Small business owners and professional service providers often know next-to-nothing about marketing. I know this is true, because after owning several businesses which spanned everything from financial services to retail stores, all I knew how to do was place ads in local media.Newspaper, radio, television and magazine advertising was my idea of marketing. Sure, every so often I’d send out a press release, if there was an event to publicise, but aside from that I didn’t have a clue.Then the Internet blossomed. I looked at it as just another kind of advertising vehicle, and that impression was bolstered by the reps from all of the media I had been advertising with. They all were flogging online ads on their respective websites. Some even offered “online marketing plans” which were almost entirely composed of different styles of paid ads, bundled together.Results from my offline ads were slowing down. Even ads in the papers which used to bring immediate results stopped producing. So, I dove in and spent thousands on Internet advertising. I should have thrown the money into a sewer. I had no idea what I was doing, and tried to use the same approach which once worked in my offline ads. The results were nonexistent.In desperation, I tried one website after another, tossing dollar after dollar and watching the business in my stores grind to a halt.That is when I knew that there had to be another way. I went onto the Internet looking for a better site to advertise on, and ran across an article about Internet marketing. It was full of terms like auto responder, SEO and social media, and it also mentioned a magic word. “FREE.”My curiosity was piqued. I made a project of getting educated on “Internet marketing,” and found a variety of sites which all gave the best marketing tips for small business professionals. Eventually I was able to get glimpses into what techniques were free, and which ones cost money.It did take a while, and a lot of effort, to sort things out. It seemed that some of the “gurus” I found were having a blast making every tip and technique convoluted and “secret.” And it was also glaringly clear that they were all either self-taught or hiding the source of their own Internet marketing education.After months of digging, I discovered a single source for all kinds of Internet marketing education. It is perfectly suited for professionals and small business owners, and was exactly what I was looking for. I signed up.At last I was armed with the ability to find new business leads online without spending a fortune to get them.However, I had to adjust my expectations when it came to the timing of results. You see, when I relied on advertising, I expected quick response from the customers. I still like direct response advertising for that. But with online marketing, things were different. It was like watching a slow motion movie of a flower growing.The closest analogy I can think of is that Internet marketing is like planting seeds. The marketer cannot expect to harvest a crop until it has grown. And notice that I say “seeds.” Plural. Planting one seed will not yield a crop.That was a difficult lesson. For Internet marketing to work for any business, the marketer must do a lot of it, over a period of time, consistently.Eventually, intelligent marketing action will start to yield the desired results, and make all the effort worthwhile.It all starts with getting a solid Internet marketing education.
Are you a parent with a child with autism or learning disabilities that receive special education services? Have you been trying to advocate that your child receive needed services to no avail? Then you may be dealing with a special education dragon!When my first book came out in 2007, I included a section about why some educators lied to parents.These reasons are:1. Some lie or provide misinformation because they do not know the law (or pretend they do not know the law).
2. Some lie because they want parents to believe that the law gives them more power than it actually does.
3. Some lie because they believe the parent may be vulnerable in some way (divorce, single parent, etc.)
4. Some lie about a child’s progress (overstating such progress) so that they can deny intensive services.
5. Some lie, and state that they do not pay for certain services so that they do not set a precedent of paying for those services (Applied Behavioral Analysis, private tutoring, etc.).An educator that would lie to a parent for any reason is a special education dragon, in my opinion.A few more characteristics are:1. They blame the child and/or the parent for the child’s disabilities and lack of educational progress (rather than blaming themselves for the child not learning).
2. They act as a gatekeeper to prevent children from receiving vital needed educational services (even when proven by an independent educational evaluation-IEE).
3. They intimidate, scream, manipulate the school team (and the parent) so that the parent gives up and goes away (I have seen this activity many times for my children and in my advocacy).
4. They retaliate against the child and the parent when the parent is advocating for their child (which is a protected activity under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act).If you are dealing with a special education dragon, here are a few tips to deal with them:1. Dragons can be overcome by assertive and persistent advocacy for as long as it takes for your child to receive an appropriate education!
2. Knowledge of federal and state special education and disability laws (IDEA 2004, ADAAA, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act—and your states laws), and use of those laws in your advocacy, will go a long way in overcoming dragons.
3. Using a well-trained advocate to attend IEP meetings, can also help overcome these school personnel’s tactics.
4. Become familiar and willing to use the dispute resolution processes that are available to you (State complaints, Mediation, Due Process, OCR complaints).I have been dealing with special education dragons for a long time, and am amazed at their insistence that they are right, even when they are proven wrong. One time at a meeting I was frustrated with a school person who kept stating something over and over. I picked up my IDEA 2004 regulations, opened it up and read the section about the issue we were discussing and then preceded to say “There it is read-em-and-weep!” I would not suggest getting upset but they seemed to get it! Good luck—never give up fighting these dragons for the good of your child’s education!