The Debt Negotiation Process

The debt negotiation process is a strategic and a timely matter. There are many contributing factors to consider, in order of ACHIEVING successful negotiations. First off, you must verify the delinquency status. A creditor is more likely to engage in negotiations according to the age of the account, in an attempt to avoid a net loss. (A debt is written off around 180 days to 220 days) During that time period, you can achieve a significantly lower settlement offer. Once the debt has been written off, it is no longer an active asset. At that point, the original value of the debt has depreciated, and the creditor must recovery net gain in order gain profit and maintain a financial relationship with investors. In order to obtain a net gain, the creditor must either employ a collection agency at a fraction of the cost, or sell the debt to debt buyer. Secondly, if the debt has to be negotiated with a collection agency or debt buyer, the third-party collectors are directly regulated by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act administered by the Federal Trade Commission.

It’s for these reasons that consumers oftentimes seek the help of a debt negotiation company. Professional debt negotiators are thoroughly trained and learn effective and strategic negotiations skills to arbitrate debt settlement with creditors, collectors and attorneys on behalf of the consumer. Professional debt negotiations is the most effective alternative to reduce the total outstanding balance on an average of 40%; the payback is considerably less and the time frame for the payback is shorter; which enables the consumer to regain control over their personal finances, rather than just reducing interest and fees.

Customizing Products and Services Presents Entrepreneurs a Great Way to Bootstrap a Business

We live in a world where mass production and scalability have enabled consumers around the world the opportunity to enjoy a wider range of Consumer Products and Services than ever before. Large scale production drives down prices. Items that were once luxuries are now within reach of masses of consumers on every continent.

Overwhelmingly the benefits of scale and industrialization are beneficial to society. Jobs, distribution opportunities, global trade and finance have all thrived in large part because of the benefits of a consumer driven world. The Benetton sweater or MAC cosmetic that is purchased in Denver is the same as a unit of either sold in Sydney.

There is a downside to mass production, a downside that presents opportunities for those seeking to position their enterprise successfully within the whirl of this hyper–competitive consumer marketplace. Most mass produced products are impersonal. They offer value, utility and uniform performance features. They do not, however, differentiate themselves significantly from competitors. This is where the creative and craft minded producers can maximize their offerings.

Hermes purses and scarves are famous, but simple examples of a Brand that has been built from scratch, painstakingly over time and by being extremely protective of distribution channels for their limited production, hand crafted products. Hermes controls the price and design of each unit produced with a discipline that borders on fanaticism. When a design becomes popular and demand soars, the family owned Company caps production far short of maximum sales potential. This is a classic example of a limited distribution strategy that serves to increase Hermes’ product desirability among discerning consumers.

Ferrari automobiles, Zegna menswear, Piaget watches, Tory Burch fashions and La Prairie Skin Care and Cosmetics are other examples of Brands that have created world-wide franchises by avoiding any taint of a mass production model. They sell service, customization and personalized product that elite customers demand. The strategy does not need to be limited to exclusive couture brands, however!

The Branding and Marketing Consulting firm that we manage utilizes many different forms of personalized service or customized product assembly to differentiate our clients. In order to be able to compete with behemoth, multi-national brands a new company must be able to identify their Unique Selling Proposition (USP). A better ingredient story or a better mousetrap design will not suffice.

Recently a prospective client approached us with a Perfume concept. The Fragrance world is huge and brutally competitive. The perfumer we met with was keen to commercialize a range of scents, mainly by utilizing generic top notes. We spent a good deal of time trying to define a USP that would differentiate her product, while creating a niche she could occupy. The final, agreed suggestion was to sell a value added personalized blending service with each offering customized, value added and unique to each client. There are a number of added special service features which insure that the Brand will be perceived as unique by her “alpha” clientele.

We have utilized one form or another of this strategy for Gourmet Food products, Toys, Cosmetics, Wellness regimens, Service Providers and many other client projects. An important feature of this strategy is the opportunity to bootstrap the product or service when limited resources are at hand. Local sales can be leveraged to regional sales and beyond. The enterprise can be grown at a pace that is more easily handled by thinly resourced entrepreneurs.

Red Bull, Snapple and Arizona Iced Tea did not start as national and international brands. They were bootstrapped. They found holes in saturated, developed marketplaces and they filled niches. This model is available to creative entrepreneurs who are driven to compete, but understand that they must deal from a different, smaller deck of cards.

by: Geoff Ficke

Geoff Ficke has been a serial entrepreneur for almost 50 years. As a small boy, earning his spending money doing odd jobs in the neighborhood, he learned the value of selling himself, offering service and value for money.

After putting himself through the University of Kentucky (B.A. Broadcast Journalism, 1969) and serving in the United States Marine Corp, Mr. Ficke commenced a career in the cosmetic industry. After rising to National Sales Manager for Vidal Sassoon Hair Care at age 28, he then launched a number of ventures, including Rubigo Cosmetics, Parfums Pierre Wulff Paris, Le Bain Couture and Fashion Fragrance.

Geoff Ficke and his consulting firm, Duquesa Marketing, has assisted businesses large and small, domestic and international, entrepreneurs, inventors and students in new product development, capital formation, licensing, marketing, sales and business plans and successful implementation of his customized strategies. He is a Senior Fellow at the Page Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Business School, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.

An Easy Guide to Creating Powerful Presentations – Grow in Confidence and Reputation!

Are you stressed about an upcoming presentation? Would you like to create powerful presentations that are both effective and interesting? This article helps you create inspiring presentations which will boost your standing as a public speaker.

From the start, treat your presentation planning as a specific project. As a project, the process order will be: Think, Plan Your Story, Design, Optimise, and Present. Following these guidelines will help you strengthen your weaker areas so you approach the task with more confidence.


Set goals for your presentation. For example, consider the following: What is the point of my presentation? Why does my audience need to hear this? What are the outcomes or benefits they will experience as a result? Have I provided value?

Next, think about your audience…

What do you know about your audience profile? What are their education level, age, profession, job title, attention-span, their level of existing knowledge and experience of the topic? A good understanding of your audience will help you develop appropriate content.

Also, bear in mind any restrictions you might face when presenting your presentation (time limits, technological, logistical, language, space and even time of day). Weigh up additional materials or resources you’ll need (hand-outs, projector, laptop, memory stick, business cards, laser pointer, etc.) and how to get them in place for the event.

Remember: Goal, Audience, Restrictions, Resources

Plan Your Story

Firstly, create the right mental and physical setting to concentrate on the task in hand. You must be able to work without interruption or distractions. Many of the best presenters insist that the best and most successful approach is to begin with pen or paper/post-it notes/white-board to jot down ideas and link them using arrows and lines.

A diagrammatic approach with additional rough notes gives you an unparalleled sense of the entire presentation through its key ideas and concepts. This can later be organised into more understandable whole. This initial thinking and creating process cannot be done as effectively on your computer so don’t be tempted to start here thinking you’re saving time!

Lastly, when thinking and creating this way, don’t forget to cross-check this rough draft against your planned goals so your ideas remain focused. Your points must be pertinent, relevant, and concise as well as offer value as defined by your goals.


A presentation is used as a means of communicating with your audience. A good presentation is simple/easy to follow and it gets the point across in a way that they understand. An excellent presentation does so in a way that they actually enjoy the experience.

Now having scoped out your ideas and put them into a logical progression, you can use the computer to create the documents, slides, images, or spread sheets which will illustrate or enforce the points to be made. When designing visual material, avoid an abundance of content or you’ll end up with an overwhelmed audience fatigued from information-overload.

Your visual material should be simple, informational, elegant, and pleasing to the eye. Use entertaining images, uncomplicated diagrams and other visual tools that neatly summarise or highlight the point you are making. Remember the audience can contact you directly for more detailed information so show your contact details at the start and at the end of the presentation.

Be aware of consistent formatting (font type, size, colour, etc.) and keep your business branding visible without detracting from the information presented. Let the slides flow coherently and as a complement to your narrative. It is always worth watching the finished presentation on a similar screen if possible before the event to iron out any deficiencies.


Key to your performance on the day is practise! Proofread for any errors or incoherence, cross-check against your stated goals and objectives to confirm that the presentation is still on track. Then practise until the material seems natural and familiar – this helps the audience retain the key information you want them to hold.

Timing yourself to keep you on track of time restraints and if need be, set appropriate timing protocols on your slide show to match your narrative. If producing hand- outs, allow time to create, print, and package them to a good standard.


It’s time to present your masterpiece presentation. Using your resources checklist, you’ve all the equipment and materials you need. Remember you’ve planned, prepared, and practised – trust now in your ability to perform with confidence!

Maintain regular breathing, keep an eye on time, keep it simple and remember that you do know your material. By focusing on three or four individuals in the audience (in the front, one in the mid-distance, and one each in the right/left far distance), you can reduce a large crowd into a more intimate group. Smiling at these key faces both relaxes you and increases audience rapport.

By planning, preparing, andpractising, you’ve the ability to become an authoritative and entertaining public speaker. I wish you all the best in your future presentations and I’d love to hear feedback on your success.