By k | September 29, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

There’s a misconception
that, in modern romance novels,
the heroine gets rescued
by a tall dark handsome Prince Charming.

She doesn’t.

In a well-written romance novel,
the heroine ALWAYS rescues herself.
The hero might help her
but she’s responsible for her success.

You’re responsible for your success also.
There might be mentors, partners, others
helping you
but YOU have to ’save’ yourself.

Barbara Corcoran,
real estate entrepreneur,
shares

“I had a hard time
learning to read
in school
so I read picture books
to myself
until I was about 11.

Cinderella remained my favorite,
but I got a whole different message
out of it
the older I got.

I figured out
I probably wouldn’t get a lucky break
someday to take me
out of our overcrowded apartment
—we had 10 kids and 1 bathroom
—so I let go of the idea
that I would be rescued
and decided I’d better
become the prince.

I worked my ass off
after school from age 12 on
and got as many jobs
as I could,
figuring if I could work really hard
I could be the one
to make other people’s
dreams come true.”

Don’t wait for anyone
or anything.

Make your own dreams
come true.

By k | September 28, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I saw this trend
on the news last night.
A talking head
asked an expert
for her opinion.
Then she asked three regular folks
for their opinions.

The message was…
the regular person’s opinion
is just as important as
the expert’s opinion.

No.
No, it isn’t.

To say
the opinion of someone
who has spent 30 seconds
thinking about an idea
is as worthy as
the opinion of someone
who has spent 30 years
researching, talking about,
thinking about the same idea
is ridiculous.

A random person
is unlikely to even represent
the average person
or your target customer.
She can give you
information on
one thing -
her preferences.

It doesn’t hurt
to listen to everyone
but think
before taking action
based on
the random person’s opinion.

By k | September 27, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I ignored Indie publishing
for years.
Writers told me
to try it.
I resisted.

Then readers started asking
for things
that I,
as a writer with a publisher,
couldn’t provide.

I realized then
that Indie wasn’t a fad.
It was a game changer
and it was not going away.

A game changer
will happen in your industry,
if it hasn’t already.

There are ways
to be more responsive
than I was.

Scott Anderson,
in the Autumn edition
of UofT Magazine,
writes

“Companies that
navigate disruption successfully
tend to be structured
in tightly knit teams,
cultivate close links to
customers to anticipate
their future needs
and
experiment across
multiple generations of technology.

Rotating managers
among different areas
of the company
also helps those managers
embrace innovation more easily.”

The link to the customer,
IMHO,
is key.

Change is coming.
Build your business
to survive
and possibly thrive in it.

By k | September 26, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Every day,
at least 6,000 books
are released on Amazon.

I suspect your industry
is also crowded.

The big markets are massive.
It is impossible to sell to
every prospect.

But you CAN sell to
every prospect
in a smaller niche.

That’s one of the best
‘tricks’ to increasing book sales.
Dominate a niche.
Make those niche customers happy.
THEN expand to a larger market.

Seth Godin
shares

“Too often,
we’re attracted to
a marketplace (a pond)
that’s huge and enticing,
but being a big fish there
is just too difficult
to pull off
with the resources at hand.

It makes more sense
to get better
at finding the right pond,
at setting aside our hubris
and confidence
and instead settling for a pond
where we can do great work,
make a difference,
and yes, be a big fish.”

Start niche
and then expand
(or not).

By k | September 25, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

One of my writing buddies
gets excited about
a new marketing or sales strategy,
tries it for a week,
doesn’t see any results
and quits,
declaring them unsuccessful.

The reason she tries these strategies
is because they have worked
for someone else.

That someone else, however,
has stuck with the strategy
for years.
She hasn’t jumped
from strategy to strategy.
Strategies often need time
to work.

Strategy loyalty
requires patience
and a great deal of faith.

It is easier for me
to have faith in a strategy
if I understand it,
if it makes sense to me,
if it meshes with my core values,
if I would employ it
even if it didn’t result in sales.

The first book in a series
for free strategy,
for example,
makes sense to me.
I’m asking readers to possibly invest
in a 12 book series.
Giving them the first book
for free
minimizes their risk,
shows them that I realize
I’m asking them
to make a huge investment.

Implement marketing and sales strategies
that makes sense to you
and then stick with them
for at least a year
(or until something significant changes).

By k | September 24, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

There is a photo floating around
social media.
A quick service restaurant
has a hand-written sign posted,
saying ‘No Frise. Sorry.’
The message on this photo is
‘The guy that wrote this sign
wants $15.00 an hour.”

The guy who wrote that sign
DESERVES $15.00 an hour
(either now or eventually).

Does he have a spelling error
in his sign?
Unless he’s selling decorative items,
yes, he does.

But some of the
most successful entrepreneurs
on the planet
have learning challenges.
Richard Branson, for example,
has dyslexia.
That didn’t stop him
from building an empire.

In today’s world,
with spellcheck loaded
on every device,
knowing how to spell
adds little value.

Having drive, however,
is rare.
This ‘guy’ had the initiative
to put up a sign,
to solve a problem,
and
he had the customer service savvy
to say ‘Sorry.’

This is an employee
any business builder
should be happy to employ,
to train,
to advance.

The average person
sees the trivial
- the spelling error,
the mistake.

The business builder
sees the important
- the initiative,
the customer service,
the exceptional employee.

Think like a business builder.

By k | September 23, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

There is a growing group
of readers on Amazon
who buy my books,
read them,
and return them.

Amazon has a very inexpensive
unlimited borrowing option
but
these readers pride themselves
on paying nothing for their entertainment.

Readers pay nothing
Amazon incurs costs.
They send the eBook.
Invoice the eBook.
Process that payment.
Process the return.
Deal with customer service issues.

Amazon is a big company
and can, I guess, absorb these costs.
You and I have smaller companies.
These costs are significant for us.

AND this method of legally stealing
from our businesses
is contagious.
I’ve heard readers boast to others
about what they’re doing,
saying if companies didn’t approve of it,
they wouldn’t allow it.

Track the information
around returns.
Look for serial offenders.
Have a return policy.

By k | September 22, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Cash flow is king.
If our businesses run out of cash,
we’re done.

If you sell to businesses,
one of the things tying up
your cash flow
could be your customers.
They’re not paying their bills.

Brian Moran
suggests

“Consider starting with
the customers
who owe you the most money,
as well as those
who are the most delinquent
in paying you.

It’s possible their business
is struggling,
or maybe they never received
your invoice.

Regardless, a phone call
may help clear up
most of the problems.”

They might, also, be simply
waiting for that phone call.

I’ve worked with many companies,
some of them big brands,
that had the policy
that they wouldn’t pay vendors
unless the vendor asked
to be paid.

Their thinking was
‘You must not need it
if you’re not asking for it.’

Ask for payment.
You DO need it.

By k | September 21, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

As a writer,
I’m surrounded by people
who love creating drama.
It’s what we do for a living.

Drama is often good
for getting publicity
but it can be detrimental
for getting things done
and it can be extremely distracting,
especially in the workplace.

My tactics for reducing drama
include

- Being as open and as transparent
as possible.
When I hear a rumor,
I address it.
Often I’ll do this indirectly.
For example,
if I hear that a writer
thinks I’ve stolen her plot,
I’ll write a detailed blog post
about how I crafted my plot.

- Not naming names.
I won’t mention the originator
of the drama
because if I do,
she’ll be forced to go
on the defensive.
She’ll post a counter argument
and the drama will continue.
Also I don’t want
anyone attacking this person.
That, again, feeds the drama.

- I don’t contact the drama starter directly.
She clearly likes drama
and will twist any conversation
into more drama.
Any private conversations will be shared
and manipulated to create more issues.

- Once I’ve addressed the drama,
I don’t address it again.
I focus on the next issue,
the next task I have to do.
If anyone talks directly to me about it,
I simply link to where I addressed it.

-Act professionally.
Professional people are boring.
They aren’t great participants
in drama.
And there are plenty of people
who aren’t professional
for the drama creators to focus on.

The good news is,
if you are open, honest,
act professionally,
drama should pass.

Don’t feed the drama
and don’t let it engulf
your business.

By k | September 20, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

Unless you have taken
the photos yourself,
bought the photos
from a photographer,
or purchased the photos
from a stock photo site,
don’t use them.

It is that simple.

Photography is art
and art is copyrighted
as soon as it is created.

Five years ago,
you might have gotten away
with using the photos.
It was difficult
for photographers
to monitor all of the internet.

Today, with image recognition software,
it is a mere click of a button.

Thinking of using random-sourced images
in your sales presentations?
Don’t.
Everyone has a phone.
Eventually the presentation
will be been recorded
and placed online.
Add an aggressive competitor
in that mix
and you have a very bad situation.

Stock photos often cost
pennies per image.
Don’t risk your brand
and a huge lawsuit for pennies.

Ensure you have permission
to use all images.