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Archive for October, 2009

Have you ever seen one of those robots that will bump into a corner, turn slightly and try again… bump into the same wall, turn slightly… bump into it again, turn slightly, etc.? It keeps going until eventually it is heading OUT of the corner and in a new (more open) direction.

When I see businesses who are feeling “hammered” and “forced into a corner” by 2009, I think of this robot. I wonder… WHY are they not changing directions? Trying something new? Trying again?? And again? First, fear keeps them stuck in a corner.. fear of risking (and losing) more… fear of going in the WRONG direction. So, they remain stuck. Do they like the corner? NO. Are they HOPING to get out? You bet. Yet, paralyzed by the feelings of defeat and fear, they remain INactive. Throwing their hands up, they will say, “What’d ya gonna do??” So, they either continue doing the very things that led them into the corner, or they do nothing.

Tidewater Women magazine said I “embodied the entrepreneurial spirit”…. As an entreprenuer, this defeat in my fellow “treps” breaks my heart. Because when I look at them, I see such potential…. They are pregnant with it….. and are often just ONE BOLD move away from giving birth to profit.
In the Bible, the Israelites were leaving slavery in Egypt. They left singing, dancing and praising the Lord for their deliverance… with the hope of a promised future. Much the way many of us ventured into business ourselves, right? But, in the case of the Israelites, the Promised Land took much longer to reach then they anticipated…. the journey was harder than they expected… the obstacles were more frequent and more challenging than they expected. Can you relate? Did you know that only ONE person per million Israelites made it INTO the Promised Land?

If you feel like your chances of ending up in your own Promised Land are about one in a million, let me share with you a Biblical Truth to accelerate your entrepreneurial travels:

1) CHOOSE… Joshua told the Israelites to CHOOSE this day whom they would serve…. Today, I am asking you – if you are NOT okay with the PROFIT your business is producing – to CHOOSE to turn it around. Make a decision to do something different. Even a robot can find its way out of a corner. So can you. CHOOSE. DECIDE you will succeed. DECIDE to do something different. CHOOSE today.

2) COMMIT…. Joshua asked the Israelites to abandon all other “gods” and “idols” and COMMIT to the Lord. I am asking you to abandon Plan B’s…. and COMMIT whole-heartedly… with laser-focus… and one-track thinking to your own business success.

Here’s to being one in a million!! =)

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So…. at the risk of offending EVERY ad salesman, publication, radio station and MORE, I just have to say this:

WHY in the WORLD do otherwise smart and savvy business owners FAIL to acknowledge basic MATH in their business? If a paid advertising effort produces $0 in increased revenue, why would running that SAME ad (with no changes) in the SAME publication somehow produce MORE income? Zero times any number is always zero.
Yet, this is the scenario I see all the time… When one ad doesn’t work, the business owner will enlarge (or add color to) the SAME AD…. expecting (much) different results… Usually following the “expert” advice of the salesperson who earns MORE money when you buy a BIGGER or more colorful ad. Go figure.

Here are some quick ways to AVOID wasting money on paid advertising in the future:

** If the sales person doesn’t ENCOURAGE you (and maybe even show you HOW) to check the RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI) for your ad, DON’T BUY IT!! They should be interested and committed to seeing results for your business.

** If they continually use the words, “You have to get your name out there”, WALK AWAY. There is no value in “getting your name out there” unless you are building your EGO vs. your bank account. You want the ad to focus on getting your clients or customers IN HERE. Sure, when you do “get your name out there”, there are nice ways to leverage that “exposure”. BUT, it is not a pre-requisite to making a cushy income in your business. In fact, while others are busy “getting their name out there”, you can be busy getting clients INTO your business. The former often costs a lot of time and money. The latter MAKES money. Which are you most interested in doing?

** What should an effective AD include? (If you have already BOUGHT ad space, and need some real detailed, pointers, email me at michelle@womenwhowow.com and ask for my “Making Advertising WORK” report.)

1. It should GRAB ATTENTION. (TIP: Don’t make your headline your business name. Instead, use something that “grabs” your target market.)
2. It should be written to answer the following question in your potential client’s mind: WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?
3. It should inspire curiosity….. maybe even be a BIT outrageous.
4. MOST IMPORTANTLY: It should ASK THE READER TO DO SOMETHING. It should INVITE them to TAKE SOME ACTION… call for a free report, or visit for a complimentary service, or SOMETHING.
5. You should include a sense of URGENCY.
6. When possible, it should ask them to do something that allows you to collect their contact information…. so you can continue to converse with them.

Remember: Your AD’s job – with the exception of some direct response marketing – isn’t to make the SALE…. it is to START the conversation. And profitable businesses in ANY economy are built ONE conversation at a time.

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Not too long ago, I sat in a meeting with a very educated business owner and her team of “key players”…. marketing consultant, business manager, customer service manager, etc. The issue at hand: a lack of clients and decreasing income. It was a difficult meeting. As an “outsider”, I sat silently as the “team” danced around the reasons for their decreasing business income…. leaving every possible solution UN-touched as they entertained the rediculous.

I sat silently as excuse after excuse was offered for the NON-performance of those employees responsible for SALES. Of course, the sales “professionals” felt they were doing “all they could” to close deals. (In reality, they were far, far from reaching their potential.) Of course, they blamed the recession. Because, if the focus was on the big, bad recession – well, then no one would simply call them out and say they weren’t very good at their job. (Money may be an issue, but at least their precious ego was saved.) I see it all the time. When we have an excuse that is OUTSIDE of OURSELVES (like a global recession) instead of doubling our sales efforts, we actually do LESS to sell. Of course, the excuses of the sales team were accepted…. never challenged… never debated… never searched for TRUTH.

I sat silently as the marketing consultant ran down a list of marketing efforts. NONE of which were “direct-response” in nature… ALL of which were “exposure-based”… ALL of which required a monetary investment (with absolutely NO talk of expected return)… and NONE of which had proven in the past to be profitable.

IN FACT, when I did ask where MOST of their customers came from, they told me: Referrals. Well, did ANY of their marketing efforts focus on strategically generating MORE referrals – their number ONE source of business? NOPE. But, they did have a marketing effort that would allow them to see their business name in lights. (Don’t laugh! I think college marketing programs -taught by professors whose incomes are guaranteed and who have never actually run a business of their own and who have never ever been responsible for meeting payroll – are actually teaching this crap!)

Anyway, I did eventually speak up and offer my expertise. But I have to wonder if this is a typical business meeting?? If this sounds “typical” for you, here are some quick tips:

** QUESTION EVERYTHING… interrogate the areas in which your business is “falling short” like a great attorney would do a criminal. ASSUME nothing.
** BE RUTHLESS with your marketing money. Invest in NOTHING (and in NO ONE) who doesn’t focus on RESULTS and RETURN ON INVESTMENT.
** If you are interested in building your EGO, it is fine to continue to market for exposure or to “get your name OUT THERE”. BUT, if you are interested in building your bank account, it is necessary that EVERY marketing effort be direct-response in nature. In other words, focus on getting your clients IN HERE… not on getting your name OUT THERE.
** Sales teams are responsible for making sales. Hold them accountable for doing just that!! (If you will accept ONE excuse, you will accept ANY excuse. And, you can have excuses….or you can have RESULTS… but never BOTH!)

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