Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

Author: Jim Connolly (page 1 of 191)

Why Time Management didn’t work for you AND how to fix it!

clearity

I want to share something important with you today. It’s something that has helped my clients achieve amazing results for almost 20 years. It has helped them master time management and make massively more progress than ever before.

Here it is.

Never enough time?

The average small business owner complains that they never have enough time. This is factually incorrect. They have 24 hours available to them every day, just like the most successful business owners.

What the average small business owner lacks isn’t time.

What they lack is direction.

“If you don’t know where you’re going, every road will get you there.”

— Lewis Carroll

One of the main reasons that time management training is so ineffective, is that it teaches people how to get things done. Without direction, time management simply shows you how to do more of the wrong things. You end up with to-do lists and journals, with lots of things crossed off – yet you make too little progress. So, you try to get even more things done, thinking that’s what you need in order to succeed.

The net result: You end up working hard, getting stressed and feeling frustrated at your lack of progress.

I’ll let you into a secret

I’ve worked with and studied some incredibly successful people. None of them have a time management problem. Why? Simple. They have direction. They know what they want to achieve and this gives them the clarity to know what they need to do.

This skill is vital to your success, which is why I work on it with my clients. My clients know where they are today and they know where they want to be in; 6 months, 12 months, 3 years, 5 years and 10 years time. This powerful sense of direction allows us to plan ahead with total clarity.

If you find yourself working hard, yet making too little progress, stop focusing on time management and learn how to find the direction you need.

As my clients have found, once you know exactly where you’re going, it’s a lot easier to plot your course!

A few words of encouragement

encourage people

From time to time, we all need a few words of encouragement.

The thing is, people in need of encouragement do not always tell us. On the outside, they may seem fine. Confident and courageous even. However, on the inside, they may really need to hear our words of encouragement. They could be at a crossroads, about to quit or desperately looking for external confirmation that they can turn things around.

Become a catalyst of encouragement

We often underestimate how important our words are, to others. Think about it, even a smile from a stranger can lift our spirits, let alone some words of encouragement from someone we know. I believe we all have the ability to leave the people around us in a better position, than before we spoke to them.

How?

  • If you have faith in a person’s ability, tell them.
  • If you value their input, tell them.
  • If you think they look great, tell them.
  • If they have impressed or inspired you lately, tell them.

Sometimes, just a few words of encouragement can make a world of difference, to someone who needs to hear them. Why not make them your words?

Marketing your business: What you need to know!

Helen from Long Island, New York emailed me with an important marketing question. Maybe the most important marketing question there is! I’m going to share it with you, with her permission, along with my answer, as I believe you will find it interesting.

It’s all about a common attitude small business owners have, when it comes to marketing.

Here’s an excerpt from Helen’s email:

“My husband quit his job 2 years ago and now runs a training business. [...] Nothing he tries works when it comes to marketing and so I’m begging him to get some professional marketing help. Without my salary propping up his business he’d have no business. He says that getting expert marketing advice is a waste of money. How can I convince him he’s totally wrong Jim?”

Being amazing isn’t enough

There’s a difference between a best-selling author and a best-writing author. The difference? Marketing. An average author with great marketing behind them will always sell more than a wonderful author, whose work goes unnoticed.

The same is true of your business

If your good work is going unnoticed, your less capable, yet better marketed competitors, will win the best clients and harvest the best results.

Sure, some of your delighted clients will recommend you, but usually that happens too infrequently. This is because they expect a great service from you. So, whilst you’re likely to retain their custom, you can’t rely on them to market your business for you.

Since starting my business in 1995, I have never once met with the owner of a failed business, whose marketing was effective. In fact, I’ve found that marketing is easily the most neglected element of the average small business.

Winners have a very different attitude to marketing

Interestingly, marketing is a top priority in every successful business I have ever known. This is not a coincidence. It’s exactly what you’d expect. Why? Because marketing is what provides the lifeblood of your business. I’m talking about cash flow, sales, clients and customers. Without those, you have no business.

Make no mistake, there is a proven, direct link between what your business achieves and the way you choose to market it. Dabbling with marketing is costly. It’s ineffective. It’s frustrating. It causes you to waste months or years, time which you could be using to market your business correctly.

Dabble with DIY marketing or invest in effective, professional marketing? The choice is yours. Choose wisely.

Business owners: How to enjoy your best year ever!

Your past does not equal your future. With a few improvements, it’s possible to elevate your business to a whole new level — which is what today’s post is all about.

Let’s go!

Question time

As business owners, there are some important marketing questions, which you should regularly ask yourself.

These include:

  • Are you regularly receiving word of mouth referrals?
  • When you tell people about your business plans, are they so excited by what you tell them that they want to get involved?
  • Are you attracting the right kind of clients or customers?
  • If you stopped publishing your newsletter or blog, would people miss it?
  • Are you certain that you are doing the right things, correctly, when it comes to marketing your business?

Questions like those are often tough ones to answer. However, they are extremely powerful when it comes to determining whether you are on course or not. They cause you to think about your results, rather than the activities you do. This is important. It’s important because it’s all to easy to be busy, working hard, with little to show for all the effort.

Try this

Take some time today to consider where your business is right now. Then look at the progress you have made over the past 12 months. Ask yourself if you’re happy with the direction you’re going.

If you don’t want more of the same, you need to stop doing more of the same. Yes, hope is essential, however, hope is not a business strategy.

You need to start doing the right things, correctly. This takes courage, because even though your current situation is not what you want, it’s familiar. It’s comfortable.

Embrace the improvements required. Get the help you need. Leave the fake comfort of your comfort zone. Then commit to making the next 12 months, the most successful, exciting and fulfilling of your life!

12 Things every business owner should know!

12

Here are 12 pieces of advice I wish someone had told me, when I started out in business. I hope you find them useful.

  1. Be quick to forgive. While you’re holding a grudge, they are out dancing.
  2. Either you run the day or the day will run you.
  3. Become a better decision maker. Remember, the decision to be indecisive is also a decision.
  4. Always try to leave the people you connect with better than when you found them.
  5. Risk taking is underrated. If you win, you’re happy. If you lose, you’re wise.
  6. In the Google era, people can find 20 alternatives to you in 2 minutes. Embrace what makes you unique. That’s all you’ve got.
  7. Consider firing your worst clients. Then, invest the time you wasted on them, doing better work for your great clients. This works surprisingly well.
  8. Only take the easy route when it’s also the best option. Taking the easy route by default leads to nowhere worth going.
  9. Following the crowd is almost always the wrong thing to do. Warren Buffett has made billions using this simple concept.
  10. Spend as little time as possible with negative people. They sap your energy and if you hang around them long enough, they’ll steal your dreams too.
  11. Learn how to set and achieve compelling, measurable goals. It will improve your life more than any single business activity.
  12. If you really want the marketplace to trust you, show them… don’t tell. Talk is cheap.

Stop making excuses. Really. Stop it!

Most of the excuses we have for failing to reach our potential, are bogus.

Think about it:

  • Nelson Mandela crafted his plans for a new South Africa, when confined to a prison cell.
  • Steve Jobs built the world’s most valuable business, despite coming from a family with very little money.
  • In just 5 years, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling went from living on welfare to become a multimillionaire, best-selling author. She did this despite being a single parent and having clinical depression.

Here’s the thing

Those who are committed to make it happen, will always find a way. The opposite is also true. Those who lack commitment, will always find an excuse.

Every day, we get to choose what we focus on… reasons why we can or excuses why we can’t. It’s up to us to choose wisely!

Let go of the past. Embrace progress!

start

It’s easy to start. Easy to set grand goals. The tricky part is sticking with the project.

Back in January, business owners worldwide set goals. They committed to do what’s required, in order to significantly grow their business this year. By April, almost all of them had slipped back into old habits.

For most small business owners, the first day of January is not the start of a New Year. It’s simply another chance to relive the same disappointing year all over again.

Stop

If you’re sick of working hard and making too little progress, stop. Stop and ask yourself why you’re repeating the same errors. Ask yourself why you’re starving your business of the resources you know it needs. Ask yourself why you’ve accepted this totally unnecessary cycle of struggle… why it’s OK for you to waste year after year. None of us can afford to waste years going nowhere.

Then, if you are serious about improving things…

Take action!

Don’t wait for January to come along before you get serious about the future of your business. Instead, give your business a head start. Get moving today.

The message here is clear —  old ways won’t open new doors. So, let go of the old and embrace progress.

Show them what you know and who you are!

blogging for business

Someone just emailed me, to ask what were the commercial benefits of writing a blog. He wanted to know why I spend so many working hours giving useful information away, for free.

I want to quickly share part of my answer with you, because it’s extremely valuable. It’s based on a blog post I wrote a few years ago. I recalled a reader asking a blogger if he was in as high demand before he started blogging, as he is today.

Here’s the gold dust!

In one sentence, the answer sums up one of the most valuable reasons for business blogging. It went something like this:

“No one gave a rats ass about me, until they could see what was inside my head.”

Share what’s in your head

Your business blog gives you the opportunity to demonstrate what you know, what you stand for and who you are. It’s a way for people to check you out and determine for themselves, if you “get it” or not.

If you really know your subject and have the desire to share what you know with prospective clients or customers, there is no better way to showcase your talent than blogging.

PS: If you’re still not convinced, here are 25 reasons to write a business blog.

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