In a tough economy, we increased our rates

Dear Maria

I started Menlo Scientific over 25 years ago. We are a small company with big clients. When my business partner (and fiancee) signed up for your Empire Builder program I felt that we already were growing our firm in the right direction. Frankly much of what you teach I thought I already knew.

On the other hand, after 25 years of not getting around to doing enough of it (business strategic development planning), the likelihood of moving forward on a well thought out business development program was nil. Having a formal program and a mentor has resulted in increased profits in these tough times. Another factor is the cognitive dissonance of having made the financial and time commitment, which is a strong incentive to putting together a business plan and business development program into a higher priority. But aside from forcing the participants to focus on growing their business, your program provides a logical and compelling template that is balanced, insightful, effective, and supportive.

In this tough economic terrain, we increased our rates, client satisfaction is higher, with higher client retention rate. In the last half year our business situational awareness is clearer. To be blunt, your help in teaching us when to throw the fish back and walk away from inappropriate candidate clients has saved us far more than what your course cost.

We are looking forward to continuing to work with you to internalize what you teach.

Best wishes

Mike Klasco and Nora Wong


Links to Articles or Resources I like

These are resources from my old blog.  Enjoy!

1) From Intuit (they make Quickbooks) Some of the program available for testing will be available for free and some are free now but will have a fee involved later. Check it out.

2) Search Marketing Magazine is a very informative, down to earth, understandable magzine about … search engine marketing.  http/

3) Women who think big should join, for free,

4) Your CPA Referral System Kit

Bye-Bye Boring Bios

On Sept 16, 2009 I attended an event sponsored by the Puget Sound Business Journal, where Nancy was one of the speakers. Between those two encounters, I updated one of my many bio’s, the example below is very short and I use it for ½ page promo cards and short bio descriptions.

The first two words of my bio are those that Nancy Juetten recommended when I spoke to her at the Puget Sound Business Journal event. I made minor changes, but the rest of the changes, that bring the bio to light were made by Chistine Mifsud, someone new working for me that has surely impressed me (and Nancy J)

Before and after bio here:

Old and Very Good:
Maria Marsala, the founder of Elevating Your Business, is a business consultant, coach, speaker, author, and former Fortune 500 Wall Street executive. She entered the business world selling Avon at 14 and landed on Wall Street three years later. Maria was rewarded for her fierce determination and keen insights when she became a bond trader and department manager at a time women executives were a rare commodity. Since 1998, Maria has helped thousands of B2B service industry CEOs/presidents, professionals and management teams to eliminate the problems of quickly growing businesses by streamlining and automating their planning, operations, and marketing processes. The results? They increase their bottom line, work smarter, and enjoy a higher quality life. Would you like to be next? Contact Maria today!

New and Better:
An irrepressible entrepreneur, Maria sold AVON at age 14 and landed on Wall Street three years later. Fiercely determined and keenly insightful, Maria became a bond trader when female executives were as rare as pink diamonds. In 1998, brimming with over 25 years of business expertise, Maria Marsala created Elevating Your Business, a company dedicated to helping professional service business owners maximize their companies’ value and profits. Is your existing business structure draining your time, energy, and profitability? Drawing on her experience as an advisor, speaker, and author, Maria will tailor a solution to detect and overcome your unique obstacles, helping you create the business and lifestyle you only imagined. Contact Maria today and take the first step toward an elevated bottom line, turbo-charged productivity, and a sparkling quality of life.

Learn more about Bye-Bye-Bios here

Go-Giver by Bob Burg

I first heard of Bob Burg years ago, and I’m pretty sure it was either on Warrior Forum or Blake Forum. He was offering copies of his book that was in it’s third printing — for free. I’m not the type of person to say “no” to a free business book, especially when it’s on a marketing topic. The book as “Endless Referrals”, excellent book by the way, consider getting it, too, but that’s not the one I’m reviewing here.

The Go-Giver Book

Years ago, I had the honor of taking his 3 or so hour seminar in Seattle and part of the fee paid for his new book “Go-Giver“. The book was kinda thin (I thought to myself) as a read the back cover (and the description sounded intriguing) and before he signed it.

But because it was a thin book as far as business books go, I figured it wouldn’t take long to read it; very true. You’ll agree with me that not all business books are good bedtime reading, but I’d recommend you read this each night before you go to bed. I actually wish I had someone to read it with! I had the greatest sleep!

The book gets you thinking about the “Laws of Stratospheric Success”, and I’d recommend going to sleep on one law a night. But at the end, you might do what I did. I though I knew what the ending would be when there were 10 or so pages left. My eyes wanted to close, but I said screw it –I kept on reading.

Now, I’m not going to ruin the book for you, however, I’ll tell you it’s not your usual type of business book. Like the “Emyth Revisited” and “Who Moved my Cheese” it’s a story that happens all the time in life or business.

Joe, the main character, does business the way most business owners do — they become lone rangers. Then he learns quite a few life changing lessons about business and life called the “Five Laws of Stratospheric Success”. They’re simple concepts and I bet you’ve heard them all, but now you’ll get to see them in action. Great reminders of what life and business is all about.

I highly recommend this book as one that is thought provoking, makes you look inwards, and is gentle business reading. It makes you take a look at how you’re running your business and life — or not!

Sometimes good things come in “thin” packages! Read Go-Giver” and then come back here and comment on it. The Go-Giver, A Little Story About A Powerful Business Idea, By Bob Burg and John David Mann

Kick-start your firm any time of the year!

Business good, but you want GREAT? Financial businesses can do well without planning, many do. However, at some point in their business cycle, they become stuck.

To become a high performing organization, to grow your firm more rapidly, a firm needs a strong foundation which includes a planning and monitoring process. Got yours? I sure do have mine!

Back in 2000, a major shift in my business occurred when I came across the One Page Business Plan® process. Now, as a certified consultant for the program, I help business owners, executives, and teams to make major shifts in their business or career.

Don’t let the simplicity of the name fool you. While the process helps you create a business and marketing plan — your planning process should be much more. It should:

  • Help you diagnosis how every area of your business is doing.
  • Clarify your thinking and focus on the elements that are the most critical to your success.
  • Test your ideas without having to put large amounts of cash at risk.
  • Help you to boost the profits and performance of your small company or department.
  • Be ready to be used over and over again.

No Excuses! Create Your Plan Your way!


If you’re on a tight budget or prefer to create your plan yourself, do it based on your current operations and business skills. Purchase the workbook that includes the Entrepreneur Toolkit CD (for PC and MAC use). It includes systematic, practical, interactive exercises and templates, worksheets, powerful sales calculators, mini-sales budgets, one-page performance scorecards, sample plans, and bonus tools! All created in programs you usually have on your computer — MS Excel and Word files. Fee: up to $35 plus an average of 18 hours of your time.

Do It With Some Help

Sit down at your PC to create your plan in our software in a cloud in approx. 90 minutes. Then you’ll have what’s in your head on paper. Next, let me help you take your plan to the next level and beyond with two hours of 1:1: coaching taped for you to review and update Fee: $999

Do It In a Day

1) Your team members can create a solid draft of a plan for their position within your firm in a day at your office, a retreat center, virtually, or a place you designate. Ask me more about this program for your firm.

2) Each quarter we hold a one-day virtual group program. We hold this event

Do it With Your Peers

Fee: $499 for six months.

Do It In a Weekend

Your finalized plan will be completed for you in less than 12 hours and placed online where you can start using it on Monday. You can’t get much easier than that and have a viable plan you’ll use every day. (I did say there were NO excuses, didn’t I?) Done as we sit in my office, your office, a retreat center or using Skype (web cam not necessary). I ask you lots of clarifying questions. As you’re providing me with answers, I’ll create the plan for you. Email me today to schedule a time to talk with me about this program.
Fee: $3000 (one person involved)

The One-Page Business Plan process® helps you simply create your plan and in doing so, it gives you a system to monitor your progress. Creating a plan now, will save you hours upon hours’ worth of your valuable time and will help you make fewer large and costly mistakes.

Isn’t that what you need as a financial advisor who is running a business? Systems and processes that work and more time to do what you’re passionate about? Below are 10 key elements of any process.

1. It helps you choose opportunities more wisely and waste less time because you have a plan in place.

2. A single page can contain all the elements you need to tell your employees, board of directors, potential partners or banker where you are taking your business and how you are going to get there.

3. The most important reason to have a business plan is to clarify your thinking, regardless of the size of your company.

4. Knowing where you’re going creates hope and enthusiasm about the future.

5. It facilitates creating and analytical thinking, problem solving, communication, and teamwork.

6. It also brings out procrastination, frustration, differences of opinions and possibly anger.

7. Writing your important initiates transforms ideas to reality.

8. Writing allows your staff to participate in your dream and give you feedback.

9. Using your plan daily, you’ll create the day’s priorities and make decisions about your business.

10. You’ll be able to create balanced scorecards, templates, budgets, and use lots of bonus tools to help keep you on track!

©2009 Maria Marsala, Strategic Business Coach, Speaker and former Wall Street Trader at Elevating