Archive for the ‘Business Tips’ Category

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Friday 12/9/11 – Mind Dump
“The Martial Arts Master And The Unexpected Business Lesson”

Wednesday 11/30/11 Mind Dump…

Posted: December 1, 2011 in Business Tips

This is the first time I’ve done this on this blog.  But let’s give it a try…

These are the random thoughts flowing through my mind and some of the interesting things I’ve read online recently:

  • I finally saw the movie Secretariat.  LOVED it!  It was such a great story.  It confirms my belief that content marketers need to learn “the power of story”.
  • One of the things I’ll teach in my “content boosters” e-class is the need for “highs” and “lows” in the content we create.  This movie had some great examples of this.
  • Interesting question about digital books killing reading from Jonathan Fields over atTribalAuthor.com.  I wonder if he’s right?  (I hope not though).
  • I had a great consulting call with one of my clients last night.  We discussed a lot of things, but two of the things we covered were how content marketing helps business owners connect and the need to make our content portable.
  • The call just reminds me of how I’m wired to really fiend off of teaching others. There’s just something about the way I’m made that I really get energized from helping others grasp and apply new ideas.
  • I had a great phone conversation with Cathy Demers over at http://www.business-success-cafe.com.  She uses a great service to schedule phone appointments at http://www.timetrade.com.  I’d encourage you to check it out and check Cathy’s 20-min. power calls for business owners.
  • Really enjoying “The Steve Jobs Way: iLeadership for a New Generation” (Amazon affiliate link)  It’s cool to see how focused Steve was on details and the customer experience.
  • Speaking of that, I’ve been thinking recently about how much in life we don’t notice.  It’s all based on what our Reticular Activating System (RAS) is set to notice.  This comes from what we’re focusing on.  (Steve seemed to have his tuned to design.)  When we change our focus, we change what we notice.
  • This is part of the idea of this blog post at Contently.com.  It’s about how to never run out of blog ideas.
  • Don’t know if you noticed, but I’ve been working on a redesign for http://recessionsolution.com.  Not done yet, but testing a new look and new structure.   (Focusing on merging the blog and site as one.)
  • That’s all the rambling for now.  See ya.
Photo by IsaacMao

I hope you are having a great Friday.  I’m still recovering from overeating yesterday on Thanksgiving.

I’m trying to update my main website and then relax the rest of the day.  I hope you are relaxing too.

I wanted to share with you a post from ContentMarketingInstitute.com that I had the honor to be a part of.  

This post contains some REALLY great content marketing advice from many different experts.

I’d encourage you to at least skim through it when you have the chance…

“21 Things Content Marketing Experts Wish They Had Known When They Got Started”

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Did you know that nowadays for every tree that loggers cut down they plant four seedlings?

Did you know that because of this practice, there are more trees now than there were in 1920?

If you think about it, this is a very smart practice because without new trees, loggers have no future.

That made me think.

How many businesses are wise enough to do the same thing?

Many businesses start by focusing on doing every thing they can to get customers or clients… until they start showing up.

But once they start showing up something interesting happens.

They stop focus on getting them (or lessen that focus) and begin to concentrate on helping those customers or clients.

Now, obviously, you need to focus on your customers or clients.  I would never tell you to not do that.  But what will eventually happen to you if you stop focusing on getting new customers or clients?  

That’s right.  You’ll end up like unwise loggers.

You’ll soon have no future.

And just to be clear, this doesn’t just apply to traditonal businesses.  It applies to schools, universities,  doctors, hospitals, dentists, etc.

What Can We Learn From The Loggers
1. Always be planting

Don’t ever stop prospecting, marketing and promoting.  Make it a habit to do one thing to grow your business every time you make a sale or gain a client.

Want an example?  They say the best way to ask for a referral is right after a person purchases.  That’s one thing you can get into the habit of doing.  (*By the way, in interviewing 38 top business, marketing, and sales experts I’ve discovered this first lesson is the common thing most businesses stop doing in a recession.)

2. Plan for four times what you need

This is one of the times where it’s better to be realistic, than optimistic.  Realize that some of your efforts now are going to fizzle out.  Some new customers won’t purchase much or stick around very long.  Plan for this.

That reminds me of a wise saying to keep in mind.  It’s this, “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.”  Plant generously now if you want to reap generously tomorrow.

3. Keep your mind focused on tomorrow while working today.

It’s so tempting to get caught up with the customers and clients you have today and forget to focus on the future. But that is a very fatal type of amnesia to have.  The time to think about, and plan for, tomorrow is today. Every logger knows that a tree doesn’t just appear in a day.  You have to plant it, protect it, fertilize it, weed it, etc.

Today is the day to create content that will allow someone to find you next month.  Today is the day to send your prospects list some new, valuable content.  Tomorrow they might have the need or finances to finally purchase what you offer and you want to be at the top of their minds.  The fact is prospects also take time to grow into customers or clients (some take more time than others).  That’s why you must keep your mind focused on tomorrow or your business won’t have many tomorrows.

Apply these lessons from loggers to your business and you’ll increase your chances of a great harvest in the future.

Photo by clairity

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A Powerful Brand Called “Harry”

Posted: November 10, 2011 in Business Tips

I never heard motivational speaker Bill Gove speak.

But I heard that he was basically the founder of the public speaking industry.  I heard that he was an amazing story teller.  I’m about to share with you an example of what made him so special.

It’s a story of his that I came across that will reveal to you a simple way one appliance store owner established a powerful brand that helped his store stand out from the rest.

It even helped his store compete against the discount stores in his neighborhood.

Bill Gove told this story…

How Harry Competed With The Discount Stores

Harry ran a small appliance store in Phoenix, Arizona.  Harry was used to price-shopping by young couples. They would ask detailed questions about features, prices, and model numbers, and one of them always took notes.

Harry knew that as soon as they left the store they were going to head for one of the discount appliance dealers to make comparisons.  Nevertheless, Harry would patiently answer all their questions, even though it took more than a half hour at times.”

But here’s where Harry really shines.  Listen to what Bill Gove shares next…

Harry’s Surprising Response

“When the couple would announce that they were going to look around at some other places, Harry had a standard spiel to deliver.  ‘I know that you’re looking for the best deal you can find,’ he would say.

“‘I understand that, because I do the same thing myself. I know you’ll probably go down to Discount Dan’s to compare prices.  I know I would.  But after you’ve done that, I want you to think of one thing.

“‘When you buy from Discount Dan’s, you get an appliance–a good one, I know, because he sells the same appliances we do’”

Now watch how Bill describes how Harry presents his USP (unique selling proposition), because it’s so powerful.

Harry’s Powerful USP

Bill shared that Harry would say, “‘But when you buy here, you get one thing you don’t get at Dan’s. You get me. I come with the deal. I stand behind what I sell. I want you to be happy with what you buy. I’ve been here 30 years. I learned the business from my Dad, and I hope to be able to give the business over to my daughter and son-in-law in a few years.

“‘So you know one thing for sure–when you buy an appliance from me, you get me with the deal. That means I’ll do everything I can to be sure you never regret doing business with me. That’s a guarantee.”

Then Bill said, “Harry would then wish the couple well and give them a quart of ice cream in appreciation of their stopping at his store.

Bill Gove finished the story like this, “Now how far do you think that couple is going to get, with Harry’s speech ringing in their ears and a quart of ice cream on their hands in Phoenix, when it’s 110 degrees in the shade?”

Brand Lessons From Harry To Help Us Succeed Today
1. Offer a powerful guarantee.

People are scared to be ripped off or look stupid.  Not many have a lot of extra money to risk nowadays.  Take away the risk and you’ll increase sales.

2. Know the questions your customers have and be prepared to effectively answer them.

Customer will have questions before they buy, even if they’re just simple ones like, “I want it.  What’s the next step?”  Do your best to learn their questions and how to powerfully answer them.  If prospects have too many unanswered questions, they’ll usually take their purchase elsewhere.

3. Don’t just sell a product or service.  Attach who you are (or “who” your business is) to it.

This is the power of a brand.  It’s the personality of a product that makes it more appealing than another.  It’s what (who) it represents.  Don’t just focus on what your product or service is.  Focus on who is offering it, whether that who is you or the personality your business represents.

4. Know what makes you/your business different from your competitors and make it known clearly to your customers.

Is it clear to you what makes your business different from the others?  Can you easily explain the difference to someone?

5. Be a real human being interacting with another real human being.

Maybe at some point in the past people preferred buying from entities over people (if it was ever the case), but nowadays people want to buy from real people – people they know, like, trust and can relate to.

Even if your business isn’t tied to your personality, make sure it has a personality.  Make sure it’s human.  Make sure your employees speak to your customers as one real person to another real person.

Understand your customers.  Care about them and let them know that you understand and care about them!

6. Give and you’ll receive.

Do whatever you can to make the first move in the relationship with a potential customer.  Don’t make them take first step.  Give them value, make their day before – or even in spite of – whether they purchase from you or not.

When you do these things, you’ll create a powerful brand, just like Harry.

Photo by Kevin Dooley

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I have 3 sons and I really love them.

My middle son is 8 years old and in 3rd grade.

His teacher allows him and his classmates to purchase from her “store” when they accumulate enough points for good behavior.

Yesterday he brought home some of the new items he purchased.  One of them was a large piece of paper called “The ____________________ Times”.  It’s a personal newspaper.  (Luckily kids still know what those are.)

It has sections for them to fill in like:

  • “My Exclusive Story Told Here For The Very First Time!”  - This is a place for them to write a news story about an important event in their life.
  • “Awesome Ad” – A place for them to draw an ad for their favorite movie.
  • “The Inside Scoop” – A section where they can write fascinating facts about themselves.  (I learned my son wants to grow up to be a stunt man and the nickname he’d choose for himself is “Killer.”  Should I be worried?)

Anyway, this was all fun to see as peeked down and saw him working on it.  But I was surprised to see something.

In the section called, “Meet My Hero,” he had written down “My Dad!”  I couldn’t believe it.  I didn’t say anything, but I told my wife about it after the boys were in bed.  It really made my day.

That was until my middle son came out of the bedroom to get a drink (using stalling technique #27 to delay going to bed).

He showed me his newspaper and I said, “You wrote me down as your hero!?!”  He said, “Yeah.  I was going to write down Shaq, but…”  And his voice trailed off.

I said, with a smile and a teasing tone, “You were going to write down Shaq, but you didn’t know how to spell it?”  He smiled, gave me a hug, got his drink and went to bed.

I told my wife what happened.  We both had a good laugh at the fact that I’m only technically my middle son’s hero.

But I’ll settle for that.  Why?

Because let me be very honest with you.  I’d love for you to “look up to me” (even though I’m MUCH shorter than Shaq).  I’d love to be someone who is your business, marketing, or content hero.

But the people who REALLY matter are those 3 boys of mine.  

If I can be their hero, then I accomplished something great in this life.  Because so much of what I’m doing (or at least attempting) in this life is for them.

And that’s the most important thing to remember.

P.S. My wife is included in that “people who really matter” section too. Make sure you tell her I included her!

Photo by JD Hancock

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