The persistent route to success

Pro development topics r

From childhood, we are told about the importance of persistence. And rightly so! We’re told to keep on trying and to work hard. We’re told that quitters never win and winners never quit.

However, there are 2 very different ways to be persistent in business. Both require hard work, yet only one of them can lead to meaningful success.

Allow me to explain.

2 Types of persistence

It looks like this:

  1. Successful business owners know what their goal is and they persistently reach for that goal again and again. They work hard, persistently doing whatever is required to achieve their goal.
  2. The average business owner has an average strategy, which they persistently repeat again and again. They work hard, persistently, even when their strategy isn’t leading to success. That’s what makes an average business, average.

The thing about persistence

Persistence is essential for business success. The key is to make sure you’re persistent in the right areas.

Persist with your goals and persist with strategies and tactics that work. However, if you’re working hard and making too little progress, it’s time for you to stop… and find a better strategy to persist with.

How to avoid an expensive copywriting mistake

Content Marketing, copywriting, coppy, writing

After reading Tuesday’s post, Amanda emailed me with a great question.

Here’s an excerpt:

[…] “I often see you recommending the use of professional copy writers.  This can cost a few hundred dollars and maybe more. I guess my question is when is it worth investing in a pro rather than write your own stuff?”

3 Situations where you should hire a copywriting expert

The best answer to that question I know, came from something I heard at a marketing meeting a few years ago. It makes the point extremely well. Here are 3 situations where it pays to get expert copywriting.

  1. If you are going to invest $20,000 on an advertisement, it’s worth investing a few hundred on expert copywriting.
  2. If you’re going to invest $2,000 on a new website, it’s worth investing a few hundred on expert copywriting.
  3. If you’re investing $50 on an adwords campaign, it’s also worth investing a few hundred on expert copywriting. If the ad copy works, it will repay you… every time you run the ad.

In a nutshell, the time to invest in expert copywriting, is whenever you want your written marketing to work.

A simple, effective recipe for word of mouth referrals

Word of mouth

Here’s a 3 step marketing tip, to help you attract massively more word of mouth referrals.

  1. Think back to the last time you received customer service, which was so good that you wanted to tell everyone.
  2. Write the experience down in as much detail as you can.
  3. Then spend some time figuring out how you can incorporate a version of that experience, into your own business.

Get it right and it will give your customers or clients an experience, which they want to tell everyone about.

How to get your marketing noticed

Get noticed

Today’s post is all about how to attract more sales or enquiries.

Their are 2 types of marketing that get noticed:

  1. Marketing that is hand crafted or personal. An example of hand crafted marketing, would be a letter sent to you, which has your name and address handwritten on the envelope and a message tailored to your exact requirements, signed with a handwritten signature.
  2. Marketing that is highly polished and professional. An example of polished marketing would be a website or blog, which is expertly designed and where the content was produced by a copywriting professional. The quality builds trust and the content motivates people to take action.

Almost all small business marketing is outside of those 2 categories. It’s neither personal or spectacular. It’s neither memorable or impressive. It’s neither thoughtful or motivating.

Different approaches lead to different results

The successful minority of business owners invest in expertly produced, motivating and highly personalized marketing. It’s no coincidence their results are so impressive. Cause and effect.

Conversely, the typical small business will go broke within a few years or struggle on for years, working long hours and making little real progress. That’s because a casual approach to marketing causes casualties. Cause and effect.

No business owner sets out to struggle or make little meaningful progress. It is, however, a choice they have made, albeit an unconscious one.

At some point, the struggling business owner decided to relegate marketing to an low-level task. They did this unaware that everything their business does is marketing. As a result, they are dabbling with the development of their business. This produces predictably poor results.

How to turn things around

If your business is not growing the way you want it to, it’s time to take heed. Because whatever you believe about the quality of your marketing, it’s clearly not working.

The great news here is that by adopting the same attitude to marketing as the most successful business owners, the law of cause and effect comes into play. You can have the business and financial security you have always wanted, so long as you do the right things, correctly.

Read this, it will help: Everything your business does is marketing.

Here’s why you need to build a happy business

Pro development topics r

There are 2 ways to think about the work you do.

  1. Something you have to do in order to make a living.
  2. Something you love to do.

Interestingly, the work itself has little impact on the way you feel. However, the way you feel has a huge impact on the work you do and the results you achieve.

In fact, you can significantly improve your success in every area of your business, if you improve the way you think and feel about it.

Allow me to explain

A common example of this happens when someone changes employers. They stay in the same industry and do a very similar job, yet they become far happier and more successful. Their job description, goals and targets remain almost the same. However, their new environment completely changes how they feel about what they do. It nurtures them. It inspires them to do their best work, which is followed by better results.

My friend Joanne did this a few years ago. Although her career had stalled with her previous employer, she earned a series of promotions with her new employer.

My story

Here’s the thing: As a business owner, you’re free to improve your working environment whenever you wish. I know from personal experience how effective this can be.

I decided one day to make what I thought was a relatively small change to the way I work. Instead of working from my office, I decided to rename my office… my studio. Initially, the actual room itself looked pretty similar. However, it immediately improved the way I felt about work. I felt more creative.

Soon, the room I worked from looked totally different. It went from being a traditional office with everything you’d expect, to a creative studio. Suddenly there were pencils, pens, paper and notebooks everywhere. My desk was replaced by a huge table, which gave me more room to create and play with ideas.

It completely changed the way I felt about work. It improved everything. I went from working in an office to making things happen in a studio. That was 15 years ago and remains one of the most productive things I have ever done for my own business.

How to make this work for you

One of the reasons people start a business of their own, is that they want the freedom to do things their way. It’s easy to forget this. It’s easy to wake up one day and find you have created a business, which is far less enjoyable and less rewarding than it could be.

If that sounds like a familiar story, here are a few areas where you can improve things.

  • You can improve your working hours. Make them more flexible.
  • You can start working in a studio, the way I did.
  • You can fire your over demanding clients. [In fact, this one is essential. You can not be successful with lousy clients. Period]. Here’s how to do it.
  • You can create interesting new products or services.
  • … you get the idea.

It’s your business. You make the decisions. So, build a business that you love.

Then watch what happens to your results.

3 Things to focus on the next time you’re worried

professional development,

Here are 3 things for you to remember, the next time you’re worried about your business:

  1. It’s your business. This means you have ultimate control over what happens.
  2. Any time you decide to, you can start making better decisions. You can improve your strategy.
  3. By making better decisions and backing them up with action, the potential of your business is limitless.

So, stop worrying about what could happen. Instead, focus on improving your strategy.

Then work that strategy.

I have a confession to make

Content Marketing, copywriting, coppy, writing

Okay… it’s confession time.

Whenever I read a marketing message, where the words you are get shortened to your, instead of you’re, it changes how I feel about the message and the person who wrote it. It makes me wonder what other basic errors that person makes. So, I no longer treat the message with as much importance or interest.

I know I’m wrong to do this. It could just be a one-off mistake that slipped past them.

Here’s why I’m sharing this with you

I’m not the only one who feels like this, when they see that kind of basic error in a marketing message. It’s a natural response.

When someone claims to be a business professional, yet they make sloppy mistakes or allow errors to be published without correcting them, we doubt their message.

It works like this: By claiming one thing with a marketing message [professionalism], yet demonstrating something different with our actions [rookie errors], we create a fractured message. Fractured messages lead to confusion and doubt.

Once a prospective client doubts you, the chances of them doing business with you plummet.

It turns out that when it comes to marketing messages, the little things can often have a huge impact.

What everybody needs to know about marketing advice

Pro development topics r

If you’re currently following marketing advice, yet your business isn’t achieving the results you need, this post is just for you.

The problem with general marketing advice

I’m fortunate to work every day with clients worldwide. Over the past 20 years, I’ve worked with clients in over 40 countries. This has given me a wonderful insight into the differences, when it comes to successfully marketing in various parts of the world.

What I have found, is that some very popular marketing publications and marketing blogs are either unaware of the differences or they choose to ignore them. Instead, they tend to offer general advice, which is provided as THE WAY to do something, when it’s often totally unsuitable for many of their readers.

One very often repeated piece of bad advice is, “the best time to publish your newsletter, blog post or social media updates”. There is no general, one-size-fits all answer to this.

Here’s the thing: Different countries have different working cultures. For example, my American clients usually start work earlier than my European clients, however, my European clients often work later. So, if your business is in Europe and you’re reading a marketing blog for American businesses [or vice versa], any information on the best time to publish something is incorrect.

Equally, even within the same countries, different industries work different hours. For example, designers, developers and those in the hospitality industry, often work later than other industries. So, using generic advice on the “best time to publish”, even if it’s from a locally-based marketing expert, is a waste of your time and is likely to make no meaningful difference.

There’s more

I see equally inaccurate information shared on content marketing blogs. No distinction is made between the kind of copy required to sell expensive, professional services — and the kind of copy needed to build an affiliate website or sell low priced items. A very different approach is required for each of these. As a result, I get emails from professionals with terrible blogs, newsletters and websites, who want to know why their readership isn’t growing and why they get few if any enquiries.

[Note: To find out what happened to one of my readers when she took that kind of advice, read this.]

Those examples of non-specific, general advice are sadly typical of what I see many hard-working small business owners waste time and money on. So, before you use general marketing advice, make sure it’s applicable to your business. If it isn’t, that free advice could lose you a fortune.

How to make your business massively stronger

Business development

Today, I’m going to show you how to protect your business, so that it will still thrive, even if you lose your biggest customer.

I need to start by asking you a question. It’s an important question, so take some time to consider your answer:

In financial terms, what would happen if you lost your biggest customer or client?

Many small business owners are heavily reliant on just 1 or 2 main customers. These major customers often account for a hefty percentage of their income. When [not if] the customer leaves or ceases trading, the vendor is left in an extremely precarious position. Despite this, small business owners will usually wait until the worst happens, before they proactively seek out new, major customers.

Why does this happen?

Small business owners understand the seriousness of their situation. It’s just that when times are good, there’s little motivation to invest in marketing or business development. So, they tend to put it off. Then, when they lose a major customer, they enter panic mode. They rush. They often make bad decisions, as fear influences their thinking.

This causes what is widely known as the feast and famine cycle.

A far better approach

The most successful business owners have a different mindset. They understand that the time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining. So, they make business development decisions from a position of strength, rather than wait for disaster to strike. They avoid the feast and famine cycle, because marketing is an ongoing part of their business.

I hope the sun is shining on your business right now. If it is, this is the perfect time for you to focus on attracting more high value customers or clients.

Are you doing your best work?

Most of us are capable of so much more.

I was reminded of this earlier, when reading the following quote from Dr Martin Luther King Jr:

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well’.”

I wonder how a business would improve, if instead of doing enough, the business owner did all their work to the very best of their ability.

A powerful lesson from Martin Luther King Jr: Love and light.