By k | May 31, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

One of my co-workers recently got engaged.
She’s known the man
for five months,
she met him online,
and it is a long distance relationship.
Other co-workers are making noises
like it is a mistake,
and it won’t work.

Maybe it is,
and sure,
they could do things
to increase their odds of relationship survival
but…

The thing is…
we can’t predict whether or not
a relationship will work .
I fell in love with my other half
at first sight,
and we’ve been happily together over 18 years.
A buddy of mine married
a man she’d known
for over a decade,
and their relationship didn’t last three years.

That is how it is
with business startups also.
We do a lot of
prep work and research
and other things
to increase the odds of survival
but in the end,
we can’t predict
which companies will survive
and which will not.

So if you’re waiting for certainty,
you’re going to be waiting a very long time.

By k | May 30, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in General

I recently took a mini-seminar
on the different levels
of customer/salesperson relationships.

The first level is
when the salesperson is considered a vendor.
This is when you find out about
a new RFP (request for proposal)
on the day
the general public is informed.
Basically you don’t have any special relationship.
If you deal only with procurement,
this is likely the relationship
you have with your customer.

The second level is supplier/provider.
You know the RFP is coming,
and can prepare a bit for it in advance,
but you’re not involved in the process.
You may be asked questions.

The third and final level
is a value creating partner.
You not only know the RFP is coming,
but you helped draft it up.
You provide information
without being asked.
You deal with the end users,
and many departments within the organization.

It is much easier to replace
a vendor than a value creating partner,
and if a value creating partner
continues to create value,
that action wouldn’t ever be considered.

By k | May 29, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Sometimes we forget
in this cult of me,
realty TV world
that brand building
is about the brand.

Do you know what the CEO of Coca-Cola
looks like?
I don’t.

How many times have you heard
a CEO of Coca-Cola or GM
or any other long lasting brand
talk about themselves?
Never.

They talk about the brand first.
And that’s the way it should be.

The company or brand should be
the focus,
not the leader.
Why?
Because the brand is bigger than the leader
and a company consists of
more than just one person.


Fred Smith,

founder, chairman, and CEO of FedEx
told Justin Menkes,
author of
Better Under Pressure:

“As a founder,
you must be able to resist
any temptation
to let the organization
become a cult of personality
built around you.
FedEx isn’t about me.
When I walk out the door here,
this organization won’t miss a beat.”

Put the focus on your brand
where it belongs.

(BTW… as an author,
I focus on my characters, and my stories,
because THAT is what
my readers care about
and THAT is what
I’m selling)

By k | May 28, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I was watching an episode
of Property Ladder today
(a great show for anyone
involved in project management).

A couple was flipping a house.
The husband had years
of building experience.
The wife,
although gifted with finances,
had no building experience.

The wife insisted
on having equal say
on each renovation decision
and made a fuss
if her ideas weren’t used,
stating that
she was an equal partner.

This, of course,
was a dumb ass argument.
She may be an equal partner
but her husband
should clearly have been the leader
on renovation decisions,
just as she should have been the leader
on financing decisions
(an equally important role).

One of the big reasons
we partner with others
is to gain experience and skills
that we don’t have.
Let these partners lead
in the areas they are strong in.

BTW… ironically the flip lost money
because, surprise surprise,
they ran out of financing,
the area the financing-savvy wife
should have been
focusing on.

By k | May 27, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Although I love writing,
starting to write is
a very painful process for me.
It IS work, and
it is difficult to choose work
over doing nothing.

To ease these hard starts,
I employ a trick many successful writers use.
I stop writing a scene
in the middle of the action.
Although I really want to finish it,
I don’t,
leaving that last bit
for the next writing session.

I often do this with my to-do lists also.
I’ll deliberately assign a task
to every day’s to-do list
that I absolutely love.
When I wake up in the morning,
I do that task,
and that throws me into work mode.
Once I’m working,
it is easier to continue working.

Consider assigning yourself
an enjoyable task
to start your day,
even if that means
leaving a task uncompleted
from the day before.

By k | May 26, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

According to Reuters,
“Google launched
an online music locker service
this week
that allows users to store
and access their songs
wherever they are,
similar to one launched by
amazon.com in March.
And like the Amazon Cloud Drive player,
the Google music service
is being introduced
without any prior licensing deals
with major music labels,
following months of fruitless negotiations.”

In a loved one’s town,
the town council blocked Costco
from building a store there.
Costco simply took their store
and jobs elsewhere.

Another loved one pulled a diva move
and made it very difficult
for a company to interview him.
The company decided
he wasn’t the right fit
WITHOUT an interview,
and hired someone else.

Business is going to be done with or without you.
If you want to be involved in this business,
make it easy for the key people to include you.

By k | May 25, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

If I read another post
by a pretentious writer
talking about how she won’t sell out her art,
I’ll scream.

They have a word
for stuff produced
that no one wants.

It is called…

Garbage.

If you can’t sell a product
(i.e. selling out),
because no one wants it,
you’re producing garbage.
The world doesn’t need
more garbage.

Go ahead
and produce something
fresh, creative, exciting
but please make sure
it is something people
actually want.

By k | May 24, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

One of the key reasons
for an established professional
to sign on
with a start up organization
is the possibility of ownership.

It is assumed
when you interview for these positions
that you ask about ownership
or stock options.
That discussion won’t be originated
by the interviewers
(because no one volunteers to give up ownership)
but you’ll look like
a dumb ass if you don’t ask.

I ALWAYS ask,
regardless of the size of the company.

There is no downside to asking.
No one has ever passed up a prospective employee
because she believes in the company
and wants to own a piece of it.

In fact, if a job candidate
didn’t ask,
I’d wonder if she was the right candidate.

Ask for a piece of the company
you will work for.

By k | May 23, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I was a very good student
but
when I applied for
post-secondary schooling,
I applied for all the universities
and all the colleges I was allowed
(without paying extra).
My buddies thought I was crazy.
They only applied to two or three
of their top choices.

My thinking was…
for very little extra effort,
I could keep my options wide open,
so why wouldn’t I?

I now have the option
of going through several publishers
so…
I do.
I have a couple of core publishers
I feed enough stories to keep happy,
and the other stories I spread out.
I learn from each publisher.
I get exposure from each publisher.
And hey, I can.

One of Joe Konrath’s promo tips is
“Diversify and Experiment.
I’ve had as many failures as successes.
Though my ebooks Trapped and Origin
continue to sell hundreds per day,
I’ve got other ebook titles
that only sell a hundred per month.
I have no idea why some sell better than others,
but I’m continuing to explore new genres
and experiment with formats.”

“If your sales are in the gutter,
switch genres.
Get a pen name.
Try something different.
Play with the cover art
and product description.
Switch the category label.
There is no surefire path to success,
but if you want to hit a home run,
you gotta swing at everything.”

BTW… this article is wonderful reading
for those interested
in book promotion pre-eBook
vs post-eBook.

By k | May 22, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

One of my buddies is fighting
with her publisher
(her major customer)
over her cover.
She admits that
the latest rendition
is a great cover
but it ‘doesn’t reflect the book.’
Reflecting is subjective,
and open to interpretation.

Another author buddy
spent the weekend
fighting with readers
(i.e. her prospects).
A reader asked
for more information,
and the author told the reader
to look the information up herself.
Other readers didn’t take that response well.

There are plenty of people
in the world.
If you’re difficult,
folks have the option
to deal
with someone else,
so before you kick up a fuss,
you may want to ask yourself
“Is this important enough to me,
to risk losing the business over?”