Friday, October 17, 2008

Action is Power: Tips for Getting Started

Crofton, MD. Monarch mortgage Bill Vourazeris 443-618-2880 Tips for Getting Started
It may be true that knowledge is power, but knowledge without action is not very powerful at all. In fact, it is very common to see talent wasted because no action is taken to produce results. The following are a few tips for taking action, which is perhaps the single biggest key to success, in business and in life.Don't over-analyze tasks. Sure you need to think things through, but you can over-think them too. If you worry too much about getting it perfect before implementation, you can lose momentum, lose your window of opportunity, or worst of all...never do it at all. A good strategy is to be sure your idea is ethical and legal. Then, if you think your chances of success are at least 70%, implement your idea. Successful people tend to make decisions quickly and change them slowly, where many unsuccessful people make decisions slowly and change them quickly. Be a part of the first group and implement your ideas.Break a large project in to bite-size pieces – your action steps. If a project or plan that you know will improve your business just seems too large or overwhelming, break the plan down into manageable steps. Determine what action needs to be taken first, then go ahead and do it. After all, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. And the same concept should apply for large projects. Don't procrastinate. Easier said than done, right? But the truth is, the longer you wait to do something, the less the chance you will ever do it. Rather than putting it on your endless list of "to-dos," do it right away – right now if possible. You will impress your clients – they will love it! Don't you love it when you are the customer and you get service right away? You may even impress yourself and start getting into the habit of "doing it right now." Believe in yourself and the power of taking action. Did you ever think of a great idea at night, only to talk yourself out of it in the morning? Worse yet, have others talked you out of it, ultimately denying you your dream? Believe in yourself...take chances...go for it. Sometimes we spend so much time thinking about the task that it becomes daunting. Don't think about it. Go ahead and get started. Just do it!It doesn't matter how many great ideas you hear or see. It doesn't matter how many great plans you come up with for yourself, your business, or your life. What matters is how many of these ideas, plans and dreams you actually put into action and make a reality. Do you have something that's been on your to-do list for months? Do you have a great idea you've been kicking around? Do you know the next push you need to move forward in your career or your life? Grab it right now – don't wait another day. Take a step, make a decision, put your plans into motion and enjoy the rewarding feeling of having taken action!
Give me a call. Let's take action to increase our production and grow our businesses.
Monarch Mortgage Bill Vourazeris 443-618-2880

Proactive or Reactive?

Crofton, MD. Monarch Mortgage Bill Vourazeris 443-618-2880 It's up to You
Everyone makes choices. Their outlook on life, whether at home, at work, behind the wheel or at the theater, directly correlates to the decision to be either positive or negative. In essence, it's as simple as whether you see the glass half full or half empty. As author Stephen R. Covey puts it in his much publicized book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,* you can choose to be proactive or you can choose to be reactive. He takes his theory a step further, saying that a proactive stance leads to greater success and contentment. From that perspective, a reactive person is sabotaging himself or herself.Covey contends that every single day, people have 100 opportunities to be proactive or reactive. Let's say you're in your car on the freeway and an overly zealous driver is practically sitting on your tail in the fast lane. You're driving at the speed limit, actually a couple of miles faster than the law permits. But the motorist behind you thinks he's at the Indy 500. You can stay where you are, infuriate him and possibly get rear-ended. Or, you can move out of harm's way, to that opening in the right-hand lane and let him pass. He's in the wrong, and there's no question about it. Will you follow his lead? Will you be proactive or reactive? It's up to you.It's very empowering to look at life from Covey's point-of-view. If you moved to the right lane, the reckless driver didn't force you. He didn't win. A vehicle can be a deadly weapon and you made the sensible, mature decision that shows why you deserve a driver's license and the other driver belongs on roller skates.At work, you can be proactive if you take the time to learn about the principles of nature - in this case human nature and people interaction."If you ignore the principles of human effectiveness, you (can) work very hard, but still not get what you want," Covey says. Say that you've been working with a prospective client for the past three weeks, really putting a lot of effort into the new relationship. Then you learn, through some mutual acquaintance, that this would-be client ended up going to a competitor for the same service. It happens, and you don't have to necessarily blame yourself. But, you should take time to reflect on the past three weeks. Were you really proactive or were you reactive? How did you interact with the client?Covey says principles are "natural laws that govern the world." To attain a proactive mind-set, he emphasizes one must create beneficial relationships, build trust and commit to self-renewal."To be trusted, you must be trustworthy over time," Covey asserts. As for self-renewal, he says renewal means "preserving and enhancing your greatest asset - yourself.”
Monarch Mortgage Bill Vourazeris Bill vourazeris

Increase Your Business Through Networking, Part II

Crofton, MD. Monarch Mortgage Bill Vourazeris Communication Is Key
This is Part II in our series of networking tips based upon the wisdom of Dr. Ivan Misner, the founder and CEO of the world's largest referral organization, Business Network Int'l., and best-selling author and expert on the subject of networking.Previously, we examined Dr. Misner's first two strategies, which were to Diversify Your Networks and Develop Your Contact Spheres. Here are three additional strategies which are sure to help you build your business: 3 – Acknowledge Those Who Refer Others Your WayDr. Misner has found that this step is the one that's overlooked most often when networking, and it may also be the one which does your business the most good. He is very careful to point out that he is not recommending a payoff in any way. Actually, his research has shown that one of the best things you can do when someone refers an individual your way is to send them a hand-written thank you note. It costs almost nothing, takes very little time, and is so personal and genuine that it helps to keep the referrals coming. 4 – Learn the Techniques that are Appropriate to Your Networking GroupsNetworking techniques and protocols differ from group to group. What may be appropriate at a local chamber meeting differs from what would be suitable when networking through an online organization. One humorous example Misner cites is that you would never randomly hand out business cards in the middle of a wedding. It's important to understand the boundaries specific to a group and most importantly, always honor events appropriately. Another piece of advice Misner offers is that when you're participating in groups known for being strong contact networks, it's important to use what he calls the LCD, or lowest common denominator technique. In other words, talk about your business in terms of one specific idea or facet per meeting. He states that the more specific you are, the more likely it is that someone will remember the details of your conversation, giving you the best chance of obtaining a referral. 5 – Networking is about "Farming" not "Hunting"Cultivating relationships takes time and consistent nurturing. It used to be that professionals would attend networking events with the idea that whoever collected the most business cards by the end of the night "won". In order to succeed in business today, it's important to develop quality relationships where you're constantly bringing value to those around you. Not only will this create good will and repeat business, it will also encourage referral partners and clients alike to share their good experiences with others and refer them your way. I hope you enjoyed Dr. Ivan Misner's 5 strategies for increasing your business through networking. Please call me if you’d like to explore these ideas further. I would welcome the opportunity to discuss them with you!

Monarch Mortgage Bill Vourazeris 443-618-2880

Increase Your Business Through Networking, Part I

Monarch Mortgage

Crofton, MD

Bill Vourazeris 443-618-2880

Crofton, MD. Monarch Mortgage Bill Vourazeris reaching Out To Your Community
The best way to increase your business is by mastering the art of networking. Nobody understands this concept better than Dr. Ivan Misner, the founder of Business Network Int'l. (BNI), the world's largest referral organization. BNI has over 4,100 chapters with 82,000 members in 26 countries worldwide. In 2005 alone, the organization generated over 3.3 million referrals, translating into $1.5 billion in business.When it comes to the art of networking as a means to build your business, Dr. Misner has identified five key strategies. In this first of a two-part series, we'll examine two of Dr. Misner's recommended tactics: 1 - Diversify Your NetworksIt's no secret. You're not going to meet people by being a "cave-dweller" who sits behind a desk all day. In other words, good business people put themselves out into the community. Misner takes the concept one step further by recommending that professionals diversify the groups they associate with. He suggests that individuals select at least three different groups to pursue, since networking with just one group is the business equivalent of putting all of your eggs in one basket.Good examples of organizations to network with include local chambers of commerce, Rotary and Lions Clubs, country clubs, churches, temples and schools. Misner says that even though some of these groups aren't known for business networking, trusted relationships are built and referrals do take place. As long as you properly honor the event you're attending, there is no harm in networking.Dr. Misner goes on to say that a good networker is someone who wants to help people. Referral opportunities arise every day, but in order to recognize them we must first learn the language of referrals. These opportunities begin with phrases such as, "I need", "I don't know", or "I can't". In order to be prepared for such events, it's a good idea to carry a business card file containing your favorite referral contacts and pass a card along in an appropriate situation. Another idea is to write the referral contact's name on the back of your card and have the recipient email you for the contact information. Most importantly, teach your referral partners to do the same for you.2 - Develop Your Contact SpheresA "contact sphere" is a group of professionals who work in non-competitive businesses which could potentially lead to symbiotic relationships. As an example, a loan officer's sphere would include real estate agents, financial planners, CPAs, insurance agents, landscapers, handymen, etc.Citing his philosophy of "breadth versus depth", Dr. Misner emphasizes that sheer numbers are not nearly as important as the quality of relationships within one's sphere. He points out that strengthening these bonds is about more than simply referring business. It's about your ability to help someone however you can, which may be through the offering of advice or the sharing of ideas. Just remember the "Law of Reciprocity". What you contribute to others will eventually come back to you.Look for the remaining three strategies in Part II of this series. Until then, if you'd like to discuss Dr. Misner's strategies further, please call me! I would welcome the opportunity to speak with you about them.

Monarch Mortgage Bill Vourazeris 443-618-2880

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Top Qualities of Top Assistants

Top Qualities of Top Assistants
What to Look for When Hiring an Assistant

Your business has grown by leaps and bounds, and to continue on that upward spiral, you realize the need for a personal assistant. Keep in mind that your new hire will become as vital as your right arm, assuming if you choose wisely. There are several key qualities to look for during the interview process.Professional recruiters at Hudson Global Resources & Human Capital Solutions, a worldwide office staffing service, surveyed several hundred of their clients, from small companies to mid-size and large corporations. They sought to identify those traits which employers deemed most important. Nearly 50% of the respondents noted that the role of the personal assistant has changed drastically in the past five years, especially regarding the level of responsibility.First and foremost, the personal assistant is now viewed as a "key member of the team" whose input has merit. Some of those employee's suggestions can make a boss shine if taken seriously, or at least serve as a springboard for brainstorming sessions. Thus today's informed employers realize that skilled, intelligent personal assistants add value to the business.Personality and cultural fit. Believe it or not, employers weighted these characteristics as highly important aspects that they look for in new hires. They want someone with a positive attitude that helps build morale in the workplace; not quite a cheerleader, but someone who spreads enthusiasm rather than doom and gloom. And, they want someone suited to the work environment who can effectively take on a leadership role.Experience. Ideally, candidates hired to support executives and senior management should possess a minimum of six to 10 years of related work experience. Of course, there are always exceptions. Aptitude and attitude both count. Though there is a need for business sense and some experience, remember that technical skills can be learned by eager and willing employees. So, never bypass a superior prospect who doesn't know some computer program such as Microsoft PowerPoint that is easy to learn. Carefully evaluate all of the individual's qualifications.Urgency - The rule of now or never. Does the prospective hire understand the phrase, "I need it yesterday," and can he or she deliver? Deadlines must be met. Missed deadlines can result in lost business.Initiative. A true asset to any boss is the employee who can assess a situation, think on his or her feet, and require little to no guidance when following through on a project. Executives and managers who can rely on their assistants to handle all the finite details are free to go out and grow their business with the reassurance that they left the office in capable hands.
Bill Vourazeris 443-618-2880

Creating Team Loyalty

Creating Team Loyalty
Lead By Example

Do you suffer from high turnover in the workplace? One issue that is greatly underestimated by most managers is that of employee turnover. It can literally wreck your organization and your continuity.The longer you have a consistent team in place, the more you learn to become an extension of each other. Your productivity and efficiency skyrockets when you have a team that works well together. For this reason, it is incredibly important that you create a working environment that allows your team to flourish, a place where your employees want to be on a long-term basis. Remember, your employees spend more of their waking hours in the workplace than anywhere else. You need to strive to make it an enjoyable environment.Lead by example. Create clarity within the job descriptions you provide. Make sure the organization's vision and Mission Statement is crystal clear and embodied in the actions of each and every member of your team.Create loyalty by tending to special needs. It helps to show your appreciation for your team members and make sure you are building loyalty with them. For example, many employees are working parents. One of the most difficult times of the year for them is during the summer. The children are not in school, and the parent is wishing he or she didn't have to work and wants to be with his or her children. This is a great time to do something special for them.
Pay a housekeeper to handle their housecleaning responsibilities a couple of times a month. This is a way to let that valued employee know that you don't want them to be home on a Saturday morning cleaning the house when they could be out doing something exciting with their children. During the holidays you can offer to have their car washed or their houses cleaned so they can focus on their holiday gift shopping and spend time with their family. These are little things that add up to big results.Get to know your employees' "other half." Remember, your employee's spouse can be your advocate or your enemy. This is the person your employee goes home to every night after a long day of work, and it is quite possible this is the person they will vent their frustrations to. If you have this spouse as your advocate, the spouse will defend you and remind your employee that they have a lot going for them with this job.
If you haven't taken the time to get to know your employees' significant others through occasional group functions, you are putting yourself in a position where this person, who could have been your advocate, is now someone who is suggesting the best solution is to look for another job! Keep in mind that the success of a great team is greatly dependent on your ability to keep key individuals as long as possible.
Bill Vourazeris 443-618-2880

Disaster Preparedness

Disaster Preparedness
Simple Steps Everyone Can Take

Natural disasters are a fact of life. Each area of the country has its own challenges, from hurricanes on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts to tornados in the Plains and earthquakes in California. Regardless of where you live, it's important to have plans in place to ensure that you and your family are prepared should an emergency arise.

Begin by researching which types of events could occur in your community:

Contact local authorities to learn how community alerts are issued and the evacuation routes you will need to follow.
Inquire about emergency plans at work, school, and any other locations that family members frequent on a regular basis.
Determine how to care for your pet(s) since most temporary shelters only permit service dogs to enter. Start by visiting the American Red Cross website's Animal Safety section to learn about suggested alternatives (

Next, develop a Family Emergency Plan:
Create contact information cards for each family member.
Select a reliable out-of-state relative/friend who family members should contactif local communications are down.
Establish home escape routes and practice them.
Learn how to shut off your utilities.
Procure proper insurance coverage and protect your vital records.
Create a short list of what to take in case of a fire.

Finally, create a Disaster Supply Kit for your home, your car, and your office. Your home kit should include:

Food - Select prepackaged, ready-to-eat food and beverage items that your family will enjoy. Try to avoid anything that's too salty in case the water supply is limited.
Water - Store one gallon of water for each family member per day, and plan on a minimum of three days.
First Aid Kit and essential medications.
Non-electric can opener, knife, and utensils.
Battery-operated radio, flashlights, batteries, pens and paper.
Be sure to review the contents of the kit every six months, and replace anything that's about to expire.

Your office and car kits should contain a pared down collection of the items mentioned above, as well as comfortable shoes. In addition, you'll want to add flares and jumper cables to your car's inventory.If you found this information to be helpful and would like to learn more, you may want to visit one or more of the following websites:,, and
Do you have any tips on this subject that you would like to share?Please call and tell me about them! Bill Vourazeris 443-618-2880