Get inspired with this simple yet powerful idea!

In the village where I live, there are 2 routes you can take to the next village.

  • The first route is a regular road.  You can use this road to drive or cycle to the next village in minutes, but you won’t see a great deal.
  • The second route is a bumpy footpath across several fields.  You can only walk along this route, but if you do, you will see; a stream, flowers, birds of prey, frogs, cows, sheep, horses, goats… You get the picture.

The first route reminds me of the path some people take with their business.  They need a so-called “proven” plan, a Dummies Guide – Something they can follow without too many surprises.

The second route reminds me of those adventurous souls in business, who continuously look for fresh ideas and new ways to render a remarkable experience to their clients.

There’s an old saying I love, which tells us:

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

No one said business had to be boring or predictable.  If you feel a little uninspired with your business right now, take it off road for a little while.  You may find it extremely profitable!

Photo: s2ublack

Word of mouth: 10 reasons why people will talk about your business!

People love to talk, you just need to give them a reason and make it easy for them to spread the word.

word of mouthWord of mouth

If you want to develop word of mouth publicity or referrals, it helps if you understand a little about what motivates people to share information about you and your business.  Here are 10 reasons I have been thinking about today.  You can add yours to this list using the comments section below.

People spread the word about you because:

  1. Something you did or said was remarkable.
  2. By sharing a nugget of information from you, they get to look well-informed.
  3. They are bored and you have made it easy to spread the word; relieving their boredom for a few moments.
  4. It’s a good way to gain your attention, particularly if they do it online and mention you by name.
  5. They trust and value what you have to say and feel compelled to share the wisdom.
  6. By spreading the word about you, it may motivate you to spread the word about them.  This is known as reciprocity.
  7. They want their name to be associated publicly with you or your brand.
  8. You made a controversial point, which they were not brave enough to make.  By spreading what you said, they get to make the point, without attracting the flack.
  9. You have been spreading the word about them for some time and they now feel obligated to reciprocate. (See number 6.)
  10. Something you just wrote or said will be of genuine value to someone they care about, who needs that help right now.  (This post is a great example.)

Photo: coolio-claire

A great new marketing service from Jim Connolly

Today, I am excited to launch a new service, which literally hundreds of people have asked me for.

A flexible, highly effective marketing service

Starting today, you will be able to work with me on any area of your marketing or business development, with total flexibility.  We can work together for a single, 90 minute session or on an entire project or anything in between!

  • Maybe you need more high quality clients or high value sales?
  • Your business may have reached a plateau and you want to take it to the next level?
  • Perhaps you need help developing a new service, so it’s as attractive as possible to your prospective clients?
  • It might be that you want to know how to differentiate your business, so you no longer have to compete on fees?
  • Or it could be that you want to know how to get your website or blog delivering regular, high quality leads or sales?

The choice is yours, with fees starting at just £490 per session!

I believe this is the perfect opportunity for you to get the professional marketing help you need, from someone you know and trust, with the ability to scale the service around your exact requirements.

To find out how you and your business can benefit from working with me, get in touch now.  Either email me here or jim (at) jimsmarketingblog.com.  You are also welcome to call me any time on 01427 891274 (44 1427 891274 from outside the UK.)

The truth about badmouthing your competitors!

There are 2 routes, which we can take in order to improve how highly we rank as a provider within our marketplace:

  1. badmouth competitors, badmouthing competitorsInvest in our development, strive to continuously improve and learn to be of as much value as possible. (Highly effective)
  2. Invest our time bad-mouthing our competitors and belittling their work. (Ineffective and self-defeating.)

The first option is all about growth, contribution and longevity. The second option is all about hate, venom and short-term thinking.

Before you tell someone that one of your competitors is an idiot, be aware that they may think you are just saying it in order to make yourself look good. If they do, you will lose their respect and any chance of doing business with them.

You gain nothing by slamming your competitors. In fact, by attacking them, you will almost certainly hurt your own business far more than theirs.

Photo: meknits

How to become a prolific writer

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?  If you do, this post is just for you!

I received a note from a reader today.  He said how impressed he was that I managed to have a series of posts ready to be published whilst I was away last week.  He went on to say he’d love to be able to write as much valuable content as me, one day.

Many people seem to be waiting for some magical flash of inspiration to strike them, before they will start to write.  In my experience, you get a lot further, a lot faster, if you decide not to wait for inspiration to strike, but to proactively seek it out.

Writer’s block and bricklaying

My late father was a bricklayer and never once suffered from bricklayer’s block.  However, if he spent a while away from laying bricks, when he returned to work his back and shoulders used to ache and he found it harder.  You may have experienced something similar, if you start exercising again after a week (or 3) away from the gym; everything aches!  Interestingly, something similar happens when you write.  If you write regularly, it becomes easy.  If you write infrequently, it’s a lot harder.

I use a similar approach to writing as my dad used for laying bricks and have never had any issue with writer’s block.  I get to work at a set time every day (before my family wakes up is best for me) and lay one word down at a time, like my dad did with bricks, until I have the piece written.  I don’t wait until I feel like it, in fact, I’m not even sure how it’s supposed to feel!

Writer’s block and perfection

Many people tell me they have a perfectionist mindset, which means everything has to be perfect before they can write and that the actual writing itself has to be perfect too.  The challenge with perfectionist writers is that they seldom get started, because perfection is in very short supply.  I strongly suggest you drop the perfectionist mindset when you write, as it is both high-pressure and low output.

I decided a long time ago, to give myself permission to write imperfectly.  I am happy to say that I have stuck by this and have never written a perfect piece of work in my life.  I have, however, developed one of the most popular blogs in my niche and helped clients to make millions in sales, from copy I have written for them.

Something that helped me massively, was this quote from Ernest Hemingway:

For a long time now I have tried simply to write the best I can.  Sometimes I have good luck and write better than I can.

In short: Get started, write often and give it your best shot!

Photo: Wiertz Sébastien

The tools for success?

Some people focus too much on the tools.

I’ve just returned to the office, after a wonderful week away with my family.  Whilst we were away, we spent a lot of time exploring the Yorkshire Moors and noticed something again and again.  Even though we were often driving at altitude, so high up that we were looking down on the clouds, there were lots of cyclists climbing these enormous inclines; using inexpensive looking bikes and wearing just regular clothing, rather than all that lycra stuff you usually see cyclists wearing.

One of these guys spoke with us, when we stopped to take some photos in the mountains.  He is 66 years old and cycles into the mountains most days.  He was hardly out of breath and explained that this is how he and many of his friends choose to travel whenever the weather allows it.  He was wearing a pair of baggy shorts, sandals and a regular looking shirt and riding a tatty looking old bike.

Conversely, I know people who are 20 years younger than that man, who spend thousands on their bikes and hundreds more dressing like they are in the Tour de France, yet the 66 year old on his clunker of a bike would leave them in the dust.  Why?  Because although those people have the best tools available, they eat crap, cycle irregularly and are out of shape.

You can go out today and spend a fortune on a great looking website, wonderful designs and kick-ass IT systems, but these are just the tools.

Yes, we need the right tools to do a job correctly, BUT it’s what we do with the tools, which will determine our results.

Photo: Lostajy

What everyone needs to know about time management

One of the best pieces of time management advice you can give someone is this: Either do it or don’t do it!

So many people waste so much time, with half-assed attempts at doing things.  They make a decision to take action, but then lack the conviction or courage to do it correctly; to invest the time, money or energy required.  This is why we see Twitter accounts that have not been updated in 2 years, blogs that have not seen a new post in 6 months and most New Year’s resolutions abandoned by April!

A second decision is required

Once you make the decision to do something, make a second decision: To do it wholeheartedly.  As Yoda famously said; “Do or do not…there is no try!”

Anything else is less than you deserve and will lead to frustration rather than progress.

Photo: DafneCholet

These are the good times!

My friend Nile Rodgers from Chic, regularly reminds me that these are the good times, both through his music and his inspirational blog posts, which cover his recent health challenges.

  • No, these are not perfect times.
  • No, these are not ideal times.
  • But the present is all we have to work with, so until someone creates a time machine, we need to make the very best of what we have.  What we have, is today.

These ARE the good times

As we travel along the road from where we are, to where we want to be, it’s all too easy to put off the good times.

“When I have X amount in the bank, then I will be happy.” 

Trust me, if you don’t know how to be happy when you are broke, you won’t know how to be happy when you are wealthy.  Wealth and happiness are not as strongly related as many people seem to think.  Many of the happiest times in my life came when I was penniless.  I also know some very wealthy people, who have extremely poor quality lifestyles.  They have the money, but are still waiting for that magical point in time, when they can finally enjoy it all.

As Nile explains far better than I can, every day should be seen as a bonus; something special to enjoy and get every drop of juice we can from.

Whilst working for those things that money can buy, it pays to ensure we are not missing out on the things, which money can’t buy.

As always, thanks for the inspiration, Mr Rodgers!

Photo: Nile Rodgers

How to fire your low quality clients and grow a rewarding business

Professional marketing is not just about attracting new clients.  It’s about attracting high quality clients; the kind of people or businesses you want to work with, value your work and who pay you accordingly.

Low quality clients from ineffective marketing

The challenge here is that many small businesses do not market their services correctly.  As a direct result, they often end up working with low quality clients.  These typically include:

  • Clients who pay them too late and cause cash flow problems.
  • Clients who pay them too little.
  • Clients who clearly grab more of their time and energy than they pay for.
  • Clients who are just a total pain in the ass to work with!

In an effort to get money in, these business owners feel pressured into accepting almost any clients who come their way.  In doing so, they take a short-term decision, which usually leads to long term problems that reduce their chances of business survival, let alone success.

Working in a business with a low quality client list can be pretty soul destroying too.  It’s also not uncommon for your worst clients to be your most demanding clients.  I have often seen businesses, where 50% of their time is spent on the worst 10% of their clients.

When I first start working with a new client, I make it a priority to redesign their client list, so they can fire their over-demanding, unappreciative and bad paying clients.  Today, I am going to suggest that you consider doing the same.  I recommend you start developing a marketing plan to rid yourself of your lowest value clients and replace them with the profile of client that is best suited to your business goals.

One in. One out

I have heard respected business leaders telling small business owners to fire their lowest value clients today.  I think these experts sometimes forget what it’s like running a small business and that if some small business owners were to take their advice, they would go broke within 30/60 days.  This is why I recommend replacing clients, one in, one out.  When your improved marketing generates a high quality client, you fire your worst client; until you have developed a client list based on the ideal profile for you and your business.

The challenge here is that you have to change your current marketing, if you want to improve the calibre of clients you attract.  If you repeat the same kind of marketing errors, which led you to attract your existing low value clients, you will simply be swapping low quality clients for new, low quality clients.

If you are not sure about exactly how to start attracting the best clients, you can either try and learn how to “do it yourself” or you can save a lot of time and a massive amount of money, by hiring a marketing professional who already knows exactly what you need to do and will work with you to make it happen.

The bottom line:  Hoping that things will just get better isn’t a strategy.

Photo: aflcio

What do YOU do when it rains?

It’s raining!

  • One person walks down the street, notices the rain has started and begins complaining.  They moan to themselves that they are going to get soaked, as they seek shelter.
  • Another person notices the rain and is thankful.  This person also takes shelter, but is happy that their garden is finally getting some much needed rain.

It’s raining on both these people, yet the way they respond is completely different.

The next time you experience some dark clouds, consider looking for the seed of opportunity, which is almost always there.

We may not be able to stop it raining on us, but we can certainly control how we choose to respond.

Photo: lalves