Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Must Read for SMBs

As you know, I like clarity and specificity. I’d rather have someone tell me how to do something along with the “why” than listen to a lot of theory. I like action. So, I really like the book Business Techniques for Growth by Thomas H. Gray.

In this book he outlines how to grow a business while providing those techniques mentioned in the title. And he starts with employees which I think is wonderful. After all, if your employees aren’t engaged nothing else is going to matter much.

Gray starts each section with a table of the topic, technique, and recap of the content you’ll receive. Then he systematically goes through each topic providing you with the technique and the reasoning behind it. This book is really great for all small business owners, regardless of where they are in their business. And he writes with a straightforward, succinct style that makes it easy to take what he says and implement.

If you are newly launched, read this book. If you’ve been in business for a while, read this book! This book can help you tighten up your company so you realize the success you desire. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

4 Things Your Brand Can Do To Get PR Today

This is a great article by Jennifer  Jacobson. She is the founder of Jacobson Communication

You don’t have to wait for your brand’s next launch, campaign, or big announcement. Successful communications is not about one point in time—it’s about momentum. Successful communications means strategically sharing something that will (1) provide useful information to your audience; and (2) support your brand’s objectives. It’s not rocket science.    

Here are four things that can help you move the PR needle starting today.

1. Share Your Data
If your brand has been around for more than five minutes, you have data. Look for the most interesting data that you can share about your market or area of interest. Then, look for the movement and/or contrast, where numbers move drastically or data is in stark contrast with itself. That’s where you’ll find the story.

Your job is not to reveal a 30-page report to the press; just summarize the data in a compelling way, and be sure to site your source. Infographics are a great way to do this, or well-written, one page reports, filled with insightful quotes from management.

Remember, the point of this document is to make your brand look like an authority in its space. Only share what supports this objective.

2. Share Someone Else’s Data
Don’t have your own data? That’s fine. Do a little research on your industry or area of interest. Then compile (and cite) that data into a relevant report or infographic. Be sure to add strategic insights from your management team.

3. Offer a Founder’s Story Exclusive
Every brand has a founder’s story. Ask your founder how they came to found your brand. What was their process? What was their inspiration? Why did they do it? What would they have done if they hadn’t done this? What is the most surprising thing they have learned?

This can be a great way to showcase the human side of any brand.

4. Be An Industry Expert
Chances are, someone at the top of your organization is probably an expert in at least one field, and it’s probably in an interesting topic like machine learning, zoology, bioengineering, health tech, internet security, or the intersection of big data and alleviating global poverty. Start strategically offering your advice to a handful of reporters who cover these topics regularly. If you’re a true expert, some of the reporters you contact will need quotes for upcoming articles, and want to interview you. Should you be so fortunate, don’t spend the whole time talking about your brand. Your job is to be an expert, who also happens to be with your organization.

In Conclusion
Successful communications is ongoing. Once you start looking for creative ways to both tell your story and offer value to people, you’ll find a whole new way to grow your brand and your brand’s influence.

About the Author
Jennifer L. Jacobson is the founder of Jacobson Communication and a Silicon Valley leader known for helping brands get the attention they deserve. She is also a social media expert and author, known for her book, 42 Rules of Social Media for Small Business.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Terrific Insights from Ryan Estis

When you get the opportunity to hear Ryan Estis speak, lock it in on your calendar. In the meantime, subscribe to his blog and twitter feed. I was fortunate to attend the COSE Thinkspot event the other night where Ryan was the keynote. Besides his energy and compelling delivery, he had some terrific insights to share. I was so impacted by what Ryan had to share that I thought I’d pass it on.

1.    There are two questions you should be asking as a small business:
a.    How did I add value today – specifically
b.    How will I be remembered by the people I interacted with today

How I heard this: It’s more than providing our service or product. It’s about
                            making a difference in the lives or businesses of others. This is
                            how we are sustainable and continue to have relevance.

2.    Be remarkable. The definition of Remarkable is: worthy of being remarked upon; so good; so distinct.

How I heard this: Wow! Such a great point. It’s interesting to think about whether
                            we are having such an impact on others that they would talk
                            about it within their spheres of influence.

3.    Every employee you have is watching you.

How I heard this: This really struck me. While I don’t have employees I do work with many business owners who do. And one of the things they don’t necessarily think about is how their actions are being interpreted by their staff. Employees really are watching their leaders. And they are deciding whether to follow the leader based on what they see.

4.    Most small business owners say they want to provide excellent customer service but they don’t define what that is. So, everyone does it their own way which leads to chaos.

How I heard this: Bravo! It is up to the leadership to not only define what excellent customer service looks like but to consistently share that viewpoint with their staff. And hold them to a standard that they are meeting themselves.

5.    In order to sell something to someone you have to help them see that the pain of same is greater than the pain of change.

How I heard this: I just LOVE this! Such a great way of describing a challenge every sales person/small business owner faces. People don’t like change and inertia is one of the biggest enemies we face. As Ryan points out when you can help them see that the pain of change is not as great as the pain they are currently in, they will buy.

6.    There is value in scheduling time to write, read, and learn.

How I heard this: Life is busy. It’s easy to fill our time with other things; things that don’t elevate our businesses. Ryan shared his experience with blogging consistently and how that has made sales easy for him. I’ll tell you what – that re-energized me to get blogging again!

7.    The next generation expects a couple of things – technology, and to be treated like a VIP. Ryan says that you have to understand technology in order to be relevant for the future. And it is the next generation who are the buyers of the future.

How I heard this: We can fight the texting and the seeming rudeness of the millennials but that’s like pushing a rope! They aren’t going anywhere. Meeting them where they are builds respect and trust – both ways.

Ryan said all this and more. And then, as he was wrapping up he suggested we think about the person who had the most impact on us and our path, and if it was possible, to call them and thank them.

I cannot thank my father via the phone since he passed away in 2005. So, I reached out to the best boss I ever had, Dave Westcott, and thanked him. Who can you contact and thank for helping shape who you are? And, what have you learned from reading the wisdom of Ryan Estis?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Marketing Simplified

Yesterday I had the pleasure of speaking with Ivana Taylor on Accelerate Your Business Growth Radio Show. Ivana shared her tips about small business marketing. She talked about four marketing styles:

  • Social Style
  • Persuasive Style
  • Analytical Style
  • Creative Style

It’s important to understand your style so you can develop a strategy that makes the most sense for you and your business. Ivana also talked about the importance of understanding what your marketing goals. Identify who can help you meet those goals and develop relationships with those influencers.

Also important is knowing what you can automate and what you can’t. You can automate some posts but you can’t automate conversations.

To learn more about your marketing style and what to do with it, you can listen to the show and visit Ivana’s website to take her style assessment. There you’ll also find tools for creating and implementing your strategy.

And check out Bizapalooza on July 9-11 to learn client acquisition and retention secrets of the best small business experts.

Monday, May 12, 2014

5 Principals of Ultimate Influence

Today's Accelerate Your Business Growth
radio show ran into some technical difficulties and will air at 2:30 ET today. Bob Burg is my guest and will be talking about some key aspects of influence that you don't want to miss! They are right out of his book, Adversaries into Allies.

Please tune in to hear his words of wisdom. If you can't make the actual airing you can access the archived episode right from the show page, from my website, or from iTunes.

Make it a great day!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Respect Yourself

Yesterday I was in a meeting where we were talking about prospecting and sales. One of the men shared a story about how he called a prospect to let them know he wouldn’t be calling again as they appeared to be very busy and he’d surmised the timing was bad. They responded to this message and he was able to get a face to face meeting with them.

Another attendee mentioned that this pointed to the idea that each party needs to respect the other. In my mind, the whole process begins with respecting yourself. When you respect yourself and truly see value in what you do, you then understand that the right prospects are the ones who are going to respond to your leadership.

The salesperson should always maintain control of the process. You are the expert; you know what works best for your company and your clients. The prospect looks to you to provide them with that structure and guidance. 

Later in the day I met with a woman who shared her policy when she sits down with a new prospect. She first says what she will do for them. Then she tells them what she will need from them and that it may end up that they are not a fit for each other. She lays it all on the table at the beginning; she sets the expectation. I just loved this! She totally understands that not every prospect will be a good client. She knows her process and what works best. And she knows that she has to drive the process, not the prospective client.

Unfortunately, many salespeople do not operate this way. They have the belief that they have to follow the prospect’s lead; let the prospect control the process. Because of this they spend a lot of time trying to get ahold of people. They get stuck in the process and have a hard time moving the prospect through to a decision. How frustrating!

When you begin from a position of respect for yourself you are confident that you know what works best. You also understand that not every prospect will turn into a good client. Lastly, you know that you must control the process in order to get to the place where you either gain a sale or move on to someone else. 

Take control. Suggest a meeting time; ask how they’d like you to follow up. Here you are assuming that they want to move forward and are making the point that you expect a next meeting. Control the sales meeting by asking questions before you share information. Seriously. You can’t effectively tell someone about what you offer until you know what they need. It also gives you the opportunity to identify whether this is someone you even want to do business with.

Try it out; even if you aren’t totally comfortable with the idea. You’ll see how different it feels and how different the results can be. Remember, the goal is to do business with those people/companies who respect and appreciate you and what you do. It all starts with you respecting yourself and what you do.

Copyright© 2014 Seize This Day Coaching

Monday, March 24, 2014

Inspired People Produce Results

Keeping people engaged and involved can make a huge difference in the success of your business. Join me and my guest Jeremy Kingsley, today at 1pm ETon Accelerate Your Business Growth radio show, for an engaging conversation about  the importance of passion, engagement, and loyalty to your bottom line.

Best-selling author Jeremy Kingsley is one of the most sought after keynote speakers in the world. Since 1996 he has spoken to over 500,000 people at live events and given over 2000 keynote speeches. You may have seen Jeremy on television or online. He has been featured in/on CNBC, FOX, FOX BUSINESS, FORBES, INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES, WALL STREET BUSINESS and many more large media outlets. He has endorsements from Fortune 500 companies like YUM and Whirlpool. Leadership expert Ken Blanchard has said, "Jeremy Kingsley drives home principles that all leaders need to know and apply."