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
Archive for “Run Your Business Better”
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
In case you have never heard of WordPress, it is the backend content management system (CMS) that runs sites such as CNN, the WSJ Magazine, and even these StartupNation Business Blogs. With the release of version 3.1, WordPress is making a solid move from "blogging software" to a solid CMS. While there are many awesome [...]Continue Reading
Today, Yahoo! sent announcements to all of its MyBlogLog account holders to announce the shutdown of MyBlog on May 24, 2011. This is not a surprise to anyone who caught Yahoo’s announced plans to "sunset" some of their services such as Delicious and MyBlogLog back in December. The journey from the Yahoo! purchase of MyBlogLog [...]Continue Reading
I recently spoke to Kimberly Palmer. She’s the senior editor and personal finance columnist for US News & World Report. And in addition to appearing on NBC’s Today show, CNBC, CNN, and local television and radio shows nationwide, she has also written for the Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and the Asahi Shimbun/International [...]Continue Reading
Hi gang, How do you get your product noticed in our current sea of product noise? Obviously, the way to be noticed is to wrap yourself inside a giant egg and be carried somewhere by the entire cast of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, right? Yep, you’ll be noticed for sure. Lady Gaga was certainly [...]Continue Reading
Ok. You have a newsletter registration on your home page, and people have started to sign up. Great! Now, what do you do? A. Sit back and watch who signs up. B. Communicate with your new registrants right away. C. Send valuable information to your list on a regular basis. If you answered B and [...]Continue Reading
This is part two of my ongoing post: 10 Sure-Fire Tips for starting and Growing Your Business Meditate Often Do you know how they say outsiders have a better perspective of your problems than you do? That’s because as a business owner, you’re so involved in the little details of your business it can be [...]Continue Reading
Finally! Your new small business is up and running, and you put up the “Open” sign. The only problem is, no customers are waiting to buy your products and services. What do you do? Small Business Public Relations to the Rescue! It’s time to build buzz by contacting the media, posting SEO press releases, using [...]Continue Reading
Every now and then, I throw you a freebie. This is one of those occasions. Here’s the deal: Dell has provided me with a Dell Vostro V130 laptop, and I’m so impressed, they’re allowing me to give one away for free to one entrepreneur winner among you! Through this giveaway, you have a chance to [...]Continue Reading
A little while ago, I was asked to give a presentation for a group of entrepreneurs. They wanted me to talk about what I’ve learned from the mistakes I’ve made in the past. I shared with them 10 very important business lessons I learned the hard way. Rather than make one really long post, I [...]Continue Reading
Six years ago, I was working 12-hour days. Wanting to get more done in less time, I started studying productivity principles. Now I never work more than 6 hours a day but I manage to get more done than before! Here are the tips that more than doubled my productivity and cut my work day [...]Continue Reading