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

We all want star performers.
They go beyond expectations.
They have initiative.
They’re passionate about what they do.

And that passion needs direction
because without it,
star performers could move the company
away from its goals.

As Denise Zaporzan
shares in the September/October 2012 issue
of CMA Magazine

“After a star performer is hired,
it’s critical that he or she is aligned
with the organization’s goals.
Star performers need to know
where the organization is heading
and that they’re part of the journey.”

Star performers will take action.
Ensure that it is the action
YOU want them to take.

By k | September 29, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

As business builders,
we have to predict
where we want the business to go.
A big part of that
is figuring out where the industry
is going.

Our industry is made up of
our competition,
our customers,
our suppliers,
and our partners.
The competition is unlikely to talk to us
but the other players will.
Knowing what they plan to do
will help us decide what we should do.

Jeff Hoffman,
a member of
Priceline.com’s founding team,
shares

“We went out to our customers,
suppliers, and partners,
and asked them what they thought
their future would look like.

We asked them how their needs would change,
how their company would change,
how their jobs would change,
how their buying habits would change.

We asked them which factors
in the world around them
worried them most about their future,
and which ones they were most excited about.”

This information will not only
help us predict the future
but it also helps us understand our partners.

By k | September 28, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

Having worked in
the quick service restaurant industry,
I know how precious menu real estate is.
Restaurants spend hundreds of hours,
using years of experience
and the insight of the top experts,
when designing a menu.

Why?

Because a menu can make the difference
between a restaurant succeeding
and a restaurant failing.

And everything, even a symbol,
is important.

Ever wonder why many menus
don’t have dollar signs next to the price?

As menu engineer
Gregg Rapp

shares
“Dollar signs remind people of money.
You open the menu,
and there (are) 100 items with 100 dollar signs.
If you take those off,
it softens the pricing.”
(i.e. patrons order)

Appetizing descriptions sell.
Placing an expensive item
beside an even more expensive item
increases the odds
the expensive item will be ordered.
Bundling items into a meal
hides the cost of individual items.

And that’s only a fraction
of what menu designers consider.

“But, but, but I don’t run a restaurant,”
you say.
Do you have a price list?
Do you have a web-based storefront?
If yes, you should put as much thinking
into these designs.

Put thought into your design.
Your business will thank you.

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

When I was a newspaper reporter,
I would submit an article,
never knowing how much
of the article would be printed.

If it was a slow news day,
the entire article might make it
into the paper.
If it was a packed news day,
only the first paragraph might be printed.

I learned quickly
to lead the story
with the most important information,
the news I really wanted readers to know.

THIS is how I write emails.
I assume that only the first line
will be read
so that first line has the information
or asks the question
or delivers the call to action
that is critical for me.

If the email is opened,
almost everyone reads that first line,
even if they’re scanning the information.

Lead your emails
with the most important information.

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

I’m an alpha female.
My natural inclination
is to be strong,
to not show weakness
or lack of knowledge.

Looking at me,
folks might assume
I don’t need mentoring.

But everyone needs mentoring.
Mentoring makes the good better,
the strong stronger.
It speeds up success.
It allows us to learn
from other people’s mistakes
AND successes.

So I ask for mentoring.
I don’t wait for mentors
to come to me.
I decide whom I wish to learn from
and I approach them.

I usually tiptoe into being mentored.
I’ll ask an author
“How do you sell so well
on Amazon?”
I’ll ask a saleswoman
“What is your best closing technique?”
I ask.
I listen.
I implement.
I ask for their feedback
on how I could have improved.

If you want to be mentored,
don’t wait to be asked.
YOU do the asking.

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

A buddy’s daughter
resisted completing her school work
every evening.
She preferred to watch TV instead.

My buddy was frustrated.
She asked me for suggestions.
I asked her what SHE did
when she came home
from work every evening.

My buddy watched TV.

Now, my buddy sits
at the dinner table
and works.
The daughter sits beside her
and completes her school work.
She doesn’t argue.
She does.
Just like her mom.

We can talk the good talk
all we want
but our employees, our partners, our kids
watch what we do.
They do what they do.

We can’t expect them to work hard
if we’re goofing around.

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

There’s been a lot of coverage
over Mandy Patinkin’s departure
from the TV show
Criminal Minds.

He stars in a new thriller
that seems very similar
yet subtly isn’t
and some people don’t understand
why the difference matters to him.

I do.
Last year, I wrote a story
that was very similar to
many other stories I’ve written
except
the story didn’t have a happy ending.

The story was very profitable
and the difference was very subtle
but it felt wrong.

I only wrote one of these stories
and I walked away from this product line.
Mandy Patinkin walked away from Criminal Minds
after two seasons.

And walking away is okay.
There are plenty of other stories to write,
television roles to star in,
products to launch,
that are BOTH profitable
AND give us a sense of pride.

Make the difference
YOU want to make
in the world.

If it doesn’t feel right,
walk away.

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

I haven’t checked the stats
on Clientk
in a couple of years.
I don’t know
if one person reads this blog
or five thousand people read this blog.

Because the number doesn’t matter.
I write this blog to help others,
whether that is one other
or five thousand others,
and I write this blog
to stay current,
to push my continuous education.

Of course, I could easily check
the number of readers.
I could track how long readers spend
reading each post.
I could track what sites they visit
before and after Clientk.
There are a zillion measurements
I could check.

But every measurement I check
takes time
and more dangerously,
every measurement I check
has the opportunity
to steal my focus.

If I check the number of readers
and I have only one reader,
I might decide
a) writing these posts
aren’t worth my time
or
b) I should market this blog.

Neither of these outcomes
help me achieve my goals for this blog.

That is why
I measure what matters
and nothing more.

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

For the past year,
I was the only person
in my household
working at home.

That changed a couple of weeks ago.
Now, there are two of us
working at home.

At first,
we tried to save money
and shared everything.
One phone line.
One printer (linked to my computer only).
No duplicates.

That really hurt productivity.
We were both heavy printer users.
Sharing that printer
slowed us down.

Finally, we broke down
and invested in that home office.
We bought an additional printer.
We bought noise-reducing headphones
and other devices
to make the home office more productive.

As Carla Young shares

“Only share resources
that you each use part-time or infrequently.
For example,
because we both need the telephone,
we each have our own designated line,
but as neither of us uses the printer on a daily basis,
we share a single printer.

The upside to separating your critical work systems
is that in an emergency,
you have the other system as a backup.
So when a telephone battery dies
or a VoIP line isn’t available,
you have at least part-time access
to an alternate system.”

Invest in the devices you need
to make your shared home office work
for you.

By k | September 21, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

When I write heroes,
I often make them bad boys,
males with edge,
males who aren’t always nice.

Because readers don’t like nice.
Nice is boring.

As a blogger,
you don’t want to be boring.
Boring blogs aren’t read.

Steve Cody,
founder of Rep Man Blog,
shares

“Too many bloggers are too nice.
That means that,
while they may write passable copy,
it’s too often bland and boring.
Many are also afraid
to tackle the more difficult issues
in their profession.

I’ve taken a different tack.
I’ve blogged about such controversial PR topics
as the near domination of our industry
by young, white females
and the dangers of engaging with serial clients
(notorious CMOs who change PR firms
as often as they change socks).”

You don’t have to cuss
or wear leather
or fight the establishment
to be edgy.
You simply have to say
what other people aren’t saying.

Be edgy.
Make a difference.