Category Archives: Business

The World’s Shrinking… Localization And The Foreign Language Web (Guest Post)

This is a guest post by Christian Arno, the founder and managing director of Lingo24, a company that owns translation services. It’s a very interesting article, and I’m glad she’s asked to post it here. I hope you enjoy it, and comment if you can.

The world’s getting smaller. Not literally, of course, but in the sense that digital communications has helped bring down the barriers that time and space had inherently created. Thanks to the internet and affordable means of mass communication, we are closer than ever before towards living in a true global village.

However, there is still one remaining barrier: language. It’s unlikely that Earth’s six billion+ population will start speaking a single communal language any time soon, so this leaves global businesses with two options:

• Assume English as the international language of business

• Translate, localize and communicate in a language that international clients understand

The first option becomes rather redundant when you consider that three quarters of the world’s population speak no English whatsoever. So that means that localization is the name of the game for companies seeking to tap into new and emerging markets. To go global, businesses must think local.

Localization is the art of tailoring communications towards a specific cultural, linguistic and geographical group. It’s not good enough to simply consider the language alone – words can mean different things between, for example, the Spanish spoken in Spain and the Spanish spoken in Latin America. The same applies to the French in France, Switzerland, Belgium and Canada. There’s even key differences between German (Germany) and Swiss German.

Similarly, seemingly trivial points can affect international communications significantly. The conventional way of writing ‘one million’ in English-speaking countries would be: 1,000,000.00. In many European countries, this convention is reversed, so in the likes of Germany, Italy and Denmark, it would be written as: 1.000.000,00. Some countries – such as France and Finland – don’t use any thousands separator at all: 1 000 000.00.

Closer to home, there are significant differences between US English and UK English, to the point where each dialect is often treated as a separate language within marketing companies. The last thing any international marketer wants is to assume that a colloquial term used in Scotland will be understood by their target audience in Texas.

The internet has helped bring equilibrium to the world of commerce. Businesses of all sizes can now ‘go global’ with little more than a networked computer and a touch of entrepreneurial savvy – big companies with big marketing budgets are now facing stiffer competition with small to medium-sized businesses getting involved in the international arena too.

And this can only be a good thing as increased competition normally means a better deal all-round for the customer. However, it’s worth remembering that a global mindset must go hand-in-hand with a local ethos. The customer is all that counts.

Launched in 2001, Lingo24 now has over a hundred employees spanning four continents and clients in over sixty countries. In the past twelve months, they have translated over thirty million words for businesses covering every industry sector and their turnover in 2009 was $6m USD.

I thank Christian for this article, and I hope y’all have learned as much about this topic as I have.

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Survey Says…

Two months ago I posted a survey here and asked y’all to complete the survey and earn some free tips.

For those of you who didn’t see it, the survey was about training and how people would like to receive training, and many other questions concerning it. Along with a friend of mine, Renee Scherer of Presentations Plus, I did my first webinar earlier this year, which you see the advertisement for there in the second spot at the top left. We plan on doing more, and each of us has certain talents that we give presentations on, as well as a couple of shared things.

For instance, Renee gives presentations on anything Microsoft Office related. She recently gave one to an organization on Microsoft Office tips, and I’ll be giving one to that same group in either April or May on social media.

My topics are a bit more broad because I’m all over the place, as you know. I’m not going to start spouting them all here again, but if you want to just take a look at my one business website and then my other business website to see some of what I do.

Anyway, something that doesn’t happen all that often when someone does a big survey is that they don’t share any of the results of the survey. Y’all know me; I’m all about sharing, thus Renee and I are sharing the results of the survey with you, which I found very interesting overall. And, if you put your name and email in at the bottom to get on our mailing list, you’ll receive two free little gifts for your trouble. Hey, it’s the holiday season, right? Just so you know, the mailing list will be private and protected, and will only be used whenever we’re doing a webinar or seminar of some type, and then to mention the product created from that process. Otherwise, you’ll never hear from us; that’s my guarantee.

By the way, y’all know how I’m always trying to get more publicity. Well, this time around, I’m in a magazine article, the first one quoted, and I even got my picture in it, though it’s in black and white; hey, you take what you can get. If you’re interested, I turned it into a pdf and you can download it. The story is called Webinar Anyone? Enjoy that as well.

And remember, if your group or organization needs a speaker on any of the topics in the survey, and pays, reach out to me; will speak for pay! 😉

Deciding When To Go To A Paid Model

I’m not going to lie. I love finding free stuff on the internet. If it’s applications I can use that will handle little stuff for me, it’s all good. If it’s information that I’m looking for, even better. It’s not that I’ll never pay for anything, but I find most of the time that the free stuff addresses my specific need and nothing else. Most of the time that suits me just fine.

I also recognize when I have to be realistic and pay for something. Depending on what it is and how much it is, I will look around for a bargain. But sometimes there’s only one place, or one way, to get certain information. if I need it bad enough, I’ll pony up the cash and get it done.

Sometimes it’s us who are giving away a lot of free stuff. Nothing wrong with that, but every once in awhile we have to look at what it is we’re giving away, how much of it we’re giving away, and whether it’s time to start charging for at least a portion of it. That’s not easy to do, especially when you’ve started out establishing that you’re doing a lot of things for free.

Such is the case with my Medical Billing Answers site. Many of you know that I’m also a healthcare finance consultant, centering on revenue cycle issues. That’s charge capture and billing for most of you. Anyway, I set up that site to try to give information to people in terms that were fairly easy to understand. I add articles to that site from time to time also.

I actually created the site for people who wanted to learn some things about insurances and the like and to get some information on how medical billing works as far as getting their bills paid. I also said that I would answer medical billing questions, one per customer, for free.

What ended up happening is the people who were asking me questions were people in medical billing. And some of the questions they were asking was some pretty technical stuff. I had answers for everyone, but sometimes I had to do a bit of research. That didn’t trouble me all that much; however, when more of them wanted me to provide links to prove that my information was correct, I figured that was the last straw, so to speak.

About 8 days ago, I decided it was time to go for a paid model as far as answering questions. I set it up on my consulting services page that I would now answer medical billing questions for a fee, $4.50 per question. I would also entertain as many questions as people had, as long as they paid for it, which obviously was a change in the business model. And, while I was at it, I set up a monthly consulting fee that I don’t think is overly high and is a pretty good deal for smaller hospitals or physicians offices that don’t the money to bring in a high priced consultant to help them out.

Then, while I was at it, I figured it was a fairly good business model to add to my business website also. After all, if I can provide consulting services and stay home, all through email, and can get enough people to pay my monthly fee, why not take a shot, right?

So, how have things progressed thus far? First off, no one has paid for anything, but it’s still early, and we had the holiday. As a matter of fact, I figure that all the bad stuff I’m going to mention can be blamed on the holiday week, so I’ll probably have to check the stats after another week to see how things really are. Anyway, second, I haven’t made a penny since last Monday, and this is my biggest Adsense money making site. However, my consulting services page is also the 5th visited page over the course of the week, which means people are at least looking at it. And they’re reading it, as they’ve spent an average of a minute and 55 seconds on it.

How about on my business site? My new consulting services page was the 8th most visited page for the first week, and people stayed there an average of 7 minutes and 37 seconds. Now that’s a bit of overkill if you ask me, but in my mind it’s telling me that people were at least thinking about it, even if they didn’t pull the trigger. Maybe it was because of the holidays; I can only hope. Since I only have Adsense on a couple of pages on my business site, I didn’t expect it to bring in any money.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with trying to make money from your specialty. I can honestly say there are a few blogs I visit where I know they have some stuff that they should probably be charging for. Not everything, of course; I’d never charge anyone for reading my blog, like Garry Conn did at one point for certain posts (I’m not sure if he’s still doing it, but it looks like he’s started accepting comments again, and he has good stuff so give it a look). But I have been asked why I’m charging for my webinar when many people use theirs as freebies to help promote themselves. And I answer because I didn’t give a fluff presentation of nothing to entice people to pay big money for something later on, I gave real information that people could immediately use and thus I charged for it.

It can be a struggle in deciding what, and when, to start charging for certain things. If any of you have tried it, or have thoughts going to a paid business model of some sort, please share them, because I think it’s something valuable that many people should think about every once in awhile.
 

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April Income Statistics – Getting Better, Getting Worse

As we head into May, it’s once again time to look at the previous month’s income. Once again, only the actual numbers:

Adsense – $76.50
Paid Advertising – $37.30
Commission Junction – $26.80
Kontera – $.04
Link XL – $2.50
Chitika – $.11
Infolinks – $.72
Grand Total – $143.97

So, this was either my most successful month, or a setback on a couple of fronts. Let’s look at it.

First, My Adsense went down from its record $100+ last month, which is slightly disappointing, but it still topped $75, and that means I’ll be getting a check in July of some type, as it has to be over $100 at the beginning of the month to receive payment.

Second, my paid advertising went up, but I lost my page rank. Of course, y’all know that I have said that I think other things are more important than page rank, and one of those is money. Now, how long the paid advertisers will stick around on a site with no PR will be interesting, but we’ll see as time goes by.

The Commission Junction payment should have actually been in March, if you remember the March statistics report, but it didn’t get recorded until April. So, April could have been the monster month, but then April would have shrunk drastically and I might have been crying like a little girl, so I’ll take what I can get.

Also, it’s the first full month with Infolinks, and though it doubled what it was last month, I’m thinking this type of contextual advertising just might not be the boon it was advertised as being. Luckily, it’s not on this blog anymore, only on one of my other websites, so no biggie there.

So, I figure it’s time for some drastic measures, not necessarily to spice up sales, but because I’m coming to some conclusions.

One, I’m going to remove all the products I’ve been advertising that concern Clickbank. I’ve had CB for about 4 years now, and I think it’s a dog. Yeah, I said it, and some of you agree, so it’s gone. I mean, according to their stats, I’ve never ever had a hit, which I know is wrong, so I’m just not in a trusting or considering mood. Now, this doesn’t mean if I specifically buy something that turns out to be from them, test it, and like it, that it won’t be shared, but the box that, as I write this, is on the right side,… it will be gone by the time you read this.

Something that might not have been noticed is that I removed two of my products from the left side, those being my book and CD set on leadership and management. Obviously, it seems no one comes to this blog for that sort of thing, so I’ve removed them from the top left and moved them to the bottom of the right side. Hey, I did create them after all, and I’m proud of them, so they stay, at least somewhere.

I’m probably removing SEO Book also, not because I don’t believe in it anymore, but it’s not really a book at this point, but a program, and my theory is that almost no one who visits this blog has the time to put into a long program. A real book, maybe, but not a full program. I have to think about what I want to put there, though. Truthfully, I wish Joel Comm was still selling his Adsense Secrets book as a standalone, because I’d put it there, but he’s giving it away and encouraging people to buy this recurring report thing, and I’m just not comfortable with that.

That’s about all I have. Not sure what other changes I might make to some of the products, as most everything I have is related to computers in some fashion, other than the image, which I love, and I think I’m going to continue promoting an image every month, mainly because I like seeing it; heck, I’m thinking about moving it up to make sure I see it all the time; what do y’all think of the picture?

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Verify Your States Dispute Laws

Clickbank has a new contract which everyone who participates with them has to digitally agree to. I know most people don’t take the time to even look at these contracts. I’m a little better in that I do usually glance at them, looking for something to stand out that I might not like.

Anyway, I’m not going through the entire contract here, but only one small piece of it. And, since I read the entire contract and saw nothing which said I can’t repost it, this is the clause I’d like to talk about:

# Governing Law; Dispute Resolution. You agree that Idaho law will govern this Agreement, other than such laws, rules, regulations and case law that would result in the application of the laws of a jurisdiction other than the State of Idaho, and that any action, suit, proceeding, or claim arising out of or related to this Agreement must be brought exclusively in federal or state courts located in Boise, Idaho. You hereby submit to the in personam jurisdiction and venue of such courts and waive any objection based on inconvenient forum. YOU HEREBY IRREVOCABLY WAIVE ANY AND ALL RIGHT TO TRIAL BY JURY IN ANY ACTION, SUIT, PROCEEDING, CLAIM OR COUNTERCLAIM ARISING UNDER OR IN RELATION TO THIS AGREEMENT.

Dispute resolution is something that most companies would rather have than having to go to trial. They do this for two main reasons. One, costs are greatly reduced. Two, because juries tend to initially be on the side of potential victims, not companies that seem like they’re piling on the “little guy.” So, going to dispute resolution, they feel, gives them not a balance, but an edge, because they can still send as many lawyers as they wish, while the plaintiff usually won’t have the resources to mount a real challenge, nor feel they’re going to get any sympathy from the judge, which may or may not be true.

Anyway, you can see above that Clickbank uses Idaho as their base for dispute resolution. Companies usually look for a state where they feel they can get the best deals from the law. Many companies use Florida also; maybe it’s just statistics, because I know no one is saying these guys are on the take. However, they may be pro-business; I’m really not sure. However, the main point in the above clause is this one: “other than such laws, rules, regulations and case law that would result in the application of the laws of a jurisdiction other than the State of Idaho“. Why is this so important to know about?

Because some states, such as New York, don’t allow that law to apply. So, if I have a complaint against anyone, I can still file a claim against them in this state and it totally invalidates this clause in the contract. I pointed out that little piece of law a few years ago when my wife was going to sign a contract to do some part time work with this one company, and got them to alter the contract acknowledging it. I could look up the law if need be, but since I know this one, I feel pretty secure in putting it out there.

Anyway, my hope is that everyone else knows at least this portion of the law for where they live, as a “just in case” backup should something negative occur. After all, many of you reading this blog are hoping to make money off some of the products you sell, but, as you saw in my post about the one affiliate not paying me, you just never know.