Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

Author: Jim Connolly (page 5 of 199)

How to know when the moment is right

I was emailed earlier by someone, who told me she was almost ready to launch a new business. She’s just waiting for the right time.

She went on:

“[…] I’ve been waiting to pull the trigger on this project since April 2014 but things have been hectic to say the least. I’m hoping things settle down this year so I can get started.”

The best time to start

The problem with waiting for the perfect moment is that it never comes. Life is a series of challenges. As one challenge passes a new challenge arrives. Even if you were to find a magical moment where everything was just right… one unexpected phone call or some unexpected news would soon change everything.

The decision to wait for a so-called perfect time is nothing more than a stalling tactic. Call it out for what it is.

Then go and do what you have been avoiding!

How to build a successful business that inspires you

level up

Today, I’d like to start by asking you a question.

Are the people around you, challenging you to take your business to the next level?

Think about your co-workers and clients. Are they inspiring you to do better work? Are they motivating you to try harder and move your business forward in a meaningful way?

Uninspired and average

If not, then maybe it’s time to reconsider the kind of people you work with. Co-workers who fail to inspire you are a liability. The same is true of average clients, with their average demands, average projects and average fees.

Surround yourself with people who push you to create your best work. Make no mistake, the impact this can have on your business is enormous. This will help you.

Which gets expert attention: Your hair or your business?

Most business owners have been back to work for at least a few days, following the New Year holiday. Many will already be sensing a familiar feeling.

Their big ideas and dreams from New Year’s day will be starting to meet the reality of their real life decisions and actions. They are setting the scene for a repeat of 2014.

  • If 2014 was a year of breakthrough progress, carry on.
  • If you need to see better results. If you don’t want to spin your wheels for yet another year… then you need a better strategy and you need to work that strategy.

How do you find the right strategy to grow your business?

You get expert help. Someone with the answers you need and a proven track record of success. Someone who can stop you wasting years of your life and all of your money.

We know that most small businesses fail in the first 3 years. Millions more only exist a little longer, because the business owner is living on peanuts and funding their failing business from savings or an alternative income.

Hair styles deserve expert attention

Those same business owners will get an expert to style their hair. However, they take a DIY approach to the success of their business and the financial security of their family. The way their hair looks is treated with greater respect, than the development of their own business. It’s nuts.

For the rest of us, it’s time to decide. Are we committed to doing the right things correctly in 2015? If the answer is yes, then it needs to be backed up with action. Remember, old ways won’t open new doors. That means finding out what needs to be done from someone who knows.

Doing more of the same is only an option, if you want to see more of the same results.

How to get more done in less time AND improve your thinking!

How to

Many people ask me how I manage to run a busy marketing business and still produce so much creative content every day.

So, here’s my secret!

My secret

I figured out a long time ago that there is never enough time to do everything.

However, I also discovered that you can always find time to do the important stuff, so long as you decide to stop reacting to the unimportant stuff.

Please allow me to explain.

Reacting or acting?

  • You can start the day by checking your email inbox and reacting to what you find. Alternatively, you can start your day by listing what’s most important and getting started on that – then opening your email.
  • You can react every time your phone alerts you to a text message. Alternatively, you can finish what needs finishing and then read any messages you’ve received.
  • You can react every time you see a social networking notification. Alternatively, you can wait until you’ve stopped for a coffee etc, then use that time to check your notifications.

Never miss the important and urgent

Tell your family, friends and clients that if they need to contact you for something that is both important and urgent, to call you. Then, if your phone goes and you can see it’s one of them calling, you know it needs answering. Otherwise, unless you are a fire-fighter, plumber, midwife etc, people will not expect you to respond instantly.

This gives you the freedom to regain control over your time, your focus and your output… without worrying that you have missed something that’s both important and urgent.

Regaining your time and your focus

One of the reasons small business owners find it such a challenge to get important things done, is that the distractions they react to, cause them to lose focus. This is especially the case, when they need to do something creative.

Here’s the thing: It’s extremely hard to focus on something that requires your creativity, when you allow yourself to be distracted and your focus to be scattered.

For example, if you want to write a newsletter article first thing tomorrow morning, but you decide to read your emails first, instead of focusing on your article, you will find your focus scattered between the article and all the questions and demands from your inbox.

By writing the article and then dealing with your emails, you can focus 100% on the article. You end up with a better article and then get to invest all your focus, on dealing with your emails.

Getting through the day or from the day?

Most small business owners are happy to just get through the day. However, the most successful business owners take a different approach. They get from the day. They start their day with a list of important objectives and then determine to master their time and their focus, so the important things are always taken care of, with their full attention, in reasonable time.

We all have 24 hours available to us each day. It’s what we do with our time, which makes all the difference.

7 Valuable lessons from 20 years in business

seven 7

I started my business 20 years ago today. Here are 7 valuable lessons I learned along the way, which I wish I’d known at the start.

Here they are, in no particular order:

  1. Don’t focus on closing sales. Instead, focus on opening relationships. You do better work when you see the acquisition of a new client as the opening of a relationship, rather than the close or end of a process.
  2. Consider firing your worst clients or customers. It will lower your stress. It will also give you more time to delight your best clients. Delighted clients stay with you for longer and are a wonderful source of referrals. They also tend to refer other great clients, [birds of a feather and all that].
  3. Customize the service you provide, so that it’s a reflection of your unique approach to business. This makes your business one-of-a-kind. I did this and no longer have competitors. More marketing professionals hire me than any other profession.
  4. Open your mind to new information. Things change. People change. If your opinions and views remain static, you will make bad decisions.
  5. Get the best accountant you can afford. I tried to save money with a cheap accountant in the early years and lost thousands as a result.
  6. Keep your body active. Do some kind of activity for at least 30 minutes every day. As Leonardo da Vinci said: “Iron rusts from disuse; stagnant water loses its purity and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigour of the mind.”
  7. It makes sense to outsmart your competitors. It makes even more sense to outCARE your competitors too.

I hope you find these useful. More importantly, I hope there’s something here you can learn from my experience, rather than learn the hard way.

How to master your New Year’s resolutions!

Today marks the start of a New Year. Along with the New Year will be millions of people with New Year’s resolutions… things they want to achieve.

So, here’s a simple idea, to help you make your 2015 New Year’s resolutions work.

Here’s what we know:

  • Gymnasiums will be a lot busier than usual, filled with lots of new people. Until the middle of March, when most of the new members will have quit.
  • Inactive bloggers will start posting regularly again. Until they run out of obvious things to write about and decide to quit.
  • Sales of healthy food will see a surge for the next few weeks. Until people slip back into eating convenient or fast food and quit their healthy eating regime.

Quit quitting

The best New Year’s resolution we can set for ourselves, is to quit quitting.

Make the decision to do something you know is good for you, then resolve to stick with it… for 24 hours. When tomorrow comes, resolve to do the same.

Does it work? I quit smoking [23 years ago] and drinking alcohol [29 years ago] using this method.

Tip: You can get yourself a copy of my Motivation Master Class audio program here. It runs for 111 minutes and contains lots of ideas you can use, to motivate yourself and motivate others.

Here’s why the possibilities for your business in 2015 are endless

2015

Someone just emailed me to ask what my predictions were for small business owners in 2015. Here’s the best answer I can come up with right now:

I believe that 2015 is going to be a lot like 2014, 2013… and 1973.

What do I mean?

The tools have changed, but the basics of growing a successful business remain the same. As a result, here’s what we will see in 2015.

  • Business owners with the correct mindset will thrive, just as they always have. Others will flounder, just as they always have.
  • Business owners who seek out progress and opportunity will find it, just as they always have. Others will seek out security and make little if any progress, just as they always have.

The opportunity has never been better

One HUGE advantage we all have over business owners of previous decades, is that there has never been a more level playing field.

For instance, when I set my business up in 1995, you needed a hefty marketing budget if you wanted to reach thousands of prospective clients every month with your marketing message. Today, you can create a WordPress blog for free and reach thousands of people every day. Back then, if you wanted to connect with an influential person you needed to navigate endless so-called gatekeepers. Today you can reach out to influential people direct, using tools like Twitter. [You can join me on Twitter here.]

2 challenges we face in 2015

The opportunities ahead of us in 2015 are unparalleled. However, they present us with 2 pressing challenges.

  1. We need to be prepared to stand out, in order to attract and retain the valuable attention of our marketplace. This takes creativity and courage.
  2. There’s nowhere to hide in 2015. We have no more excuses. If we fail to make the progress we want, we can only blame ourselves… our inaction and our mindset.

It’s up to us what we decide to do, which is why we need to choose wisely.

Thank you!

Rest assured that in 2015, I will continue to provide you with tips and ideas to help you with your marketing, business development and professional development. I’m committed to helping you grow a great business… a business that rewards you for all your hard work and dedication.

I hope you and your family enjoy a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year!

Can you guess what’s inside this box?

Today’s post is a little different.

I want you to imagine you have a very special box, which you place on a table in front of a prospective client or customer.

  • You explain to the prospective client that the contents of this sealed box, will be of so much value to them that once they have it, they will wonder how they ever managed without it.
  • You tell them that other people are using what’s in that box, and they love it so much that they write to you and thank you.
  • You then tell the prospective client that the price for what’s in the box, is a fraction of what it’s worth.

You then ask them, “Would you like to see what’s in the box?”

Their eyes widen as they lean forward and say, “Yes please!”

So, what’s inside the box?

As a business owner, your job is to develop a product or service that fits inside that wonderful box. [Tip: This will help you]. In order for it to fit inside, your product needs to be able to deliver on those promises you just made, so when a prospective client sees it, they want it. Really want it!

Even great marketing is no match for an average or slightly above average product. That’s why the most successful businesses bake marketing into their products, so they are as desirable as possible.

When you adopt this approach, marketing becomes a lot easier and massively more effective.

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