Archive for the ‘Small Business’ Category
Taxes are going up. ObamaCare continues to roll out more complications, contingencies and costs. The
dollar is losing its former high status in the world economy. Our national debt is rising. Is all the news doom and gloom? No. As entrepreneurs, we still have a business to run; ideally running that business at a profit. What can we do?
Running Your Business?
How many times have you reached a point in your business when you experienced a bit of a slump in profits? What did you do about it?
During the initial growth days of Mountain Castles, I was focused from morning until night calling on Realtors, devising new ways to attract clients and servicing the clients already under contract. The business of running the business soon consumed all of the time and active personal marketing dwindled.
We know what happens when marketing decreases.
What Worked Before?
Go back to the basics. What activities were you doing when your business worked the best? Chances are that you were doing one or more of the “Fabulous 5” Daily Activities.
- 1. Daily action plan
At least the night before write out the most important tasks to be accomplished the next day and exactly what time you would dedicate to each activity. Follow through. (My preference is to lay out my entire week on Sunday for the upcoming week. Each primary activity has its time slot. Non-business emails and phone calls are ignored during that time. Turn your phone off and minimize your email program.)
- 2. Prioritize Activities According to Goals
If the activity will advance you toward the achievement of your goals, do it. If the activity takes you away from your primary goal, eliminate it.
Are your goals written? Thoughts about goals rather than written goals are merely wishes.
Goals should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely).
Specific Goal – weigh 120# by June 30, 2013
Measurable – scales do not lie (no fair standing with one foot on the floor or in the air.)
Attainable – if the current weight is 130, a reduction of 10 pounds in 105 days is certainly attainable. If the current weight is 230, that goal would not be attainable without surgery.
One or two pounds reduction per week would certainly be within reason. Gradual weight reduction is more likely to stay off. Note, I did not say lose weight; if you lose it, you may find it again.
Relevant – A goal to weigh less at precisely the time you open a chocolate shop would be a conflict.
Timely – The specific goal included a completion date. Setting checkpoints along the route is advisable. In the example above, the weight reduction was one pound every ten days; specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely.
Analyze each of your goals according to this formula. Since it is difficult to go in multiple directions at the same time, it is recommended to set a maximum of three main goals with every minor goal tying directly to one of the three major goals. In the weight loss example, it could be exercising three times per week.
- 3. Income Producing Activity
Lead generation and following up on leads fills the sales funnel. It is a simple progression – marketing – leads – follow up with leads – sales – delivery of goods or services – customer service – profit – repeat orders.
Regardless of the marketing method: paid online marketing, social media, printed marketing, or personal contact marketing, leads must be generated. Income producing activities are critical every day.
- 4. Personal Development
Customers always relate to you first and the product second. Unless you are the only possible source for the product and they desperately have to have the product, buyers purchase from the salesperson who emotionally connects with them. Patricia Fripp, first female president of the National Speakers Association said, “You only have to connect with your audience emotionally if you want them to remember you and what you said.”
Personal development is knowing yourself. Celebrate what is going well in your life and constantly strive to improve other elements one by one. Personal development is key to a peaceful and productive life.
Journaling, meditating, listening to educational/inspirational/thought-provoking material, reading books and magazines with informative content and attending motivational seminars all enhance the opportunity for personal development. Invest in yourself by completing the exercises in Emotional Ice Water. The best information in the world will not help you unless you take action and apply it to your life.
- 5. Cultivate an Attitude of Success
When you believe in yourself, believe the best in others, associate with positive minded leaders, and take action on those constructive thoughts, you will progress. Bob Moawad said, “You can’t make footprints in the sands of time if you are sitting on your butt.”
Think positive, take action and achieve your goals.
A friend of mine recently laid down a $1000 bet with a network marketer from another company. They were sitting in the patio area of Panera Bread. Christy said, “I’ll bet you $1000 that I can get more new customers in the next thirty minutes here than you can.” He responded,” That’s not fair. I have a high end skin care product and you have consumables.” Christy responded, “That’s right, my company offers over 400 products people need and use every day.” “Which one of us do you think will make more money?” He swallowed hard and replied, “You will.”
- How much do you believe in the product? Far too many people have started small businesses with visions of dollar signs in their eyes. Blinded by the green and gold lights (money and gold), they plunked down their cash and plunged into business.
After a few rejections, there will be rejections in every business, they were discouraged. “This doesn’t work. They lied to me.” Consider that it may not be the business, but the reason for starting it which caused the problem
Believe in the product you are promoting. Focusing on the money alone will not take you through the rough spots. EVERY successful entrepreneur as well as every unsuccessful one will attest to the fact that there are rough spots. There will be bad days. There will be “sure fire deals” that go south.
- What problem does the product solve? If you are basing your entire future on a “pet rock,” you may want to reconsider. It could be a fun fad for a short time, but little or no market duration. There are probably some of you reading this who don’t know that a “pet rock” product actually existed for a very short time span. Case in point – it didn’t last. It was fun but did not really solve any problem. In tight economic times, consumers choose food instead of pet rocks.
- How large is the market segment which has that specific problem and is willing to pay for a solution? There are a tremendous number of terrible speakers promoting themselves; we receive requests every week at our local Rotary club. Some have an important message, but their presentation skill is so terribly lacking that the message is lost by boring the audience. Do they need a presentation coach? Yes desperately. Will they pay for a professional coach? Some believe they do not need a coach. Others believe that asking their mother how they are doing is good enough. Still others say the price is too high for their budget. A small percentage invest in themselves and improve.
Look carefully at your target market. You will not contract with everyone who needs your service. Will you reach a sufficient number on a consistent basis to meet your income needs and goals?
- Consistency is important. Refer to the opening $1000 bet. Repeat orders are important. When you have a product consumers need to repeatedly order, you will make more money. If your only product was a central vacuum system for your home, one purchase and you are seeking a new customer. Granted, you receive a nice commission for that one sale.
High dollar network marketing companies promote the $1000, $5,000 and $10,000 commissions; remember those green and gold lights? The catch is continuing to find a steady stream of purchasers who are willing to spend $2,000 to $20,000. Most high dollar network marketing companies also build in a residual component; everything hinges on the steady stream of purchasers. Unfortunately, statistics show that only three percent of high dollar network marketers achieve success; only a small percentage of those earn the “big bucks” for more than a few months. Look carefully at yourself and your product to determine if you believe you will produce a sufficient income over a sustained period of time.
In our example of the $1000 bet, consumers will continue to purchase shampoo, cleaning products, toothpaste etc. regardless of the economy.
- Compensation Plan. You probably did not start a business just to fill time; your goal was to make money. How easy is the compensation plan to understand? One company I reviewed had such a complicated plan with variations and intricacies that few understood it and even fewer could explain it. Look for a clear plan which you understand, you can explain and you will earn commensurate with the time and effort you expend.
Back in the early days of pay-per-click advertising, the money was flowing out as fast as or faster for the marketing than it was flowing in from sales. Look seriously at your compensation. You are in business to make a profit.
Other factors also exist such as the ethics and integrity of the company owners and leaders, knowing you are helping people as well as making money and feeling that you are proud to attach your name to your motivation as well as your results. Do you have or can you acquire the expertise to effectively present the company and its products?
How long has the company been in existence? What is the growth rate of the company; if people are leaving in similar numbers as new people are arriving, that is a red flag.
How often has the compensation plan changed?
No company will please 100% of the people 100% of the time. Read the complaints on the internet; what is the percentage in comparison to the size of the company?
Before succumbing to the green and gold lights, look carefully at the product, the problem solved, the market size, the market sustainability, and the net compensation (income after expenses). Find a company which meets your criteria for success.
For guidance in selecting the best company to fit your goals, talent and time, contact me at Elaine@Elaine4Success.com. I’m happy to help
As a single mother with two young boys, earning a living was not optional. There had to be a better way than working
from 11 pm until 7 pm seven days a week making donuts. Bakeries, hair salons or bars tend to stimulate conversations. Tourists, enthralled with the charming ski resort atmosphere, verbalized their desire to purchase a vacation home in the picturesque valley. Realtors were certainly anxious to accommodate the potential purchasers. The stumbling block was the lack of property management for single family homes. Ski resorts not only have significant snowfall but that was the winter with 40 and 50 degree below zero temperatures. Would you leave a half million dollar investment vacant for most of the year in those conditions? Neither would they.
The idea of starting a property management company specializing in single family homes kept nudging at the edge of my mind. “Elaine, you don’t know anything about property management. You don’t have the money to start a company like that. You’ll need vehicles, equipment, and a real estate broker’s license.” As if my own negative self-talk wasn’t enough discouragement, the comments from friends, family and business associates ranged from “That’s a dumb idea” to “You’ll go broke.”
Call it naive, call it reckless, or call it desperate to sleep at night instead of work all night. I sold the bakery at the end of ski season and enrolled in Colorado Real Estate Institute in Denver. After six weeks of attending classes all day and studying all night and weekend, I passed the all-day test. It felt so good to go home and retrieve my sons from the babysitter.
There was $4,537.32 to cover all start-up costs including school, purchasing a Jeep Cherokee to transport maintenance and housekeeping equipment and tourists. Talk about a l-e-a-n start-up. Failure was not an option. The boys and I were “all chips in.”
Now the work began. Technical book knowledge helps, but the practical application is quite different. Reading about how to ride a bicycle and actually doing it are quite different.
My first reservation was March. Looking back, it was foolish to agree to receive payment upon check- in. All of the preparations were ready. The guest didn’t show. I never made that mistake again. Going forward, everything had to be paid at least thirty days prior to arrival.
The other property management companies also listed and sold real estate. Presentations were made to each real estate company promising not to sell but strictly manage; in exchange they agreed to send referrals to me.
Confidence soared with each new rental or property owner prospect and plummeted when a long dry spell ensued between new clients. Creating a successful start-up on a tissue paper thin budget has its emotional as well as financial challenges.
The discouraging remarks of “It’s a dumb idea. You’ll go broke” continued to pour in from all sides. Each remark chipped a notch in my confidence but failure was not an option.
One day the Federal Marshalls called, “Elaine, the property you manage on Elk Ridge Lane now belongs to us. Officer Tafoya will be out tomorrow.” The owners appeared to be successful venture capitalists operating a car rental agency in Florida; there were no clues about their other venture. The property went from successful rental to zero in an instant.
Eventually Mountain Castles outgrew the tiny dark office in my home and acquired an attractive office building location and employees. The strategic plan was that the management fees for the homes and the commission from long term renters would cover all overhead. Once overhead was secure and a financial cushion was tucked away, it was time to expand into vacation rentals. This venture required an entirely new target market for tourists and vacation rental homes, significant additional procedures including housekeeping and a complete reservation system. The highest profit was in vacation rentals but also the highest risk and highest personnel requirement. Welcome back the skittish nerves, but failure was not an option.
Remember when I foolishly thought that property management would be less hours? No one locks themselves out between 8 and 5 Monday through Friday; it is always in the middle of the night. The record was four times in one night by the same man; beverages were involved.
A solopreneur start-up was hard on my sons. We did not have one uninterrupted holiday together in over fifteen years. An owner or renter always needed something. Rather than asking employees to work on holidays, the boys and I covered.
Have you ever been at the crossroads where your business needed to grow or go? That point came in 1994. Competition was intense. Going back to college thirty years after graduation brought its own set of doubts and fears. Working full time, attending classes in the evening once a week for three years, and studying consumed my life. There was a buzz in the air about the internet and email. The idea occurred to design a web page and advertise reservations for property management on the internet. A friend designed the page; it was the first web page in Routt County. Thirteen weeks and many tweaks later, it generated its first reservation. My master’s thesis, published in 1997, had three years of Mountain Castles history in it detailing the project of marketing reservations on the internet. That crazy idea earned Mountain Castles the First Resort International “Innovator of the Year” award.
If self-doubts or the discouraging words of others had been allowed to stop Mountain Castles, that award would not have been received. Failure is not an option.
Have you ever reached a fork in the road? Some individuals are fortunate enough to arrive in this world with an internal compass; they instinctively know their “true north” as well as east and west. I either have a faulty installation or missed the “compass” assembly point completely. My “north – south – east – west” directional finder has serious design flaws. Fortunately, my car displays both a compass and a GPS map (complete with voice commands).
Purchasing a compass or a GPS for hiking or driving is relatively economical and easily attainable. What about the compass for your career and your life?
How many times have you reached a fork in your career? In our grandparent’s lives and the historical common practice in many European countries, a career was chosen early in life and rarely, if ever, altered. In our parent’s careers, the economy and expanding marketplaces fostered change. By 2013, change is expected, but is it embraced? Maybe not. How do we know which fork in the road to pursue? How do you decide?
Back to Basics
I found myself at this decision point in 2008. Should I stay in my beloved Steamboat where I had happily resided, skied and participated in the community for 29 years or relocate to Denver?
The decision process was emotionally and financially traumatic. It is both scary and exciting to make bold moves which totally uproot your life. Going from the known to the unknown can inspire a sense of adventure or sheer terror.
What is your decision process?
What are your top three priorities to accomplish in 2013? Once you achieve those three goals, could you declare 2013 the best year of your life? When goals are big enough to qualify in the “best year of your life” category, they must be extremely important to you.
Steve Jobs said, “You spend a great deal of your time at work. In order to be satisfied, you must do really great work. In order to do really great work, you must do something you love. If you don’t love it, keep looking. Don’t settle.” This statement resonates with my soul and guides my decision process.
In listening to Brian Tracey, world renowned author and speaker, and Darren Hardy, publisher of Success magazine, the consensus was that if you have more than three top priorities, you just have a wish list not a priority list. Those top three priorities are frequently centered around relationships, health and financial
Write your top three priorities
Post those top three priorities in a prominent place. Every night just before dozing off or the first few moments after your eyelids flutter open in the morning (for some that is awakening and others after the first cup of espresso), write those top three priorities. Writing solidifies the objective in your mind.
Write an action plan
In order to achieve something you love, decide exactly what you want and form an action plan to convert it to reality.
Break your action plan into segments
December 31, 2013 is ten and one-half months away. How much will you have achieved by March 31, June 30, and September 30? What do you need to accomplish every week or every day in order to reach each checkpoint successfully?
In order for 2013 to be the best year of your life, the time to begin is “now o’clock.” When you do something you love, the time goes faster, the process is easier and the results are superior.
Examine the root word “Lead” carefully.
L – Learning all the information possible from great books, live seminars, cd recordings and personal interaction with other positive attitude, forward-thinking successful people.
E – Examine your own internal thoughts, beliefs, words and actions. Are you allowing old negative programming to hold you back from achieving all of your dreams and goals?
A – Achieve all of your goals by focusing your energy on the target. When you focus on a goal and direct all of your activity toward that one specific objective for as long as it takes to accomplish it, your success is guaranteed.
D – Delegate just enough responsibility to your team members or followers to develop their potential to achieve their own goals and lead others.
When you learn, do a comprehensive internal self-examination, and focus on achieving all of your own goals, you now have a path in place to guide others to duplicate you’re achievements. You can not guide someone else to accomplish things you have not achieved. There is as lack of credibility when you tell others how to do something you have never done. There is never a long line to ask the advice of the person at the bottom of the success ladder.
First achieve the goals and then provide the system for others to duplicate your results. The old saying of “fake it until you make it” just does not have credibility. So you ask, what to do until you do have proven results of your own. Edify your boss or your supervisor or your coach and mentor. Point to their success until you have success of your own. Always, always be honest. Do not claim to have positive results until you do.
Learn to celebrate every little victory. Record each small victory in a journal and celebrate each one. These small accomplishments will grow into bigger achievements. Your experience learning and growing will actually assist you in effective leadership. People relate to you and your challenges as they progress through their own challenges.
Being honest about your leadership journey also adds to your credibility. None of us started at the top. Read our stories; we faced challenges and setbacks as well as victories on our way to personal leadership.
I do not believe there is or ever has been one effective leader who has not “paid his or her dues.” Every one of us has examined ourselves and our leadership thoughts many times. We examined and re-examined our leadership styles. We evaluated our personal leadership and our leadership skills over and over. We made adjustments and adjusted the adjustments.
Only after walking the path ourselves were we able to direct someone else through the same system to reach their own personal success. First we made the journey through the success minefield, then we were qualified to guide others through that minefield to their own personal success.
Even now, after they have achieved their goals, effective leadership demands a constant process of adjusting to modern innovations. Business, success nor leadership stands still. Each one remains a moving target. In order to effectively delegate these skills and techniques, we must continue to focus and keep our own leadership skills sharp.
Learn, examine, achieve and delegate. You must follow each and every step in order and then keep repeating the cycle. Leadership is constantly evolving and the best and more effective leaders never take themselves or their followers for granted. Effective leadership skills are a precious commodity. Delegate them to others and the world will constantly improve. Effective leadership is a privilege, an honor and a responsibility.
I take my leadership, coaching and mentoring seriously. Come visit me at Elaine4Success.com. Let me help you navigate the minefield of success and leadership.
Most owners want to grow their business, but also feel some trepidation. “Am I ready? Do I have needed things in place? Will I end up just working more hours but earning no more money?” Examples I have worked with:
• You own a popular and profitable restaurant, and you have the opportunity to open a second location. But you can’t be at both places at the same time! How do you uphold your high service standards?
• You have a successful professional practice, with more clients than you can handle. You’re thinking of hiring and training others to work for you. But you wonder if you could end up boosting your revenue without making any more money yourself.
• Your small bakery sells in your shop and through a few local stores. Now a food broker says she can help you expand sales throughout the region. But this will definitely force you out of your comfortable “mom and pop” style. You’re afraid the added work will just swallow your life.
These are appealing options, but daunting. Do you have what it takes? Or should you just stay the same? Here’s how you can tell.
These are my “Top 10 Rules” for business growth. They’re also true if your main interest is building profitability or streamlining operations so that you have more time for other things.
Use the exercise to rate yourself.
The first rule is “The more you can let go, the more you can grow.”
This trips up many entrepreneurs, who, let’s face it, are control freaks. “The business is moi! I’m the only one who can do this work. It’s my sweat and blood. How can I trust others to take over these key tasks?” But those who learn to let go are those who grow, and they do so by applying the following factors:
2. The better teams you can build… the faster you can grow. People who grow companies rapidly know how to put a good team in place, then move on to the next thing. They become a leader of independent teams.
3. The more you insist on top performance… the faster you can grow. Do not let mediocre performers dictate your rate of growth, whether they are employees, customers, vendors, or professionals. Pay more for higher quality. Hire people smarter than you.
4. The more systematized you get… the faster you can grow. All routine tasks must be described in user manuals, checklists, and software programs, so that you and your people can focus attention on the big, creative challenges. If you don’t do this, you can’t do Rule #1.
5. The savvier your advisors… the faster you can grow. You must let go of the “lone ranger” approach to running the business. Bring in people who know more than you do, and aren’t afraid to tell you when you’re making a mistake.
6. The bigger you can envision… the faster you can grow. Your expanding vision creates the space into which your company grows. A small vision constricts the growth of your company. Make sure your near-term goals and actions move you toward your vision.
7. The more you can inspire and guide… the faster you can grow. You must be a leader, not just a manager—or a worker bee. Keeping your nose to the grindstone is the mark of a small operator.
8. The more open you are to changing direction… the faster you can grow. You must be somewhere between the Titanic plowing through the night sea and the hound dog scrambling frantically to find the scent of the rabbit. Stick with your direction—until it’s time to shift, then change decisively.
9. The more surplus or profit you generate… the faster you can grow. Profit is the engine of growth. Low margin companies gasp for the air provided by profit, and they huff and puff going up the slightest growth curve. Go for profit, not just revenue.
10. The more capital you bring in from the outside… the faster you can grow. Companies that grow from internal profitability grow at a much slower rate. Those that obtain bank financing grow somewhat faster, and those that collaborate with people or companies providing angel or venture capital can grow quite quickly – sometimes too fast.
Mike Van Horn is a small business growth adviser who works with owners of established companies that are grappling with the challenges of growth. He is author of “How to Grow Your Business without Driving Yourself Crazy” plus several other workbooks and ebooks. http://blog.businessownerstoolbox.com
Mike will gladly email you this entire exercise, including questions that will help you assess yourself, if you let him know your name and what kind of business you have. firstname.lastname@example.org
How many times have you sat down to write a marketing piece and stared at a blank sheet of paper desperately searching for a flash of inspiration? Suddenly you have an overwhelming urge to make a cup of coffee. The corner of a note on your desk catches your eye and you remember a promise to phone someone. Three or four interruptions later you are still staring at a blank sheet of paper; you are now out of time to write.
David Foster, known as the Hit Man for all of his hit records, said in his Success Magazine cover story that sometimes he does not feel like writing a song. He does it anyway. Maybe it will be good rather than great, but it will be a song. He went on to say that he forces himself to sit down and start writing; the inspiration will come.
Professional writers have spoken about writing a ten page paper and throwing away the first two pages before they hit their stride.
The Nike slogan says it best, “Just do it.”
You can reach for the ultimate comfort food – warm chocolate brownies. Or you can stop giving yourself excuses and start working.
Easier to tell yourself to concentrate than to do it?
Probably true, but also realistic. Amazing how many excuses and distractions you can create when you do not want to do something, do not know how to do it, or are simply not motivated to do it.
- 1. Set a timer for thirty minutes and tell yourself that you will focus until the buzzer rings. Once you actually start writing, it usually starts to flow.
- 2. Give yourself a reward when the project is completed.
- 3. Ask yourself a critical question. What do you want the audience to think, feel or do after reading the material? Answering that question can provide inspiration.
- Who is your target audience? Until you know the individual you are expecting to read your material, you do not know how to write in the manner in which they will want to receive the message. Think about your target client and write as if you are speaking to them.
- 5. What problem would you like to solve for them? In the case of the focus issue, the problem is writers block; the goal is to get the writer “un-stuck.”
What would you tell one of your clients, one of your employees, or one of your children if they were hitting a blank wall on an assignment? Would you subscribe to the “Take my advice, I’m not using it” theory? You probably would not admit it to them. I’ve hit the wall many times with projects. These are the ways I solve the inertia problem.
Take my own advice
What do I want you, my reader, to think? Think that you are not alone. Every business person faces the dilemma of “blank page syndrome” from time to time.
What is the goal for you to feel? Feel that a solution exists. Think of the block as tissue paper rather than stone and know that you can push through to success.
What should you do? Follow the Nike slogan and “Just do it.”
For more information on overcoming emotional blocks, 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
How important are the words you put in print? We hear about blogging, social media comments and even writing marketing copy. Your written words are actually more important than your spoken words.
Spoken words may be forgotten, but the written word is permanent. Once you hit “send” or “submit,” those words are available to be found forever.
Private? Think again.
That funny party picture you posted as a joke is available also. I hear some of you saying, “no, I posted in my private setting. That posting will never be public.” Wrong. Regardless of the privacy setting, if someone wants to find it badly enough, they will. If even one person re-tweets or copies the picture or text, it is now public.
A young woman was so proud of her body building contest results that she posted the picture on her Facebook page. If you know anything about those contests, you know that the attire makes a string bikini look prudish. What seems like harmless fun in her 20s may come back to haunt her. Would you want a “nearly nude” picture of yourself on the internet for your parents, children and your boss to see?
Words come back to bite you
Be conscious of the words you write. You are representing yourself and your company with each comment. This is the age of the spontaneous comment. It only takes a second to hit “send” but the results remain
Am I trying to scare you into not posting on the internet? Absolutely not. I’m posting this right now.
Another true story
Two individuals in an organization chose to escalate their disagreement into a public display. Feelings were hurt, words were written which in retrospect should never have been said. The repercussions are still being felt throughout the organization seven months later. A disagreement which could have been solved quietly has mushroomed into a major disruption. The entire organization is suffering.
Once written words become public, they may be retracted, but they are not removed from memories.
.Why is writing important in your organization? Your marketing copy is obviously public. It represents your company. The image you project in your marketing materials must be positive, but it must also be honest.
There is a common expression throughout network marketing and other media to “fake it until you make it.” The catchphrase was originally designed to create a feeling of success; by acting “as If” you have already achieved the desired level of success, you will trick your sub conscious into making that your reality. The problem is that when that statement goes public, others do not know whether it is an internal statement or the truth. 97% of people fail in network marketing. Perhaps some entered the business with a false sense of probability.
Be aware of the consequences of your spoken words and your written words not only on yourself but also on others.
For more keys to a successful spoken or written presentation, contact Elaine Love at Elaine@Elaine4Success.com or www.Elaine4Success.com. If you want to take your communication from Now to WOW, implement this simple key. Want more keys to success for yourself and your company? Hire Elaine Love as your coach, corporate trainer or keynote speaker.
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.
What is your battle? This internal dilemma theme has been touted in the pop song, “Torn Between Two Lovers” and the movie of its origin, Doctor Zhivago. Country songs have moaned about it and our legal system is clogged with cases of two opposing viewpoints. One of the more definitive statements about internal turmoil is the Cherokee proverb, “There is a Battle of Two Wolves Inside Us All.”
One is evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, lies, inferiority and ego.
The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy and truth.
Which wolf wins? The one you feed.
Name Your Wolves
Who are your destructive wolves? Can you call them by name? Anger, blame, guilt, resentment and lack of deservability are among the most familiar. How often do you feed them? Allowing your thoughts to drift too frequently to these negatives or remain there too long and you may be feeding them a seven course meal instead of a snack.
Don’t think for even a moment that I have not ever fed them. Unfortunately there have been times when I felt sad, alone, hurt or even mistreated; those are the times I fed them. If anyone ever tells you that they have never been upset, angry, disappointed, resentful or even jealous, they are lying, forgetful or delusional. Experiencing the full range of emotions is normal human behavior.
The gentle wolf is when my small grandson snuggles up beside me and just cuddles. He doesn’t even want to talk or play, he just wants to be loved and feel safe and wanted. How many times in your life have you experienced the supreme bliss of just being with someone? Neither of you even had to say a word; you were content just being together.
Perhaps there were times you were consoling someone or being consoled when you felt better because they were there with you. Remember the times you did something for another person without wanting or expecting anything in return. Remember the warm feeling; it is like the glow of a fragrant candle in a dark room.
Jim Rohn, famous business philosopher, tells a tale of the “day that turns your life around.”
It may be the day you declare “I’ve had enough. Things are going to change right now.”
Jim tells the story of a young mother who asked her husband for ten dollars and he said “What for?” She vowed that very day that she would never ever ask for money again. She looked for new skills. She found the classes. She looked for new opportunities to stretch and grow. She kept looking until she found them. Twelve years later she was vice president of a major jewelry company in New York City.
Her entire life changed because she turned loose of the fur of the wolf which fed her inferiority and embraced the wolf of hope. Which wolf do you need to stop feeding and chase away? Which wolf do you need to embrace? The choice is yours.
The book Emotional Ice Water helps you identify each destructive wolf and release it. You know you will always receive more of whatever you give your time, energy and focus. Focus on the gentle wolves.
For more information on identifying and releasing emotional blocks, stay tuned to www.Elaine4Success.com. Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation coaching. Purchase the book Emotional Ice Water. Go to www.Elaine4Success.com/Contact or www.MeetElaineLove.com.