Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

Author: Jim Connolly (page 3 of 195)

Don’t stop until you’re proud

Proud

How hard should you work?

How successful should your business be?

How much should you care?

How long should you spend delighting your customers?

How many times should you try before quitting?

The answer

One way to decide is to keep going until you’re proud of what you’ve achieved. To keep pushing until you feel certain that you have given it everything – nothing left on the table.

I can’t think of many situations in business, if any, where that mindset won’t improve your performance enormously.

The next time you’re wondering what to do, remember: don’t stop until you’re proud!

A powerful business lesson from an absolute genius!

Warhol

The artwork above carries a massively valuable lesson. It explains one of the most important elements in the development of a successful business. Yes, it’s Andy Warhol’s masterpiece, Campbell’s Soup Cans.

Here’s the story!

When the collection was first exhibited in 1962, very few people attended. The exhibit was arranged by West Coast art dealer, Irving Blum. It was Warhol’s first solo exhibition. Those who attended the exhibition at the Ferus Gallery either made fun of the art, dismissed it or ignored it. Very little art was sold. It was a huge failure.

Blum decided to buy the Campbell’s Soup Cans canvasses. He paid Warhol $100 a month for 10 months. Just $1000. Though many believed it was $1000 more than they were worth.

Of course, despite his disastrous, first solo exhibition, Warhol refused to quit. He kept on creating his art. He also kept on hustling (getting his art in front of people), believing that if the right people saw it, they’d see it for what it was. Art that would change the landscape for ever.

Warhol hustled

He worked hard. Damn hard.

Instead of working from a studio like every other artist, he worked from what he called The Factory. This was a very deliberate strategy. He created as much art as he could and took every opportunity to showcase his work.

As you know, his belief and hustling finally paid off. Warhol became one of the most important names in art of the 20th century and his work is even more valued today.

Irving Blum’s $1000 investment in the Campbell’s Soup Cans, which people laughed at, was sold to New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1996 for $15MILLION.

This was seen partly as a gift from Irving Blum, as the art is valued at well over $100MILLION.

Warhol without the hustle?

Without hustling, there would have been no Andy Warhol. Certainly not the internationally respected artistic genius we know today.

  • Had Warhol decided to quit after his initial, disastrous exhibitions, a genius would never have flourished. At that time, he was being rejected by his peers and his work was being insulted.
  • Had Warhol created the same great art, but refused to work hard promoting it, both he and his art would have remained undiscovered.

Instead, Warhol hustled. Creating and promoting great art.

Business without the hustle

How many great business owners have worked hard without recognition, because they failed to promote their work correctly? How many business owners reading this post, are struggling financially because too few people know how amazing their products or services are? How many business owners are not putting their ideas into action, because they allow fear of failure or ridicule to stop them?

I honestly don’t know.

What I do know is that some amazing people, providing great products and services, fail to get the rewards they deserve. Why? Because unlike Warhol (Steve Jobs, Henry Ford, Walt Disney and every successful business in your area), they resist the hustle.

Instead of doing what’s required, they do 100% of the things they are comfortable with. They hate (yes, hate, not dislike) the idea of marketing their work correctly. They either fear investing in the help they need or they get expert help, but refuse to promote their business as enthusiastically as they should.

So they dabble. In one of the most competitive economies in living memory, they choose to dabble. I find that fascinating.

Embrace the work. ALL the work!

The alternative is simple. By simple, I mean anyone reading this can do it. Anyone reading this can turn an average business into a successful business or a successful business into an even more successful one.

So long as… you embrace all the work required in order to succeed.

This means changing things. You can’t improve without change. It also means giving your business 100% — working hard and working smart. Doing great work and proudly hustling the value you bring, so people get to see how amazing you and your business are.

You don’t need to waste time between now and the first day of January to make the commitment… to resolve to crush your old ways and replace them with something highly effective.

I know you can do it. I believe in you.

Your move!

Don’t let Easy Street destroy your business!

easy street

The Internet is incredible. It has placed a world of knowledge at our fingertips. It has also allowed us to communicate with people worldwide at no financial cost, thanks to services like Gmail and the multitude of social networks.

So, we can now learn or research anything and there’s no charge for connecting with people.

Equipped with this opportunity, an opportunity unmatched in all human history, what do most people do? The answer is… very little!

The same as it always was

The business owners harnessing the opportunities afforded to them by the Internet, are the same ones who would have harnessed the opportunities around them, had the Internet never existed.

Those who ignore the potential of the Internet are the same ones who would have floundered, had the Internet never existed.

The only difference today, is that those in that second group have nowhere to hide. They can’t blame their lack of education, their lack of contacts or their lack of money, for their lack of success.

But why?

Why do just a small minority of business owners truly benefit from the potential at their fingertips?

The answer is simple: The masses are always, always looking for the easy route. No matter how much easier the Internet has made things, it’s still not easy enough for them.

For example, whenever I write a blog post, article or social network update that offers a simple solution to a problem, the most common reply is always; “It’s not that easy, Jim.”

What that person really means is: “It’s not easy enough for me, so I’m making the decision to do nothing productive. Instead, I’ll waste my time making excuses.

Here’s the thing

It’s easy to run an average, struggling business. It requires nothing more than a willingness to work and the decision to take an easy route when faced with a challenge. If anything looks risky or likely to take you out of your comfort zone, you can just avoid it.

Running a successful business isn’t easy. It requires a willingness to do what is right, even when it isn’t the easy option. It means embracing the hustle — being prepared to do all the work, not 100% of the easy stuff.

Everything of meaningful value to your business, absolutely everything, lives just outside your comfort zone.

Tip – Read this. How to build a successful business. It contains lots of examples and workable ideas you can use.

Take a stand or be ignored!

stand

When you communicate what your business stands for, something magical happens.

  1. A section of your marketplace, which believes strongly in the same things as you, will find themselves far more attracted to your business.
  2. Those who are strongly against what your business stands for, will look elsewhere for a provider.
  3. Plus, you will have successfully differentiated yourself from other providers in your industry, who struggle to get noticed at all.

The power of standing for something

By letting the marketplace know what matters most to you and your business, you attract the very people you will derive the most joy from working with. This will make the business of business massively more enjoyable. It will improve the quality of your work too, by default.

By driving those away, who disagree with what you stand for, you no longer have to endure the enormous emotional and financial drain of low value customers.

If you haven’t already done so, make a list of what you and your business stand for. Then, consider using a condensed version of it in your marketing.

It’s one of the fastest ways to differentiate yourself from your competitors, get noticed and attract the attention of the best customers.

Last few remaining

queue

Have you noticed what happens when the media report that something is about to be in short supply? Queues form. People stand in line, just so they can get it before it runs out.

Here’s the thing: Whether it’s fuel or the latest must have Christmas present, demand shoots through the roof as soon as people think they could miss out.

A great example of how powerful this can be, comes from Apple. There are long lines outside Apple stores every time they launch a new product. Why? Because their marketplace has been trained to understand that demand will outstrip supply. This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Enough about Apple

More importantly, what limited availability product or service could you introduce to your customers?

The huge marketing problem that no one talks about

silence

I was in a coffee shop earlier, when a guy with a very obvious hairpiece came in. He had natural, thick brown hair around his ears, with a jet black wig on top. Of course, no one mentioned it to him. People just pointed and smirked when he wasn’t looking. Whether this chap needed the hairpiece for vanity or medical reasons, it’s entirely possible he has no idea that his wig is so poorly matched to his natural hair.

The same happens regularly in business. Allow me to explain.

Think about it

  • We go to a website to check out a potential service provider, find the site looks amateurish and decide not to consider them. We don’t then call them to let them know their site created such a bad impression.
  • We start reading a poorly written ad or marketing message and quickly discard it, because it’s crap. We don’t write to the company and tell them their content is terrible.

So, how do we determine if what we’re doing is working for us? Simple. We ignore the silence and instead, look at the results generated.

For example:

  • Your website or blog should be a 24 hour business generating machine. If it isn’t, it needs to be improved.
  • Your marketing messages should generate targeted sales or leads from your ideal profile of customer. If this isn’t happening, it needs to be improved.

Start counting

Don’t wait for someone to tell you your marketing is crap. Start counting!  Count the number of daily sales or sales leads your marketing generates. Measure your progress over the past 12 months. Look at your bank balance.

If you’re not satisfied, fix what’s broken. Don’t just accept bad results. Get some expert help and turn it around. Those who ignore the lesson here, leave money on the table every day. Worst of all, it’s 100% avoidable if you decide to do something about it.

Tip – If you found this interesting, you really should read: 4 Ways to attract more customers from your website.

How to make your business irreplaceable

IRREPLACEABLE

How hard would it be for one of your clients or customers to replace you with an alternative provider?

I was thinking about this yesterday when a salesman came to my home. He asked if he could quote me a price to look after the trees and hedges, which surround all 4 sides of our house. I said that I wasn’t interested. He then said that if I told him what my current guys charge, he’d beat their price. I explained that I still wasn’t interested. I thanked him for his time and he left.

Just think about that for a second.

Apply that scenario to your business. Imagine being so valuable to your clients or customers that they send competitors away — uninterested in hearing about their lower price.

Being irreplaceable

If the salesman had been a little wiser, he’d have asked me what made my current provider irreplaceable. If he’d asked, here’s what I’d have told him.

The team who look after my hedges and trees have worked for us for years. They know exactly how we like things. They are extremely reliable and when we needed them in an emergency, they responded fast — removing a tree that had fallen down in a storm. They provide a great service, which they are well paid for. They’re happy and we’re happy.

Trust

They’ve made themselves irreplaceable by building trust. They’ve earned that trust by doing great work over the long haul and being extremely reliable. I have recommended them dozens of times over the years to friends, all of whom are equally delighted with them.

There are 2 pieces of gold dust in the previous paragraph:

  1. The best way to become irreplaceable is to earn trust. It was during our first year with the tree company that they came out to remove that tree, which was blocking a road on a dangerous corner. They were here in 40 minutes and charged us the normal rate, when they could have exploited the situation.
  2. When a provider earns our trust and does great work, it’s easy to recommend them to our friends.

Clearly, every business owner should strive to make their business irreplaceable. It improves customer retention, whilst also generating a regular flow of word-of-mouth referrals.

How do you become irreplaceable?

It’s not about one huge action. It’s about the daily interactions we have with our customers. It’s a slow burn. We earn the position of being irreplaceable over the medium and long haul.

Every interaction should be used to increase our value to our customers. A superb way to accelerate the process is to be there when they are most in need. As I wrote recently, it’s when people are having a tough time that they most value our help.

That’s how we earn [then re earn] the position of being irreplaceable.

Yes, you need to re earn the position, because when you act like you’re permanently irreplaceable, you’ll soon be replaced by someone who out manoeuvres you.

Let’s look again at my opening question. Ask yourself, how hard would it be for one of your clients or customers to replace you? If you don’t like your answer, do something about it today… and every day, until they’d have to be crazy to switch to another provider!

How to crush the competition

crushed

Joe emailed me with a very direct and important question yesterday. Here it is, along with my answer.

Hi Jim. What’s the best way for me to crush my competitors?  I’m going to lose my business soon unless I turn things around and I’m sick of losing out to competitors that are no better than me!

I think crush is a strong word, but it certainly gets Joe’s point across.

Think about it.

  • You can outsmart your competitors. This means spotting or creating opportunities before they do.
  • You can out care your competitors. This means showing the marketplace that you care enormously about what matters to them.
  • Alternatively, you can out manoeuvre your competitors by doing both! By outsmarting them and out caring them, you leverage 2 enormously powerful strategies.

If someone turned up in your marketplace today with the out manoeuvre mindset, they would eventually attract many of the best quality clients or customers. They would crush the competition.

That someone… could be you! Yes, it requires a mindset adjustment, but the rewards can be huge. Is it easy? No. Is it worth it? Absolutely!

PS – Here’s some advice on how to compete and win against big businesses.

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