By k | April 24, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Unicorn Frappuccinos
from Starbucks

were what everyone was talking about
last week.
Stores were selling out.
Customers were posting photos.

People were complaining.

Whenever anything becomes popular,
there are complainers.
Folks who tell others
that the thing they’re enjoying
is contributing to the end of civilization
as we know it.

As a product developer,
you can’t prevent this.
You could craft the perfect product
and there would be complainers.
There are some people
who simply don’t want other people
to be happy.

What we CAN do,
is create a space
that is hater-free,
a space
where folks who love
the product or service
can gather
and be with others
who feel that love too.

Writers often offer that
to readers.
We’ll set up ’secret’ pages
for readers to talk about books.

Consider creating
a hater-free zone
for fans of your products/services.

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

Whenever I hear
“It is company policy”
as an excuse
for not making
the customer happy,
I want to scream.

It isn’t ‘company’ policy.
It is one person’s policy
that the majority of executives/managers
agreed was a great idea
and decided to make standard.

As Seth Godin

“There is no industry,
no economy,
no market.
Only people.

And people,
people can take action
if they care.”

As a business builder,
you’re in the position
to link a face to every decision.

You know it wasn’t ‘company’ policy.
It was Jill’s policy
that others thought was a good idea
and supported.

Jill could have been wrong.
She’s human.
Humans make mistakes.

Every so often,
evaluate your company policies.

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

Right now,
my romance novel business
is solidly midlist.

The next level
is bestseller.
To get to that level,
I can’t merely do more
of what I’m currently doing.
It doesn’t scale that way.
I have to do something different.

Seth Godin

“Showing up takes some effort
and it often pays off.

Showing up a bunch more
is often worthless.

If you want to truly be great,
you’re going to have to
do things most people couldn’t imagine.
That’s what makes it great,
after all.
The scarcity of it.”

To move from
good to great
requires more than doing more.
It means a shift in thinking.

By k | April 21, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

Tamara Mellon

“During my time at Jimmy Choo,
I negotiated three sales
of the company
to private equity firms.

It was during one of these sales
that I discovered something
in the paperwork of the deal
—I was being paid less
than the men who worked for me.

As the Chief Creative Officer
and co-founder,
my salary was less
than comparable C-level positions.”

I can guarantee
that if you’re female
and you’re working for a company,
you’re being paid less
than you should be.

One of the best pieces
of advice
I ever received
from a business mentor
was to ask for a raise
at EVERY evaluation meeting.

It didn’t matter
if it was a midterm review
or a monthly review,
I should mention salary.

I got turned down
quite a bit
but I also received
quite a few raises.

A funny thing happened
with those raises.
Executives valued me more
and they listened to my opinions more.
This is about more than money.
It is about being valued.

Ask for a raise.

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

The Romance Novel business
is normally a long game.
Writers (entrepreneurs) build
readership (customers) slowly,
writing and selling
hundreds of different books (products).

Knowing this,
writers don’t usually stress
about one or two flops,
about mistakes,
about things going wrong.

It is a different mindset.

Seth Godin

“When something goes wrong,
how do you respond?

When you own assets,
when your position feels secure,
when you’re playing the long game,
a bump in the road is just that.

“Well, that was interesting.”

You can learn from it,
and the professional realizes that
freaking out pays little benefit.”

If you’re playing the long game,
you realize that mistakes will happen
and many of these mistakes
won’t leave any lasting impact
on your business.

By k | April 19, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I’m known in the romance novel business
as a writer who tries new things,
who has a sense of humor,
who appreciates the different, the unusual.

This branding does a number of things.
It attracts readers
who like to try new things also,
who have senses of humor,
who are willing to give things a chance.

It also attracts other professionals
who believe in the same things.

This week, for example,
a reviewer posted hilarious
yet not-at-all associated reviews
of some of my best selling books.

Another writer might have worried
about what her readers would think
about these ‘fake’ reviews.
She might have complained
about the reviewer,
had the reviews taken down.

I embraced them.
I knew my readers would love them
and they did.

I suspect I’ll be the ‘target’
of future fun like this
because what we embrace,
we usually get more of,
and I don’t mind.
I love it.

Being open to new ideas
makes you unique.
It will give you an advantage,
attracting people
who are also open to new ideas.

What you do with this advantage
is up to you.

By k | April 18, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

In the publishing world,
there are little cliques of writers.
Literary writers
don’t hang out with
romance writers.
Contemporary romance writers
don’t hang out with
paranormal romance writers.
Writers with publishers
don’t hang out with
writers who self publish.

That’s bullshit
limiting thinking.

I will hang out
with anyone who is achieving
what I want to achieve.
I don’t care if that person is a literary writer
or a horror writer
or a romance writer.
I want to learn from them.

I might not be able to apply
all of their experiences
to my situation
but I can usually apply some
and that has made a huge difference
in my career.

Olympic gold medal winner
Erica Wiebe

“I always want to push myself,
and I want to train
and practice with
the best person in the room.

And so whether
that’s a guy or girl
on any given day,
that’s indifferent to me.

I want to compete against
the best wrestler.”

Learn from the best.

*January/February 2017
The Costco Connection

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

I’m a pantser,
a writer who writes
by the seat of her pants,
who starts a book
with no plan.

I write a chapter a day.
At the end of that chapter,
I won’t know what happens next.
That ‘problem’ will be
the last thought on my mind
before I fall asleep.
When I wake up in the morning,
I almost always have the answer.

This magic happened
during business projects also.

Susan Ford Collins*

“When you’re stuck,
do something else.

Highly successful people say
their most creative ideas come
when they walk away from their desk.

They program in the problem at night
and trust their mind to deliver a solution
when they wake up.”

When stuck on a problem,
if possible,
do something else for a while
and then return to it.

*January/February 2017
The Costco Connection

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

I knew as soon as
the missile strike
on Syria was announced,
that sales of my romance novels
for the day
and possibly the next day
would drop to zero.

External events
WILL affect sales.
We can try to mitigate this
by having different avenues of sales,
different sets of customers,
but there will be an impact.

So what do we do?

If it is a short term event,
I hunker down
and wait it out.
I get my shit together
so when impact of the event fades,
I can emerge with a bang,
selling as much as possible
as quickly as possible.

If it is a long term event,
I look for pockets of opportunities.
I might tweak the product
or my marketing or my sales approach
to better work
with the new reality.

There WILL be external events
that will affect your sales.
Know what they are
and figure out a plan
to work with them.

I was super busy this week.
I had some tight deadlines.
One of my business partners,
seeing that,
said, “I’ll just stay out of your way.”

This is the worst possible answer.
It is the equivalent
of saying,
“I’m incompetent.
If I try to help,
I’ll cause more work
for you
than I would reduce.”

If he was my employee,
I would have put him
on the ‘Consider Firing’ list.

If your business partner
is busy,
you should be busy too.

If you can’t help her,
ask yourself why
you can’t take
even the most basic task
off her full plate.
When she becomes less busy,
approach her
rectify that issue.