Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

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How to make better buying decisions

iphone 5s

I’ve been thinking recently about how it’s easy to make a costly mistake, when investing in new technology. As new devices hit the market, the temptation can be strong to always opt for the latest version of something, simply because it’s new.

However, there are times when the latest thing is not the correct thing for you or your business.

Here’s an example of what I’m referring to, based on a decision I made recently.

The new iPhone that’s not so new

My friend asked me why I bought a new iPhone 5s last week. He knows I am a technology geek and that I was going to buy my first ever iPhone. He wondered why I’d buy a brand new phone, based on a design that’s 12 months old, rather than the iPhone 6.

Here’s what swayed my decision.

Yes, the iPhone 6 is a big, beautiful phone. However, like millions of android customers, I’ve been using phones with the same large screen as the iPhone 6 for years.

I needed a smaller device.

  • Something that felt comfortable in my pocket.
  • Something I could hold and operate with one hand, whilst sipping a coffee with the other.
  • Something I could use on a crowded bus or train, allowing me to use my other hand to hold onto a rail.
  • Something with a great camera. I use instagram a lot and the photo quality of the iPhone 5s is great — very close to the iPhone 6. You can join me on instagram and see my photos, here.

So, the small and beautifully designed iPhone 5s was the perfect fit for me. I’ve had it for just over a week now and it’s ideal. I love it and use it more often than I used my more awkward, bigger screen phones.

The best solution for you

When investing in new technology, you need to focus on what’s the best solution for you. The latest version of anything doesn’t automatically become the best option.

Over the years I’ve found that you make better purchasing decisions, when you look at what you need and go for the best fit, based on your requirements. Yes, that is often the latest version of a product, but  not always.

How to earn massively more by solving better problems

Money

I want to talk to you today about money. Specifically, I’d like to share an idea with you about how to earn more money, lots more money, without you needing to work more hours.

Whilst aimed primarily at service providers, all business owners can benefit mightily from this idea.

How to earn more money

If you want to earn more money, the answer is pretty straightforward. You need to either:

  1. Work longer hours. The challenge here is that there are only so many working hours available to you. It doesn’t scale. This puts a low ceiling on your income.
  2. Solve better problems. A brain surgeon earns 2 thousand percent more than a strawberry picker, even though they work the same number of hours a day. Why? Because a brain surgeon solves a bigger, better problem than the fruit picker. The bigger the problem you solve, the greater the financial reward.

As most people reading this are already working long hours, I’d like you to consider the second option. I’d like you to think about working the same number of hours or even working fewer hours, but using those hours to provide greater value by solving better problems.

The opportunity right under your nose

Think about it: You have a lifetime of experiences. Thanks to the Internet, you have access to the combined intelligence of millions of people. You also have access to free, global digital communications. This opens up an incredible resource to you, unmatched at any point in history.

This is the golden age, which business owners have talked about for decades. Today, equipped with the right mindset, a laptop and an Internet connection, you can achieve things unthinkable in previous generations.

Now consider this: What does the average small business owner do with these amazing resources? They focus on solving the same low value problems, as they did a decade or more ago. Sure, they are able to get more done thanks to technology, but their competitors are all able to do the same, so it’s of no additional value to them.

More importantly, what are you going to do with all this potential?

That’s a great question for you to focus on.

  • Maybe you’re going to use technology to allow you to collaborate with new partners, so you can provide a better, more valuable service to your marketplace.
  • Perhaps you will take advantage of online learning, to increase your knowledge so you can solve bigger, more valuable problems.
  • You may decide to leverage tools like Skype and work with clients worldwide, opening up a whole new world of possibilities for you.
  • And you could decide to create some digital products, as many of my clients have, which you can earn additional streams of income from.

It starts with the decision to look for better problems to solve. When you do, the possibilities for you are pretty-much endless. It’s limited only by how far you are willing to go — how big the problem is, which you’re willing to solve.

All the help you need is out there. So, what are you waiting for?

How to stop The Blame Game from destroying your business

you

I spoke with a small business owner earlier, who was blaming his customers for the slowdown of his business. He went on to explain that his customers were fools for turning to other suppliers, who are a little less expensive than him.

He was wrong

Here’s the thing: Blaming your customers for the failure of your business, is like blaming your car for grinding to a halt, because you neglected to put fuel into it. The customers you attract, the amount they spend with you and their decision to recommend you via word of mouth… is all down to YOU.

As the owner of a business, you direct the path of the business.

  • You decide whether to adapt your business based on the economy or blame the economy for the failings of your business.
  • You decide whether you market your business professionally or rely on ineffective, DIY marketing.
  • You decide whether you give customers an experience that they want to tell their friends about, or an average experience.
  • You decide whether to invest in the expert help your business needs or invest in a nicer car / vacation / gadget.
  • You decide whether to sell based on price or sell based on value.

It’s YOU who decides. Always!

That’s what a business owner does. She makes decisions, which direct the course of her business. If she doesn’t like the direction her business is heading in, she adjusts her course.

To blame the marketplace, economy, weather, government, competition or anything else for the failings of your business makes no sense. Why? Because others with the same challenges, do what’s required and overcome them.

Excuses are easy to come up with. And that’s the problem. If you practice making excuses for long enough, your excuses will be so convincing that people, including you, start believing them!

The bottom line: It’s down to you.

Your move!

Grow your business by 200% with this simple idea

As you approach the final weeks of 2014, it’s a great time to review the progress your business is making and look for ways to improve in 2015. Obviously, the cornerstone of your strategy for 2015, should be the growth of your business.

So, here’s something for you to consider if you want your business to grow significantly in the year ahead.

It’s based on an idea I shared with a friend, which saw him increase profits and turnover by more than 200% over the past 12 months.

Meaningful improvements lead to meaningful progress

Here’s what we know: The only way to grow your business in a meaningful way, is to make meaningful improvements. It’s simply not enough for you to do what you did this year, only a little better. At best, that strategy may allow you to tread water. To spin your wheels. To waste another year.

However, it certainly won’t lead you to anything worthwhile.

Add some zeros

My friend Harry saw a 200% increase in his revenues last year, with an even greater increase in his profits. How did he achieve this? Instead of focusing on how to grow his business by 25%, I suggested he should add a zero to his target. He then sat down at the end of last year and set himself an inspiring challenge: How can I increase my turnover and profits in 2014 by 250%?

Harry explained that by focusing on a target of 25% growth, his thinking was limited. A pretty small target required pretty small thinking. The target also lacked any pull — yes, a 25% lift is good, but it wasn’t going to change his life in a meaningful way.

However, by setting himself a huge growth target, one that was 10 times bigger than ever before, he was able to blow the lid off his thinking. He was able to set his full potential to work on the challenge. Plus, because growing his business by 250% would massively improve his lifestyle, he found it exceptionally motivating.

So, he’d set himself an inspiring target that allowed him to think big AND he was more motivated than ever before. He missed his target. Instead of growing his business by 250%, he only managed just over 200%. His business is 3 times bigger and over 3 times more profitable. He’s also pretty sure he can hit that 250% in 2015. I believe him too.

How you can succeed like never before in 2015

Steve Jobs famously said that when you’re working on something exciting, the vision pulls you. I’m paraphrasing there, but the message is both powerful and accurate.

Most small business owners stay small, because they set themselves targets or goals that fail to inspire them. Puny goals restrict your thinking. They also rob you of the energy, which only comes when you’re being pulled by a compelling vision.

So, why not do what Harry did — If you want better results and more energy in 2015 than you had in 2014, add some zeros!

PS: This will help you. How to build a successful business. It’s packed with ideas and examples you can use.

Marketing 101: Make it more attractive, not more annoying!

spam

Around 20 or 30 people email me every day with some kind of terrible sales pitch. They spam me because they think that their email is somehow special. They think that it’s only spam when other people do it.

It isn’t.

The rules apply to all of us

No matter how ethical, important or valuable we believe our message is, the rules of effective marketing still apply to us. Spam is spam, even if we do it.

If you want people to take notice of you, do something worthy of their attention and make it easy for them to share. When your message is genuinely of use or interest, the first 10 people who hear about it will get you another 10, who will do the same, and so on. That’s how every successful product or service spreads.

If you constantly need to pester people, either with spam, cold calls or at networking events, it’s time to improve your strategy.

A better approach

It’s as simple and as challenging as this — focus on making what you do more attractive… not more annoying.

How the Brooklyn Bridge changed my life

Brooklyn Bridge

I’d like to share a personal story with you today.

I was eating my lunch one afternoon, looking out the window at the Brooklyn Bridge. I was a 22 year old kid from London, learning all about marketing the hard way, in my new career in a new country. I wasn’t having a great week and my manager decided to help me gain some perspective.

Here’s what he told me.

“You know Jim, it took over a decade to build that bridge. It was hard, dangerous work and almost 30 people died during its construction. Now, remind me what it is about your job that has you feeling so sorry for yourself today?

Suddenly, the 22 year old me understood that in the grand scheme of things, life was good. Life was great, in fact. I was living away from home on a great adventure, in a country I had been fascinated with all my life. The land of opportunity was there in front of me and it was my job, to make the very best of every moment.

It changed my life completely.

The power of perspective

I never looked at life, work or marketing in quite the same way again. What I discovered was that it often takes a shift in perspective, for us to identify the opportunities around us. A shift in perspective can also help us summon the courage and motivation required, to turn opportunities into wonderful outcomes.

Usually, the business opportunities we need are right there, under our noses. To see them and benefit from them, we simply need to look at things from a fresh perspective.

In short — Just as “old ways won’t open new doors”, old perspectives won’t lead us to new opportunities.

What everybody ought to know about Business Advice

decide

There has never been more business advice available than there is today. Among the gems, there’s a huge amount of bad advice. Even worse, a lot of it is toxic. That’s why it’s extremely important for you to filter the advice you receive.

For example:

  • You need to question it.
  • You need to credential the source. “Does this person have the credentials to offer me valuable advice on this subject?”
  • You need to consider their intentions. “Is this person looking out for my best interests?”
  • You need to apply common sense.
  • You need to do the research.
  • You may need to get a 2nd or 3rd opinion, if the advice is related to a major decision or challenge.

Then, if the advice stacks up, it could be worth acting on.

Important

Just because someone says it with sincerity, doesn’t mean it’s correct. It’s possible to be sincerely wrong.

Recommended reading – How to make the right business decisions.

Marketing Tip: Be where their attention is!

cellphone train

The next time you’re on your way to or from work, try this.

I want you to take a look at the people around you; car passengers, bus passengers, train passengers or pedestrians. Notice what they are paying attention to? No, they’re not looking at billboards.

They’re looking at a phone or a tablet.

Be where their attention is

There’s a huge opportunity for you here. That is, so long as you’re willing to publish useful information, such as blog posts, podcasts, videos or newsletters, which your prospective customers will want to consume, to combat the boredom of a dull journey.

There are a couple of things to remember, before you invest your time and effort getting onto their mobile device.

Firstly, make sure you publish something that’s useful to them. If you do, they’ll share it. Your audience will grow. Your name and reputation will spread. Soon, you’ll be a familiar advisor to your marketplace. Don’t publish thinly veiled advertisements and offers. If you do, people will ignore you. No one shares a newsletter, blog post, video or podcast, which is basically a sales pitch.

Secondly, make sure that whatever you publish is mobile friendly. Most small business blogs still look like crap on mobile devices and that’s just not good enough. If you want to engage readers, give them a great reader experience. If you want to engage viewers or listeners, make the audio-visual experience crisp and clear.

The payback?

When you have earned the attention and trust of your audience, and you have a business announcement for them (a new product, offer, service, event, book etc.), they will listen. And because they know your work and trust you, the response rate can be off the charts.

The opportunity is here. The financial cost of reaching all those prospective customers is tiny. The question is, what are you going to do about it?

Tip – If you want to know what your website or blog looks like on various phones and tablets, read this.

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