By k | August 21, 2009 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

Everyone is an expert in something
so when I hear someone is an expert
with no qualifier behind it,
I ignore the statement.

When I hear someone is an expert
in a large field,
I ignore the statement
because an expert in a large field
is pretty darn close to being a generalist.

When I hear someone is an expert
in a teeny, tiny field,
I sit up and take notice,
especially if it is a field
I need an expert in.
THAT means something.

Another designation that means
something
is, as Scott Ginsberg states,
a leader.
Again, the tighter the niche,
the more powerful that statement is.

Be a leader, be an expert
but be specific.

By k | August 20, 2009 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

An artist friend of mine
dreams of making her living
by sharing her paintings with the world.
That gig is a tough one to land.

Meanwhile she has to eat
so she designs book covers.
She designs as many book covers
as she needs to,
paying the bills.
Leftover time and money
goes towards her paintings
completed with the sole purpose
of changing the world.
Because she doesn’t need to sell these paintings
tomorrow to pay rent,
she can be true to her art.

Another buddy designs software.
He’s working on a big world changing project
but as he also has to eat,
he takes contract gigs
for the cash.
The contract gigs allow him
to stick to his ideals
with the big project.

Both buddies have been accused
of selling out.
I believe it is the opposite.
They’ve sacrificed
to bring their projects to life.
The biggest thing they’ve sacrificed
is their pride.

Don’t let pride stop you
from changing the world.

By k | August 19, 2009 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

I have some dear friends
who have very strong religious beliefs.
They wouldn’t approve of
the romance novels I write.

So you know what?
I don’t talk to them about my writing.
At all.
It is like that part of me doesn’t exist
when I’m with them.

My friends aren’t idiots.
They know I’m writing romance novels.
But because I don’t fling it in their faces,
they can pretend I don’t,
clinging to the ounce of doubt.
This allows two people with different beliefs
on one topic
to be friends.

I heard of someone who got fired this week.
She’d been breaking a company rule
for years now.
She knew the boss knew
but they never talked about…
until last week.
She let it drop in a conversation.

It eliminated all doubt from the boss’ mind.
He had no choice.
He couldn’t pretend she wasn’t doing it.
He had to take action.
He fired her ass.

Yes, people can uncover all your dirt.
This doesn’t mean you should help them shovel.
There is no need to tell everyone everything.

By k | August 18, 2009 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

Pricing is part of the customer promise.
For X dollars,
the customer is promised to received
Y product.

Pricing errors happen.
Normally, the company tries to wiggle out
of honoring the incorrectly advertised pricing.
They break their promise.
This has the customer doubting
all other promises.
It erodes trust.

The rare time, however,
a company will stand by their promise,
even if it,
as was the case with
the Crowne Plaza’s one cent rooms in Venice,
costs them $127,000 (U.S.).
This does the opposite.
It builds trust.
I know if I book with the Crowne Plaza,
they won’t give my room away
(as happens with other hotels)
or switch rates at the last minute.
They keep their word.

This is rare.
So rare that when a company does it,
it makes international news.

By k | August 17, 2009 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

When I first started seriously writing
about ten years ago,
paranormal romance was heating up.
Writers were cautioned that this was a fad
and that they should concentrate on the next trend
rather than jump on the paranormal romance band wagon.

A decade later
that ‘fad’ is still going strong
and editors can’t seem to get enough paranormal stories.
The next trend?
It hasn’t happened (yet).

Trying to predict what your customers want today
is challenging if not impossible.
Trying to predict what your customers want tomorrow?
Impossible.
Better to take an existing timeless need
and try to innovate around it.

Matthew E. May has a wonderful post
on designing to the future.

By k | August 16, 2009 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

Entry level writers are hands down
some of the most paranoid people
on the planet.
Everyone is out to get them
and every organization is a conspiracy.

I’ve worked with people like that before.
People on the lower rungs
of the organizational ladder.
They stay at these lower levels
and eventually their paranoia is justified.
Everyone IS out to get them
because no one can work with them.

When you think
everyone is out to get you,
you don’t trust anyone.
Without trust,
business doesn’t get done,
projects don’t reach launch state,
relationships don’t form.
You can’t succeed without relationships.
You can’t succeed without trust.

Paranoia is contagious.
As is trust.

Look for alliances rather than conspiracies.
Look for reasons to trust rather than distrust.

By k | August 15, 2009 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

Whenever I hear
“Sorry to be a bother”,
I immediately think
’she’s going to be a bother.’
(’She’ because
these openers
are always used by women.)

When I hear
“I hope you don’t mind but…”
I think
‘Actually, I DO mind.
Very much.’

Do NOT use these phrases
EVER.
They aren’t nice.
They aren’t polite.
They’re irritating
and ensure I won’t listen
to anything you say.

If it will only take a moment of my time,
don’t waste that time
by making me listen to garbage words.

If you think you’re a bother,
then why the hell are you bothering me?

If you think I might mind,
then, again, why the hell are you talking to me?

Train yourself NOT to use these phrases.
Believe in yourself
and what you have to say.

By k | August 14, 2009 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

A reminder was sent out
about a major contest entry deadline.
I, as well as others, appreciated the reminder.
Some people, however,
have issues with the contest organization
and responded harshly.
The emailer felt unappreciated
and
I doubt she’ll send out a reminder next year.

In other words,
they killed the messenger.
Not the result
the grumblers had in mind.

How not to kill the messenger
yet still protest the message?

Acknowledge the messenger first.
Thank her.
Tell her you appreciate
her passing that information along.
THEN talk about the issues.

It is THAT easy.

By k | August 13, 2009 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

Dick Harrington,
Former CEO of Thomson Reuters,
sums up 30 years of leadership experience
by advising others to be
approximately correct,
instead of precisely incorrect,
with strategy.

Perfection is not needed
with strategy.
Strategy is directional thinking.

Bloggers, for example,
may benefit from positioning themselves
as experts.
That’s strategy.

How to position themselves as experts?
There are a zillion different ways.
Opportunities will come along.
If these opportunities increase the perception of expertise,
then they should be considered,
even if the tactics don’t appear in the original plan.

Get the strategy directionally right
and you’ll
(likely ’cause nothing is certain)
succeed.

By k | August 12, 2009 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

This week
I’ve read post after post
about how business cards are no longer necessary.

That’s bullshit.

Do you seriously think
that after meeting 300 people at a party,
that contact you impressed
is going to remember you?
No way in hell.
Business cards are memory prompts.

Do you think that Googling someone
gives you permission to contact them?
No way in hell.
Business cards are relationship hall passes.
Giving one out says…
You have permission to contact me.

Do you think when that
when your ass gets fired
(and it will, eventually),
all those former co-workers you now need
contacts from
are going to Google you?
Or pass your name along
to prospective employers
on a post-it note?
No way in hell.
Business cards are the quickest way
to transfer your contact information
in person
(the way serious business still gets done).

You need a business card.
You need multiple business cards
for every brand you
you’re building.