Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

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A 60 second check, to help you improve your business results

Do you want more from your business in 2011 than you had in 2010?  If you do, then I have a quick test for you, which will set you on the right track!

On a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is the highest, I want you to score the following people, who supply your business with your key services:

  1. Your accountant.
  2. Your marketing advisor.
  3. Your lawyer.
  4. Your IT consultant (hardware/software or Internet.).
  5. Your bank manager.

The cost of average advice

If your scores were 7 or below in any of those areas, you need to ask yourself why you are wasting your time, taking advice that is average or little better than average.  Just as you can tell a lot about a person, by looking at the kind of people they hang out with, you can also predict how successful a business will be, based on the quality of the people it calls upon for advice.  Unless you want an “average” business (and you don’t, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this blog), you must avoid taking average advice.

Surrounding your business with average providers is never a good idea, but as we progress through the worst economy in living memory, it’s a recipe for trouble!

The value of great advice

Interestingly, you do not always have to pay more, to find a better quality advisor or provider.  Some low quality providers charge too much for their services and others seem to undervalue just how great they are.  So, why not spend some time reviewing the people you rely on for advice, support and guidance.

Look particularly for new people in the areas where your business is weakest, as those advising you currently in that area, are clearly failing you!

This relatively straight forward process can help you massively improve your business results very quickly!

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

Work fewer hours, make more money and have more fun!

business development, business model, time management

By Audrey

If you would like to work less, earn more and start enjoying your life more, this is for you.

I was just sitting down with my 5 year old son, drawing some pictures and talking about the different things he was creating.  He drew his mummy a picture of a butterfly, and was colouring it with some very bright pencils and glitter.  I asked him why he picked a butterfly to draw and he said it was the butterfly we took pictures of in the garden last summer.

I remember that day really well, because it was the day before his trampoline was delivered and we were getting the garden ready for it.  As we tidied that section of the garden up, a beautiful orange butterfly came and perched itself next to where we were.  My son had never seen such a brightly coloured butterfly that close up before – it was inches away from his nose!

Although my little boy loves his trampoline, the key thing he remembered from that 24 hour period, was the time he shared, looking at (and talking to) that little orange butterfly.

I’m glad I was able to be there to share the moment with him, so we could remember it together.  I build time every day into my schedule, where I get to see and play with him.  We spend an hour together every morning, having breakfast and then feeding his pet guinea pigs.  When he gets in from school, we spend time talking about his day and then, before he goes to bed, we sit down together and have a story.  That time is blocked off in my diary.  It’s not for sale.

Working smart

Someone once told me that although it’s good to have the wonderful things that money can buy, it’s even more important not to forget or neglect the things money can’t buy.  Many hard working small business owners are working such long hours in order to make a living, that they miss years worth of the precious things, which money can’t buy.

Any business model or entrepreneurial venture, that stops you from having the things money can’t buy, is a waste of your time. It’s a broken plan!

You don’t need to work crazy hours in order to achieve your commercial objectives.  The answer is not to throw more hours at a business model that’s failing you and those you love.  Instead, figure out why you need to work so many hours. For example:

  • Are you charging too little for your time, so need to work too many hours?
  • Are you wasting major working time, on minor things?
  • Do you need to improve your time management or project management skills?
  • Are you giving too much of your time away and then playing catch-up?

The key to business success is NOT hard work and long hours.  If it was, our grandparents would have been millionaires!  In my experience, it’s about working hard and smart during working hours, putting effective plans into place, to create a business that’s as profitable as possible.

Find a way to develop a better business, where you can work DAMN hard during work hours and still have time to smell the roses!

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

What everybody ought to know about growing a successful business

I had a big, unexpected problem occur earlier.  This post is about my reaction to the challenge, and how you can use a similar approach to make better decisions and grow your business!

In short: Whenever I’m confronted with a problem, I start by identifying exactly what the challenge is and then, I look for the best way to get the situation fixed.  I never aim to make things as good as new. I always look to make things even better then they were before, as this allows me to really stretch my thinking and pushes the barriers of my creativity.

Many times, the answer requires specialist input from outside my own area of expertise.  That’s what this post is all about.

So, who did I turn to in this instance?

I went to the mountain of information I have from my mentor: The late, great Jim Rohn.

For those who do not know, Jim Rohn was Tony (Anthony) Robbins’ boss and one of the most respected professional development experts in the world.  Jim Passed away almost a year ago, yet his influence is still a key part of my life, as today’s adventure highlighted to me yet again.  Within 30 minutes of revisiting some of Jim Rohn’s ideas, I was putting a solution in place, and gathering the right people around me for the challenge.

Within an hour, we had turned things around.  It’s no longer even a problem.  It’s just a solution in progress.

The reality is that business is a series of challenges.  However, most small business owners have a very haphazard way of dealing with these challenges and their results echo this.

Here’s what happens to most small business owners

The business owner finds that his or her business grows to a certain size and then hits a plateau or levelling point.  From there onward, they find that no matter what they try or how hard they work, they make very little, if any, real progress.  Their business is crying out for specialist help in order to progress, but they decide to just keep on with the same, ineffective approach, spinning their wheels.

It’s frustrating and completely unnecessary.

Building your arsenal of resources

When business hands you challenges, such as a lack of sales or too few inquiries, it’s important to have trusted, informed people and resources available to you.  A well meaning friend is invaluable, but when you require specialist answers to specific business challenges, you also need expert help in that key area.  In fact, you can usually tell how well a business is doing, just by looking at who the business owner calls on for help.

In my experience, it’s never too early to start developing your own pool of resources.  It’s always best to have the people and information in place, before you need them.  This not only saves you time and money, it allows you to make progress with your business and plan ahead with confidence and peace of mind!

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

The secret to becoming a prolific blogger!

blogging, copywriting, content marketing

Image: Maria Reyes-McDavis

Do you find it a little challenging, writing regular content for your blog or newsletter?  If you do, here are a few ideas to help you increase the quality and volume of your creative written output.

Is the 15 minute blog post a lie?

Most of the prolific bloggers I read, state that it takes them around 15 or 20 minutes to write a blog post.  When I was writing half a dozen posts a month, I found those claims a little hard to believe.  Today, I write posts every day and tend to get posts written in around 20 minutes myself, sometimes half that.  This glass half full post from Monday took less than 10 minutes to write up.

So, what’s the secret behind prolific bloggers?

It’s simply this: The more you write, the easier it becomes!

Getting ideas for blog posts

As blogging became a regular part of my life, I started getting ideas for blog posts more and more frequently.  It’s a little like when you buy a new red car and suddenly start seeing new red cars everywhere.  The cars were always there, it’s just that you never noticed them before.  When you start blogging regularly, you begin to notice ideas for blog posts that would have passed you by, before you had an outlet for them.  Currently, I have over 200 ideas waiting to be turned into posts.  I capture these ideas using a digital voice recorder.  It’s faster and a lot more practical than using a pen and pad, as I tend to get my best ideas when I am out walking or cycling etc.

Turning your ideas into blog posts

Here’s how I do it.  I tend to write early in the mornings, before my wife and son wake up.  I start by listening to the audio notes I have and find a topic that feels right.  Then, I begin writing.  My posts tend to start by asking you a question, occasionally they begin with a statement.  I then write the core points that I want to share with you.  Next, I flesh them out a little and then place them into order.  I usually end a post with either a question or a suggestion.

Like many people, I have found that the actual writing process speeds up, the more often I write.  I didn’t try to write faster.  It just happened naturally, as I wrote more and more often.  I’m not talking about my typing speed, that’s always been pretty fast.  I’m talking about the time it takes to get an idea out of my head and into readable text.

The mechanics of blogging

I tend to keep things really simple.  I use the WordPress blogging platform and find that it is extremely easy to work with.  This means that once I have a post written, it usually takes just a minute or two, to get it formatted and ready to publish.  I write posts in advance and then use WordPress to schedule when they are published.  This post was written on 11th November.

It’s a fact: Some people are better writers than others.  In my opinion, your task should always be to become the best writer or blogger or content provider that YOU can be.  By studying the craft, practising it regularly and seeking to improve all the time, you can make amazing progress.

So, what tips or suggestions do you have, for people who want to increase the quality and / or the volume of their blogging output?  Any thoughts you’d like to share?

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

Here’s a quick way to improve your decision making

marketing focus, business development, professional development

I love to start the day with a brisk walk around the beautiful village where I live. This morning was a great morning for a walk. The sun was up and there was a heavy ground frost. It looked beautiful and the leaves were crunchy under my feet.

Anyhow, as I walked my usual route, I bumped into 2 people who were also taking a morning walk. The first person commented what a beautiful, sunny morning it was. The second person complained about how cold it was, pointing to the white sheet of frost covering the fields around us.

The same situation… different perspectives!

Both the people I spoke with were 100% correct in what they said. It was a beautiful sunny morning, but it was also frosty. What changed was THEIR interpretation of what they saw. Their perspective. One focused on the sunshine, one focused on the frost.

Having worked with thousands of businesspeople, here’s what I have found: What matters most is not what life throws at you, but what you decide to do with it.

It’s what you do, with what you’ve got, that will determine how happy you are and how commercially successful your business will be.å

The unhappy 2%!

I was recently reading a post over on Seth Godin’s blog, where he talks about the 2% of people who will complain or disagree whenever you do anything that gets their attention. Now, I’m not sure that number is 2%, in my experience it’s a lot lower than that, but Seth’s point is correct.  Whenever you make any change, even a vast improvement, there will be people who complain and these people are usually noisier than the other 98%.

As a small business owner, it’s important not to make the mistake of allowing the noisy 2% to stop you making decisions and taking action. You see, as soon as you make that 2% happy, the changes you made to appease them, will often cause a different 2% of people to complain!

Even those well known brands, which you LOVE and tell all your friends about, will have people who vocally dislike those same things that you think are great.

By perfecting what you do, you may get that 2% down to 1%, but there will always be people who disagree with whatever it is you do.  If you introduce a new service and 2% of people tell you it’s stupid, but 98% love it, go with the 98%!  Even if that 2% is vocal, and it often is, listen to what they are saying, learn from it, but allow it to influence your decision making by just 2%.

As Jim Rohn used to say; “Don’t major on minor things!”

The bottom line: You can’t please everyone, every time, with everything.  Don’t allow the noisy 2% to stop you making progress.

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

Internet Marketing for Smart People

Very rarely, something comes along that I absolutely have to share with you.  I’m delighted to say that today is one of those days!

Internet Marketing for Smart People Radio

brian clark, copyblogger, radio showToday, I want to recommend you go and check out Brian Clark and Robert Bruce’s new Internet radio show: Internet Marketing for Smart People.  The show is just 2 editions old and the content is, as you would expect from these guys, marketing gold dust.

If you click the link above, there’s information on how to subscribe to the show on iTunes and also a link, so you can download the mp3.

When you’ve done that, I strongly suggest you take a look around the rest of the site!

Brian Clark & Copyblogger

In case some of you don’t know who Brian Clark is, Brian is one of the best in the business at what he does: Content marketing.  Brian’s blog, copyblogger.com, is best in class, in my opinion and contains regular posts from the extremely talented Sonia Simone, as well as a variety of guest contributors.

I have been a Copyblogger subscriber for years and strongly recommend both the blog and the new radio show.  It’s essential information for anyone interested in marketing, copywriting and how the two work together to create results.

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

A new look at Jim’s Marketing Blog!

Image by: Juhan

As part of my ongoing effort to make this site as easy to read and navigate around as possible, I have made some subtle changes to the overall look and feel.

The main content area is slightly wider than before.  The light blues have been replaced with less distracting shades of grey, to make it easier on the eyes for those who read lots of content here.

As is always the case with design, some will like the changes and others will not.  The focus for me is to ensure the site is easy to read, easy to navigate around and fast to load.  From the testing I have done over the past 2 weeks, it seems that the new design helps with the first two, whilst the recent investment in a super fast dedicated server helps with the third.

I’ve actually invested thousands of pounds in the hosting and development of this “free” blog over the past 12 months alone, and I will continue to invest whatever is required, to help you and your business with practical, effective marketing and business development ideas and advice.

Thanks for your continued support, your comments, emails and for sharing what you find here with your friends and helping me grow our community.

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

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