Data. It’s all around us. But I found Brother’s new survey results particularly interesting given the news we share through our new webcast series called, Small Business Braintrust, particularly our “Views on the News” feature. In the survey, it may come as no surprise that stress levels are at an all-time high among business owners. [...]Continue Reading
Archive for “Run Your Business Better”
Should you exhibit your product at the upcoming National Hardware Show (May 10-12th)? If you want exposure to thousands of industry professional looking for new products and the opportunity to learn from industry experts, YES…you should consider exhibiting at this show. The trend in National Tradeshows is to include a “micro tradeshow” for inventors within [...]Continue Reading
E-commerce is more complex than having a product and distributing it online. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes of any online business that sells a physical product, both on the technology end and the physical product end. Here is just a sample of complications to consider when building an e-commerce business: Having [...]Continue Reading
Getting press isn’t an easy task. In fact, it’s one of the harder things for a business to do because it’s more an art than anything. Here are a few reasons why PR isn’t easy: 1. You Have to Get Creative You have to be able to artfully craft pitches that are targeted for specific [...]Continue Reading
You just spoke to a top reporter with a major publication, and the feature story is due out in one month… so what do you do now? Well, I’m sure you would like to yell it from the rooftops and tell everyone you know. But before you do, here are three things to keep in [...]Continue Reading
The online shopping space continues to explode, far past that era we knew as the recession, and growing faster than traditional retail is. But here are three types of e-commerce businesses that can’t stop seeing success and why they’re so amazing. 1. Group Buying Sites: So, we’re all familiar with GroupOn, LivingSocial and BuyWithMe by [...]Continue Reading
Want to start your specialty product business this year? Then you MUST attend the (SPREE) Specialty Retail Entrepreneur Expo & Conference. Be part of the world’s largest event for the $12 billion specialty retail industry! No matter if you are a retailer, or prospective entrepreneur looking for the newest concepts, or interested in starting or [...]Continue Reading
Recently, a fellow mompreneur-in-training tweeted me and wanted to know what I think makes a successful mompreneur? I knew that I could not answer her back in a 140 characters or less so I promised her a blog post on the subject. I immediately thought about the wave of emotions that accompanies being a mompreneur. [...]Continue Reading
Have you been ripped off by a search engine optimization copywriter (SEO)? Well, I just heard from another entrepreneur who hired a big, SEO research firm. Unfortunately, things did not go well, and this new business owner needed some help. With this in mind, I thought it was time for a quick review so here [...]Continue Reading
When we were first building our business, we really, really hated the idea of outsourcing. Why? because we had so many failed projects. We were trying to get away with murder by hiring offshore programmers at incredibly low rates, as part of a 100- or 200-hour project, to build our first fully functioning website with [...]Continue Reading
If you are a new entrepreneur, one of the best ways to start building buzz is by contacting local media-members. This way, you can practice your pitching skills with a smaller venue and begin creating media relationships to help your business grow. But how do you start your publicity efforts? 1. Research. First, you want [...]Continue Reading
As a small business running a generally small operation, with only a bare-bones team of 9, it’s hard to squeeze innovation into the equation, when everyone’s running at 110% focused strictly on their core competencies. Sure, we each get the occasional ‘light bulb’ idea, that seems like it will be a game-changer in our space, [...]Continue Reading
Last week, I spent (wasted) a lot of time spinning my wheels and thinking about decisions that were irrelevant at the moment. Paralyzed with small details that did not matter and stuck in over-thinking the “what-ifs,” I created a perfect storm for myself. This “time suck” went on for the greater part of the week [...]Continue Reading
Guy Kawasaki is no stranger to entrepreneurship, having co-founded several businesses including Garage Technology Ventures, and Alltop.com, which is, as he describes, an “online magazine rack” of popular topics on the web. He’s written ten books including The Art of the Start, The Macintosh Way, and his latest, Enchantment, The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions, releasing March 8th, 2011, available on Amazon.com, and in bookstores everywhere.
I’ve read hundreds of business books, but never have I read a book like this. In a nutshell, Enchantment is all about how to make people fall in love with you, and when people fall in love with you, you can accomplish anything.
This book is part inspiration, part motivation, and part practication (I just made up a new word). With inspiring stories and practical steps, Kawasaki explains all the tactics you need to put together and launch your own enchantment campaign. Kawasaki’s lessons are taken from his experience at Apple, but many of the stories are very personal stories from average, every day people. (These stories happen to be some of my favorite parts of the book.) Buy the book on Tuesday March 8th, or any day and you will be able to experience “enchantment” for yourself.
In honor of the release of Kawasaki’s new book, I asked him to give us his perspective on small business marketing today. Here’s his insightful and unedited response. Enjoy!
What do you see are the biggest challenges for a small business owner today?
Sales, sales, and sales. My saying is, “sales fixes everything” because as long as you have cash flow, you’re still in the game. As a friend once told me, the leading cause of failure of startups is death, and you die when you run out of money.
Is that different than what it was a few years ago?
It’s been like this since the recession hit. Every day, I wish for just one more bubble because this time I’ll know what to do! But I believe that business is cyclical, so it’s not wise to panic. A rising tide floats all boats, but a receding tide makes the big, bloated boats hit rock bottom.
How have you seen business owners overcome these challenges? (What’s working?)
More than anything else, these times are a test of will–how much are you willing to gut it out and grind it out. If you can survive these times, you’re pretty set to take on anything. I have great admiration for the companies that continue to put out great products and services with less money while maintaining high levels of customer enchantment. It’s much easier to write the book and make the speech than actually deliver results.
As far as marketing, what strategies do you use to market your business?
Right now, I’m mostly marketing my new book. To do this, I believe that “nobodies are the new somebodies.” That is, I don’t focus on only the so-called experts and powerful people. I like to work with as many people as possible because it’s impossible to know who will really make you tip.
Is there a strategy that doesn’t work?
I’ve never been one to throw money at a problem…for two reasons, I never had the money to throw and I hate wasting money in any case.
What advice do you have for business owners who are just starting out?
Prototype, prototype, prototype. Get to market. PowerPoint and Excel are secondary or even tertiary in importance. Get to market and get cash flowing.
These are primarily information sources. Startups also need ways to reach and serve customers. For this, God provided Twitter and Facebook. These two sites are entrepreneur’s dreams because they are fast, free, and ubiquitous. The book that I recommend to startups is If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland. This book provided the inspiration that changed my life. It’s not solely about writing–it’s about the human spirit. Every entrepreneur should read it.
Online Quiz: How GREAT Are You?
Online Photo Contest: Submit your Most Enchanting Photo for a Chance to Win!
“Like” Enchantment on Facebook
Wendy Kenney is the best selling author of How to Build Buzz for Your Biz, Tap into the Power of Social Media, Publicity and Relationship Marketing to Grow Your Business, available on Amazon.com. She has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Newsday. For more information go to http://23Kazoos.com.-->
Guy Kawasaki is no stranger to entrepreneurship, having co-founded several businesses including Garage Technology Ventures, and Alltop.com, which is, as he describes, an “online magazine rack” of popular topics on the web. He’s written ten books including The Art of the Start, The Macintosh Way, and his latest, Enchantment, The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds [...]Continue Reading
Yes, the economy is ugly. Yes, customers are tightening their purse strings. Yes, it’s harder to bring in new sales. Blah. Blah. Blah. Things are tough for many people right now, but that’s no reason to just sit back and wait for things to get better. It’s time to take action! No one [...]Continue Reading
Working independently, without the encouragement or atmosphere of other busy worker bees around you, it’s easy to be super flexible with your day-by-day schedule, allowing hours of precious work time to slip by more and more frequently, until you realize you’re not even working anymore, so the best way for you to run a business from home and ensure you’re putting in quality effort is by scheduling work times when 110% of your concentration during that time is on your work and nothing else because if you allow even 5% of your head space to be occupied by personal matters, you will not be spending enough time or energy on your work, making less-than-satisfactory progress.
3. Schedule personal times
Conversely, you want to make sure to schedule personal times too so you can unwind and make sure you’re staying healthy both with body and mind, plus giving yourself time to breathe when you’re not working, otherwise you can probably work yourself silly since you never think about the traffic on the late commute home, that it’ll be too dark outside to travel home, etc.
4. Schedule weekly or twice weekly visits with team members
You can schedule Skype video chats or simple phone calls with your team to review work that’s been done, progress, and responsibilities for the next few days or week. This way, everyone’s accountable even though you’re not reporting to each other at the weekly conference meeting in a big conference room. Instead, as the manager of your business working with remote members, you’re making sure everything is running smoothly and you’re checking in frequently enough so that team members don’t feel they’ve lost touch. You also can ensure enough progress is being made and that lack-of-progress is caught and dealt with early enough so that it doesn’t become a chronic problem, or even worse, a problem you discover one month later.
As winner of StartupNation’s Home-Based 100 Competition as #1 Most Innovative, I thought it would make sense for my inaugural post to be about managing a home-based business and a bit about how our home business is run remotely too. The four co-founders of Blank Label Group are now working from 4 completely different locations: Orange [...]Continue Reading
When I first started on my entrepreneurial jag, an acquaintance called me dogged. If you do not know me personally – there you have it, I am stubborn in my determination, obstinate, tenacious — just plain dogged. So, when I decided to be a mompreneur there was no turning back. I was going to chase [...]Continue Reading
I started my Saturday this past weekend with a midwest to westcoast flight. By the time I was over the Rockies, I was so excited to get to work on the new ideas filling my head that I couldn’t WAIT to get off that plane! I had just finished reading through Josh Linkner’s brand new book, [...]Continue Reading
“My site is optimized for the search engines, and it’s not showing up online.” Yep. I hear this a lot. And unfortunately, I have to tell a lot of entrepreneurs that they just wasted their money. Maybe you can relate? Did you just spend a lot of time and money on a search-engine-optimization (SEO) service [...]Continue Reading
Have you ever spent a lot of money on a traditional (print, television, radio) advertisement for your business and have it not work? I have, many times. And then in frustration I would claim that “Advertising doesn’t work.” But if it doesn’t work, why do companies like Geico, Coca Cola and Macy’s spend millions of dollars on advertising every year?
The truth is that they wouldn’t spend money on something that doesn’t work. And for companies like these, it makes sense given the massive numbers of people they need to buy their products every day in order for them to be profitable.
The reason that they use these mediums is simple; because television, radio and print is a very effective way to reach massive quantities of prospective buyers on a consistent basis.
Reach and Frequency
The marketing concept we are talking about here is called “Reach and Frequency.”
Reach is the total number of prospects who hear your marketing messages. Frequency is how often they are marketed to.
Seth Godin uses a colorful and appropriate analogy about reach and frequency in his book Permission Marketing.
Think of it this way: Marketing is like planting a garden. Which is better? Planting many seeds and watering them only once, or planting fewer seeds, but watering them consistently over time?
Just like your seeds will die if you only water them once, so will your marketing messages die in the minds of your prospects if they only hear/see them once.
Frequency Builds Trust
When consulting with one of my clients recently I asked about how our marketing and advertising was working. The question was, “Why are more people calling? Is it because of our radio ad? Newspaper insert? Website? ” I was surprised by his answer. He said “It’s not just one thing; it’s everything.”
When customers call they say that they saw our insert in the paper, but then they had driven by a few times and seen our place, but then they also heard us on the radio, and they had seen us on TV too. And they had finally decided they needed to come in and see us.
My client says that it’s all about “Reinforcement.” Another term for this would be frequency; and frequency builds credibility and trust. All of the marketing strategies we use on a regular consistent basis work together to bring more customers in the door.
Your reach and frequency needs will determine which advertising media will work best for you. Just don’t do what I did and run only one advertisement and then give up. Plant an assortment of seeds, water them regularly and then harvest bushels of success.
Always be marketing.
- How to Become a Marketing Superstar
- 5 Small Business Marketing Secrets from Big Box Retailers
- 5 Easy Ways to Turbocharge Response to Marketing Materials
Wendy Kenney is the best selling author of How to Build Buzz for Your Biz, Tap into the Power of Social Media, Publicity and Relationship Marketing to Grow Your Business, available on Amazon.com. She has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Newsday. For more information go to http://23Kazoos.com.
Have you ever spent a lot of money on a traditional (print, television, radio) advertisement for your business and have it not work? I have, many times. And then in frustration I would claim that “Advertising doesn’t work.” But if it doesn’t work, why do companies like Geico, Coca Cola and Macy’s spend millions of [...]Continue Reading