Monday, December 03, 2007
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
The task that is most daunting and needed is a way to communicate with their customers on a regular basis. How do you create an email with a call to action? How do you create an email newsletter? What about the whole email opt-in situation?
I have done my research and read lots of good material from forums and boards. I think for the novice who is serious about creating a culture of high touch marketing, AWeber is the way to go. Their pricing is great, they offer a money back guarantee and a free trial. The have a robust support system and indoctrinate you into their system by demonstrating to you the power of autoresponders the minute you sign up with them. Within an hour you could have an email campaign launched and producing for you. Aweber is the tool I chose to use.
The next question is who? Well to start I suggest you look it over and see what you are comfortable doing. The good news is there are lots of great Virtual Assistants (VAs) out there that can do this for you. They will set it up and update if for you as well as manage it. So it could be really not a burden at all. And the return on investment will be well worth any effort you put into it.
Go check out Aweber.com to see how easy it is to use.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
I share this because I think there are a lot of entrepreneurs out there thinking, no one understands what it's like to have someone hang up the phone on them. No one knows what its like to get rejected. And yet, I find that cannot be further from the truth. Owning your own business, being your own boss can be very rewarding and also very daunting. The key is to create a community so you are not alone. For me the Get Clients Now! program does just that. The eight people that sat at that table today will always have a connection. Whether they stay in touch or not, there is someone out there that knows what they are going through and is rooting for them. And if they are lucky, if they use the system, they are helping them stay accountable.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Growing Firms in the Entrepreneurial Economy
Recent reports from the SBA find that entrepreneurial firms are now over 50% of the GDP, and have created about 78% of all new jobs every single year for the past twenty years. (To read the rest follow the link.)
The point is not only are entrepreneurs responsible for job growth, but their businesses are sustainable. I say that is good new!
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
The next step -- to continue behaving. It would be really easy to sit back and enjoy the fruits of my labor. The truth is there is still more work to be done. Just like planting a crop, the job is not done at the harvest. The soil needs to be taken care of afterwords. So to in marketing. As I continue to care for my clients, plan for my meetings and seminars, I must still cultivate. For without cultivation, there is no future harvest.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
I have always believed this and it is wonderful to see it come true. I worked with a client who was working on a dream. It was a big dream that was one of those uphill battles. Today I was able to see it is coming true. The amazing thing is they always knew it would.
In the movie South Pacific, there is a song that talks about having a dream and the words go something like this: "You have to have a dream, cause if you don't have a dream, how you going to have a dream come true."
What is your dream? Can you see it? It should be like a movie picture in your mind. Walk in it, smell the smells, taste the tastes, hear the sounds and be in the space. It's your dream and you can make it come true.
Lesson learned: Know your audience, take a survey and give the results in your next presentation.
Monday, October 15, 2007
- First, if you have a phone and the internet, you can do business anywhere with anyone.
- Second, if you take care of your clients, they will take care of you.
Have a great day, where ever you are!
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
The lesson learned: Research the networking venue before you go. Show up prepared and then work the meeting.
Monday, October 08, 2007
I think this is true with any great business idea. It starts as a small seed. Some seeds are good and so are some business ideas. Some are not. When the idea or the seed is good, with a little of attention and some TLC, it will grow big and strong. I have been watering and cultivating this idea now for four months and I know in a short time it will be big. That is because I stuck with it. I also had to let it rest a bit. Just like when you plant, you have to let the fields rest a little. I needed to let my ideas rest, and see if I was really committed to making it work. I am glad I did. It is going to be so awesome.
I work with an entrepreneur who has probably 10 business ideas a day. When asked how she manages all of the ideas and runs a successful business, she said she learned a great lesson. Whenever she has an idea that she thinks is really good, she sleeps on if for 72 hours. If after 72 she still thinks it is truly a great idea, she goes for it.
Enjoy the seeds, nurture them when you can and don't be afraid to let go of some.
Saturday, October 06, 2007
Public Speaking as a Powerful Tool to Get Business
Friday, October 05, 2007
If you don't have a mastermind group yet, get one. It's like money in the bank.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
I had the distinct pleasure and privilege of interviewing Leesa Barnes. Leesa has been an entrepreneur for years and has become an expert in the field of Podcasting. For me this is a new concept in business. I never really understood what podcasting was, so when I met her at the recent Milana's Coaching Super Summit in Baltimore, I became a sponge soaking up her knowledge. I then purchased her book, just published called Podcasting for Profit. What's nice about the book is that it is good for the newbie or the experienced podcaster. I talks about the how to and then it talks about once you know how to, what to.
Leesa is an amazing entrepreneur who has a lot to offer any entrepreneur who wants to add sound, voice or video to their web site. Why would you want to add podcasting? Check out her site at http://www.leesabarnes.com/ to learn more. For me, the Internet can be a cold platform with faceless, nameless beings promoting product. I want my clients to be able to become a warm, live being that has a solution. Podcasting will add a different dimension to web site that cannot be accomplished any other way. Here is the link to the recording: http://www.leesabarnes.com/expo-recap-and-book-adventures/trackback/
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
I found this blog and quote because I am now part of a networking group with Matthew Best, a Coach for Entrepreneurs. What it made me think about was how cool it is that in life I have reinvented myself many times. I imagine that is a life long process. The best part for me is that as I change and grow, I enjoy life and myself so much more. That is when business becomes fun. You do what you love and you never have to work another day in your life again.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
that have to do with business? How often do I hear people talking about those clients from @#$%. We talk about all the things we don't like about them and how they drive us crazy. What we don't realize is that when we do that we actually encourage more of those types of clients to wander into our lives.
Instead, focus on the characteristics you are looking for in a client. For example: "I want clients that are motivated, ready to take action and appreciate what I do." That sounds so much better then: "I don't want clients who are demanding, unappreciative and unmotivated." Focus on what you want and get more of what you want. Also, if there is something you want in a client, it might help if you are that way in your transactions. Remember like begets like. It's the law of nature.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Here are some of the things those voice might be saying?
"You don't deserve to be successful."
"What makes you think you deserve that?"
"It's not polite to talk about money with a stranger."
"Don't ask questions, that is too personal."
Those are just a few. Can you see how those voices could get in the way of closing a sale? Think about what internal dialog might be going on in your head. Become aware and once you are aware you must interrupt those conversations and change the words. Instead let the noise sound something like:
"I deserve success and it comes easily to me."
"People need what I have to sell so I will ask the right questions to help my clients."
"Questions are good, they help me understand what my client wants and needs."
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Monday, September 24, 2007
The other day I was working with a client. During our two hour consultation we were very productive. We covered his niche and narrowed his focus. We discussed products and services. We even developed some steps to reach them and implementation strategies. As I was wrapping up the discussion with my client he said something to the effect, but let's be careful, because I am too busy for too many clients right now. It was in that moment that I knew why his business was not growing the way he wanted. He was sending out the message to the universe that he's too busy for more work, he had more than enough work to handle.
Are you sending out the message that you are too busy to add on another project? Do you feel overwhelmed by the prospect of more business while trying to develop a marketing plan. Remember, you are not alone. It is the plight of many a harried entrepreneur.
So what is the answer? First, take a deep breath, now exhale. It's time to take a look at what is keeping you so busy. Is there any thing you can outsource? Is there anything you can add to your stop doing list? It's time to re-frame your thoughts and to say to yourself, "I have all that I need to get it done." "I am open to working with new clients." It's time to reach out, get some help and then help those who need your help!
Friday, September 21, 2007
I do believe you can make a lot of money, and you can make it as quickly as you want. However, I believe it takes a lot of work, a behavioral plan of action and a great shift in your thinking.
For example: When you first start out in the career as a sales professional, you find yourself face to face with a phone and the dreaded cold call. Yet if you keep your eyes on the goal and stay focused on the task, that "behavior" is a short lived behavior. Why? Because the cold calls are little seeds you plant along the your path. Once the seed is planted you start to cultivate, fertilize and nurture those lovely seeds until one day it turns into a sale. After a while you get better at planting, you learn what fertile soil looks like and the harvest is sooner than before. But you have to plant the seeds. You have to do the behaviors.
Jim Rohn said it best: "Either get good at planting in the spring or become very good at begging in the fall."
Enjoy the harvest!!
Monday, September 17, 2007
Everything you do in your business, document the process down to every letter and email you send. Create a file to store all this information. This will then become your SOP (Standard Operating Procedures) or your Business in a Box/File. Then assess what someone else can do more effectively both in cost and time. Let it go, delegate it and then you do what you do best. Do those things that bring out the brilliance in you and your clients. If you do this you will create a business with the lifestyle you have always wanted. You will also have a business you can sell or license later on.
More to come . . .
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
I work with many entrepreneurs. Each is unique in their business models, industries and offerings. However, there seems to be one common thread that I find with my clients, they all like to coach their clients. No they are not all coaches.
Mini-Case Study of a Coaching Non-Coach
I work with an accountant who is not satisfied with preparing taxes, he wants to guide his clients to help them make good decisions in their businesses. He coaches his clients so they look ahead and make good decisions that will secure their financial future and insure a sustainable business. The funny thing is that he never realized he was "coaching." It was just part of what he does. So now, when tax season is over, he is not done. He offers a quarterly coaching program. This includes several phone conversation, reviewing of monthly financial statements and a set amount of email communication.
The benefits for his clients: They get on-going support throughout the year. They also do not get surprises at the end of the year. In the last quarter of the year, they are able to make educated decisions in order to ensure they are not hit with a high tax liability. They also get long-term as well as short-term strategies.
The benefits for him - the accountant/coach: He now has a new revenue source/profit center. This is a great source of cash flow that is predictable. This also allows him to continue to grow and develop a long-term relationship with his clients.
When you start to add up all the benefits you see the win-win. The next step is to create a deeper win. As he grows the coaching/retainer accounts, he can create a mastermind group or training for his clients. This will allow him to do some group coaching/training (for a fee) and his clients will be able to network and possible develop some business relationships that had not been possible before. Pretty cool.
So if you think that coaching might be a great profit center to add to your practice, consider going to the following training. I will admit that I am a volunteer helping the facilitator with this event. I cannot imagine a more worthwhile event. To learn more about how you can add coaching to your practice or your business tool bag, check out: The Coaching Super Summit. It is going to be in Baltimore and it will be life and business changing.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
So what can be done. Well as you know hind sight is 20/20. As I reflect on my year and start to plan next year I have developed an outline of a plan. For me I will need to focus generating the bulk of my revenue from Mid-September to May. I will plan events and trainings during those times. I will schedule R&D (Research and Development) of new products and trainings during the Summer. I can do that on vacation or during those moments when I am waiting to pick up or drop off. I will plan limited meeting for the Summer and know that I am set.
I don't mind the pain I feel now knowing I have a plan for next year. You see I have chosen to learn my lessons and to hopefully not repeat history.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
One of the things he does is ask people to sign his mailing list. In the town he is set up in that is a daunting task. People are very private and don't want to get on a list. He typically gets about 10 to 15 people per year to sign up. Each year he adds to his list and sends out a letter a few weeks before he sets up his tent. In his letter, he lets his customers know when he will be set up and makes a limited time offer. This year he sent out 22 letters. Of the 22 letters 2 were returned because of bad addresses. Of the 20 remaining, 11 were returned. That is an amazing statistic. What is more amazing is how excited the people where that he was coming back and how they looked forward to coming to his tent. They all made substantial purchases and felt welcomed.
The main comment my client heard was how nice it was that he personalized the letters. The key was the letter was short and sweet, one paragraph long. Then he hand wrote a note to each one, mentioning something he noticed about them. They knew he paid attention to them. One simple letter that probably took him an hour to write, generated lots of good will and revenue.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Friday, June 15, 2007
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Mom, in business we have many tools we use to get the word out about our businesses. Traditionally, we use yellow page ads, networking, word of mouth and web sites to name a few. A new tool that I like to keep in my tool box of marketing strategies is a blog. Blogs are a way to stay relevant and current, to unleash my creativity and allow my web site to to be a place people come back to. It is my hope that if I blog often and well, people will long for the next edition and thus I will be in the "top of their minds" when they are in need of my services.
So for me a blog is a tool I use to help me get the word out. I like having lots of tools.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
After everyone was fed and formally introduced, we jumped right into the meeting. In no time the group was helping each other create customized "30-second commercials." It was amazing how quickly everyone bonded. Before the meeting was over two members found a way they could work together in a Joint Venture. In fact, it took a little creativity, because it was not obvious at first that they would make good joint venture partners, but once the match was made, I could see the wheels turning.
I find myself really looking forward to the next meeting.
Monday, May 21, 2007
Those are words that might strike fear in the heart of normal people. It doesn't have to though. If you take time to know what your fit is and what makes you different, then this will be just a normal every day conversation. Over the years I have done lots of research on this topic of "differentiation" and my favorite way to describe it is this way. There are three ways companies can differentiate themselves.
- Cost - They are the cheapest in town (when you think low price I am sure a company pops into your mind immediately.
- Technology - You can have cutting edge technology, the latest and greatest. Usually this is not low price. (Again, if you think about it you can come up with a company that is known for its technology savvy.)
- Customer Intimacy - This is when you take the time to really service your customers, get to know them and stay in touch with them, even if they don't buy right away. (This is how a lot of the VIP programs were developed, to learn more about their customers so they can service them in a meaningful way.)
So the question is do you want to be known for low price, high tech/expensive or customer intimate/driven? Once you make that determination, then you can put your game plan together.
Friday, May 18, 2007
Do we know our niche? Who are we selling to? Do we know where they hang out? Do they have the money to buy? Are we speaking their language? Do they understand our fit? After all what good is walking into an assisted living facility with play equipment for children. Are we networking at a Manufacturers Association when we need to be speaking to Human Resource Professionals.
Go where the fish are and then carry use the right bait.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
So take a look at your pictures, are they professional, are they outdated? If you answered yes, consider meeting with a photographer and getting it updated. And by the way, they can work miracles.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Thursday, May 03, 2007
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
I recently sat in on a meeting to help hire an administrator for our school. As the parents sat in a circle grilling (interviewing) the candidate, it became very clear that there was a clear sense of unhappiness amongst the ranks. I am relatively new to the school so I had not formed an official opinion one way or the other. My needs are being met. However, my kids are young, still in the pre-school and lower-school. Clearly it becomes more critical as they move their way up the school system. So I started to hear the rumblings of unsettled and unheard parents. What struck me came from a marketing standpoint. Retention was an issue. And clearly it was not being addressed to the satisfaction of the parents. So I asked myself the question, if we cannot retain our families, how are we going to get referrals.
Even in a school environment, customer service is critical. In fact, it is the most important thing. Yes, the kids getting a superior education is important. Yet if we don't treat the families being served by the school with respect (which include the parents and kids), the school cannot expect to grow.
This is a good lesson to learn as I help my commercial clients to take care of their customers before they are asking to be taken care of. When you do that, the business will come.
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Saturday, January 27, 2007
The next time you are out at a networking event, try using a story to make your point. In fact, start collecting your stories now and have them ready to use when you need them. It works!
When I think back on the Business After Hours, I realized you don't even get that much time and no one wants to hear your sales pitch then. Here we were in a focused meeting to just give our sales pitch and we had 5 minutes to do it. Brilliant. I cannot wait until the next one.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
How to Set Personal Goals That Inspire You to Take Action
Remember when you thought you could do and be anything? The innocence of early childhood is perhaps the last time you were unencumbered by perceived limitations and labels. Personal goal setting was simple, and there was no doubt you could achieve anything.
When asked, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” you would have responded with whatever struck your fancy that day, whatever you were “in to.” You did not concern yourself with how you would do it, if you could do it, or if you should do it. Your dreams were based on what you wanted, pure and simple. You set personal goals based on wonder and curiosity, not practicality.
The dreams of childhood were big dreams. Travel into space, win a medal at the Olympics, become a rock star. Soon enough the dreams become modified to reflect what is practical and expected of us. This is precisely when most people start having trouble setting personal goals. The dreams are no longer larger than life, so why take steps to achieve them?
Big dreams inspire big action. When you set personal goals, they need to have huge payoffs for you in order for you to take consistent steps to achieving them. You need to feel excited – even giddy – at the prospect of seeing your dream come true.
When you aspire to something that is less than what you really want, procrastination sets in. With a big dream in your sights, procrastination is a lot less likely to occur. You may have heard of making a “life list” of places you would like to see, things you would like to try, and dreams you would like to see realized. Instead of making a list of goals based on what you think is attainable or would fit into your life, start your personal goal setting with a life list of the big stuff that really gets you going.
Here again, draw on the feelings of childhood for inspiration as you set personal goals. Remember the annual letter to Santa Claus? Even if you did not celebrate Christmas, you can imagine the wish lists sent to the North Pole were not full of realistic, practical requests. They included the biggest, best gifts a child could think of, because there was always the possibility that Santa would bring you exactly what you wanted.
Dreaming big has the added benefit of inspiring others to come to your aid in your pursuit of the goal. If your personal goal setting is limited, or “small,” why would anyone want to help you achieve them? People want to be part of something special. Big goals motivate friends, family, and even complete strangersto help you reach them.
When you set personal goals, go back to those childhood aspirations. Sure, you may not want to be an astronaut anymore, but the old dreams can spark new life goals. Perhaps you would like to go to a grown-up space camp or become an amateur astronomer. Whatever goal you set, make it big. As the ancien temperor Marcus Aurelius said, “Dream big dreams; only big dreams have the power to move men’s souls.”
Copyright © 2006 Vic Johnson
Vic Johnson is a popular motivational speaker, author and Internet Infopreneur who has created some of the most visited personal development sites on the Web. To learn more about the power of big dreams in goal setting, download a free copy of 13 Secrets of World-Class Goal Achievers
Thursday, January 04, 2007
With planning in mind, I recommend developing a plan that looks out and then focuses in. For example:
How much money do you want to make in 2007?
How many sales a year will that be?
How much is each average sale?
How many people do you need to see and how many will you close?
How much vacation do you want?
When you obtain that goal, what will be your reward?
How will you reward yourself along the way?
How will you know when you are successful?
What is success to you?
These are just some of the questions I ask myself as I develop my annual plan. Good luck, and I will look forward to great new things for all of us!