Archive for the ‘Brand Success’ Category

Marketing on a Budget

 

Clutching at straws to make a marketing budget?

Following the crowd may work for some things, but not for marketing.  People flock to the “latest and greatest” and the price goes up as the market demand goes up.  Unfortunately, the results do not necessarily follow the upward trend of the prices. Be creative and ahead of the pack.

 

If everyone is doing it, it must be a good idea.

 

Warren Buffett, an American business magnate, investor and philanthropist, is widely considered to be the most successful investor of the 20th century.  He is reported to have said that if everyone is doing something, do the opposite.  If it was a good idea, it is not a good idea any longer.

 

Even though Warren was speaking of investing, this works for marketing as well.  When pay-per-click first came out, it was “the new shiny idea.”  Prices were cheap and results were good.  Soon it became very expensive to obtain any positive results. When email first became popular, it was unique and effective.  If your inbox is like mine, it is now clogged with a few hundred emails a day.  Unfortunately, far too many of those are junk.

 

The world is going mobile.  Text is more current than email.  Mobile GPS works better than pay-per-click.  Stay with the curve or ahead of it.

 

What is the best idea for 2013 marketing? 

 

Business logic has remained constant for decades.  The methods, trends and implementation have changed but business principles are just that, solid principles.

 

Business magnates have subscribed to a philosophy of using the proven as their main focus while testing a new idea as their secret to success since the beginning of time.

 

Proven Successful Marketing Principles

 

Define your target audience.  Exactly who is your product designed to benefit?  Who will pay to receive the solution your product offers?

 

An anti-wrinkle face cream would probably be targeted to women age 30 – 60 living in middle to upper class neighborhoods in a metropolitan area.  Narrowing down your target market may seem limiting but it actually helps you focus your advertising on exactly the message that audience would want to hear.

 

What message would they want to hear?  They want proven results.  They want testimonials of people they know and trust who have used the cream and received positive results.  They want to know how long it will take to receive their desired result.

 

Determine when your customers want your product.  Starbucks coffee ads would be highly effective in the morning.  Selling a comfortable mattress would be well timed in the evening or early morning; having people view the ad when they are ready for a good night’s sleep or did not have a restful night.

 

In a ski resort, marketing ads would be most effective in late summer when the property management companies are placing all of their marketing for the upcoming ski season.

 

Catch the potential customer at the time they are ready to purchase or immediately before they are making a buying decision.

 

Make it easy to find you

 

Google is a wonderful tool for research, but unless your business pops up quickly on a smartphone, you may be lost in cyberspace.  Our world is mobile.  Include your address, a map to locate you and your main focus as a keyword. If they are hungry for a pizza, be certain that your name and location pops up on their phone.

 

If you don’t pop up when they are ready, it is as if you do not exist.

 

It does not cost you any more to include a few key details like your address and phone.  Make wise use of your marketing dollars.

 

Know your target market.  Know the message they want to hear and make it easy for them to find you.

Appearance Counts, Especially for the Owner of a Start-Up

Elaine Love

Dress for Success

The business start-up is more than an idea, a business plan, and initial finances.  Does it sound exciting to be able to work from home in your robe and slippers?  Ok, so you put on jeans, flip flops and a hoodie to go to the bank.  Unfortunately that will not create a successful image.

 

As an entrepreneur you are wearing all of the hats.  You are the President and CEO, the accountant, the receptionist and even the office cleaning and maintenance staff.  You never know who you may encounter on your trip to the bank.  What if you met the banker to whom you had just applied for a small business loan?  What if you met the ideal customer who could make a major purchase of your product or the individual who would refer you to that ideal customer?  Would your attire and manner convey the impression of a successful business owner?

 

Darren LaCroix, 2001 World Champion of Public Speaking, considers himself on duty for the client from the time he arrives at the airport to depart for his professional speaking booking.  A future audience member, meeting planner or corporate executive may also be traveling through that same airport at that exact time; they will form an impression which can influence current or future bookings.

 

My speaking and business coaching clients are encouraged to dress business casual with their hair coiffed and clean shoes; females have makeup and the guys are clean shaven.  Does it require extra effort?  Of course.  When you are properly dressed and ready to face the public, you carry yourself just a little more erect.  You smile a bit more and feel better about yourself.

 

As a new entrepreneur, can you really afford to turn away encouragement or financial support?  Probably not.  Did I ever experience such a bitter lesson?  Come with me to Steamboat Springs Ski Resort in Colorado in the early days of Mountain Castles Property Management.

 

It was an especially busy day with tourists departing and new tourists arriving within a few hours for the same five-bedroom homes.  Two housekeepers called in sick.  There wasn’t much choice but to leave my office, put on cleaning clothes and fill the housekeeping gap.  As I stepped into the house, the omen of trouble was immediate.  The sink was piled high.  There is a dishwasher; hadn’t they even washed one dish for the entire week?  My frustration mounted.  One peek into the oven revealed a disaster resembling a burnt out college bond fire.  After a couple hours of scrubbing, it was apparent that there were not enough cleaning materials with me to transform this catastrophe into the sparkling property necessary for the next guests.  I made a hasty dash back to the office to replenish supplies.

 

I entered the office looking especially scruffy and dirty.   I was suddenly face to face with one of my most affluent and impeccably attired female clients.  Neither apologies, explanations, nor excuses could possibly erase my unsavory appearance from her memory.

 

Yes, that appearance error was unavoidable, but what about the avoidable “too much of a hurry to bother” occasions?

 

As the owner, you are making the sales pitch for funding or product sales.  Though you won’t wear a three piece suit to sell products to an auto mechanic shop, it is always respectful to the client to dress up at least as well as they do and preferably slightly better.

 

The old adage of “You never have a second chance to make a good first impression” holds ever so true for the appearance of the owner of a start-up.

 

Take the extra time to pay attention to your attire and grooming.  Your future business and future bank account will thank you.

Are you seeking more success in your life and career? Inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation.  Go to  www.Elaine4Success.com or contact Elaine at Elaine@Elaine4Success.com

How important is your competitive advantage?

Develop your Competitive Advantage

What is your competitive advantage?  Why would people choose to do business with you instead of your competition?  We are in the midst of a challenging economy in United States as well as many other countries right now.  Competitive advantage is even more important now than at any other point in my lifetime, perhaps yours as well.

 

 

If you are an investor, you may be thinking, “How does this relate to me?  This is my market.  There are more sellers than buyers right now.”  True.  If you are the seller, how do you attract that ideal buyer or investor?

 

Fine tune your competitive advantage

 

What is the value, quality or delivery you offer which is superior?  An investor wants to know what you have to offer now; they will build on their additional advantages.  Unless you have something intriguing to offer, they are on to the next opportunity.

 

So what if they don’t invest in your business?  Developing a stronger competitive advantage will make your business more profitable in the interim.

 

Do you believe you have an excellent product or service?  If not, improve it until it is excellent.

 

How to improve your competitive advantage

 

Interview your current customers.

 

  1. What do they like about your company or product?
  2. What do they NOT like? (Not a fun question but very informative.)
  3. What would they like to have but do not have at this time?

 

Interview your competitor’s customers with the same 3 questions.

 

Interview prospective customers.  You will be amazed at how powerful it is to ask them what they want rather than endeavor to sell them something.

 

Now do something with this valuable feedback.  No, not stuff it in a folder to be reviewed at some distant point in the future.

 

Research how other companies have overcome these “dislike” issues.  You are probably not the only one to ever face these challenges.

 

  1.  Contact your mentors or icons in the industry.
  2. Search for information.  Use the internet as well as current print publications.
  3. Visit some of your competitors or purchase a product from them.
  4. Do a blind test and purchase from your own company.

 

Take a vendor to lunch.  Ask their experience with how other companies handle similar situations you deal with in your day to day operations.

 

Ask you CPA.  They work with other companies.  Look outside your industry for ideas

 

Form a plan to improve your competitive advantage

 

  • Find a way to build on your current advantages.  Emphasize them in your marketing

 

  • Compile all of your research information into an organized format.  Brainstorm.  Use the “How can I” approach rather than “That won’t work.”  A positive attitude does wonders.

 

  • Make a list of actions to be taken.  Prioritize the list and add a timeframe to each.

 

  • Take action.  Start the plan immediately

 

Competitive advantage is even more important now.  Adopt the attitude of Amazon in 2008.  The CEO called the key staff together and said “There’s a big recession coming.  Let’s miss it.”

 

Whether you are a seller, buyer, investor or customer, competitive advantage is paramount.  Take action to make your advantage outstanding in the marketplace.  Your employees, customers and bank account will thank you.

 

For more information on competitive advantage, stay tuned to www.Elaine4Success.com.  Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation coaching.  Go to www.Elaine4Success.com/Contact or www.MeetElaineLove.com.

Recognition

What is more motivating to you?

Do you relate to Mary Kay Ash, “There are two things people want more than sex and money… recognition and praise.”

Or do you relate to Bob Nelson, “People may take a job for more money, but they often leave it for more recognition.”

William James phrased it “What every genuine philosopher (every genuine man, in fact) craves most is praise – although the philosophers generally call it ‘recognition’!”

All three are extolling the importance of recognition.

The book, Emotional Ice Water speaks of emotional blocks encountered in life. Amazingly, many blocks can avoid being created in the first place simply by recognizing people and appreciating their efforts. How many emotional blocks: anger, guilt, lack of deservability, or low self confidence were created or justified because someone did not feel appreciated.

Think of a small child who brings you a bug. Now if you are like me, you don’t like bugs. To this small child at this moment in time, catching that bug was a major achievement. Yes, I know you were probably very busily working on an important project and admiring a bug was the last thing on your priority list. Could you consider taking 30 seconds to a minute to praise the child for catching the bug?

Take this same scenario in to the workplace and in to your volunteer organizations. Employees come to work because they are getting paid. It is handy to have money to pay the mortgage, food and even gas to drive to work.

Check out this link of appreciation http://d26toastmasters.org/WP/members/officer-resources. Marcia, Amber, Ann, Shari and Tyler have all worked together as a team. They are all volunteers. Note the caption under the picture: ‘The Metro ‘Team Awesome’ sets a high bar for leadership, cooperation, and fun to serve the clubs, areas, division, and the district. This is the goal we all shoot for. I am so very proud of the area governors in Metro. They are all always willing to step up to help and support each other. “
-Elaine Love DTM, Metro Division Governor 2011-2012

Think how you can reward your family, co-workers or fellow volunteers. You will be amazed and thrilled at the boost in attitude and the enhanced sense of pride and cooperation. Just a tiny token of appreciation goes a long way.

Darren Hardy, Publisher of Success Magazine, started an appreciation journal one Thanksgiving. Every day he wrote something he appreciated about his wife. At the end of a full year he had filled an entire journal. He wrapped it and gave it to his wife as a present. She cried tears of joy and told him, “This is the best present I have ever received.”

Appreciation (Recognition) is the best prevention of Emotional Ice Water. When we concentrate on good thoughts and good feelings for each other, we eliminate any room for negativity.

Where can you find an opportunity to appreciate someone?

For more positive solutions to living a productive, profitable and peaceful life, opt in to www.Elaine4Success.com or hire Elaine Love to speak or train at your next event. Emotional Ice Water exists, but there are solutions and there are preventions.

Steps to Start a Niche Business

Starting a successful small business has steps

Your business may start small; yes, it starts as small as the initial idea. Specific steps to start a small business exist. Discover those steps and be willing to take the action indicated and success knocks on your door. Even better, success flows into your bank account. Are you ready?

“Get rich in a niche.”

Define your market niche. So you ask, “How do I do that?”

When the idea first started nudging at the back of my mind to start Mountain Castles Property Management, several questions came to mind.

1. Where is an unfulfilled need?
2. What services are currently available?
3. What services would people pay for if they were available?
4. What is the biggest unsolved problem?
5. Who has the answers to these questions?

Even though question one was highly significant, the logical sequence to these answers started with question two. Start with what is known. Existing property management companies knew what services they currently provided. Let the interviews begin.

Harry Lambart held the prestigious position as CEO of Steamboat Premier Properties. “Harry, may I take you to lunch and ask a few questions?” An endless stream of questions flowed about marketing methods to obtain new properties to manage, marketing methods to attract new vacation or long term renters, employee compensation plans, fees for services currently offered, and the biggest challenge with the property management business.

Pages and pages of notes later the excitement continued to escalate. The steps to start a small business were in progress. Step one – idea creation. Focus the idea into a specific market segment, a niche. Step two – determine the potential for the idea to reach a large enough market to become profitable and a small enough market to establish a unique place in the marketplace. The best way to accomplish this feat is asking wise questions.

Research multiple sources. If your market is as vast as optimal, there will be varying points of view and a variety of services offered. Remember the object of locating an untapped lucrative niche market.

Research all aspects of your target market. In the example above, the interviews ranged from property management companies to real estate sales agencies on the services aspect. The interviews continued with second home owners, vacationers, and lift operators. Yes the seasonal workers who converge on the ski areas are potential renters. Frequently they are wearing their expensive season ski pass as a fine piece of jewelry; when the Aspen, Vail and Steamboat passes cost over $1,000 each, they do rival the cost of a fine piece of jewelry. Expensive hobbies require significant income.

Caution even though the primary goal of these athletic young individuals is to grace the ski slopes with their skis and snowboards, they frequently work two or three jobs and live a communal existence in order to afford their ski resort existence. You may rent to two or three and suddenly discover five or six actually living in the property.

How can you prevent this “roommate expansion” issue? Construct a specific contract and do reasonable property inspections. Research what is considered “reasonable” and follow the legal guidelines. Sometimes a simple late night drive by counting cars in the driveway or parked on the street provides excellent information.

This example is specific to property management; however the principle applies to all businesses.
1. Research the existing comparable businesses.
2. Research the legal parameters of your proposed business.
3. Interview a variety of business owners in your target market.
4. Interview potential clients for your proposed business
5. What organizations, associations or individuals would have additional valuable input for you?

This is a small section from my new book. The purpose of the book is to shorten the learning curve of new entrepreneurs and provide belief in themselves and their dream. The anticipated publication date will be May, 2011. Hire Elaine Love to speak to your group and rekindle the fire of productivity and profitability. Hire Elaine Love as your personal coach and mentor IF you decide to be all that you can be and are willing to take action. Contact Elaine at www.ElaineSpeaks.net or www.Elaine4Success.com.

Brand Success

Think big, but start small.  So you have big dreams. . .  great.  Big dreams are only casual flights of fancy unless you back them with action.  Daydreams flitter away like dry leaves in a stiff breeze.  Turn those daydreams into the glimmer and glow of genuine potential by forming a solid business plan.

Step one in brand success requires deciding exactly what you passionately desire to do.  A passionate desire differs from a casual wish by your degree of commitment to make it come true.  If your life depended on your business success, you would get up early, stay up late and focus with laser sharp detail.  If you are only seeking a few dollars as pocket change for “fine if I do or fine if I don’t” items, you will give up at the slightest little bump in the road.  Passion exists in a business survival mode but not in a casual “take it or leave it” attitude.  If the life of your child depended on you acquiring twenty thousand dollars for an operation, you would find a way to obtain the money.

Step one is determining what you are passionate about doing for your career.

Step two of brand success refines that passion into a workable specific business.  Perhaps your passion is helping people save their homes from going into foreclosure.  You could start a mortgage company offering refinancing services.  You could offer credit counseling services.  You could offer guaranteed program which cuts through all of the government red tape and reduces their mortgage loan to an affordable rate.  This plan would also forgive prior missed payments.  There are many ways you could dovetail your passion into a solid productive business for you which truly helps your fellow citizens.

Step two is refining your passion into the best possible business for you.

Step three of brand success means creating an eye-catching business name.  There are several criteria in creating the ideal business name.  The name should instantly telegraph what your business does.  The name should be short and catchy in order to be memorable.  It can and probably will have a tagline under the name further defining and clarifying the business purpose and scope of goods or services.  “Mountain Castles” Comprehensive Property Management indicates that it is a property management company, not a real estate sales company, specializing in luxury single family homes in the mountains, particularly ski resorts.

Step three was creating a specific identifiable business name.

Step four of brand success revolves around selecting your most appropriate colors to accent and clarify your business.  Color selection is a lengthy art in itself.  If you were doing a fresh fruit stand, you would not choose black; rotten fruit colors would be counter productive.  A day care center would choose cheerful colors rather than brown and beige.  New Millionaire Blueprint chose the deep blue for trust.  Matching your colors to your business, your product or service, your personality and your taste becomes a very personalized art.  Nonetheless, it is an extremely important step in the branding process.

Step four becomes color selection.

Step five of brand success requires the development of a logo to bland the name, colors and identifiable image.  Mountain Castles was represented by an elegant medieval castle on a mountain top.  Tiger in High Heels depicts an elegant feminine lady with the watermark image of a tiger behind her; the immediate impression conveyed is femininity with a strong assertive “no nonsense” professional approach.  Once again, logos are very personal and must coordinate with the business name, colors and personality of the owner.

Step five represents the creation of the logo.

Step six of brand success details the creation of the business plan to take the new business owner from the starting blocks to the finish line.  A detailed business plan requires precise step by step activities with periodic progress checks to move the new business forward in a logical progression.  Thus is also a lengthy process requiring careful thought and determination to follow through with the required action.  This is not to be entered into lightly.

Creating true brand success demands a solid thoughtful plan all dovetailing into a structured and implementable long term goal.

  1. Find your passion
  2. Refine your passion into a specific business
  3. Determine your business name
  4. Determine your color identification
  5. Craft your logo
  6. Create your business plan

For specific personalization on each of these critical points, join me at http://www.elaine4success.com/.

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”Elaine spoke to our top leaders from 8 states, she gave us new and positive ways to connect with people
which is EXACTLY what we wanted. Thanks Elaine”
-Tom Fajardo, State Farm