Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing tips & ideas to help you grow your business, by Jim Connolly

Month: May 2011 (page 1 of 5)

Is this common mistake crushing your dreams?

Will that new business idea of yours succeed?

Yesterday alone, 3 people asked me that question.  They wanted me to tell them “YES, go for it!” or “NO, it’s a bad business idea!”  The challenge here, is that the question itself is deeply flawed.

Will your next business idea succeed or not?

There are many components behind whether a business idea will fly or flop.  The mental resilience of the person behind the business is a key factor.  Their work ethic is another.  Their resources need to be taken into consideration too.  The list goes on and on.

In most cases, the advice I give to people who email me with that question is the same.  I suggest that if they have done the research, checked the numbers and THEY believe it will work, then they should give their idea a chance to fly. Yes, it is good to get feedback from people, whose opinions you trust and respect.  For example, speak with an accountant about the numbers.  But don’t ask her if you should start that business or launch that new idea.

Some people waste years waiting for an idea, which everyone they speak to says is a definite winner.  No one can possibly know that, because of all the factors involved.  As a result, they do nothing, miss the opportunities and get nowhere.  Their need for guarantees, safety nets and green lights, stops them from getting started.  It’s also the total  opposite of the way an entrepreneur works.

Entrepreneurs don’t seek permission

Entrepreneurs don’t try and put the pressure on other people, by making it someone else’s decision, whether the entrepreneur should start his or her business.  They accept responsibility.  They get the information they need and then get to work.

Here’s the one fact we know for certain, regardless of who you are or what your business idea is:  100% of the ideas you never work on, will never succeed.

  • Do the research.
  • Make sure the numbers add up.
  • Make the plans.
  • Get to work.
  • If the idea flops, learn from it and do better next time.

But don’t wait for anyone to give you permission to start.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Photo: stevendepolo

Get everybody talking about you with this 1 simple idea

Today, I want to help you and your business attract more word-of-mouth than ever before.  I want to help you create an crowd of people, queuing down the street, just to get a peep of what all the buzz surrounding your business is about.

It starts here.

When you look at the vast majority of websites in any niche, it gives you an extremely accurate insight as to why so many businesses fail.  Very, very few of them stand out as being worth talking about.

UVSP’s and Purple Cows

In 1995, I was telling small business owners to develop what I called a UVSP (Uniquely Valuable Selling Proposition.)  This was my version of the USP (Unique Selling Proposition), which I have always believed to be incorrect.  It’s not enough to be unique, without offering unique value.  In 2002, Seth Godin wrote about this in his best-selling book, Purple Cow.  UVSP or Purple Cow, it amounts to the same thing; a product or service, which stands out for being of unique value.  Something with an interesting and attractive story.

Most small businesses stay small, because they do the opposite.  They don’t offer unique value.  They are too similar to their competitors.  Their story isn’t interesting, so no one talks about them.

How similar are your competitors?  Check out the blogs or websites of 10 of your competitors and look at what they have to say.  Look at what they offer.  Look at their testimonials, their promises, their guarantees.  Notice how amazingly alike they are.  In almost every case, their messages could be swapped around and I am not sure anyone would notice.

They want word-of-mouth referrals, but give the marketplace nothing worth talking about.

An alternative approach? Twylah

This weekend I spent a lot of time talking about Twylah, because it’s an interesting story worth sharing.  I saw this video about how Twylah works on Robert Scoble’s blog and it blew me away.  Their story was so compelling, that I wanted to tell people about it.  It didn’t cost them a dime.  It was their story, not their money, which compelled me to talk about them on Twitter and share the service with you in this post.  In doing so, I have just spread the word to thousands of people.

And so… some of you will watch that video, listen to how valuable Twlyah could be for your marketing and tell others.  Very soon, LOTS of people will be talking out it.  It’s a valuable, easy to use marketing tool.  That means it’s interesting to business owners.  It’s the kind of thing we want to share with the people we know.  You can check out my Twylah here.

BTW: If you look at the page without watching the video, you will think you’re looking at a paper.li clone.  It’s pretty much the polar opposite and allows you to make money direct from your Twitter stream, without Tweeting ads etc.  Ask them nicely and you may get an account. (It’s in the pilot phase right now.)

Remarkable. Interesting. Shareable.

Today, if you want your business to thrive or even survive, you have to break out of the sea of sameness and offer something that has unique value to your marketplace.  Business has changed.  Years ago, you could be just like all your competitors, but if you outspent them or out networked them, you would win the majority of the business.  Today, your clients and prospective clients see their social media streams light up, as soon as one of your competitors announces a fresh, interesting way of doing business.  News like that spreads through your marketplace via social networking sites very quickly.

So here’s my suggestion:  Focus on developing a UVSP or Purple Cow of your own.  Develop a uniquely valuable, remarkable way to be of service.  Become one of those interesting stories, that your marketplace LOVE to be part of and share.

Make your business the one they are talking about!

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Picture: Robert Scoble

9 Ways to write more high quality blog posts… right now!

business blogging

Here are 9 ways to write more, high quality blog posts.

  1. Write short posts.  You don’t have to churn out 1,000 word essays.  Most of my posts are under 500 words. Some are under 150.
  2. Don’t try to write like someone else.  The more your posts reflect you and your unique self, the more people will value them.
  3. Spend less time publishing your ideas on social networking sites.  Then, use that time to feed your blog.
  4. Avoid seeking perfection.  The perfection mindset will cause you to write from a position of fear.  Be human, which means being imperfect.
  5. Use a voice recorder or your phone to capture ideas for blog posts.  You will often get your best ideas when you can’t write them down.
  6. Don’t feel like you have to bring the answers with your posts.  Ask the questions.  Get a conversation going: It’s a blog, not a broadcast!
  7. Write when you feel creative.  If you feel inspired to write a post, write one.  Then, write another one! I seldom write 1 post at a time.
  8. Use the questions people ask you, as inspiration for future posts.  If someone is asking you a question linked to your topic, there’s a good chance other readers will find the answer useful too.  I wrote this post, after a reader asked how I managed to publish 12 posts here in the past 7 days.
  9. Most importantly, enjoy it! Many bloggers say they have to force themselves to write posts.  You don’t need to force yourself to do something you enjoy, so identify and resolve whatever it is, which is stopping you from enjoying your blog.

Number 10

So, what has helped you, with both the quality and frequency of your blogging?  Please share your ideas.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Keep on: Pass it on!

Keep on

  • Cash flow looks like it could be a real problem next month.  Speak with someone who knows how to fix it.  But keep on!
  • The last person you gave a presentation to didn’t buy.  Give a better presentation to a better prospect next time.  But keep on!
  • Your last newsletter or blog post flopped.  Write another one that’s better.  But keep on!
  • Your product or service is not generating enough inquiries.  Improve your message.  But keep on!
  • Traffic to your site is down or growing way too slowly.  Study the data and adjust.  But keep on!
  • Your next event doesn’t have enough people booked.  Review your message and make it more attractive.  But keep on!
  • You told someone about your new idea and they told you it would fail.  Ask them why, determine if it’s valid. If it is, adjust.  But keep on!

Someone you know really needs to hear this message right now.

Pass it on and make a difference!

Photo: theps.net

How to attract the best clients and the highest fees

This is part 1 of a 3 part series. Links to part 2 and 3 are at the end of the post.

I have a question for you:

If your business was perfect in every way, what would it look like?

If part of the answer includes; “I would work with great people on exciting projects and for the best fees in the industry” — You will love today’s post!

Everyone in business is a problem solver

Think about it and you quickly realise that every business exists, to solve at least 1 problem.  The bigger the problem, the fewer people there are who can solve it, and the more money they can charge for providing the answer.  That’s why the person who solves the problem “who can clean my car?” earns less, than the person who solves the problem, “who can fly me to London by end of business today?”

Why this matters to you

How many other businesses in your marketplace, can solve the same problem as you?

Quite a few, right?

So, why not consider increasing your value, by developing a uniquely valuable service?

Consider becoming the person in your niche, who not only solves problems, BUT solves them in a more remarkable way than anyone else.  Make doing business with you as interesting and rewarding for clients as possible.  If you do, there’s an extremely good chance:

  • You will attract more clients.
  • Earn more.
  • Develop fantastic client relationships.
  • Retain clients for longer.
  • Generate tons of word-of-mouth referrals.
  • And make the business of business a lot more fun too!

Interesting businesspeople are attractive.  They stand out.  We talk about them for all the right reasons.

How to attract the best clients and the highest fees part 2.

How to attract the best clients and the highest fees part 3.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Photo: kevindooley

Are you an entrepreneur or a freelancer?

A reader contacted me earlier.  He referred to himself as an entrepreneur.  He said that he designed graphics for websites.  I asked him what would happen to his income, if he didn’t show up for work for the next 6 months.  He said he wouldn’t make any money.

He isn’t an entrepreneur; he’s a freelancer.  People pay him in exchange for his time and that’s how he makes money.

An entrepreneur is different

An entrepreneur makes money whilst she is at the gym or walking her dog.  Her business is bigger than she is.  Her business has independent value.

Many people who refer to themselves as an entrepreneur are actually freelancers.  Where things start to get interesting for the freelancer, is when they realise this and develop ways to make money, which are not linked to the number of hours they work.  This approach scales beautifully.  It’s limitations are capped only by the limitations of your imagination.

I challenge you to think like an entrepreneur

Think of something, like this great audio product, which YOU could produce and make money from whilst you’re doing something else.  Once you do, I promise you will never look at making money in the same way again.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Massively increase your success rate with this 1 great idea

Have you ever had a great idea, which you dropped because people told you you were wrong?

  • The Twitter development team were wrong to build a site, where you can only post 140 character messages. Tweets are way too short.
  • Steve Jobs was wrong to launch the iPad, which is a premium priced product, during one of the worst economies in modern history.  It’s just too expensive.
  • The Groupon team were wrong to build a billion dollar email marketing business.  Email is dead.

The wrong way to get it right

When someone doesn’t have your vision, they will look at what you are doing and tell you that you are wrong.  The thing is, their lack of understanding can’t be the compass you use, to determine the direction of your business.  That’s because they will tell you that you are wrong, even when you are right; purely because they can’t see it or they don’t get it .

If you have done your research and you believe something is right, you need to go and build it.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Photo: KungPaoCajun

Stop imagining and start experiencing!

Imagine this for a moment…

  • No more wondering how much potential your business really has.
  • No more confusion regarding the marketing and development of your business.  Just clarity.
  • No more mistaking activity for progress.
  • No more wasting your time or money on ineffective marketing.
  • No more being on your own, when it comes to the development of your business.

Stop imagining it and start experiencing it

You work hard and deserve to see the rewards for all that commitment.  I want to help you.  Allow me to quickly explain.

So far this year, I have offered just one new place on my marketing program.  New places are rare and fill fast, because working with me, one-to-one, on the development of your business gives you a unique opportunity.  When people work with me:

  • You get to attract clients and client inquiries.  This means people buy from you. You don’t have to sell.  Ever.
  • You get to pick the exact type of client you work with.  This means you can build a massively valuable client list.
  • You get to market your services based on value, not cost.  This means no more working for fee-sensitive clients.
  • You get to increase the value of your services.  This means you become far more attractive to prospective clients.
  • You get to control the path of your business growth.  This means you can plan ahead with peace of mind.

So, why am I talking about this right now, when places are so rare?

It’s because today, I am opening up 3 (yes three) new places on my extremely popular Marketing Program!  To find out more about this amazing opportunity for your business, simply use the form below.  (If you are reading this via email, click here to see the form.)

I will happily answer any questions you have.  To avoid missing out, be sure to get in touch as soon as possible.  I look forward to hearing from you!

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Older posts