Monday, December 03, 2007

It's December?

It is so funny how something you know is coming every year, seems to sneak up on you. Here we are again, the last month of the year. Why is it when this time rolls around, business owners are just saying to themselves, I should have made more money. December is the wrong time to think about how to increase revenues. Financials must be reviewed on a quarterly basis if not monthly. Then you have time to adjust the plan. It is sort of like a sail boat. You don't adjust the sails on a ship when you have reached your destination only to find out you are in the wrong place. You need to adjust along the trip. That requires a plan, then reviewing the plan and the behaviors, and finally adjusting the behavior and plan based on the results. I hope as you head into December it is to enjoy the season and not to look back with regret. If not, cheer up, you can still change the course for next year.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

You want me to do what?

I was talking with one of my mastermind buddies. I was saying that when I work with my clients, they are always excited about the possibilities. They love the ideas we generate together. We always enjoy our time together. Then the reality sets in, who is going to do all this work? Most of my clients are Entrepreneurs who have limited staff and even more limited time. Each task we generate to be part of their business development strategy seems daunting at best. To me, it is like the saying "it hurts so good." You have to do the work, pay the price, invest the time. But who, where, when, what and how?

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 to see how easy it is to use.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Get Clients Now! It Works if You Work It

I had a great training session today with a group of 8 entrepreneurs. Each was unique in their offerings and business models. They all shared one goal, to get more clients. As we worked through the program and developed the plan, it became clear that they were feeling alone in their struggle to build their business; frustrated and feeling isolated. It was very nice to see the room relax and lighten up as each shared their struggles, goals and aspirations. It was amazing how they all had so much in common even though their businesses are so very different.

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

Cool Resource

I was on an online board recently and stumbled across this site. CJ Hayden actually recommended it. It is a collection of resources in the sales arena. It's worth a look. I am always looking for new and cool ideas. Here is a one stop shop for sales. Check it out at

Thursday, October 25, 2007

It's not a Fad

Entrepreneurs are here to stay. Check out this recent blog post based on an entrepreneurial study done by the SBA:

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

Why am I so amazed?

It has been a good week. There have been a lot of reasons for this. The main reason is because I have been doing what I tell my clients to do, consistently behave. After four steady weeks of good marketing behavior it is finally paying off.

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

It's a process . . .

"It's not so much what you get from goals that matters, it's what you had to become to get it that's yours forever." ~ Jim Rohn

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Believe to Achieve

"If you see it in your mind, you're going to hold it in your hand." Bob Proctor

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.

Know your audience

I have the privilege of giving a 10 minute presentation next week to a networking group I just joined. I honestly was not sure what to present. My business is very diverse. After talking with a couple of colleagues I decided to take an informal survey of the group to see what their biggest marketing challenge is. I am already getting responses. The good news is now I can try to tailor my presentation to the needs of the group.

Lesson learned: Know your audience, take a survey and give the results in your next presentation.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Virtually Yours

It's true, you can run a business and never leave your office. I have the pleasure of working with a new client who happens to be located about 500 miles away. We have never met in person, it was a referral from a happy client. What makes this so nice is that I never asked for the referral. It came all on it's own. My client was talking to an associate and marketing came up. He then mentioned what I was doing for him. Next thing I know I am working this his associate. So remember two things:

  • 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

Networking - It works

I invited a client to a networking meeting I go to. He was skeptical, he's been to other programs and found them to be not productive. It was a great feeling to watch as he bonded quickly with the group and walked away with three good referrals. What made the experience exceptional for me is I prepared him for the meeting. He came ready and because he was prepared, he was successful.

The lesson learned: Research the networking venue before you go. Show up prepared and then work the meeting.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Business Marketing Gym . . . a seed

I have been working on developing this program now for four months. I am so close to launching this I can see it. When I get this close to a new program, I find it hard to sleep because I am so excited. I wake up in the middle of the night with an idea or a plan. It is so strong I have to run down to my computer and type it in so I don't loose the idea.

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

Forget the Fear, Go for the Money

I know people would rather die than speak in public. But if it was going to make you money, don't you think you could work on conquering that fear? Public speaking is one of the most effective ways to generate leads and build credibility. After all, imagine speaking in front of a group of your target audience about something you know a lot about. Now have a seminar or offer to pitch or share at the end of the presentation. Hello, can you say ca-ching? Seriously, even if you don't want to "offer" anything at the meeting, have a drawing for a report or book. Collect all the business cards of everyone in the room. Give the prize away and run home and follow-up with all those warm leads. It just doesn't get better than that. I came across a good article that talks about speaking to make money. Follow the link and check it out. I think it might help you be focused as you prepare a speech and take some of those butterflies away.

Public Speaking as a Powerful Tool to Get Business

Friday, October 05, 2007

Mastermind Groups are Great

I met with my bi-weekly mastermind group today. I was in one of those "stuck" places. I did not even know what to ask. Thanks to the great energy of this group, it did not take me long to get unstuck. By the time I got home, I had developed a 26-week Marketing Implementation Training which I will launch in November. It's amazing when you are able to have someone else clear the forest so you can see the trees. I was just too close. Now I have clarity.

If you don't have a mastermind group yet, get one. It's like money in the bank.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Leesa Barnes - Podcasting for Profit

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 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:


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Someday Isle: George Allen Quote

Someday Isle: George Allen Quote

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

Focus On What You Want

I know this seems obvious, but we often tend to dwell on what we don't want. What does
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

Can You Hear What I Hear?

I had a great experience today. I was training a great group of people on marketing. My focus was the Get Clients Now! Program with a few extras. As we got into the session, I realized one of the team members had some internal dialog going on that might have been holding her back. You know what I mean -- the voices in your head? When we discussed the baggage we bring to sales and marketing or work in general, she made a funny comment. She said, "Sometimes the voices in my head are so loud, I think other people can hear them." Have you ever felt like that? I know I have. I really enjoyed her honesty and candor. The question is, are there any voices going on in your head that might be holding you back from your success?

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

I'm A Member!

Well I have finally decided to honor who I am, a blogger. To that end, I have joined Technorati. Check it out! Technorati Profile

Monday, September 24, 2007

Are You Replling Clients?

No, I don't mean because of personal hygiene. It's something so subtle we don't even know we are doing it. Let me give you an example:

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

Part of History

I am still climbing down from the clouds after spending the weekend at a historic event. Milana Leshinsky, best known for her "Telesummits," came out of her home and held her first live event. I have the pictures to prove it. My business and the business of my clients' will never be the same!
"A relationship is not something that you pursue; it's what happens to you when you are immersed in serving the dreams of your customer." ~~ Tom Peters

Planting seeds . . .

I sometimes find myself frustrated with the "quick fix" "get rich quick" schemes you hear over and over. People go in with their eyes glazed over with visions of money and fame. Within a short time they are disillusioned. Only a few will make it in those programs. The rest struggle and end up losing money.

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

Coaching Super Summit

I just got back from an amazing weekend in Baltimore, Md. I attended Milana's First Coaching Super Summit and it was just mind shifting. I hope over the next few days to pull my thoughts together and share some of my "ah ha" moments. For now I wanted to share this:

Do, Document & Delegate

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

Coaching as a Tool

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

Moms, Summer, Kids and Business

What do all of those words have in common? For me it is a bit of chaos. I must be honest, I find Summer to be a difficult time to maintain, let alone build a business. I find myself juggling meetings and running kids to camp. I find the mind shifts getting harder and harder to make. Maybe its an age thing, I don't know, but I know from September to May, I feel much more present in all of my worlds than I do during the Summer. I might be the only one experiencing this, but if not take heart, you are not alone.

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

It pays to know your customers

I just finished working with a client who owns a small fireworks tent business. He is basically in business two weeks a year and some planning the rest of the year.

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

Yes Virginia There is a Santa Claus

Every now and then you need a bit of a lift, a pick me up. Yesterday was one of those days. I was checking my emails and my mentor sent me this link which he had on his web site: He is a motivational guru. Anyway, if you ever have one of those days, open this link and enjoy and remember anything is possible. Link: Dream a big Dream.

Friday, June 15, 2007

To blog or not to blog . . .

That is the question? I say blog. I love to write and to pontificate. So what if no one is reading, it is still out in the universe.
For business, blogging is an opportunity to share insights, thoughts, concerns and latest tips and tricks to help your clients. It's all good stuff. I like to think of a blog as an online newsletter. It gives companies a way to stay current and relevant in a rapidly changing and disposable world. Here you can be up to date in seconds.

So I say go ahead, blog away.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Blogging as a Metaphor

I just found a cool blog and the blogger sent out a challenge as a group blogging challenge. How would you explain blogging to your mother? Specifically, as a business strategy. I found it because I was looking for cooking metaphors, so here is how I would explain it to my mom.

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

The Verdict Is In -- The Business Marketing Gym is a Success!

I have to admit I was nervous about today. When ever I launch a new program I have butterflies in my stomach. The good news is they were flying in formation. I was able to harness the energy.

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

Why You and Why Now?

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.

  1. Cost - They are the cheapest in town (when you think low price I am sure a company pops into your mind immediately.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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

Are you fishing in the right hole?

I was reading a book on Rainmaking and the author suggests that sometimes being a Rainmaker is as simple as fishing where there are fish. He notes that people spend lots of money and time on the right fishing rod, bait and tackle. They work on their technique. They spend their day wondering why the fish aren't biting, only to realize there aren't any fish. Do we do that when we are out marketing and selling our wares?

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

Have you found your voice!

I had a delightful Mother's Day weekend which included a Family Movie Night. The movie we watched was Happy Feet. It was a delightful story and for me the take away was "Find your voice and be the best you you can be - In other words, Be Authentic." I have seen this lacking in the business world. Especially when it comes to Entrepreneurs who go from one project to another depending on which way the wind blows or where the money is. I have come to understand that it might make sense to slow down to speed up and find your self. Your True North as Covey says. Then, and only then, can you know what your fit is in the world. That will be the passion you bring to the marketplace. Then the money will flow and it will never feel like work for you will be honoring who you are.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Coming of Age

It sounds silly, I have been in business for over 14 years, yet this week I did something that was way out of my comfort zone and made me feel "grown up." I had a professional picture taken. It seems like a little thing, but for me it was huge. At first it felt somewhat self indulgent. Then I realized this is all about business. I teach my clients to put their best foot forward, after all you only get one chance to make a first impression. So I decided it was time to have my first impression a lasting one.

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

Press Releases

I am always looking for ways to help my clients. I recently stumbled across an online Press Release service that is easy to use and pretty affordable. It is What is cool is about it is that you can create a press release and send it to a specific target audience. For example: I created one that I wanted to get out to the business community. I used the general category of Business. You get one category for free, so it was free. In one day it came up on a search engines! With just a little budget you can get more exposure. Check it out.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Drip, Drip, Drip . . .

Have you heard the term "Drip Marketing?" I intuitively knew what it was, but just learned the term. What it means is to continually keep a client or prospect taken care of by touching base with them on a regular basis. This is called "customer intimacy." I love the concept of creating a schedule of events that you implement on a monthly basis so that you can let your clients and top prospects know you are there. It is as simple as once a month sending items like a relevant article, a thank you card, a survey, a referral request/card or a holiday card. The key to making this work is a good contact management system so that you can automate the process. So don't forget to drip on your customers, or they won't grow with you!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Birth of a Gym

After some market research and some conversations with clients and friends, the Business Marketing Gym was born. What is the Business Marketing Gym? It is a mastermind group for business owners who want to build their businesses and create a lifestyle not a job. In the Business Marketing Gym there will be a training session and then there will be a mastermind session. During the mastermind session the group will problem solve and create together. It is very exciting. What is more exciting is that I get to work with the people I already love to work with and help build their businesses. I will partner with some of the brightest minds in the area to bring real value to the group. Stay tuned to hear more. And to check out more about the Business Marketing Gym got to

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Are you Referable?

As I help my clients with building not only a business development program (new revenue) but a retention program, I am struck by the concept "are you referable?" After all the best way to get new business is to work referrals, but that asks us to assume that we are worth referring. Is that always true?

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

Sharing the Love - Love of Customers!!!

Have you ever thought of doing something special for your customers? After all it is Valentine's Day and we love our customers, right? So try something different to stand out from the crowd. Take your top 20% and send them chocolate and tell them how much you appreciate their business. If there is a gatekeeper you have been trying to get past, send her a stuffed bear holding a heart and say "I've been trying to win you over, Happy Valentine's Day." Use this time to think outside the box.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Tell me a story . . .

I just mentioned my 5-Minute Networking experience. While I was there one of the participants sat down in front of me and asked me to tell her a story of what I do. I was taken back. And then I realized how easy it was to give a testimonial through a story. In those 5-minutes I shared more and learned more with her just because we each told stories. We were both excited and proud to share our experiences. It felt more like I was talking to a friend.

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!

5-Minute Networking

I just experienced a new form of networking. Our local Chamber held it's first 5-Minute Networking event. There is a web site that explains more about it: I was not sure what to expect at first. After all, what can you get done in 5 minutes. It's amazing how nice it is to have minutes to truly talk to someone and hear what they do and share what you do. It was a fun event, and beneficial.

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

Goal Setting on Steroids

Ok, I know that sounds a bit crazy, and maybe it is. I am so excited that I wanted to share with you an article I found about a goal setting program that is so amazing I am convinced that I will hit new marks this year! I hope you enjoy it.

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

A Time of Renewal

I have been so busy in the last month that I have not updated my blog. In fact, I was so busy, I didn't even remember I had a blog. So today I took a deep breath and decided it was time to reflect and regroup. Here I am at the computer, just me and my thoughts. As I look back on 2006 and look forward to 2007, I am amazed at what a difference a year can make. I think everyone should take a few minutes to review and refocus. It is a time of reflection, a time to purge and time to cleanse. As it relates to business, it is a time to set goals, eliminate distractions and to slow down to "smell the roses" while you plan the year.

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!