Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

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It’s up to us

When it comes to fulfilling our potential, it’s up to us. Others can contribute to our success or try and push us off course, but the buck stops with us.

  • We may need help in order to get us from where we are to where we want to be, but the decision to seek help (or not), is up to us.
  • The first 10 people we seek help from may close the door in our face, however, the decision to knock on door number 11 (or not), is up to us.
  • When we get the advice or answers we need, the decision to back it up with hard work and persistence (or not), is up to us.

Whilst we can’t control what the world throws at us, thankfully we can set our sail, as we navigate our life journey.

This empowering fact of life, means you can change course any time you wish. You don’t need to accept less than you deserve. It’s up to you.

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

Recharging your story

How do people in your industry charge for their services?

Do you follow that model?

If so, why?

price

Getting people talking about you

One of the questions people ask me the most, is how can they get their marketplace talking about them. I call this process crafting a story, worth sharing.

Well, one of the most effective ways for a small business to get their marketplace talking about them, is for them to use a different fee model to their competitors. This sets them apart and makes them more visible, especially if they are in a highly competitive industry or profession.

My story

For instance: When I started my small business marketing program, I decided not to charge an hourly rate, a project rate or a per-session rate. Instead, I offer a year of my time for a single, capped, annual fee. This not only means that people know exactly what a whole year’s worth of marketing costs them, it gives them a story about my business that is worth sharing. So, that’s what they do.

Your fees and your story

Here’s something to think about: If you changed your fee structure, so that it was different from your competitors, how would that change your story?

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

Winning and losing at the same time

It’s easy to win the argument, yet come out losing.

Win lose

  • We can win the argument and lose a friend.
  • We can win the argument and totally fail to change the other person’s viewpoint. As they say: A man convinced against his will, is of that same opinion still.
  • We can win the argument and in the process, make ourselves look like a jerk and lose the respect of everyone involved.

A healthy alternative

In my experience, when it comes to business, a healthy debate is a far better alternative to attacking another person’s viewpoint or arguing with them.

A healthy debate is exactly that – healthy. It’s about having a healthy respect for the right of the other person, to hold a different viewpoint from ours. It comes from understanding that with so many things, there is more than one truth and often countless opinions too. Lastly and perhaps most importantly, a healthy debate comes from separating the person from their viewpoint.

As soon as we attack the person, we have already lost.

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

When failure is not an option, neither is success

It isn’t possible for a business owner to make meaningful progress, without being prepared to risk failure. This is because by trying to isolate ourselves from potential failure, we also isolate ourselves from success.

Upside and downside

If you don’t ask for that date, don’t apply for that job and don’t make that business investment, you avoid the potential downside of heartbreak, rejection or financial loss. However, you also guarantee you will fail to benefit from the upside – the amazing date you could have had, the wonderful new career that never happened and the business results you never achieved.

No downside. No upside. No progress.

Research, evaluate then decide

Don’t dismiss an opportunity, simply because there is the potential to fail. If you do, you will miss 100% of the legitimate opportunities. As Thomas Edison famously said:

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

  • Do the research.
  • Evaluate the potential.
  • Then make the decision.

Social networking and the never ending race

The race is on. However, this race has no finishing line, is impossible to win and can damage your business.

race

I’m referring to the race for social networking followers, fans or contacts. It’s endless.

The challenge

The more time we put in, the bigger those numbers get. The challenge, is that we don’t have unlimited time to chase those unlimited numbers. As business owners, I believe we need to be more selective how we invest our time. We need to look at the return we want to achieve from our social networking investment, then focus on that definable objective. This gives us the clarity to concentrate on quality over quantity.

The starting point comes when we determine what we regard as quality, based on what we want to achieve. We can then set time aside each day or week, to invest in reaching that goal.

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

Making a noise or making a difference?

If you take a look at any social network or visit any networking event, the people there can be placed into one of the following broad groups.

difference

  1. People who are making a noise. They are simply adding to the background chatter.
  2. People who are making a difference. They are being listened to. Their voices are the ones we tune into.

Which group am I in?

Most of us would like to be in that second group. The easiest way for us to determine if we are, is for us to ask ourselves the following question and then answer it as honestly as we can:

If I failed to show up, would people really miss me?

The people who struggle for attention usually focus on making noise. We don’t miss them when they’re not there. They send us DM spam on Twitter. They add us to their newsletter list without permission. They push their product or service at us on Facebook, Google+ and Linkedin. They pester us at networking events, pretending to be interested in us, just waiting to hit us with a sales pitch. Their thinking looks like this: If I can just pester enough people, someone will listen to me.

Rather than craft a more compelling story, they push a bland story harder and harder.

A more effective approach

A better approach, is to focus on making a difference. When your work or your ideas are making a difference, people talk about you. They ask you about your ideas. They speak with their friends about you when you are not there. They become engaged with you.

Yes, making a difference requires more creative thinking than pestering people, however, it’s a lot easier, it’s less stressful… and it works!

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

How to be massively more creative

Today, I’m going to share an idea with you, which I found amazingly valuable. It can help you become massively more creative, improve your problem solving skills and make you far more productive too.

inspiration, creativity

I’d like to start, by asking you a few quick questions.

  • Where do you tend to be, when you have your best ideas?
  • What activities are you doing, when you get your best ideas?
  • What time of the day or night, do your best ideas come?

You don’t wait for inspiration – you command it

If you take some time to think about your answers, it’s possible that, like me, you will spot some common factors that cause you to be at your creative best. By utilising these factors so they are working for you, it’s easier for you to get into a creative mindset. The alternative is to wait for inspiration, but that’s a very risky, unnecessary approach for business owners, who constantly need to solve problems or write for their blogs or newsletters.

The following quote sums up the professional approach to creative inspiration:

“I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at 9:00 every morning.” Peter De Vries.

Deliberately summoning inspiration

Here’s how I summon inspiration, followed by an example from a copywriter.

Whilst I can get a useful idea at any time, I tend to be most creative in the mornings and usually when I am walking around the village where I live. So, if I have a particularly challenging problem (or puzzle) to solve, I grab a voice recorder and get walking. This gives me the best opportunity of finding the answer I need, exactly when I need it. It places me in an inspiring location, doing an inspirational activity at my most inspired time of day.

I remember talking about this to a friend of mine, who is a copywriter. I asked her those questions and she replied that she tended to get their best ideas, when enjoying a break from her office in a local coffee shop. I suggested that the next time she was feeling unproductive, she should take her notebook with her to the local coffee shop and start writing. She called me a few weeks later, to say that she has never been so productive. By deliberately putting herself into a ‘space’ where she felt creative, she had found a way to eliminate writer’s block. Now, when she get stuck with a challenge, she takes it to the coffee shop.

Your inspired recipe

There are 3 things you need to be mindful of, when developing and implementing your recipe for inspiration.

  1. There is no right or wrong. We are all different and as a result, you may find yourself more creative at 8pm than 8am. You may find that you feel most creative after going to the gym, going for a drive, tap dancing, skating, playing a musical instrument or flying a kite. Don’t rule something out. If it works for you, it works.
  2. You need to start off, expecting it to work. Go into the process fully expecting to feel inspired, then relax and see what comes into your mind.
  3. Record your inspired ideas. Make sure that you have either a smart phone, digital recorder or notebook with you. Then, as the ideas come, get them out of your head and save them. This helps you become even more creative, because you have the freedom to think freely – rather than have one idea then have to try and remember it until you back to the office.

When I used to wait for inspiration

I wasted years, assuming that inspiration was something that happened randomly. In the late 1990’s I started a marketing newsletter, which I published 3 times a month. It was an enormous struggle for me to dig deep and come up with something for my readers 36 times a year. Today, I often write 30 posts or articles a month across my 4 sites, thanks to learning and then practising what I have just shared with you.

I hope you find this idea as useful as I did. If you do, remember to share it with your friends using the buttons below.

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

A hope, a promise and a wish

clock face

A new day. A new year. A clean canvas.

My hope for you

I hope that you use the first day of January, as an opportunity to take stock, make some plans and launch your best year ever. You can make real, measurable progress in the days, weeks and months ahead.

My promise to you

I promise to be here for you. I promise to show up regularly and share marketing and business development ideas. If you really want to see amazing results, I’m here for you to hire, either for a one-off session or a whole year.

My wish for you

My wish is that you have a healthy, happy and prosperous 2013.

Here’s to your success!

Photo: zoutedrop

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