By k | July 31, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

I’m entering a contest
hosted by a consumer product goods company.
There is one big prize
and a few minor prizes.
Customers can enter multiple times.

I’ve entered two dozen times.
Clearly, I’m a heavy user of the product.
Even though I indicated
that the company could contact me,
they haven’t.
They haven’t sent me a coupon.
They haven’t thanked me
for being a loyal customer.
They haven’t responded at all.

In the autoreply world,
this borders on disrespectful.

Sending a thank you
for being a customer
and choosing your product
is expected.
When I indicate I want to be contacted,
contact me.

Sending a coupon
or a free sample
to every entrant
turns everyone into a winner,
creating a positivity around the brand.
Doing this without announcing it
gives entrants a reason to talk about the contest
and the company,
creating that word of mouth promo
companies benefit from.

Create a contest
with no losers.

By k | July 30, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

Crying at work
can be a career kiss of death.
Women are assumed
to be emotional basketcases
so when we cry,
our hopes of being taken seriously,
being thought capable of rational decision making,
goes down the toilet.

We all have our tricks
to manage emotion.

Being a natural introvert,
I act at business gigs,
playing the role
of a social career woman.
So when something terrible happens,
it happens to my character,
not to me.
I don’t take it as personally.

I also ensure I have a good solid cry
in private
at least once a week.
Yes, ONCE a week.
I watch an emotional movie.
I read a really great romance novel.
I listen to heart-wrenching music.
This drains my emotion,
allowing me to manage it.

And when something emotional happens
at a business gig
that I can’t handle,
I walk briskly away
and find a private place.
There’s a reason bathroom stalls
have doors.

Emotion isn’t a bad thing.
It can be a great thing,
a powerful asset.

But it should be managed.
Manage your emotions.

By k | July 29, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

You went to that industry convention.
You networked, meeting influentials.
You returned home
with a suitcase full of business cards.

All of this work is wasted
if you don’t follow-up
with the people you’ve met.

As Ivan Misner and
David Alexander,
authors of
Networking Like a Pro:
Turning Contacts into Connections

share

“A contact that you do not follow-up with
is a contact that will never
become a part of your network.
There will be no business
—no sales, no referrals,
no meeting the powerful CEO he knows
—unless you follow through.”

I’m horrible at following-up
and that’s unfortunate
because I meet so many people,
people who could really help
my writing career.

So this is a reminder to you
and to myself.

Touch base with your contact list.
Follow-up.

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

Running your own business
is tough.
It can be grueling and tiring.
Sometimes you wonder why you do it.

So remind yourself.

Tom Harnish suggests

“Put on a pair of pantyhose
or a necktie (or both)
and try to get a “real job.”
It’ll remind you
why you started your business
to begin with,
and why it’s so much better than
“working for the man.”"

One of my former bosses
called these look-see’s.
You look at jobs,
go on interviews
and see if you’re still employable.

For entrepreneurs,
look-see’s remind us
why we’re working on OUR dreams
rather than assisting
someone else with their dream.

Regain your entrepreneurial mojo
by reminding yourself
why you don’t want to be an employee.

By k | July 27, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

When I first started writing,
I’d talk about MY stories,
MY business,
MY branding.

This isolated me.
I was a team of one.
Editors would edit
and that was all.
My husband wasn’t emotionally involved
in what I was trying to achieve,
even though I was trying to achieve it
for both of us.

Then I changed my pronouns.
I’d refer to the stories
as our stories.
I’d send editors the positive reviews.
I cc’d them on the cover art.

When my husband came home,
I’d talk about our successes,
our challenges,
our covers,
our sales.
He’d comment more,
suggest more,
help more.

I was no longer alone.
I was part of a team.

Pronouns are VERY powerful.
They are the difference
between exclusion
and inclusion.

Change your pronouns
and you’ll change your life.

By k | July 26, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

Kristen Stewart announced yesterday
that she slept with her boss,
her “Snow White and the Huntsman”
director Rupert Sanders.

This type of admission is rare.
There’s a reason why it is rare.
Because no one,
other than tabloids,
wants to hear it.

The coworker of a friend of mine
slept with her boss
and admitted to it.

Not only was every promotion,
every raise,
every project she was given,
now suspect
but every female coworker
had to defend
her promotions,
her raises,
and
her projects.

My friend,
a happily married women,
and a hard working professional,
was asked if
she was also sleeping with the boss.
(That answer was “no.”)

My friend eventually left the company
because she couldn’t shake
a reputation she had never earned.

If you’re sleeping with your boss,
do the rest of your coworkers
a favor
and keep it to yourself.

Folks might suspect
but until you admit to it,
it won’t be openly addressed
and your coworkers won’t be accused
of the same ethical transgression.

By k | July 25, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

For today’s post,
I originally wrote a response
to an article written
by a business builder.

Then I read the comments
on that article.
Yikes.
The commenters ripped the piece apart
sentence by sentence,
critiquing grammar and sentence structure.
The tone was overwhelmingly negative.

Yeah, those are not
the readers I want here.
Business building requires optimism
and hope and positivity.

When I market my adult romances
on social media,
I never mention movies or books or stars
that kids might search on.
I don’t want kids
reading my posts.

One of my buddies dislikes
dealing with bargain hunters.
She never gives away her products
or puts them on deep discount.
The freebie hounds stay away.

We often hear about marketing techniques
for reaching more people.
We don’t step back
and ask
if these are the customers
we want to attract.

What is your ideal customer?
What is the customer you don’t want?
Design your marketing
to appeal to your ideal customer
and to NOT appeal to the customer
you’d rather not have.

By k | July 24, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

We have all heard
the stories about the folks
who feel qualified
to open a restaurant
because
they “like to eat”
or only slightly better
they are “great cooks.”

These would-be entrepreneurs
haven’t done any research
and that lack of research hurts them.

There’s a new breed of
would-be entrepreneurs,
the folks who have watched
reality shows set in their target industry.
They consider this
all the research they need to do.

Ummm… no.

Reality shows are entertainment first
and reality second.
This entertainment is targeted
to the average person,
not an entrepreneur.

There are tricks
that industry professionals
don’t want their customers to know.
There are tricks
that are too boring to be good TV.
There are realities
that contradict
the customer’s romantic view of the industry.

Some of these tricks
are key to survival
and if you don’t know them,
you’re at a disadvantage.

Do more research
than watching reality shows.

Oh, and if you want to be a writer
and want the straight scoop on writing,
the good, the bad, and the downright scary,
share this desire with any writer
you’re using for research.

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

I always knew
I would run my own business.
I didn’t know
what business it would be
but I knew
I’d be an entrepreneur.

So I prepared for it decades
before I launched.

How?

I lived on a fraction
of my income
to prepare for
those financially lean building years.
When the hubby and I got married,
we decided we’d live
on one salary.

I worked hard
taking courses, working multiple jobs,
trying out different business ideas.
14 hour days were normal for me.
Working weekends was normal.

I’d always be selling.
I’d go to the bookstore
and talk other browsers
into buying books by my favorite authors.
I’d train myself
to naturally shake hands
and make small talk.

I looked at other ways
my life would change
when I became a full-time entrepreneur
and I made those changes.

When I DID make the leap,
the leap wasn’t that shocking.
Those months of earning nothing
didn’t hurt
because we never lived on my earnings.
Working until midnight every night
wasn’t much of a stretch
because I was already working hard.
Selling mode was natural for me
except now I was selling my own products.

Very few entrepreneurs wake up
one morning
and ‘become’ entrepreneurs.
We prepare for it.

By k | July 22, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

People go to the movies
to relax
and be entertained.

The tragedy in Colorado
has not only taken lives
but it threatens to deliver
a serious blow to the movie business.

The industry responded quickly.
They’re organized
and frankly impressive as hell.

Theaters have hired police and security
to visibly reassure movie goers.

Stars are making heart-wrenching speeches
about going to the movies
and not letting the bad guys win.
Studios are all holding hands
and agreeing not to release box office numbers.

There’s even a reel circulating
with the most beautiful moments in film
(not best - these moments don’t contain violence).

All industries,
all businesses
should be taking notes
because unfortunately something like this
could happen to any industry.

I’m watching
and learning.