By k | January 31, 2009 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Remember the hours, days, months,
you spent drafting your
business start up plan?
Double that (at least)
for drafting your business exit plan.

In Existing Your Business, Protecting Your Wealth,
author John M. Leonetti estimates
that 85% of owner-operated business owners
only have one chance at a business exit.
One chance.
You blow it,
those hard years of business building
will be for nothing.

Think selling your business
is the ‘easy’ way out?
Leonetti shares that the average sale
(if successful - as few are)
takes 9 to 24 months.
2 years!

So research, plan, build your team,
cautiously execute,
and reap the rewards.

By k | January 30, 2009 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

I received a couple of emails yesterday
about local businesses
sourcing locally.
The key concern was pricing.
These local sources are more expensive
so the local business would have to sell
at a higher price point.

So sell at a higher price point.
You have a different product,
sell it at a different price point.

It is the only real strategy for you.
If you’re a local business
and you plan to compete solely
on pricing,
you’re one of the walking dead.
You will never be able to match Wal-Mart’s pricing.
Never.

By k | January 29, 2009 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

Your business is too small
to benefit from overseas outsourcing.

Good.
Source local
and use it in your marketing.

Michelle Obama made headlines
with her love for American designers.
Why?
Because there is a growing trend
towards local product.

Create an All American (or All Canadian or All Australian or…) ???
This could be a burger with all American ingredients,
a book published by an American publisher,
a necklace made from American gold and gems.
Then tell the media, customers, prospects about it.

It will build loyalty with the people who care
(and be ignored by the people who don’t)

If you’re going to be a local business,
BE a local business.

By k | January 28, 2009 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

Most cruiselines employ a cruise card system.
This plastic card is
a means of tracking passenger
embarkation or disembarkation during port stay,
a key to enter staterooms,
and an on board credit card.

Carnival Cruises also uses their cruise card
as a status symbol.
New cruisers are blue.
Returning passengers have gold
or platinum (10 plus cruises) cards.

Staff makes an extra fuss
over the gold and platinum card holders
but more importantly,
other cruisers notice.
They notice, they ask questions,
they want one.

The only way to get one
is to book another cruise
with the same cruiseline.

By k | January 27, 2009 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

Contract work has dried up
yet I’m currently on a contract gig.
I wasn’t hired based on skill or knowledge.
I was hired due to
my relationships with the right people.

People who had the ability
to help me out
but more importantly,
people who acted on that ability.

One upside of a bad economy
is that it tests business relationships.

Why is it an upside?

Because many relationships fail
and then these people or companies
look for new partners.
That new partner could be you.

IF you care for your current relationships.

By k | January 26, 2009 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

My first novel, Breach Of Trust,
was recently awarded
Runner Up for
LRC’s Best Contemporary Romance Of 2008.

Breach Of Trust is a great novel,
I wouldn’t have had it published
otherwise,
but it is no where near THE BEST.

What it is
is the best (in this case, 3rd best) novel
that the reviewers have heard of.

There is a HUGE difference
between being the best
and being perceived as the best.

Having a great product is very important
but
if you don’t market, sell, or otherwise promote it,
the product doesn’t truly exist.

By k | January 25, 2009 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

According to Guerrilla Marketing
and the Forum research company,
15% of customers switched to another business
due to quality problems.
15% switched because of price.
70% left because they didn’t like the human side
of doing business
with their previous vendor.

People matter.

Before laying off or downsizing or automating,
remember that we do business
with people first and foremost.

Don’t give your customers a reason to leave.

By k | January 24, 2009 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

The Consumer Electronics Show
is a male dominated event
so an easy marketing trick
is to have good looking women man the booth
or, especially in the mobile area,
sign posters and pose for photos.

I love hanging out with these women
and observing reactions.
It is a study in assumptions.

I overheard one man
(with his name and employer
prominently displayed on his badge)
say
“I’m surprised that girl can sign her name.”
The girl he was talking about
was in her final year of
a grueling civil engineering program.
I asked her why she did this.
She grinned at me
and said
“I get paid hundreds of dollars an hour
to smile,
why wouldn’t I?”

I suspect she was far more intelligent than he was.

Being good looking doesn’t mean you’re dumb.
On the flip side,
being plain looking doesn’t mean you’re intelligent.
Making those assumptions are dangerous.

By k | January 23, 2009 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

In the mobile section of the Consumer Electronics Show,
there were amazing displays of
vintage, futuristic, and pimped up cars.
These cars grabbed the eye
and created photo opps.
Photos that are sure to be shared with
friends, coworkers, and fellow car buffs.

Many didn’t have any branding on them.
Not even a sign in the corner of the windshield.

Then there were the good looking models.
Many of them had to supply their own clothes.
The company paid them
thousands of dollars to stop traffic
yet didn’t spend the $10 for a branded tank top.

If you’re going to create a photo opp,
make sure your brand is in that photo.

By k | January 22, 2009 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

Vegas is a city pandering to discretionary income
so in this challenging economy,
the key business, gambling,
is seeing steep decreases in revenue.

The traditional tactics aren’t working
and this is pushing marketers out of their comfort zone.

One of the most intriguing promos
is the guaranteeing of gambling losses.
Bally’s, Rio, and Paris are guaranteeing up to $100.
There are stipulations.
You must be a new loyalty card holder.
You will be mailed the cash voucher
and have to redeem it on your next purchase.

Very, very clever.
The casinos get your personal information,
are able to track your gambling within their casinos.
and entice you to return.
All while giving the perception
that winning is so easy,
it can be guaranteed.