By k | May 31, 2008 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I’m writing the my fourth novel right now,
doing a lot of research for it,
research ranging from how to throw knives
to how to walk a tightwire.

Years ago,
writers hoarded their research sources.
Having that knowledge made them special.

Today,
everyone with internet access
has that information.
Having that information
doesn’t make the author special.

Providing it in one place
for readers to reference to
as they read the book
does.

I made an error.
I didn’t post it with my first book immediately.
I received emails about it
and am only now sharing my sources.

A lost opportunity.

By k | May 30, 2008 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

I like thank you’s.
Thank you just might be
the two most powerful words available.
You thank me for buying your product
and mean it
and you have yourself
a customer for life.

Why?
Because it shows you care.

For some strange reason,
people and companies don’t say thank you enough.
They certainly don’t say thank you in public enough.

I don’t know why
especially since, with blogs,
public thank you’s
are both easy and free.

Have you thanked someone publicly today?

By k | May 29, 2008 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

After working through yet another long weekend,
I got accused by a former coworker
(whose BBQ I dodged)
of being a workaholic.
I prefer to call it passion
(and smart evasion tactics).

I don’t work for work’s sake.
I am, actually, quite lazy.
I work because I am passionate
and have purpose.

Working on my projects makes me happier
but overall,
workaholics are no happier
or unhappier
than the average person.

If you look at the twenty questions
of whether or not you are a workaholic,
it is all about balance
and purpose.

By k | May 28, 2008 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Since you are a project person
(why else would you be reading this blog?),
odds are someone in your family
is or will be a project person also.

Having heard a certain 8 year old project person
burned down yet another barn,
here are some of my thoughts
on raising one.

Realize that the projects are going to happen.
Direct these projects by asking questions.
Safe questions like
“I wonder why worms
crawl all over the sidewalk when it rains”,
NOT casual comments like
“I bet fireworks are easy to make”
or
“I wonder how Peter Pan flies.”

Teach good project management skills.
They are going to pick up habits,
they might as well pick up the right ones.

Don’t judge failures,
help them learn from them.
The best way to do that?
Ask more questions.
Let them figure out the answers for themselves.

Most of all,
try to be present for any live experiments.
That way,
small fires don’t end up as big fires.

By k | May 27, 2008 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

I went to two housewarmings
on the same weekend.

The first housewarming
was held by a professional party planner,
throwing fancy parties was her job.
Guests were fed shrimp skewers on couscous.
Tasty yet expectations were so high,
guests were disappointed.

At the second regular family housewarming,
guests were fed steakettes with rice.
Not as fancy as the first
yet because of lowered expectations
(we expected burgers and hot dogs),
guests were happier.

Often companies are competing
more with expectations than
with competitors.
Exceed expectations and
your customers will be thrilled.

By k | May 26, 2008 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

I’m doing it with my romance blog.
Consulting companies do it with support agreements.
Stores do it with extended warranties.

Convert a one time buy
into a regular stream of income.

One perk of this strategy
is in justifying
the always questioned marketing spend.

An author buddy promoted his static website.
He got some great one time traffic.
There was no reason for readers to come back
so they didn’t.

I’m getting great traffic also
but because of the blog format,
the promise of a new story every week,
my readers are coming back.
I’m seeing readership build.

The result?
The two of us might have the same
number of our first titles sold
for this specific marketing push
but I have the potential
of selling my next title to the returning readers.
More value for the same
semi-pricey marketing spend.

By k | May 25, 2008 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

A loved one is selling his house.
He has noticed that the most traffic
in his neighborhood
has been going to the lowest priced house
and the highest priced house.

Why?

Because pricing MEANS something
to the buyers.
The lowest priced house is seen as value,
the highest as premium,
the middle of the pack?
Not seen at all.

Pricing is part of the marketing mix
for a reason.
Pay attention to where you price.

By k | May 24, 2008 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

Do you have English PhD’s
writing your communications?
Is that a good idea?

A highly educated person knows
30-40,000 words.
The average person knows
10-15,000 words.

That is a huge gap in communication,
a gap that could cost your company money.

Ensure that your marketing and sales team
is only using those core 10,000 words.

BTW… the most commonly understood English word
is NOT yes,
it is ok.
That tidbit has come in very handy
when I’m traveling.

By k | May 23, 2008 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

In
The Intelligence Edge,
the authors state that business people should be able
“to recognize old and unprecedented patterns,
and know how to take advantage of each.”

Knowledge of history is a huge part
of both intelligence gathering
and new product development.

Knowing what worked and
what didn’t work in the past
guides future decisions.

Take the time
to study the history
of your product and industry.

By k | May 22, 2008 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I wanted to buy
a potted miniature rose
for my Mom.
I called up the small town florist
a block from her.

I ask for them to deliver the potted rose.
Sorry, we don’t sell those,
they respond.

A normal customer would hang up at that point.
I, knowing that they share mall space
with a grocery store that DOES sell the roses,
ask if they can simply buy one
as a favor for me, a regular customer,
resell it to me for a mark up,
and
deliver it.

Silence.
No, we can’t do that.

I then call the big chain that DOES do it.
And you know what?
Their prices on the other flowers,
the flowers I normally buy,
are much less expensive.

The main advantage of small business is
flexibility.
Lose that and
you lose customers.