Monday, November 20, 2006

To Blog or Not to Blog . . .

I have just stumbled across several articles about why businesses should add blogging to their marketing activities. I do it because I just love to blog. It gives me an outlet for my creative side and a chance to stand on a soapbox or two. Yet, according to these articles there is a practical side, one that will enhance the bottom line. Blogging will drive traffic to your site, be a revenue generating profit center and adds a human side to your site. I have to agree. As I blog and share my stories or those of my clients, I find that I process outloud (online), and I have revelations that I share with the world. Okay, only those few people who chance upon it. Now imagine promoting it and actually being proactive about your blog. Millions of people could be reading your posts. Pretty cool.

As a business owner and coach, I suggest to my clients to add a blog to their sites and use it as an online newsletter. A way to add fresh content to their web sites. Now I have proof and validation that I am right. Read the article for yourself. Cool Blog Article!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Showing Up Can Be Half the Battle

It's amazing the stories I hear about customer service, or the lack of it, from my clients. I am starting to believe that if you just show up you can get the job. The question is what do you have to do to keep the job. Well, I think good old fashioned work ethics and ingenuity will get you there.

1. Show Up
2. Be Fair and Honest
3. Do what you said you would do
4. And, follow-up.

Seems almost too simple, but if you do these simple things, you will have more business than you can handle.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Mom's and Business

I work with a lot of "momprenuers," and I love doing that. Not only can I help them with their businesses, but I understand their world. I just ran across a nice article that talks about how to juggle both and keep balance. Enjoy it if this is something you want to know more about. It's called: 10 Tips for Balancing Work and Motherhood.

Friday, October 20, 2006

How can you qualify a prospect on the web?

Have you ever wondered if someone who clicks on your website is really serious about your product or service? I have! Then I ran across an awesome tool that I added to my website, an assessment. It is there to help me generate leads and qualify suspects from prospects. I just set it up today, and I already see what a valuable tool this might be. I think with a little time and tweaking, you can create really good assessments that will allow you to pre-qualify clients that are a good fit, and one's that are not. Check out my assessment (which only took me 5 minutes to create and 5 minutes to put on my website). Marketing Assessment

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Entrepreneurial Mom's - A breed of their Own

I just read a great article about mom's who want to have it all and are finding ways of doing it. They create businesses so they can have the flexibility to raise a family, bring in an income and maintain their professional side of their lives. Clearly when women have children they don't stop being the individuals they were they just add a new role. Read this article to see how some are doing it. I find it fascinating and not surprising. After all I am one of them. Working Mom Shift

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A Moment of Pause

Last month was a whirlwind. I really enjoyed what I was doing. As I sat down today to work on my business, I realized that I had billed 49 hours for just one client. I remember feeling tired, now I know why.

Today, I enjoyed writing press releases, working on business cards and doing some research. It was great. I had no appointments. I was on my schedule. For me it was a moment to recharge my batteries and re-group. I forget how important it was to do. I certainly suggest it to my clients, but you know how that goes.

Tomorrow, I am back to usual hectic schedule. I am ready and energized to face the day. I am grateful for my moment of pause.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Remember - It's not about you!

I was doing research for a client on customer service and came across a good web site that talked about the definition of customer service and the mindset you need to hold. I thought I would share it with you.

"Customer Service"
From Susan Ward,
Definition: Customer service is an organization's ability to supply their customers' wants and needs.

Customers and business managers alike like to talk about what good customer service is (and isn't), but I think this definition by ACA Group sums up what excellent customer service is beautifully: "excellent customer service (is) the ability of an organization to constantly and consistently exceed the customer's expectations."

Accepting this definition means expanding our thinking about customer service; if we're going to consistently exceed customers' expectations, we have to recognize that every aspect of our business has an impact on customer service, not just those aspects of our business that involve face-to-face customer contact.

Improving customer service involves making a commitment to learning what our customers' needs and wants are, and developing action plans that implement customer friendly processes.

So remember, you are not the customer. So if you want to provide "good customer service" why don't you find out what the customer wants.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Time Management . . . I think Not

Okay, I know I have probably been on this soap box before, but it's worth going there again. How can you manage time? The truth is there are only 24 hours in the day and you have to sleep and eat. So really, when all is said and done, the only thing you can do is manage behavior or the things you do with your time.

As I do research for my clients on marketing tools and resources they can use, I run across all kinds of articles on time management, and I become frustrated with the term. Call it what it is, Behavior Management! Now the question becomes what do you want as the outcome, and what behavior will help you attain that goal.

For example: If you want more clients and you set a goal of getting one new client in the next month, then you can say to yourself, "self, what do I have to do to get that new client?" Then you create the list and implement the plan. Yes, time is involved in so much as you have to schedule activities on a calendar and you have to coordinate schedules with other people. Other than that, you are managing the things you do. Once you do that, the time falls into place and the results are a given.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

If you build it will they come?

Hmm, sounds like a great line for a movie. But does it work in the internet world. I have always been puzzled by billboards on the highway (not the super highway) that only have a web site address on it. My thought was why would someone go to the expense of creating a web site and then hosting and maintaining it, and then still have to put it on a billboard, yet another expense. Then I realized (yes, I can be a little slow in processing at times) that people need to know you are there to find the site. So again I ask, if you build it will they come? Or How do they know you are there? How can you get the word out so people will find your site? Visibility, key words, search engines? All this stuff makes marketing on the internet a whole new game. This is something I am working on with a colleague to really understand and then articulate to our local audience how this works. Right now, a lot of people think it's web magic. I know better, you have to know the secret password? Stay tuned to find out.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Back in the Saddle Again

Being a business owner is an awesome thing. For me it gives me the flexibility I need. For example, I am also a mom of two young boys (7 and 4) who are full of life and energy. The summer has been a challenge keeping up with my business and them. So I made a conscious decision not to load up during the summer and wait until they are back in school. What does this have to do with business. Well for me I would be just spinning my wheels trying to meet obligations I could not meet. So I needed to set realistic goals and sometimes adjust.

So today was their first day in school. They had a blast. And so did I. I had two great meetings, I worked on a project for a client, picked up items for a silent auction I am helping with and now I am taking care of some administrative stuff (kids are in bed). All in all it is a great day. Already my week is booked solid. For me when the day is done and I go to bed, I will know that my clients are being taken care of and my kids are well. It's good to be back in the saddle again, although I like to rest sometimes with my little guys.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Knowing When to Walk Away Can be The Best Thing You Can Do For Yourself

I recently parted ways with a client after realizing that the project we were working on was really not suited for my tempermant. It was a difficult decision, I really enjoyed the project. What I realized was the project was not a good fit for me. I am a big picture person and this was a project for a micro-manager. So even though the content was fun, the project became a burden. Now I am free to work on projects for my clients that use my talents where they are better suited. This was a valuable lesson.

So if you ever find yourself feeling uneasy about a project ask yourself:
Is this a good project for me?
Is this the best use of my talents?
Can I be more productive and fulfilled working on something else?

If the answer is yes then you might want to consider moving on. It can be the best decision you make for yourself or your business.

Accountability is a Good Thing

I had a great coaching call with a client the other day and he commented on how powerful the accountability was to him. He noted by just knowing he had to review his week with me, made him focus more on his business. Clearly the goals he set were his and not mine. Yet knowing that we would discuss where he is in the process and what challenges he is facing in getting there was critical to his success.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

When Marketing a Service - You Are Marketing You

CJ Hayden asks in this article, are you lost in your marketing material? Or can you be found in your marketing material? What she means is when you market a service, people are buying you and a relationship with you. Take a look at the article and then your marketing material and see if your message is clear and if people have the ability to get to know you and develop a relationship with you. Here is the article: What You are Marketing is Yourself

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Do you have a niche?

I just got off a great coaching call with an expert marketer. She contends that the reason most people are finding it difficult to take their business to the next level is because they do not have a well defined niche. For example, saying that you work with parents is a niche, but way to broad. Now lets say you work with parents of children with ADD. Now that is a specific target audience. She gave the following formula:

Target Audience + Problem/specialty = Niche

So take a look at what you do and ask yourself, am I working in a specific enough niche?

Monday, July 24, 2006

Accountability is the Key

Today I held my first Get Clients Now! Seminar. I must say I was a bit nervous. I felt it went well, and I now have an even deeper belief in the process and the program. What struck me the most from the training was the effect the accountability sessions had on my attendees.

In 3-hours my attendees developed a well thought out marketing plan with daily actions steps they are going to utilize in the next 28 days. They really enjoyed the process and the plans they had developed. As we talked at the end of the session about what the next step was going to be, they were excited about the accountability sessions. That is where the rubber will hit the road.

I look forward to our weekly calls to hear their successes and to help work through any issues, concerns or challenges they maybe facing. This really is a great program.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Armed & Dangerous

I have been thinking about what I want to do for my clients and I realized that I want them to be armed and dangerous. That means successful, wildly successful. What am I talking about? Well, as I work with my clients and spend time listening to what they need, where they have been, what they have done, and where they want to go, it is my hope to help them develop a plan to succeed. The plan will be useful and spelled out so they can walk into their office on any given day and know what needs to be done and how. Why is this important? Having a plan is critical to the success of any business. If you don't have a plan, you don't have a business. You have a series of activities that generate money (if you are lucky). But not a business that is viable and sustainable.

So the plan is the key, and then clear action steps around the plan is what makes you armed and dangerous. Imagine getting directions on Mapquest, but they forget to tell you what roads to take. They just say, turn left and then right and then left and in five minutes you will be there. Not much help, right. The action steps are the actual directions to get you there faster and in one piece.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

I have pants on now!!!

It's official, my web site is up. Here it is: The team I worked with was terrific. They made it so easy. Not only did they educate me along the way, they did not make me feel stupid in the process. John, the owner of Flash Avenue, says going to business with out a web site is like going to work without your pants on. Well, I love my pants.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

It's all about the plan . . .

And of course working the plan. Today I was able to check of lots of stuff on my list even though I only had 4 hours to work. It was great. I networked, had lunch with a person from my center of influence, asked for referrals, set appointments and got referrals. This was not an accident. It happened because I laid out the plan and then I worked the plan. I also missed a few things on my list, but that's ok. Tomorrow is another day. The key is to have the plan and then work it.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The birth of a logo . . .

Thanks to my friends at I have a logo. Did I mention it was really hard to pick a logo. Yes, first we talked about who and what my organization is about and then we talked about the image I was hoping to portray. Next they went to the drawing board and sent me over 15 logos to choose from. I loved them all. So what was I to do? What else can any savvy business women do when perplexed with a major decision. I polled the key people in my life. I asked clients and peers. And here is what we chose. Thank you Flash.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

It's Win-Win-Win

I love when a plan comes together. It's amazing what happens when you make one phone call and just ask for something you want (sale or donation). In my efforts to help an organization with an event they are planning, I asked the owner of a radio station if she would be willing to be a sponsor. After a brief conversation it was a done deal. The event is a fund raiser for an organization that works with young girls and helps them make good choices. So the beauty of this 10 minute conversation was the radio station was thrilled at the deal they are getting, the organization is getting an excellent sponsor that will give them tons of exposure and a non-profit agency is going to benefit from all of this. And that is just the beginning. It really is going to be win-win-win-win, etc.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

All Roads Lead to Follow Up

I had a great session with my coach/trainer the other day. And I heard something that I have heard before, but it really struck me this time. She said "all roads lead to follow-up."

We were discussing what areas of the business people get stuck in. For some it might be filling the pipeline, getting presentations, closing the sale and of course follow-up. But she pointed out that when it come right down to it, what you are doing to follow-up is the key.

Today I sat with a client discussing his issues and it did not take long to realize that he already had great potential (pipeline). We talked about who he knows, and within no time his circle of influence was expanding. The key was informing those in his circle of influence what he was doing. That is the follow-up piece. Now he has to decide how he wants to do that.

Friday, May 26, 2006

It Takes A Village . . .

To Raise an Entreprenuer!!!

Okay, some of you are probably going what are you talking about? Well I believe that entrepreneurs are rare breeds. They tend to be idea people, they are creative, bold and energized. However, they are not always great as sticking with things once it is started. Because of how they are wired, they tend to move on to the next challenge. What I have seen happen next is a wake of frustrated people floating behind and a clueless entrepreneur on to their next challenge. What I recommend to my entrepreneurial clients is to find a team of people that can help them be more effective.

The first step is determine what the entrepreneur is good at doing. Then determine what key areas of management or processes are missing. Then fill in the blanks with competent people. Now I am not necessarily saying hiring a bunch of employees. It might mean outsourcing key areas. For example: If you create products for the internet and sell them on the web you are called a "Infopreneuer." There are lots of steps to creating a product that can be sold. Some of those steps can be outsourced like a fulfillment company can copy the CDs and Documentation and mail it. A Virtual Assistant can type up the documents or manage the customer service aspect. You might also hire someone just to market the product. This frees up the entrepreneur to use their creative talents to make money.

Logistically this can all be managed from a home office. Pretty amazing how, if you create a village (global village), you can create an amazing business and have the life you always dreamed of having.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Marketing Step 1 - Feels like a mile

But each time you move you are that much closer. There are times when it seems almost impossible to reach who you want to reach. Sometimes you are not even sure who you should reach. That's okay. The trick is to keep moving forward. It might be a baby step, but a baby step is better than not moving at all. What I mean is some people get stuck getting ready to get ready and never get anywhere. Don't get stuck. Make one call. Send out one email. Write an article. Start a blog. Post a message on a board. Do something. As you make this a habit, you will be surprised to see how much you start to get done.

Friday, May 19, 2006

It all starts with a plan . . .

Well really it starts with a goal and then a plan to reach the goal. Goal setting is so important there are web sites devoted to it. I found one that is pretty good. I wanted to share it with you. Enjoy Goals-2-Go.

Monday, May 15, 2006

It's Official . . .

It's official, I just signed up to be a licensed facilitator for CJ Hayden's Get Client's Now!(tm) Marketing Program. With this program I will be able to help my clients develop a plan for marketing including identifying who they should market to, how to reach them and then a daily strategy to get them. It's simple and easy to use and does not require marketing knowledge from my clients. The best part, no matter how busy my clients get, they can do a few things each day to keep their funnel full.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Thoughts to Live By

“There are two kinds of people: those who don’t do what they want to do, so they write down in a diary about what they haven’t done, and those who haven’t time to write about it because they’re out doing it.”
Richard Flournoy and Lewis R. Foster

“If you have something to do that is worthwhile doing, don’t talk about it . . . do it.”
George W. Biount

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Is it May already?????

As I went about my business today, I suddenly realized that a quarter of the year is gone. Yes, a whole Quarter is behind us!!! To some that can be a scary thing or it can be a good thing. This is a good time to ask yourself, "Am I where I need to be to get to where I projected I would at the end of the year?" If the answer is no, now is the time to get serious. Look at your plan (if you have one) and see what worked? What didn't? What should I be doing differently? Don't wait till November when there is no time to adjust. It's time to look at the plan and if you don't have a plan it's time to write the plan. Good luck.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Who was that masked man?

Have you ever watched a commercial and it was so entertaining you couldn't wait to tell a friend about it. Usually they are very funny and sometimes they are very serious. What I find most striking about them is, they spend so much time trying to make the commercial entertaining, they forget to market the product. My mother was carrying on about a commercial with an Elephant. She asked "did you see it?" I said, "No, at least I don't think so. What was it for?" She and my father talked for quite sometime and never remembered the product. Hmm, so who was that masked man anyway? So remember, it's nice to entertain, but don't forget, it's about the product!!!!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Sales Vs. Marketing

Over time I have had discussions with clients about the difference between sales and marketing. In my Sandler Training I came across a great paper that describes it. In essence: "Marketing is the role of identifying groups of people or companies that may fit your product or service before the person-to-person contact is made. Selling is the effort applied to those "possible fits" initiated by person-to-person contact. So you need a plan for both. First, you need a marketing plan that defines who you are, what you do, who needs it and why. Then you need to go and get them.

Friday, January 20, 2006

More Nuggets from the Room

Today at the Proactive vs. Reactive Seminar Ed gave his usual insights.

He mentioned the story of the man who had the goose who laid the golden eggs. Once he realized they were real gold, he was able to amass quite a fortune. Then he became inpatient. His child took over and thought, instead of waiting for the eggs to be laid one at a time, he would go into get them. So he cut off the head of the goose only to find they weren't in there and the source of his wealth is permanently done. So it pays to slow down to speed up. Patience is worth it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

It works if you work it

Today was my first day as an official member of ERN, the networking group I mentioned last week. What a great group. Already I have two referrals to follow up on, and I know the possibilities are endless. I was also able to give out five of my own referrals. What is really great is I already have an informal network within the network of clients who are the "who says" in my world. They will be able to vouch for me as I share my story and give my 30 second commercial. I am looking forward to a long a fruitful relationship.

Friday, January 13, 2006

The "I" Matters

I received this from one of my clients and I felt I should share it:

Your life has purpose and meaning.
Consider this: nothing would be the same if you did not exist. Every place you have ever been and everyone you have ever spoken to would be different without you. We are all connected, and we are all affected by the decisions and even the existence of those around us.

.....The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People....

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Networking - An ingredient in your cookbook

I am in the process of joining a local networking group. The group meets weekly and is dedicated to helping build each other's businesses. What makes me so excited about this group is there are 57 members who will get to know me. Why is that important, because I have always built my business on introductions I have received by the relationships I have developed. I know in time that this group will be a big part of my referral/introduction tree.

As I read through articles today, I just happened across an article "The Three R's of Networking" that talks about how to best utilize a group like this to get the maximum impact. I thought I would share it because there was some good stuff in there.

Keep tweaking your cookbook and have fun.

Monday, January 09, 2006

What did I say?

Have you ever had a conversation with an employee and wonder, "What just happened?" What started like a routine conversation, checking in or comparing notes, turned into a completely different situation. Who knows, maybe they woke up on the wrong side of the bed? Or maybe they fell out of bed? But it could be that you are not communicating in a way that they understand.

We talk about different reference filters in our training and this is where a lot of miscommunication happens. For example, if you are talking to a Visual and you are using Auditory language and techniques, they might not get it. So what do you do? First try to find out what their style is and what your style is? Then once you have determined the styles, learn how to communicate to their filter. If they are visual, use handouts and visuals as well as words.

Our clients love the assessments we have that help them determine the various styles their employees have and what is the best way to manage them using those styles. Good luck and happy communicating.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

When is a good time to prospect?

All the time!!!! David Sandler has talked about the three foot rule. Basically, anyone that is within three feet of you is a prospect. He suggested that if they are that close, you should talk to them. I have always felt that no matter where I am, there might be someone near me that needs our services, or they know someone who does. But how do you get to the point that you are having that conversation?

For me it just starts with an ice breaker and some small talk. Usually after I have established some bonding and rapport, I usually ask something like "So when you're not here shopping (or whatever it might be), what do you do?" People love to talk about themselves and we are off an running.

So no matter where you are, keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities to make connections.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

You've got to give a little . . .

A song has been rattling around in my head all day that I think Frank Sinatra used sing, and I keep hearing the words "You've got to give a little." And as I thought about it I realized that in life and in sales, sometimes you need to give a little to get a little. What I mean is that when you take care of other people, lead them to things that they need by way of referrals and introductions, all of a sudden you become someone who cares about them. So when the time comes and someone is need of a service you provide, you will be paramount in their minds.

I might be thinking like this because I am in the process of joining a lead generating referral group called ERN. The whole premise of this group is to help each other build each other's businesses. They use creative ways to get to know each other's business and they are loyal to their members. It becomes a warm market to work. So as you give referrals, you are also receiving. Great concept.

So as you are about your day, don't forget to give first. Not only does it feel good, but the rewards maybe more than you even could imagine.

Monday, January 02, 2006

2006 - Do You Have a Plan

As we reflect on last year and look to the future, it is hard not to have mixed emotions. Maybe you did not reach some goals, maybe you surpassed them and maybe things happened that you did not have a plan for at all. That is life. In sales having a plan is critical. In our world we talk about a behavioral plan. One that outlines what kind of behavior you plan on doing which will help you to reach your ultimate goals. Breaking down those behaviors on a weekly basis and even daily helps you stay on track. With the plan, there should be very few surprises. And when they come, you are able to make adjustments. So what's the plan? What are you going to do tomorrow? And what does next week look like? Don't wait until June to create and implement at plan. Start today.