Facebook friends: Don’t expect too much from them

I have always found it odd that Facebook use the word ‘friend’ to identify the people we connect with. Yes, there are true friends we know, who we ALSO connect with via Facebook, but there’s no classification for those who we have never even met face to face, yet find interesting enough to ‘friend’.

facebook

Friends… really?

If we ever doubt the chasm between our friends and Facebook friends, we need only look at the way they interact with us on Facebook. Imagine Bob or Barbara is your Facebook friend, they read a Facebook update of yours and find it useful or they agree with whatever you said – so they ‘like’ it. One click. Done. Simple.

So, as they like it enough to click ‘like’, why didn’t they share it with their ‘friends’?

I asked this question once and had lots of replies (dozens) – almost all of which said that something has to be AMAZING in order for them to share it. If it’s just useful, interesting or something they agree with, they won’t make the extra effort to click the share button and maybe insert a handful of words to explain why they are sharing it. It’s just too much effort. It requires more work from them.

A Facebook friend may have never met you or even spoken with you, let alone shared the kind of experiences with you that builds true friendship. They need a lot more motivation than a real friend, if you want them to go to the extra effort of sharing your work. Otherwise, it’s a ‘like’.

Friendship that goes beyond a ‘like’

A true friend is someone you know well. Someone who supports you and who you support in return. Someone you can confide in. Someone who you know will be there for you if you needed them. A Facebook friend is often someone you have never even met. Don’t expect too much from them. Don’t be like the guy I saw earlier, who was going nuts because his Facebook post got 50 ‘likes’ and not a single share.

Rather than get frustrated with Facebook friends for their lack of true support, maybe this is a better way to look at it: A click of the ‘like’ button, from someone you have never met, is actually very generous.

Money isn’t everything!

In yesterday’s post, I mentioned how important it is to enjoy and have fun with your work.

When we set up a business, we do it in order to achieve more than we would, if we were working for someone else. Of course, as a business owner there’s no ceiling on your income, so it’s possible to achieve more financially, than working in a regular job.

However, money is just one thing we should be seeking to achieve from our business. Allow me to explain…

Enjoyable, inspirational, compelling and FUN!

Yes, you need enough money so that you are free from financial worries and can look after the people you care about. The thing is, no one said that your successful business couldn’t be enjoyable, inspirational, compelling and fun. In fact, if you want to be really successful, I believe you MUST build a business that gives you all those great feelings and emotions. There’s so much more to life than work and money – Our families, friends and health are priceless.

We don’t want to end up like those business people, who in their quest to have all the things money CAN buy, they end up missing the things money CAN’T buy.

Here is how it works…

Today, I am going to answer one of the most frequently asked questions I receive:

What exactly do you do, when you work with a marketing client, Jim?

How it works

Well, today for the first time, I am going to give you a look behind the scenes at how the process works. I’m going to share with you, part of what happens during my initial marketing sessions, through the eyes of a new client.

The process starts off with a fact-finder call. So, here are some of the things we would be working on, if you and I had started working together today on the development of your business.

1. Getting some clarity

I’d start off by learning exactly where your business is today and where you would like it to be in 12 months, 3 years, 5 years and 10 years+. That gives us an initial picture of your current situation and what you would like me to help you achieve. It gives us our starting point, some check points and the finish line. This ensures that the strategy I develop for you will get your business moving in the correct direction. It also makes it easier to measure your progress.

Knowing what your desired outcome is, also allows us to adjust your strategy when required, whilst staying on track. Sometimes, clients come to me with just a vague idea of what they want to achieve in the longer term. If this was the case with you, I’d help you get the clarity you need.

2. Discovering your resources

Then, I would look at the resources you have available. In order for me to create a strategy that gets you from where your business is, to where you want it to be, I need to know what resources you have, which we can work with.

Here are just 3 examples, starting with the most important one:

  • Time: This is easily the main resource, as the work we do requires you to invest some time every week, in the marketing and development of your business. It’s important to take this into account when building your strategy, so that I know what to rule in and rule out in order to get the maximum return on your time.
  • Website or blog assets: I’d check if you have a website or blog, which we could transform into a lead generating machine for your business. If you don’t, then we would develop a site for you. That’s included in the fee, like everything else we do. This is really important. I have built one of the world’s most popular marketing blogs and I will use everything I know, in order for you to get great results from your site. I get emails from prospective clients all day every day and you can get great results too, if you avoid all the common mistakes and learn how to do what works. This is a lot of fun and extremely effective.
  • Social networking resources: I’d look at your social networks and incorporate them into your strategy. Almost every small business owner I see on social networks is doing ‘me too’ stuff – copying what other equally baffled people are doing. They waste huge amounts of time, making little progress. I’d review your social networking accounts and show you how to make them work for you and your business.

3. Learning about the best strategy for you

One of the reasons so many small business owners work hard for a fraction of the rewards they could be enjoying, is that they are following a general strategy.

unique 1

I discovered when I set my marketing business up, 18 years ago, that every business owner I work with needs a specific strategy, based on their unique situation, goals and personality. You are unique and your business is one of a kind too. As a result, there will be areas where you are stronger and areas where you need more help. There will also be marketing activities that you are comfortable with and marketing activities you are uncomfortable with.

My task, is to build a marketing strategy for you that you will feel comfortable with – otherwise, you won’t use it. During our initial fact finder conversation, I discover the areas of marketing and sales that are the best fit for you and build your unique strategy around them. This means you will enjoy and embrace the marketing work we do together. As we get to know one another, we will refine the strategy so that it’s perfectly balanced for you. This is extremely important. It makes the process massively more effective for you.

The development of your business should be exciting, interesting and fun – that’s why you started your business in the first place. If it isn’t, you’re likely to feel stressed and unlikely to achieve anything like the results you are capable of. So, we will build you a business strategy that works for you on every level.

4. Getting the basics of your story – Word of mouth

Word of mouth referrals and recommendations are of huge value to you and your business. That’s why we will build it into your strategy, by working together to craft a story about your business or service, which people will want to share. Many small business owners wrongly believe that offering a great service and caring about their clients is enough to generate regular word of mouth referrals. This is simply not the case. Most hard working, caring business owners get very few word of mouth referrals.

What we know is that when your business or service is worth talking about, people talk about it. So, that’s exactly what we will do – build you a story worth sharing. This creative, fun process is designed to help you¬†attract regular leads from targeted clients. It’s a great deal easier to convert someone who has had you recommended to them, than it is for you to have to sell your services to a stranger.

5. Explaining that you’re no longer alone

One of the things I explain to all my clients from day one, is that you are no longer alone. You have unlimited access to me for a whole year, included in the fee. The obvious benefit of this is that you always have me on hand to show you what to do and to help you at every step along the way.

A less obvious benefit, is that you have me available to you, with all my assets, when you are faced with a challenge or need someone to talk about your business with. You’re no longer alone. As your marketing mentor, I’m here for you to share ideas with, I’m here to inspire you and I’m here to give you support whenever you need it. This has proven to be extremely useful for my clients and it’s why I make a point of mentioning it from the very start.

And then

For the next 12 months, you and I work together as a team, to get your business from where it is today to where you want it to be. You’ll benefit from my best ideas, my encouragement and my support, so you can look to the future with clarity and confidence.

As your marketing mentor, I am here to not only explain what needs to be done and show you how to do it – I’m here to provide you with the skills and back-up you need, in order to achieve your potential as a business owner and earn the rewards your hard work deserves. If you would like to know more about working with me, click here and get in touch. I will happily answer any questions you have.

Do you stand behind your work?

As business owners, we face a challenge every day: To rise above the broken promises of those who went before us.

Allow me to explain

  • When we say we go the extra mile for our clients, the marketplace was promised that before, by someone who failed to deliver.
  • When we say we finish projects on time and on budget, the marketplace was promised that before, by someone who failed to deliver.
  • When we say our work creates great results, the marketplace was promised that before, by someone who failed to deliver.

promises3

Promises, promises

Whenever we make any statement about the value of our services, the marketplace will have been promised it before, from someone who failed to deliver. As a result, these claims wash over prospective clients. They have nothing like the power that many business owners believe.

Unless… they are supported with undeniable evidence. This is tricky. Even some top websites have been busted, for getting their friends to endorse their products with fake testimonials. Review sites are also littered with fake, positive reviews. This means our legitimate testimonials and promises are viewed through a filter.

Thankfully, there is a super-effective alternative, which provides the essential proof our prospective clients or customers need.

Standing behind your own work

Another option is to make better promises. The kind of promises that are easy for people to believe. This is how I market my own business. It means building a solid, professional reputation and then standing behind your own work.

This approach takes time and requires proof. One of the finest ways to do this, is to create a business blog and show up regularly with useful information.

Why?

When someone arrives on your blog, they can see that you regularly share useful ideas on your topic. They get an insight into your abilities and commitment. For example, when people come to Jim’s Marketing Blog for the first time, they can see 5 years worth of work and thousands of ideas. Before they speak to me or email me, they can see that I know my subject and that I can be relied on to start something and stick with it.

I suggest you consider doing the same. Make 2013 the year you decide to take business blogging seriously. The rewards are huge. I can help you and show you exactly what you need to do. To find out more, click here!

Getting the balance right

It seems that with so much in life, our timing is of enormous importance.

  • There’s a time to listen and a time to speak.
  • There’s a time to read and a time to write.
  • There’s a time to prepare and a time to take action.
  • There’s a time to rest and a time to work.

Balance

One of the great challenges we face, is to get the balance right. Spending too much time on any of those disciplines, will cause unnecessary problems.

How to deal with tough situations and come out winning!

If you are facing a tough situation or challenge right now, here’s some useful, proven advice to help you.

It’s not uncommon for a small business owner to look at their numbers for the month, see there’s a problem, then panic. Often, this panic motivates them to do something that creates a much bigger problem.

Scrambling tactics

When times are good and we feel confident, it’s easy to make decisions with a clear mind and with an eye on the future. We nurture relationships. We plant the seeds of ideas. We allow things to proceed at the correct speed, for them to develop correctly.

When times are tough and we are worried, it’s harder to think clearly. The worry often causes us to make bad decisions. I call these worry-induced, snap decisions, scrambling tactics. When our thinking enters this state, we rob our ideas of the time they need, in order to develop correctly. Instead, we push. We harvest the crops, before they have a chance to grow.

We not only fail to improve our current situation, we often create far bigger problems as the marketplace sees us panic.

Tough situations require smart thinking

An alternative approach, is to run the situation through a check list. This is just a sample check list, yours will look different depending on your situation.

  • Who do I know, who has the; equipment, connections, ideas, answers, experience or funding etc, which I need? Name names. These people could provide exactly what you need.
  • What do I already know, which could provide the answer I need? In the heat of a worrying situation, it’s easy to forget that we may have been in a similar situation before and found a way out of it. Think back to ways you dealt with past challenges and how they may help you come through.
  • How can I frame this tough situation, so I think of the best possible answers? The way you frame or phrase a question has a huge impact on the quality of answers you get. For example:
    • The question: ‘How can I get out of this mess?”, is vague and unproductive.
    • The question: “How can I attract a high value client in the next 30 days and enjoy the process?”, is specific and positive.

Finally, regarding that list of useful people I mention in the first point, build those connections before you need them. As a business owner, there is a proven, direct link between your success and the people you have credible access to. You should constantly be on the lookout for useful, interesting people, who you can help and who may one day be able to help you too.

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.

Recharging your story

How do people in your industry charge for their services?

Do you follow that model?

If so, why?

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?

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.

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.