By k | January 31, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Michael Schrage has an awesome post
on why prototypes have to be tested
with users.

“Any innovator deploying
any prototypes in the field
can’t possibly assess
the economics and costs
of staggered roll-outs,
staggered builds and
optimization trade-offs
independent of the people
who will actually be using those prototypes.
Their level of training,
their abilities to observe and report,
their mistakes and misunderstandings,
the natural variability they individually introduce
are costs and risk factors
that invariably influence
design decisions around the prototype.”

***

“The great German General von Moltke
once observed that,
“All plans evaporate
on contact with the enemy.”
For serious innovators,
that aphorism becomes,
“All prototypes evolve
on contact with the user.”"

Marketing copy, programs,
heck, ANY project
should be tested
with the end users
as soon as possible.

By k | January 30, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

On an episode of The Millionaire Matchmaker,
the matchmaker knew her client
was about to f**k up big time.

Did she tell him?

No.
She said he had to learn.

That might be great TV
but it is bullsh*t advice.
The matchmaker is the millionaire’s consultant.
He is PAYING for her advice.
Her job is to give him that advice.

Last year, I wrote a Valentine’s Day romance.
Valentine’s Day romances don’t sell.
My publisher knew that.
I didn’t.
Every time I see the zero sales
on my royalty summary,
I get pissed off.

Did I learn something?

Of course.
I learned my publisher sucked
at giving advice.

If you want to be seen as an expert,
BE THE EXPERT.
That means giving your client/business partner
the information they need
to be successful.

By k | January 29, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

I recently was joking around
on a reader chat.
From beginning to end,
I made jokes and teased people
and had a great time.
I also posted excerpts and buy links
and added friends to my Facebook account
and readers to my newsletter list.

At the end of the chat
(and the readers didn’t want it to end),
readers said that wasn’t a chat.
That was fun.

In other words…
that wasn’t marketing
because it was fun.

On another writer loop,
I announce new releases by members.
With every new release,
I ask the writers what they learned.

Recently there was a ban
on promotion/marketing
with the exclusion of new releases.
Because members learned things
from the marketing,
they didn’t consider it marketing.

So when you hear
from customers
that they don’t want you marketing to them,
that’s bullshit.
What they really are saying
is that they don’t like the way you’re marketing to them.

If your marketing is entertaining
or educational
or ???,
it will not only be tolerated
but requested.

By k | January 28, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

According to the
Oxford English Dictionary Online
a money shot “is a
provocative, sensational,
or memorable sequence in a film,
on which the film’s commercial performance
is perceived to depend.”

In romance writing,
writers know that one hot, memorable scene
will not only sell a novel,
but make readers satisfied.
If there is no “money shot”,
there won’t be any sales.

With Apple products,
beautiful design is the money shot.
That is the feature
that sells their products.

No product is perfect
but every successful product
has a money shot.
Find out what your’s is
and market your product with it.

By k | January 27, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

With small businesses
(and authors starting out),
I often see mission statements
(and themes)
used in marketing materials.

(winces)

Don’t.
Please don’t.
Your customer doesn’t care
about your mission statement.
Your mission statement is about you.
Customers care about themselves.
What is in it for them?

One of my author brands
stands for tolerance.
I don’t communicate this theme to readers.
EVER.

Why?

Because readers don’t buy romance novels on tolerance.
They buy love stories,
interesting character and worlds,
light-hearted entertainment.

Themes and mission statements
are for internal use only.

By k | January 26, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

We all are dealing with information overload.
Our brains deal with this overload
by filtering information.

One filter is by the source of information
and whether or not
we trust it.

If I don’t trust someone,
I discard the information
they’re sharing outright.
I don’t investigate it.
I completely erase it from my brain.

On the flipside,
if I trust the source completely
and I’m in a rush,
I’ll act upon that information.

Turns out…
other people do that same thing.

A study performed by Martin Lindstrom
for his book
Brandwashed
shows that
“Deep trust is communicated
subconsciously.
It’s rarely expressed explicitly,
nor is imparted loudly
or didactically.
To trust deeply
not only can change our minds,
but it has the power
to alter our most ingrained behaviors.”

If you’re a trusted source,
people will act upon your information.
Think before you speak.

By k | January 25, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

When I was younger,
I didn’t talk about my failures often.
I didn’t like the “poor you” comments
I received
when I talked about failure.
It made me feel like I did something wrong.

A few years ago,
a loved one failed
and I told him
“Try again. You can do it.”

His response?
“Fine for you to talk.
You always succeed.”

THAT was when
I realized
I wasn’t doing anyone any favors
by hiding my failures.

As Siimon Reynolds
in Why People Fail says
failure is a “forbidden subject.
We’re not supposed to fail
and if we do,
we’re supposed to hide it from everybody.
It gives people the wrong impression
about what it takes to be successful.”

Talk about your failures,
especially to the people you’re mentoring.
Take the shame out of this vital part
of being successful.

By k | January 24, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

I hear this… a lot.
And when I respond
with “Get a new job”,
I get a lot of weak-assed excuses.

Steve Tobak has a better response.
(this post on workplace myths
is AWESOME)

“For one thing it’s work,
not happy hour.

Also it’s a free country.
You get to decide
what you want to do for a living
and where you work.

Isn’t that enough?

Sure, the economy sucks.
So if you’ve got a crappy job or
a boss who’s a jerk,
you’re sort of stuck for a while.
Sometimes it’s worse than others,
but the economy is cyclical and
it’s been that way forever.

Besides, if you think your company is hell,
your boss is the devil, and
your coworkers are political, backstabbing creeps,
there’s a fair chance that it’s you.
Nobody wants to believe
they’re the problem.”

If your job sucks,
either change your job
or change YOU.

By k | January 23, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Few of us
get a new skill perfect
the first time
we try it.
We KNOW that.
We expect it.
We don’t need others
to point out
how imperfect our first try was.

What we need is encouragement
to try again.

Steve Roesler shares

“Transitions and change imply,
by definition,
that people are trying something
for the first time.
When your little child
tried out her first steps
and fell after the third one,
you didn’t offer a performance appraisal.
You hugged her, made a big fuss,
took a video,
and called the grandparents.

Offer the same to adults
who are trying something
for the first time.
Truth be told,
they are feeling like kids at that moment.”

Don’t critique that first try.

By k | January 22, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

Wal-Mart has announced a new contest
aimed at Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses
called Get on the shelf.

This is an American Idol type competition.
If you already have a Wal-mart appropriate product,
it requires nothing more
(no entry fee)
than a video.

Why is Wal-Mart doing this?

As per Chris Bolte,
vice president of @WalmartLabs,
“At the end of the day,
we’re hoping to uncover products
that we haven’t been looking at
and give consumers a voice
about what Wal-Mart carries.”

This is a GREAT opportunity
if Wal-Mart is part of your world domination plan.
No guts, no glory!
Make that video and enter today!