By k | July 23, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I worked with a publisher.
I thought they were legit
(and they were… for a while)
but I had my agent look at the contract.
Some clauses were changed.
Other than that,
it was a great contract.

Then the publisher stopped paying
all of the writers.
They continued selling our books
in huge quantities.
They merely pocketed that money.

So I talked to my agent.
She told me
I could get my books back
IF I went to court.

Other writers did this.
They went to court.
The publisher paid them
the day before the court appearance,
AFTER the writers incurred all of the legal fees.

The writers had no case.

Then the publisher stopped paying them again.

This is when I found out
a contract isn’t worth anything.
Only the ethics of the people/company
you’re doing the deal with
protects you.

Seth Godin

“Specific contracts
don’t completely protect you
from dishonorable people.
What they do
is make it really clear
about what it takes
to do what you said
you were going to do.

Start with a good agreement.
But your future depends on
doing agreements with good people.”

Don’t do business
with people/companies
you don’t trust.

By k | July 22, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I can’t believe
I have to write a post
about this
but it seems I do.

If you make a product
or offer a service,
allow your customers
to use that product/service
around you.

If, for example,
you make fancy tights,
don’t forbid attendees
to wear those fancy tights
at your conference.

Yes, this means
if you make underwear,
you should expect
and embrace
that your customers will wear
that underwear
as outerwear
at events you host.

If seeing people,
all types of people,
in underwear upsets you,
you shouldn’t be making underwear.
You should be in a business
you CAN love.

Be the number one supporter
of your product or service.
Celebrate when your customers use it.

By k | July 21, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

In the Romance Novel business,
we ‘fire’ customers
all the time.

There are readers
who are never happy.
They never want
to pay for books.
They leave bad reviews
on EVERY release.
They load books illegally
on pirate sites.
They complain
on our promo posts,
which discourages other readers
from buying our books.

So we gently tell them
they should try other writers’ works.
We might quietly
unfriend them on Facebook.
We might quietly
unsubscribe them
from our newsletters.

It has to happen
for our happiness
and for the health
of our business.

Gord Woodward,
in the July/August 2017
The Costco Connection,
advice for firing a client.

“Be sensitive and tactful.
A phone call is more personal
but a letter works too.
Thank the clients for their business,
then let them know that
the relationship isn’t working.
And apologize -
‘We’re sorry
we’ve been unable
to satisfy your needs’
- even if you’ve done nothing wrong.

Finish up by suggesting a solution
- namely, referring the buyer elsewhere:
‘The other companies in town
may be better able to help you.’”

The Company/Customer relationship
has to work for both of you.
If it doesn’t,
consider firing the customer.

By k | July 20, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I’m Canadian.
In our culture,
we say ‘Thank you.’
Not saying it
is one of the gravest of sins.

In my Romance Novel Business,
I work with quite a few Americans.
It isn’t as normal
in American culture
to say ‘Thank you.’

This has given me
a strategic advantage
people like to be thanked.
They like to be appreciated.

Thanking business partners
often gets me the star treatment
the next time I work with them.

Joseph Sherren,
in the July/August 2017
The Costco Connection,

“[A Study completed
at Wichita State University]
reported that employees
rated a manager’s thanks
as the most motivational incentive
of all.

more than 58 per cent of employees
say they rarely receive
a personal thank you.”

Thanking people is free
and it is easy.
Do it.

By k | July 19, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

The longer you work
for a company
or in an industry,
the more you become
immersed in business jargon,
the unique language
that company or industry

You use acronyms,
words, phrases
only insiders know.

Which can cause a problem
when communicating
with prospects
and others on the outside.

Erika Napoletano

“When you use jargon,
you run the risk
of making people feel dumb
because they don’t get
what you’re saying.

No one likes
having someone talk
over their heads.
When that happens,
we usually take a step back.
We stop listening
and get defensive
—which is the last thing
you want people to do
when you’re trying to
establish a connection.”

A loved one in sales
tests all of his sales pitches
on me,
someone outside his industry.
I tell him when I don’t understand
an acronym, word or phrase,
and he eliminates that
from his vocabulary.

Jargon can kill a sale.
Be wary of it.

By k | July 18, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

I write semi-anonymously here.
I don’t post my real name
but it wouldn’t take
a skilled tech person long
to figure out who I am.

Because everything on the internet
is traceable.

The only thing stopping people
from tracking,
for example,
the posters
of anonymous comments
is skill and time.

There are programs today
that can easily link
an anonymous comment
with the person’s real name,
picture, address, other information.

All it would take
are politicians who don’t care
about privacy
to have these programs turned on.

When that happens,
everything we’ve EVER posted online
could be attributed to us.
(Nothing is ever truly deleted
on the internet.)
Our customers will know
we wrote it.
Our business partners will know
we wrote it.
Our loved ones will know
we wrote it.

Some day soon,
this will happen.
I’m prepared for it.
I own everything I write.

I suggest you prepare for it also.

By k | July 17, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

My Romance Writing Business
is technically a one woman business.
Yes, I outsource
editing, formatting and cover art.
Yes, I partner
with booksellers.
But there is only one employee
- me.

Last year,
I wrote and published six novels
and 1 short story.
I made a six figure income,
over 50,000 sales.
I reached quite a few readers.

And I’m one person.

Thomas Friedman

“One person can now
help so many more people.
One person can educate millions
with an Internet learning platform;
one person can entertain
or inspire millions;
one person can now communicate
a new idea, a new vaccine,
or a new application
to the whole world
at once.”

One person can change the world.
That person could be you.

By k | July 16, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

If I have 1,000 release week readers
for each romance novel,
I’m satisfied.
That is a large enough readership
to start word of mouth
and it earns me
twice my production costs.

Having this minimum target
allows me to invest in
brand new series.

Because the customer base
of a series
grows with each release,
a brand new series
will never perform as well
as an established series.

If I compared the two,
I would never release books
in a new series.

Comparing sales
to my minimum
is more productive.

Seth Godin

“Stake out
the smallest market
you can imagine.
The smallest market
that can sustain you,
the smallest market
you can adequately serve.
This goes against everything
you learned in capitalism school,
but in fact,
it’s the simplest way to matter.

When you have your eyes
firmly focused
on the minimum viable audience,
you will double down
on all the changes
you seek to make.
Your quality,
your story
your impact
will all get better.

And then,
ironically enough,
the word will spread.”

What is your minimum customer base?

By k | July 15, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I spent last weekend
with a loved one.
The entire time,
he reminisced about
‘the good ol’ days.’

He was in his forties.
But his age
isn’t that important.
I’ve met people
in their twenties
who talk constantly
about the past.

It’s a sign.

If you are stuck
in the past,
either you don’t have goals
for the future
or you aren’t working toward
these goals.

Fix this.

Live life
looking forward,
not back.

By k | July 14, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

One of my buddies
is very wealthy.
You wouldn’t know it
if you looked at him,
He wears average clothes,
average watches,
drives an average car.

Why does he do this?

Because the people
who befriend him,
who are nice to him,
when they think
he’s an average guy
are often the people
who will stick by him
if something goes wrong,
if he loses his wealth,
if his business implodes.

Those are the times
he’ll most need friends.

As business builders,
we’re in a similar situation.
Our businesses are likely
still small.
Our brands aren’t well known.
The people/companies
who do business with us
will likely stick by us
if (or, rather, when)
we go through tough times.

The people/companies
who will help us
when we can’t help them
are the people/companies
we should value.

Don’t forget them
as you grow.