Posts Tagged ‘business’

Your Brand is Your Baby

Friday, November 15th, 2013

Wait for it, wait for it. Your baby’s smile is coming. I promise.

Sometimes when I am talking to clients, I use a newborn as a metaphor for personal branding. I know it’s crazy, but hear me out. The first four weeks of parenting a newborn is a one-way relationship. There is a whole lot of love flowing in your baby’s direction, and a whole lot of work — feeding, changing, caring for and soothing. Without a doubt, it’s exhausting, and at times, frustrating. Day in and day out you adoringly devote yourself to your baby without any interaction back. But then, all of a sudden, your newborn looks into your eyes and smiles. Suddenly, your frustration melts away and you happily stay up all night and take care of your sweet baby.

That’s what personal branding is like too. In the beginning, it’s all work. You wonder if anyone, other than your mother, is reading your blog. You feel a little defeated because you don’t see immediate results. Where’s the flood of comments on your blog? Why hasn’t your Facebook page soared in numbers because of the witty post you shared? Did you just tweet your brilliance into the darkness? Where’s the interaction or conversation, you wonder. Rest assured, your personal brand will become a two-way street. With patience and diligence, attentively care for your baby — your personal brand — and your baby will smile back at you. You just have to wait for it.

Can anyone hear me?

Hang tight. Cultivating your brand is a slow build. You can’t automate conversations overnight. To become a well-known and well-established brand you have to dig in for the long haul, so adjust your expectations a little bit. Building a brand is a marathon not a sprint. You are shaping perception. Prepare for a ramp-up period when it may feel like you are only writing for your mom. Just because you hear crickets when you send your content out, doesn’t mean you aren’t building an effective brand. Just do all the right things. Run all of your content through the filter of: Is this message congruent with my brand? Create a great website that tells a story about you. Write a blog on a schedule. Establish a Facebook business page to attract your ideal audience and create a Twitter account. Have a social media presence and create conversation. Connect with people who are interested in your niche. Do these things consistently and the slow build of your brand begins.

Your day will come.

I heard from a client the other day whose baby smiled back at him. A man came up to him — outside his inner circle of friends and family — and recognized him and told him his blog was “powerful and moving.” He emailed me and said, “My baby smiled!” It made his day for sure, but it also made mine. Once you see a small win, that’s when the conversation is beginning. Once you hear that your message is getting out there and resonating with people (even if it begins as a trickle), you are on your way to building your personal brand. Once your one-way investment into your brand is reciprocated and turns into conversation, you will know you are doing the right things.

Two-way interaction will fuel your momentum.

Just like a baby or a child, you can’t take care of it for a while, wipe your hands and say, “My job here is done.” Even after you receive that cherished smile, investing in your brand is an ongoing process. Brand-building should always be on your mind. Once you have followers, loyal fans and readers of your work, (just like any relationship) you have to nurture your network. Your ability to reach people, interact with them and monitor your message is continual. You can’t, of course, fall off the grid and go silent after you’ve worked so hard.

Care tenderly for your baby — your personal brand — and you will reap the rewards of your efforts. One day everything will change for you. Someone will respond to you and let you know that your message matters. Someone will touch you by saying, “Thanks for what you wrote.” And that’s the moment when you will stop asking, “Why am I doing this?”

© 2013 Fauzia Burke. All Rights Reserved.

Author Bio
Fauzia Burke is the Founder and President of FSB Associates, a digital publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. For online publicity, book publishing and social media news, follow Fauzia on Twitter: @FauziaBurke. To talk with FSB and ask your book publicity questions, please join us on Facebook.

Married to Your Work: How to Be in Business with Your Spouse

Friday, November 1st, 2013

“The secret of a happy marriage is finding the right person. You know they’re right if you love to be with them all of the time.” — Julia Child

My husband and I were both working in the publishing industry 18 years ago when I had an idea to start my own business. I wanted to promote books online. I left a great job to follow my interests, but thankfully, my past employer became my first client. Within a year of starting FSB Associates, I had more work than I could do alone, so my husband took a huge leap of faith and quit his job to join me. Together we built a niche service company creating online awareness for books and authors through a seamless integration of social media and web publicity. We build brands and loyal communities of readers for authors, and create and design author websites to help authors build the foundation of their digital strategies. Many years ago, people advised me not to work with family — particularly a spouse — and that’s not bad advice, but for us, it works.

We are still happily married and very much in business. Joining forces, we have successfully executed more than 2,000 book publicity campaigns and watched our beautiful daughters grow up. I’ve learned a few things along the way about how to grow a business and a family together.

Don’t immediately toss out the idea of working with your spouse. You don’t have to immediately discount the notion of working with a spouse or another family member because of the taboo of mixing family and business. Under the right conditions, or the right relationship, it can work. Building a business and a family with my husband has made us closer, and we love what we have created together.

Position your strengths. My husband and I have different skill sets that complement each other. He’s good with numbers and technology and I’m good with people and publicity. Positioning your strengths is how you can build a successful team and business. Plus, people are happier when they are doing what they do best and it’s easier to stay in your own lane when you separate your responsibilities by what each spouse does best.

Maintain boundaries. Once you have delegated your responsibilities, let your spouse handle those responsibilities without interference. Sure, you can collaborate, but it’s best to stay out of each other’s way. Refrain from telling your spouse how to do what they do best. Let each other have some room and flexibility to work independently. Trust one another because it’s key to letting each other flourish in your designated roles.

Create a work only zone. Understand that business communication is different from personal communication, and once you are at work, be at work. Leave all personal miscommunications or disagreements behind. Know you can talk about personal topics once you are home. Clear your mind of any issues once you enter your work only zone. Since personal issues typically involve more emotions than business issues, make a conscious decision to table emotions until you are back in home mode so work decisions can be made with a level head.

Embrace open communication. Respect is so essential in any marriage, but if you are in business together, respect is critical. Respect is being appreciative of your spouse’s talents, gifts and insights. Respect can easily be conveyed by listening. Always be respectful in your communication. Open and effective communication can make a working relationship harmonious.

Forget balance and go for blend. Don’t worry too much about separating work and family in some perfect balance; find a blend that works for your family. Feel free to attend school events for your kids and make up the time at night after bedtime. It’s okay to talk about the business at dinner, or put in some work time in the evening, as long as the blend of work and personal time works for everyone involved.

Remember that you are both on the same side. There is a Zig Ziglar quote I love: “Many marriages would be better if the husband and wife clearly understood that they are on the same side.” Not only is this a great piece of marital advice, but it also is great advice for running a business with your spouse — just remember you are on the same side. As business owners, we have the same goal, success for our clients, staff, our business and our family. Remembering that you are working together for the same outcomes can facilitate a positive and easy-breezy working relationship.

Focus on the big picture. Remember, why you went into business together. My husband and I are passionate about the book publishing industry, about web marketing, and about helping authors. We also enjoy the flexibility of having our own business. While we do put it long days and some working nights — common for entrepreneurs — our time is our own. We can design our days with flexibility, coming up with the right mix of family time while never losing focus on the business. Ultimately, we always keep the big picture in our minds, and that’s the importance of our marriage and family, our number one priority.

Marriage and business works when you work at it together. In fact, it can work so well that blending family and business may become a tremendous blessing in your life. It has in mine.

© 2013 Fauzia Burke. All Rights Reserved.

Author Bio
Fauzia Burke is the Founder and President of FSB Associates, a digital publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. For online publicity, book publishing and social media news, follow Fauzia on Twitter: @FauziaBurke. To talk with FSB and ask your book publicity questions, please join us on Facebook.

Weekly Round Up

Friday, July 19th, 2013

By Courtney Allen

Even through all of the emails, pitching, reports, etc, we all make it a point to read other things on the web to improve our business, learn new things, and have fun!

Here’s some of the tweets the FSB team has found interesting and entertaining this week!

For Marketing Knowledge

3 Simple Keys to an Effective Marketing Strategy

This article explains the definition of effective marketing strategy through the phrase’s three important words. Effective. Marketing. Strategy.

Managing Social Media Marketing with the 3 Cs: Curator, Content and Calendar

Social media marketing has become so imperative in online business today. It can be confusing and there are so many different platforms to use. This article from Social Media Today offers some advice and discusses the three C’s of social media marketing.

Storytelling May Be Your Company’s Biggest Asset

Brian Sheehan, author of Loveworks, explains for brands great stories lead to better sales but a large part of the challenge starts with recognizing what stories can be told and shares three sources for inspiration.

For Business Lessons

10 Lessons For Entrepreneurs on Building Trust

“..trust is the most powerful tool that an entrepreneur can wield” Forbes contributor gained a whole new perspective on how trust works from a new book by successful entrepreneur August Turak, titled “Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks.

4 Unique Working Styles: What’s Yours?

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” There are different types of working styles and rather than critiquing someone who you doesn’t work the same way as you, learn to work together and just do what makes you come alive.

How to End Every Day with Zero Emails

Email has taken over our business day as well as nights and weekends. If you are looking to free yourself from the inbox overload, Fauzia Burke shares steps to ending the day with zero emails.

For Motivation

{Keep on..} If You’re Not Proud, You’re Not Done

“If you don’t put your heart into your activities, if you hand in incomplete work as finished, if you don’t do your best every time you start something, then you’re doing yourself a tremendous disservice.” Frank Sonnenberg

10 Comforting Words Of Wisdom From Albus Dumbledore

Who doesn’t love some Harry Potter?  Albus Dumbledore always knows the right thing to say when we’re feeling sad or confused about things that are happening around us.

For Book Fun!

Goodreads Infographic: Which Books Do Readers Find Hard To Finish

How often do you not finish a book? Goodreads looks at those books that people shelved as “unfinished”, “abandoned” or “did not finish” and compiled an Infographic of the Top 5 Most Abandoned Books

Sales of “The Cuckoo’s Calling” surge by 150,000% after JK Rowling revealed as author

What’s the power in a name? Quite a lot! Before the news broke last night, “Robert Galbraith” was critically acclaimed, but it takes Rowling to be commercially successful. The book was ranked 4,709 on Amazon’s bestsellers listing; it is now number three.

Break Time

35 Random Corners Of The Internet You Should Visit When You Need A Break

Need a break? BuzzFeed shares sites to bookmark for when you’re having a bad day or when you just need a distraction and want to play!

7 mind tricks that shape your everyday behavior

Interesting read from Reader’s Digest – Our thoughts and behaviors are surprisingly affected by seemingly unconnected ways because of the mind tricks going on in your brain

How to End Every Day with Zero Emails

Monday, July 8th, 2013

Email has taken over our business day as well as nights and weekends. I made a promise to myself at the start of this year to end everyday with 0 emails in my in-box. At first I thought it was impossible, but as time went on I not only learned to manage email more efficiently, I took charge on my day and got a lot more done. So in case you are looking to free yourself from the in-box overload, here’s how I do it:

  1. Every email is not Important
    All my emails are important, or so I thought. But what I realized is that every email is not important. Many of them are just disruptive. I made a choice not to let other people set the agenda of my day. Every email usually pulls me in a different direction, but it’s my job to prioritize and value my time. So before you get pulled into the email overload, list the things you want to accomplish and stay focused on tasks at hand. Don’t let regular in-coming email interrupt your work flow or concentration. Only pause for the truly important.
  2. Close Your Mail Program
    While it can be easy to get drawn into working from your in-box (it’s almost addictive), I realized it is counterproductive. Now I don’t work from my in-box. I usually turn my mail program off while I am writing or working on a report or coming up with promotional ideas for clients. Then every few hours I take a look at my in-box, delete the many FYI emails, and file the ones that are important to save.
  3. Move Action Items

    Once my in-box is cleaned up, I look at the remaining ones all of which need some reply or action. If I can reply quickly, I do and delete the email. If it needs action, I decide what needs to happen and transfer that action item to your calendar. As an example I may add to my calendar: “send proposal to Jeff for the web publicity campaign for this book.” This way I can use my “email” time by identifying the things that are most important and prioritize them in my calendar. If I don’t get something done, I just move it to the next day.
  4. Stop Reading Emails Twice
    Before I started using my calendar system, I would leave my emails in my in-box until I took care of them. So everyday there would be at least a dozen emails I had to read again and remind myself I needed to take action. Since it was not urgent, I would just leave it there. Then the next day same thing would happen. Thankfully I realized that was a total waste of time and energy, and there is a better way. Now I hardly ever read an email twice.
  5. Choose Quality over Quantity
    Time management experts tell us there’s a difference between being busy and being productive, and they are right. You can make yourself busy all day long just answering irrelevant emails, but at the end of the day you will feel defeated if you don’t make any progress on your important priorities.
  6. Take Break from Email

    We all need a break from the constant flow of email. Some days it can be hard to even think. It took me a long time to realize that I was more productive, more creative and more enthusiastic about my work when I took regular unplugged breaks (email and social media). So if possible give yourself some hours or days when you don’t check email at all. Just so you can give yourself some space for creative ideas and big-picture thinking. Read more about this idea in my blog: Finding Balance in a 24/7 World.

Valuing my time by managing my in-box better has not only helped my business, it has also helped my life. You don’t have to be slave to your in-box. Everyday is precious, so make sure you are doing awesome things with your time.

© 2013 Fauzia Burke. All Rights Reserved.

Author Bio
Fauzia Burke is the Founder and President of FSB Associates, a digital publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. For online publicity, book publishing and social media news, follow Fauzia on Twitter: @FauziaBurke. To talk with FSB and ask your book publicity questions, please join us on Facebook.

4 Ways to Create Compelling Content

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

If your business blog is all about what you want to write about and what you want to market and sell, your blog, as they say, could be an epic fail. While it’s great to generate regular content about your business and its niche, the driving factor for your content creation — whether your blog or your newsletter content — has to be centered around what your customers’ want. To create compelling content your customers can’t wait to devour, always ask yourself: Is this providing value to my customer base?

Here are 4 ways to ensure you are generating content that resonates with your target audience.

  1. Tune in to the social media channel. How do you find out what your customers want to read, you ask? Social media provides ample opportunity to listen in and hear what people are talking about in your niche. What’s going viral in your business space? What is getting a ton of LIKES on Facebook, numerous SHARES or an abundance of comments? Listen in on Twitter and see what people are talking about and retweeting. See what hashtags are trending in the general category of your business. Pay attention to the comments section of your blog, and find out what your customers want to know. Always aspire to make your customers’ lives easier by answering their questions, solving their problems, and aiming to be the go-to source of information for your industry by staying on top of trends.
  2. Turn questions into answers. I bet a week doesn’t go by without receiving a question from one of your customers. In fact, I am sure you can easily tell me a question you are asked repeatedly in your business. Take that question and turn it into a blog topic. If a few people in your customer base have the same question, you are on to a topic that resonates with your larger audience. Take that topic and run with it. You will be building relationships and rapport with your customers as you strengthen your brand.
  3. Solve your customers’ problems. Identify the biggest problems your customers face and create content that shows your customers how to resolve those problems. Behind any successful business, you will probably find a product or a service that solves a problem people have — and the same goes for your content. The more your content provides value to your customer by making their lives easier — with advice, a solution, tips, strategies — the more your content will be in demand. You can talk about your product or service that you provide, but do so in a way that offers your reader value, don’t offer a thinly veiled marketing pitch for your business. When you constantly create content of value, you will become the go-to source for information in your field, positioning your business and brand as the expert source.
  4. Show, don’t tell. Infographics are increasingly popular because people are visual learners. People are more likely to remember something if it is shown to them visually than if it arrives under their eyes in a blur of text. What cool industry stats can you share with your audience? What facts and figures would your audience love to know? Create an infographic and send it out as a blog. Your blogs don’t always have to be a certain word count — go for the visual angle too.

Along the same lines, consider doing a V-log or video blog instead of the standard text only blog. Short videos allow your audience to connect with you personally, and they are often shared more on other social media platforms — so as you create and share amazing content with a video, you also can be expanding your audience base at the same time!

Epic win!

In the end, in order to keep your brand vibrant and relevant, you need to have a content marketing strategy. And with that strategy, you should always make sure that your content entertains, informs and delights your readers!

© 2013 Fauzia Burke. All Rights Reserved.

Author Bio
Fauzia Burke is the Founder and President of FSB Associates, a digital publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. For online publicity, book publishing and social media news, follow Fauzia on Twitter: @FauziaBurke. To talk with FSB and ask your book publicity questions, please join us on Facebook.

8 Ways to Increase Engagement on Facebook

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

By Fauzia Burke

As of January 2013, Facebook has 1 billion users. 219 billion photos have been uploaded and there have been 140.3 billion friend connections. The average age of users is about 22.

Clearly Facebook is not going anywhere and although my teens hardly use it anymore, many of us visit the site daily. From a business purpose, engagement is more important than fans. You can have a 1,000 fans but if only 2 people are interacting with you very few people will see your posts on their feed. Take a look at the number of fans you have on your Facebook business page. Now note how many people are “talking about this.” Your goal should be to increase the “talking about” number.

Last year Facebook introduced EdgeRank (also known as News Feed Algorithm or why you see what you see on your news feed). It is important to understand how it works because it makes an impact on how many people see your page. Brittany Botti, Social Media Marketing Professional explained it simply: “The more your fans like, comment, share, or click through on your posts, the more often they will see your posts in their NewsFeed.”

Have you noticed you tend to see posts from the same people in your news feed? It’s probably the people you interact with most. For your business page to show up in more people’s feeds, you should improve the engagement by mixing up your posts.

Here’s a few ideas for increasing engagement:

  • According to a study by SocialCode, the best time to post on Facebook is after 7pm EST on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
  • Ask questions. Find out more about your fans
  • Post photos. It is the most popular type of post
  • Use quotes from books you love
  • Change the cover photo regularly. It’s more fun and keeps people engaged
  • Graphics from Pinterest (just make sure you give credit to the creator)
  • Post short “thoughts” or “comments” – Posts that are 5 -10 words perform best
  • I hear “Fill in the blank” gets lots of engagement. I have not tried it myself yet, but seems like fun

The most popular type of post is text only (short, funny, thoughtful ones). The least popular are updates with links. Add a link sparingly only when you need their attention and have a call to action. It’s important to be selective about the links you add as they are the least effective in promoting engagement.

If you are only on Facebook because you want to sell something, I am not sure any social networking will really work for you. Facebook allows us to know our “partners” better. Today partners are our clients, customers, and readers. It is because of them we are in business and by treating them with regard and respect, I think we’ll be in business longer. Of course, social networking is a business investment so you should totally promote your company/book/product, just mix it up. Hope this is helpful.

What have you found to be effective in encouraging engagement on Facebook?

© 2013 Fauzia Burke. All Rights Reserved.

Author Bio
Fauzia Burke is the Founder and President of FSB Associates, a digital publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. For online publicity, book publishing and social media news, follow Fauzia on Twitter: @FauziaBurke. To talk with FSB and ask your book publicity questions, please join us on Facebook.

Things I Got Wrong, and Things I Got Right in 2012

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

By Fauzia Burke

As we wrap up 2012 and start to plan for the New Year I wanted to review the things I got right and the things I didn’t. In the past few years, there have been so many changes in the book industry, and in technology, that sometimes my only guide has been my intuition. Fortunately, our missteps can often teach us more than flawless execution. So here are the lessons I have learned in 2012:

Why Press Release Didn’t Work For Us. Working as the President of an online public relations firm, I relied on press releases to get the attention of editors. Over time, however, I noticed that they didn’t seem to be working as they once did. One reason is that the “one pitch fits all” approach was not working online. Bloggers are unique and so are their interests. For example I hear people talking about mommy bloggers or book bloggers, but in truth those communities are made up of people with very different interests.

I took a huge leap of faith and decided to stop doing press releases. Instead of taking the time to write them, proof them, wait for approval, print them and stuff them, we took that time to talk to the editors/bloggers and invest the time in social media. I thought I would get push-back from clients, but once I explained why I was making the change they agreed with the approach.

I am happy to report that this change we got right. It was the right decision and we’re moving into 2013 with no intention of doing the traditional press releases.

Delegating Social Media. I thought outsourcing social media was always wrong. Although it is best to keep your hands in your own social media, the only way for it to be effective is if it is consistent. A writer’s life is not consistent, which means they are sometimes more active on social media than other times. Trying to do it all themselves can be distracting. Of course, it is crucial to delegate this responsibility to someone trustworthy. I would also suggest having clear goals and to monitor activities very closely.

For 2013, we are exploring and open to creating a hybrid system for our clients.

People like to follow people, not books. I thought book websites and book Facebook pages were a good idea. Remember the days of microsites? Today, I believe that the only websites, Facebook pages and Twitter handles should be in the author’s name, no matter how diverse their list of books and activities. I would advise against a title or book site because people follow people not books. Authors are most effective when they work to build their brand, and can increasingly build a loyal following when readers feel connected to them.

In 2013, we will move away from book related digital assets and focus more on the author’s brand.


Keep Learning. Every single job in publishing should be a social job. I did not always think so. But the more people there are to amplify your message the better. Social media is not only a broadcasting tool, it is also one of the best learning and listening tools for you and your business. You have an open forum to observe and study the readers, their taste and comments. At a time when we need to be learning new skills all the time, social media can be a gateway to that learning.

This one I did get right. We shifted our entire staff to incorporate social media and social networking in everything they do: From searching for influencers, tracking numbers and word-of-mouth, to interacting with bloggers, and supporting our clients. In 2013, we will continue our focus on incorporating social media with our online publicity campaigns.

In the coming year, I only know one thing for sure. We’ll need to keep all options open and learn as we go. What have you learned in 2012? Please share your lessons.

© 2012 Fauzia Burke. All Rights Reserved.

Author Bio
Fauzia Burke is the Founder and President of FSB Associates, a digital publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. For online publicity, book publishing and social media news, follow Fauzia on Twitter: @FauziaBurke. To talk with FSB and ask your book publicity questions, please join us on Facebook.

New Marketing Mantra: Assess, Delete and Respond

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

By Fauzia Burke

Imagine if you opened your inbox, and saw only one email. Imagine if you only got a new one when you answered the current one. Without knowing how many emails you have in total you would take the time and respond with great care. Now imagine you open your inbox and get 200 emails (like most of us). Your process would have to be different. You would have to quickly assess what gets deleted, what can wait, and which emails are top priority. You should approach your job in the same way. Look at everything that needs doing, then assess, delete and respond.

It seems to me that the days of over designing, over thinking, and over obsessing are over. If you are an artist or a teacher, the more thoughtful and obsessed you are about doing your job, the better you will be at it. But marketers (and we are all marketers today) have to understand that there is no time to focus on the wrong things. Being super diligent was good when the world moved slowly, but today being diligent slows you down, and can slow down the people around you. Instead:

Think ahead. Where do you want to see your business in three years? To avoid getting stuck on details that ultimately won’t matter, decide where you want to be in three years. Each day assess key priorities against busy work so you can stay on track. As leadership expert Stephen Covey once said, “The key isn’t to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” You can end up spinning your wheels if your day is consumed with little things and not on your most important objectives.

Make a decision. Sometimes procrastination or perfectionism can keep you stuck. Make a decision, any decision. It’s always better than no decision. Neglecting to make a decision for fear that you will make the wrong one will only ensure that you don’t make any progress. Any action is a step forward because even if it’s the wrong decision, you’ll learn something and that experience will give you information to move you in a better direction. Delete things that no longer work and make decisions to move forward on things that do.

Recognize team strengths. If you are working with a team, make sure you stay aligned with your core competencies and let other people lead with their core competencies. Respond to new challenges by delegating to the best qualified in your team. Let every member of your team work with their strengths and stay focused on your own areas of strength. When you try to control all the details or get into areas where other people should be leading, you can stall the progress of the entire team. If you don’t trust your team, you are working with the wrong people.

Work both jobs. Most of us are doing two jobs these days, the regular job and the start-up job. The regular job is anything we have been doing for years, and our start-up job is the job we will be doing in a few years. We all have to adapt to new ways of doing business to stay in business. There is a lot to learn, so be careful how you spend your time. There are some jobs where we can’t live with mistakes, brain surgery for one, but marketers have to live in a world where mistakes are made, and we need resilience and plans to recover from them.

When you keep your focus on what matters most, you will get more done in less time and you will be moving apace with our current fast world. So adopt a new marketing mantra: Assess, Delete and Respond.

© 2012 Fauzia Burke. All Rights Reserved.

Author Bio
Fauzia Burke is the Founder and President of FSB Associates, a online publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. For online publicity, book publishing and social media news, follow Fauzia on Twitter: @FauziaBurke. To talk with FSB and ask your book publicity questions, please join us on Facebook.

Books to Make the Best of Your Workplace

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

Labor Day signals the end of summer for most Americans which means it’s time to get back to business. The kids are in school and hopefully you’ve had enough time to recoup from family outings and vacation getaways to get your game face on. Done with rotating summer schedules and shorter hours, the office is a full house which means a lot of catching up with co-workers, swapping anecdotes from your holidays, and gearing up with team members to plan upcoming projects.

While we would all like to imagine the office as sunny as a trip to Montego Bay, the truth is, the typical work environment just isn’t so. In fact, sometimes the office can be downright stormy with torrential misunderstandings, high pressure competition, and raging rivals.

New books on our shelves this month focus on weakening those nasty office climates and alerting of any bad weather on the horizon. Whether you’re a leader, follower, or someone in between, the titles found below hold tremendous value as resources for creating and maintaining a company and office culture that’ll stretch those blue skies from your vacation right into your work.

The 11 Laws of Likability: Relationship Networking…Because People Do Busines with People They Like by Michelle Tillis Lederman

We all know that networking is important for success, but the networking tactics we read about take a lot of work — and can feel so phony! Wouldn’t it be great if you could network in a more relaxed, authentic way?

The 11 Laws of Likability reveals a painless new way to network that’s based on one simple truth: People do business with people they like. In this empowering book, you’ll learn how to identify and accentuate your most likable characteristics, and also how to:

  • Start conversations and keep them going with ease
  • Avoid coming across as manipulative or self-serving
  • Convert acquaintances into friends
  • Tweak your own personal style to enable engaging interactions with different kinds of people
  • Stay in others’ minds long after your initial meeting
  • And more.

Featuring real-life scenarios and packed with activities and self-assessment quizzes, this powerful yet down-to-earth book will help bring to light all of your natural likability — and give you easy, comfortable methods for creating honest, enjoyable interactions that become “wins” for you and for all parties involved.

Forming relationships is the foundation of success. And once you discover “The 11 Laws of Likability,” your road to success in any field will be faster and more enjoyable than you ever imagined.

The 11 Laws of Likability: Relationship Networking…Because People Do Busines with People They Like from Amacom is available in print and digital format from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The Five Percent: Finding Solutions to Seemingly Impossible Conflicts by Dr. Peter T. Coleman

ONE IN EVERY TWENTY DIFFICULT CONFLICTS ends up not in a calm reconciliation or tolerable standoff but as an acute lasting antagonism. Such conflicts — the five percent — can be found among the diplomatic and political clashes we read about every day in the newspaper but also, and in a no less damaging and dangerous form, in our private and personal lives, within families, in work-places, and among neighbors. These self-perpetuating conflicts resist mediation, defy conventional wisdom, and drag on and on, worsening over time. Once we get pulled in, it is nearly impossible to escape. The five percent rules us.

So what can we do when we find ourselves ensnared? According to Dr. Peter T. Coleman, to contend with this destructive species of conflict we must understand the invisible dynamics at work. Coleman has extensively researched the essence of conflict in his “Intractable Conflict Lab,” the first research facility devoted to the study of polarizing conversations and seemingly unresolveable disagreements. Informed by lessons drawn from practical experience, advances in complexity theory, and the psychological and social currents that drive conflicts both international and domestic, Coleman offers innovative new strategies for dealing with disputes of all types, ranging from abortion debates to the enmity between Israelis and Palestinians.

A timely, paradigm-shifting look at conflict, The Five Percent is an invaluable guide to preventing even the most fractious negotiations from foundering.

The Five Percent: Finding Solutions to Seemingly Impossible Conflicts from Public Affairs – Perseus is available in print and digital format from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The Big Enough Company: Creating a Business That Works for You by Adelaide Lancaster and Amy Abrams

A guide to building a business you enjoy running without caving under the pressure to grow.

After initially launching their company, small-business owners are bombarded with a flurry of “advice” on how to grow fast, be more profitable, and imitate other successful start-ups. While these tips may work for some people, they fail to consider the astounding variety of needs, motivations, and goals that each entrepreneur has for starting her business.

Entrepreneurs Abrams and Lancaster explore how to grow an enterprise that is not only successful but also sustains the owner’s personal goals and needs-in terms of size, culture, and level of involvement. Drawing on their experience as well as on interviews with more than one hundred successful women business owners, Abrams and Lancaster guide readers through the principles that matter most when you work for yourself.

More a supportive guide than a list of dos and don’ts, this book empowers entrepreneurs to ignore popular “wisdom” and peer pressure and take charge of their businesses in a way that will help them succeed on their own terms.

The Big Enough Company: Creating a Business That Works for You from Portfolio Hardcover is available in print and digital format from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Steve Jobs Makes Me Better

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

by Fauzia Burke

Steve Jobs stepped down as the CEO of Apple on Aug. 24, 2011, and if you read the news on Twitter first, then you also saw the millions of tweets thanking him and feeling sad at the news of his departure. Think about that for a minute: we, the people, were thanking the CEO of a company for making us better.

Most of us don’t even know the CEOs of companies, but we know Steve Jobs. We know him because he was always on our side. His decisions about design, beauty and elegance were not about technology; they were about us.

Apple makes great products, but I was not always a Mac fan. Actually, until 2007, I was a PC user. I just assumed that Macs were for those creative types, the artists and graphic designers and photographers and movie makers. I am a publicist and a small business owner. I figured I could do with a PC.

Our family’s love affair started with the iPod, of course. John, my husband and our home and company CIO, had bought several MP3 players and told our tween girls that they were the same as an iPod, just a lot cheaper. Of course, that was not going over well, so we bought them iPods. Those were the first Apple products in our home.

Upon seeing the elegance of the design, both John and I got iPods, as well. Then John bought a Mac Mini for the home to test it out in June 2007. We thought our girls would enjoy the music, photo and movie programs. Not only did they enjoy them, but we loved them, as well.

In fall 2007, John then bought himself a MacBook Pro, and for our daughter’s 13th birthday we got her a MacBook (we owe our current Mac devotion to her love of Apple products). After seeing John’s laptop, I, of course, had Mac envy and wanted a MacBook Pro for myself.

Now our home was almost totally powered by Mac computers, and we were loving them. The programs and templates allowed me to do my best work. The laptops were effortless. Gone were the days of my laptops overheating (yes I am talking to you, HP) or freezing for no reason (that’s you, Microsoft). I could already feel that this laptop was about me. It just worked.

In our Web design department at FSB (our firm), we moved to Macs in the office. Now the Macs had started moving into the office, as well. We were switching our website development to Dreamweaver and did not want to buy the expensive program for PC, so in came the Macs. They were, of course, a big hit.

In the meantime, one of our publicists’ computer crashed from a virus (remember the blue screen of death?). By this point, John was frustrated by how much tech support was needed by the PCs and decided to get her a Mac Mini. This required our company to change our software needs, which were PC based, so we developed an awesome database that was Web-based. Now we were platform-agnostic and could work from anywhere. Fabulous!

By 2008 the entire FSB office was converted to Macs. Everyone loved them and felt that they were so much easier to work with. None of us was thinking about how to work with our computer. We were just doing our work, and the Macs were just working. It was all about us.

Then there is the classic story of getting our first iPhones. John really wanted one, but I figured a phone is a phone, and I did not care. But he convinced me that it would be a great anniversary present for each other. I rolled my eyes but went along with it. So on our wedding anniversary, we were standing in line at a Mac store waiting to buy our iPhones. I rolled my eyes and told him he owed me. Then we got the iPhones, and 24 hours later I was converted and was found saying, “You can take my iPhone from my cold, dead fingers.”

There was no turning back. We were Mac devotees. Yesterday I started to count how many Apple products we own, and I lost the count at 30. Our home and our office are completely powered by Apple products, and we could not be happier.

As a small business and a tech-savvy family, our Apple products have made our lives better. We do our best work on our Apple hardware and software. The Macs in the office, including the server, have saved us money and hours of frustration in tech support.

Like millions of others whose lives have been made better by your products, we, as a family and a business, thank you, Steve Jobs, for improving our family life, saving us money in our small business and giving us the tools to do our best work. We all wish you the best of health and continued success.