Excel’s Concatenate – Put strings together

Many times you have data in two separate columns that would really be better shown in a single column. Excel has a way to make this easy.  On the Formulas tab, click on the Text category.  On the list is the Concatenate command.

concatenate Function

concatenate Function

Select the Concatenate command and the Function Arguments box will open.




Select the cell you want to use for the first part of your concatenated string. In this example that is the first name.  Then we need to have a space between the first name and the last name. To create the space, simply click into the Text 2 field and press the space bar. This generates ” ” or the literal space.

Now click into Text 3 and select the last name cell. Notice each time you click into the last Text box a new one shows up. This will happen up to 255 times.  Now that you have the first name, space, and last name click the OK button and in your destination cell you will have the full name.

This technique works for text strings and numbers. So if you want to put City, State and Zip together, you can use the concatenate function to accomplish exactly that.

Check back for more shortcuts and tips to be more effective and efficient using Microsoft Office applications.

Posted in Business, Ideal Real Estate Group, Interests, Networking, Professional Business Networking, Real Estate, Sandy Luedke | Leave a comment

Microsoft Excel Function: PMT (Payment)

Microsoft Excel Functions

Microsoft Excel Functions

If you have never checked out all the Functions available in Microsoft Excel, it is well worth your time to check them out. A function is simply a formula you don’t have to create. Simply fill in the values and the function will return a result. Today’s function is the PMT function. PMT is short for “Payment”. If you’ve ever needed to calculate what the payments would be on a loan amount this is your function.

The PMT function has 5 variables (also known as “arguments”).

Required Arguments

PMT Variables

PMT Variables

Rate: The interest rate to be used. If you want to annualize the rate you would divide the rate by 12.
(Example: 6%/12)

NPER: Number of periods/payments.

PV: Present Value or Loan Amount.

Optional Arguments

FV: Future Value. Essentially, it is the final payment amount (a balloon payment is an example).

TYPE: Logical value of 1 or 0 where 1 means payment is calculated from the beginning of the period, 0 means payment is calculated from the end of the month. The default is 0.

Once you’ve entered the arguments, the PMT function will generate a payment amount.

Calculate a payment

Calculate a payment

Note: The resulting value will be returned as a negative. (I assume that’s because when you make a payment it comes out of your bank account.)

Be sure to come back for more Microsoft Office tips and tricks.

Posted in Business, Ideal Real Estate Group, Networking, Professional Business Networking, Real Estate, Sandy Luedke, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Establishing Yourself as an Expert in your Field: Exercise #2 – Exercise #4


In our previous post, we talked about the importance of reaching the milestone of 100 blog posts on your business website, and went over Exercise #1 – creating your 5 categories.

This helps to establish you both on-line and off-line, as someone who actually knows your field well enough to make a full-time business out of it. It also shows you are serious enough to make this your long-term career choice instead of a fly-by-night venture.

Now, Exercises #2 – #4 will help you ensure your effort in building your credibility will pay off.

Exercise #2 – Blog Titles

Your Blog Title is the most important part of your blog post. Enticing people to read your entire blog begins by pulling them in with your title. If your title can’t get someone to pause long enough to pay it any attention, your actual blog content will remain widely unread.

Tips for creating your blog titles:

  • blogYour title should contain a keyword pertaining to your category. In our previous post, Exercise #1 took you through the steps to figure the best keywords to use related to your area of expertise.
  • As you stand in the grocery store check-out line, look at the headlines listed on popular magazines. Format yours in a similar way, exchanging the key words to fit your business.
  • Your title has to be relevant to your blog post. You cannot use shocking irrelevant titles just to entice people to read your content. You will not keep your readers this way, and it is easier to keep readers, than it is to find new ones.
  • Think of a series – like 101 tips for… then have 11 tips in your first blog post, and you’ll also have 9 more blog posts with 10 tips each to round out the series.
  • Strike while the iron is hot – if there is a breaking story, or a popular celebrity in the news, capitalize on it. “If Hugh Jackman were looking for a home in this area, what would be on his ‘must-have’ list?”
  • Begin entering your title in a Google search, and Google will begin to ‘fill in’ what the most popular searches are regarding the topic of your entry.  This can help you create a title that is a well searched term.

 Exercise #3 – Keyword Tracking

Make a spreadsheet of your blog posts, the category you have chosen for each post and the keywords used. This will help you even out your subject and have even coverage of the topics you want to cover regarding your business.

Exercise #4 – Blog Strategy

The spreadsheet created in Exercise #3 can also be used to schedule out your blog posts far in advance, and help you form a strategy for what you want your blogging and social media to actually accomplish for you and what you want your end results to be.

  • Pick your platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc.). There are more platforms blogbeing created every day, and not everyone needs to be on every platform.  Find out where most of your potential customers congregate, and use that platform to communicate with them. Don’t use a platform just because it exists.
  • Pick your frequency. The importance is consistency – most people cannot blog every day – but pick what YOU can do. If it is twice a week, then set a day aside to do 8 blog posts, and preschedule them, and you’re done for the month.

For more tips on how to optimize your blog, or to hire someone to handle that for you, be sure to visit social media expert Renee Groskreutz at FunCityMedia on Facebook!



We are proud to have Andy Lockhart be the first PBN member to have a spotlight on this PBN blog! Why? Because he utilizes his skill and expertise to help our group maintain a strong social media presence which enables us to continue growing our connections all throughout DFW!  Networking is about connections and relationships, and our online presence is just an extension of what happens within the group – businesses grow – and Andy is big part of that growth!

What makes Andy such a great connector is that his heart is focused on people. He finds some of his greatest moments of fulfillment in life when he is able to help others succeed by educating them on the importance of 1) making the right connections, 2) building a community of like-minded people, and 3) personal enrichment through active self-development.

His favorite quote is by Jim Rohn. “Invest more in yourself than you do in your job.” Andy then adds, “because if you don’t, no one else will!”

Andy also finds great personal fulfillment through his family life.  He and his wife Lesley began an inter-continental relationship while Andy was still working in England and making monthly visits to the United States.  Once Andy transferred here, they were married and life was bliss.  As if marriage isn’t exciting enough, seven years ago he and his wife agreed to host two Russian boys in a “10-day holiday exchange program.” Shortly thereafter, they ended up adopting Sam, now 17 and Will, who is now 19. There have certainly been challenges, language barriers, and adjustments to make in making these intercontinental transfers, but the family is now complete and proud to call Texas their home! 

If you only know Andy as someone who can help you look ten-years younger with his product Nerium, you only know a small part of how he can help you not only look better, but also help you live better and connect better with other like-minded folks. If you haven’t already had a one-on-one with Andy, it’s about time you did – contact him today!

Stay tuned to this website and blog for more updates, stay informed through our FB page, and connect with PBN on and off line through MeetUp.com!

Written By: Jennifer Jodziewicz   –   JJ Hummingbird Co. – where words take flight



Posted in Blogging | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

100 is the Magic Number for Blog Posts – Exercise #1

One of our recent speakers at PBN gave us some great insight as we seek to grow our business through networking. Face-to-face contact is a key ingredient to many successful businesses, but if you are not online with fresh content being added regularly, you will miss out on many of those potential face-to-face encounters that equate to new clients. These are all valid points that were discussed in a previous blog post. Networking doesn’t just happen in person, it typically begins online!

businessAs part two of our Old Dog, New Dog post, here we will go into detail about why and how your blog should take up a spot on your weekly to-do list. If you have a blog, but do not post to it regularly, and just don’t feel it is serving you very well, there is a good reason for that. First, it will take approximately 100 blog posts on your site before “the magic happens,” according to speaker and blogging expert Renee Groskreutz.

100 Blog Posts

Why is 100 the magic number? Because it is at that point Google and your potential clients will take you, and your business, seriously. Google will begin placing you higher on their keyword searches, and potential clients will begin considering your content “comment worthy” and begin to organically share your content with their sphere of influence.

Renee, our expert mentioned above, gives us Four Different Exercises we can do as business owners to ensure we are getting the most out of our blogging efforts, an

Exercise #1 – Categories

In order for your blogging platform to best reflect your business and remain congruent with all your marketing efforts (which includes face-to-face networking, one-on-one meetings, email campaigns, websites, direct mail, radio, TV and print ads, and social media), you need to have established no more than 5 categories within your niche.

First, brainstorm and come up with your topics. For instance, if your business is Travel, your categories could be: Trip Planning, Travel Safety, Packing Tips, Finding the best deals, Family Vacations, Couple’s Retreats, Stay-cations, Travel Rewards, etc.


Once you have your list, take some time to learn about Google’s Keyword Planner. Information on how to get your free account can be found here:  https://adwords.google.com/o/KeywordTool.

Utilize the Keyword Planner to determine which of your categories can be adjusted to fit a commonly searched term matching your category. 

Select Your Top 5 Categories

Once your Top 5 Categories are selected, as your final step to Exercise 1, be sure you know the category enough to spill out at least ten different blog posts regarding that category. For example, if the category is “Travel Tips,” Your list might look like,

    • Top ten tips for traveling with your family
    • The 3 biggest mistakes people make while going through airport security
    • How to find the best travel agent to help you plan your trip
    • Pros and Cons of basing a trip on Travel Rewards
    • And so on…

If you cannot easily come up with at least 10 blog posts for that category, go back to your list and pick a category in which you are more familiar, and run it through it your Google Keyword Planner again to be sure you are wording your category in the most search-friendly way possible.

We look forward to seeing your business grow as you become more intentional with your marketing focus! Stay tuned for Exercises 2 – 4 in some upcoming posts!

Stay tuned to this website and blog for more updates, stay informed through our FB page, and connect with PBN on and off line through MeetUp.com!

Written By: Jennifer Jodziewicz   –   JJ Hummingbird Co. – where words take flight



Posted in Blogging | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Business Owners: The Old Dog and the New Dog


Different personality types can affect the way a business owner views the purpose an operation of their business.  Other than morals, ethics, and the IRS, there really is no right or wrong way to run your business. It’s all about personal preference and the level of success in mind to achieve.

Business Owner “the mechanic”

Let’s call this first business owner “the mechanic.” They know the product of their business inside and out –they’re the expert in their field and no one questions their knowledge. However, the business end of the business is off their grid. As long as they can do something with their hands, can pay their bills, have a good meal here and there, and their bookkeeper keeps the IRS happy, they’re happy. Their clients come in mainly from word-of-mouth referrals and they see no reason to change their ways, grow their business, increase their services, or expand their impact on the market. That old dog wants nothing to do with new tricks.

Business Owner: “the visionary”

Then, we have the new dog, the visionary. They’ve had ten ideas and started ten businessbusinesses just last week. They thrive in the chaos of a start-up, but as soon as things calm down and become more systemized and process driven, they’re on to the next big thing. They’re great at giving orders – terrible at follow through. They have a ton of passion and knowledge about the business end of business, but never stick with anything long enough to become a master of it, or an expert in their field – and the LOVE it! Their clients stream in from flash sales, pay-per-click ads, and cold-market media.

These business owners don’t really have much in common except one thing – they both need clients and customers to survive.

Market research shows that regardless of HOW a potential client hears about you, *61% of them will research you, your business, and the products and services you offer ONLINE before ever making a purchase.

Of those 61%, how many actually filter through your doors? Whether you’re the mechanic, the visionary, or somewhere in between, you not only need an online presence, but you need to engage, connect, offer items of value, and prove your worth before a potential client ever meets you face-to-face.

How? Content – video, white papers, special reports, product reviews, free online assessments, webinars, giveaways, and… if all that is too much to take on right now, there is one simple thing you can do. Yep, you probably guessed it – you need to have at bare minimum, a regularly produced blog (small online article) that highlights your area of expertise and why you outshine everyone else in your field.

Business Owners Need to Blog

Why is having a regularly updated blog so important? No one likes to be sold to anymore. Everything has now shifted to online relationship marketing and customer service (warm market media), not ad campaigns and direct mail. It takes a lot longer these days to businesscultivate and engage a new client. Do you really want them to see the same stagnant, outdated information they saw last time they visited your site? That’s not a way stay memorable or keep them coming back.

We’ll have a follow-up post that will give some highlights from a recent speaker we had at PBN, who gave us a step-by-step guide on how business owners – the old dog, the new dog, and everyone else in between – can stay relevant and connected to clients in today’s marketplace.

Stay tuned to this website and blog for more updates, stay informed through our FB page, and connect with PBN on and off line through MeetUp.com!

Written By: Jennifer Jodziewicz   –   JJ Hummingbird Co. – where words take flight




Posted in Business | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Networking – You Get Out of It What You Put In

Lets get this straight a networking group is formed to meet the needs of both parties and is not just a love fest. You get out of a networking group what you put into it. You network with friends because you like them, but you can’t just do business with people who are friends, otherwise your business won’t last.

Professional Networking

PBN Logo

PBN Logo

Professional Networking meetings allow you to meet fellow business owners and entrepreneurs, share your knowledge and show your leadership as an expert in your field. Through these groups you can explore Business Opportunities that you might not otherwise come across. Most groups have their rules and exclusivity so you need to understand how each group works. You should meet with the leader and understand how the group works.

How to Get Business Referrals

The heart of any Professional Networking group is the art of giving and receiving referrals and to get referrals people need to know like and trust you. So you can’t just go and pitch your product and service to each person and expect to do business.  They need to see you bring value and have something to offer.

Part of Professional Business Networking is having one-on-ones with individual members of the group. This allows you to get to know people, they will know what you are looking for, and you will know what they are looking for. You will then know the type of people you should refer to that person. It is a great idea to keep a journal to keep pertinent information on everybody you meet so you know their business and what they need for a referral.


Don’t go to a networking meeting and try sell everyone in the room your product and service. Be consistent, turn up to the meetings regularly and show value. With consistency you will build the trust and people will get to know & like you. By building Networking Skills the referrals will begin to flow and your business will grow.

Finally, when you decide to attend networking meeting don’t try and do too many meeting in a week otherwise you will spend more time at networking meetings than closing business.

Written by: Andy Lockhart



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Free Publicity!

We are all either representing a business, or own a business where we are busy filling the needs of people all around the Dallas / Fort Worth Metroplex (and beyond). We do this by utilizing our talents and areas of expertise to serve others because we are driven by a passion in our hearts to do so.

One of the biggest challenges every business owner faces (aside from cash flow) is how to inform the masses of the problem-solving services they provide.

Simply existing as a business in this world does not mean people automatically flock to your door. So how can you inform the most people possible, for the best price possible, of your incredible business?

Continue reading

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