happening in our world.

Read it. Devour it. Make your life one of continual positive thinking in spite of the hardships that we face. Figure out ways to make life better for others and you will get ahead.

I can't explain it.

It is just one of the beautiful ways that life works.

Let me know what you think.

Make today an exceptionally good day!


Thursday, December 08, 2005

Overcome Your Fear of Technology

By Terry L. Brock

It is all around us. We complain about it when it doesn’t work but we wouldn’t have our lifestyles as they are. Sure we have cell phones, cable television, Internet connections and that wonderful voice mail. But think about living life without that. Would you really want to return to no phones, no medical advances, no connections when you’re subject to the elements, disease and a ripe old age of (average) 30??? I don’t think so.

Anything in life has trade-offs. There is a good side and a down side. The challenge is to embrace the good and move from the downsides, or minimize them.

As a professional speaker and syndicated columnist writing about marketing and technology I get a lot of questions about how to overcome that fear of technology. Here are some simple steps you can take to master any technology coming down the pike both now and into the future.

1. Break It Into Bite-Size (Byte-Sized Perhaps???) Chunks. This is an important concept in learning anything new. At first, it can appear overwhelming. If you try to learn a complete new language at once you’ll feel overwhelmed and not make it happen. But, if you take it word by word and phrase by phrase, you’ll gradually gain a complete understanding of the language. When you think about it, isn’t learning technology much like learning a new language?

2. Be Pragmatic – Focus On What Is Useful. Realize You Don’t Have To Know It All. It can be quite frustrating when you try to grasp everything. Focus on what is going to help you most in your work or for the project you have at hand. That means you have to wear blinders. Don’t be distracted by the other nifty cool things that are out there. Technology, like surfing the Web, tends to open a lot of possibilities. Focus on those things that are going to help you accomplish what you want. This will be the solution to make it pragmatic and fun.

3. Build “Success Upon Success.” This was the admonition of Walter Wriston, the former Chair of Citibank. Small victories help build that necessary confidence. As you gain confidence the fear melts away. Keep gaining confidence in small areas and build one upon another. You build a steam this way like a locomotive gaining speed. After a while, any obstacle is blasted away as you charge forward. This is important to eliminate the fear and gain real progress and success.

4. Look at What You Already Know. Hey, you’re a professional. You’ve already accomplished some specific things. This took TME (time, money and effort) on your part to achieve it. If you’ve done that already, you can do other things. One of my clients is a medical doctor whom I’m coaching how to work with technology. He admits that sometimes the technology is overwhelming. I admonished him (in a coaching style, of course) that he had already gone through medical school. He has built a very successful practice. He performs life or death operations on his patients every day and has for over a decade. If he can do that, he can learn how to use something like audio or video on the Net. Think about what you have already done. If you’re in business or a profession, you have certain marketable skills. As you learned these you can learn additional material.

5. Don’t Try To Do It Alone. Think about what is involved if you become a lawyer. You have to go to school. You read a lot. You take tests. You work with others (professors) who know a lot about the subject of Law. To gain competency and eventual mastery in any field, you have to read, study, learn and work with professionals that can guide you. Be willing to part with you capital to gain that knowledge. Hire coaches to help you gain specific skills in specific areas. This is the way we gain knowledge today. It can help you enormously.

6. Learn How To Learn. Today’s world is about learning and growing. What you did before is nice but you have to start fresh each day. That means learning new things. That means stretching your brain. If you can learn how to read rapidly with a purpose you’ll do better. Learn how to memorize vast amounts of information. Learn about Mind-Mapping and what it can do for you. These skills are most important to gain relevant information quickly. Learning how to learn is one of the more critical skills you can develop today.

There are other things that can help you but these six steps can get you started. If you’d like to know more about technology, drop me a quick e-mail at or visit a special page on how I can help you get what you need. Point your browser to:

and learn about how you can get the information you need to overcome the fear of technology.

I wish you much continued success.

Terry Brock is a marketing coach who helps business owners market more effectively leveraging technology. He shows busy professionals how to squeeze more out of their busy days using the right rules and tools. He can be reached at 407-363-0505, by e-mail at or through his website at

Copyright © 2005, Terry Brock, All Rights Reserved Internationally. No portion may be reprinted or used in any way without prior written permission.

Monday, December 05, 2005

this is an audio post - click to play

Overcoming Tech Frustrations

The Biggest Frustrations With Technology And How To Solve Them

By Terry L. Brock

Technology is a real boost for productivity. Anyone who has worked with technology and discovered the productivity-enhancing capabilities it has knows how valuable and integral in our lives it has become. However, it is not without its frustrations.

This week we’ll focus on the top five frustrations that I’ve heard from audiences where I present. These are not the entire list of frustrations that people experience. However, they do represent common rationalizations for wanting to throw your computer out the window! Maybe you can relate to some of these.

1. Technological Obsolescence. It seems that as soon as YOU buy your computer system that the next month you see a better system with more power at a lower price. So, you decide to wait. Then you could just keep waiting forever since technology is changing very rapidly. Solutions:
• Realize that this is the nature of our industry. There is not much you can do about it. Everyone is facing the same challenges. Besides, would you want all technological advancements to suddenly stop just because YOU bought a system? Accept reality.
• Budget for a faster payback. Don’t wait for 10 years to get a payback on your computer system. In general, a payback in 1-3 years is reasonable for most businesses. Many will see a payback much sooner. If you can’t get a payback faster, you might want to reconsider purchase (see rent vs. purchase below).
• Consider renting before buying. Often you can get the use out of the system without having to buy it. Remember, you want the benefits of the system, not necessarily the ownership. Renting before you buy makes sense in a lot of places, particularly with computers. LCD projectors are a good example. Each year they come out with better and better projectors. If you’re only doing a few presentations a year, it might be better for you to rent than purchase. If you are doing a major road show or several of your reps can use the LCD projector for generating more sales, go for it! Use your spreadsheet to calculate returns here.
• Leap frog with the technology. Get the best of what is out there now. From there you might be better advised to wait for the generation AFTER yours. That way you’ll only be a maximum of one generation behind. However, each time you should see a clear payback before investing in the newer system.
2. Stuff Just Doesn’t Work As You Were Told. The ad in the computer magazine seemed to say that this product would solve all my earthly problems and I’d go marching into the Garden of Eden. Often we find that the glitter of the new software or hardware fades quickly when trying to install it. You’ll often find a conflict between various packages as well. Solutions:
• Stay away from those companies that do a poor job. Buy software based more on the COMPANY than the actual software itself. If a company doesn’t have a good reputation, avoid them. This is your business and software will be used extensively to run your business.
• If you REALLY want to get some action, put your complaint on a NewsGroup or another Blog. You accomplish three things, 1) You blow off steam knowing that millions of people now have access to your saga with the company, 2) You feel good knowing you have helped another struggling, frustrated computer user avoid a potentially bad situation, 3) You might even get an answer. Under the “Squeaky wheel gets the grease” axiom, many technology companies regularly scan newsgroups for anything that is mentioned about their own company. If they see you have had a horrific problem someone in the company who can help you might notice your dilemma and come to your assistance. Remember, you might have experienced only one person who was a detriment to the company. The company might even be very grateful that you notified them of an employee who is representing them badly and they could take corrective action.
• Get a local consultant who can help you with your problems. A warm body is often the best solution. Call the software company for a list of recommended resellers or consultants in your area.
• Check the company’s web site for support. Many companies are now putting support on line. Check a company’s web site to see if they offer solutions for common problems.
3. Pathetic Customer Support. This frustration includes waiting on hold forever, incompetent support staff and inconsiderate support staff. Solutions:
• Take matters into your own hands. Join a local users group, read books, order CD-ROM training discs, check the Net and get a warm body (see above recommendation)!
• Ask for a supervisor. I experienced this recently when I couldn’t get answers after a 55 minute dialogue with a telephone technician at a computer company. When I asked for and got through to the supervisor, he knew exactly what to do to solve my problem. It was fixed in about 5 minutes. I should have asked for the supervisor after 15 minutes!
• Call later. Often support calls are directed to centers in various places around the country. You can increase your chances of getting the proper help by calling again at a different time of day.
• Most of all, acknowledge reality. It is tough to find good, competent and caring support people. When you find a company that provides that kind of support (TechSmith at comes to mind), stick with them. Any product can be good or bad. It is what the company does once you have that product that makes a difference.
4. Slow Net connections. This is a common frustration now with the Internet playing such a big part in technology. Solutions:
• Get some type of high-speed access to the Net. These faster lines will speed up your connection enormously. The investment you make into high speed access will pay of richly for you in increased productivity.
• Use the Net For As Much As Possible. Today we can use the Net for much more than e-mail. Get the fastest access you can and leverage technology as your “robot slave” to get work done. Book travel cheaply. Buy products cheaply (,, come to mind as excellent shopping research tools). The old days meant buying software for your computer. Today we’re doing more and more on the Net and leaving the big computers behind.
• Have multiple ways to access the Net. Things break. Deal with it. Get a variety of ways to get access to the Net including wireless and multiple accounts. Why waste your energy getting frustrated when (not if) something goes down? Always have a Plan B, Plan C and Perhaps a Plan D in place.

Your productivity can increase and your frustrations decrease by implementing these ideas. Let us know your top frustrations. Send us an e-mail message through our web site and we’ll send you a free special report on how to eliminate these and other common problems.
Terry Brock is a marketing coach who helps business owners market more effectively leveraging technology. He shows busy professionals how to squeeze more out of their busy days using the right rules and tools. He can be reached at 407-363-0505, by e-mail at or through his website at

Copyright © 2005, Terry Brock, All Rights Reserved Internationally. No portion may be reprinted or used in any way without prior written permission.