January's cover story Literacy lion made a very important point — if you are a long-time adviser, give something back. Give back to your industry organizations. Give back to the new people entering the profession. The need for professionalism and expertise in our field has never been more important than right now.

Peter Browne has worked with The American College and other groups that help train us and make us better at what we do. He has given time and shared his connections. He has shared his history and knowledge. By providing his insight into continuing education and training programs, tools are now available — some of which free — that help us become better resources for our clients.

Great leaders, business people and sales people never stop learning, and should never stop giving back to their industry. Think of ways that you can give back, and start today.


Making it fit

After reading Mel Schlesinger's article on marketing, Make marketing fit, I thought, "Wow, here are some great ideas for marketing my business and giving back." You can only go so far on referral business, and you've got to assess your current situation. Schlesinger makes a great point - you can't skip marketing, or put it on the back burner. You have to dedicate time every week. Make an appointment with yourself and keep it. How are people going to know about you if you don't market yourself?

How can you give back through marketing? Schlesinger mentions contacting your local groups such as the Chamber of Commerce and speaking at their events. Awesome! Don't sell, inform. Teach. Share your knowledge. And don't expect anything in return. Instead, find ways for people to reach out to you after the presentation, and find ways to keep in touch and educate them more. Many of those people will become prospects, and then clients.


Six-pack apps

The idea of mobile apps for communications tools is a great one. After reading John Lamb's column, Interactive employee communication, my mind started racing. I've used an iPhone for several years, and I'm active on Twitter, LinkedIn, and other networking sites. I also use several apps for blogging, training logs, and tracking my diet. What better way to bring groups of employees together for wellness and other benefits-related issues?

Lamb makes a great point on how information can be pushed out to employees. If they can inform people about office closures, why not inform them about a local walk or run? A networking group could be set up for different interest groups in the company. Are there a lot of runners or gym rats in your company? Pull them together with a Facebook group. If you are an adviser, think of ways you use technology and share them with your clients. This would be a great way to give some of your knowledge to others, and share some value-add ideas.



Finally, thank you Amy Lane Carst for your great column on being a mentor (The importance of having and being a mentor). What a great way to give back. In a mentoring relationship, everyone benefits. The mentor gets to hear fresh ideas, and the person being mentored gets to learn from experience. Who are you going to help in 2011?

Bryant, founder of Woodlands, Texas-based SB&K Benefits, can be reached at toddb@sbkbenefits.com.

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