By k | February 18, 2013 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

One of the unofficial meeting rules
the person who calls the meeting
makes the agenda.

There is an exception to this rule.
If your boss calls a meeting.

She says something like
“K, let’s meet about the XYZ account.”
This is code for
“K, give me an update on the XYZ account.”

In this case,
you are setting the agenda.
You control the meeting.
You present, bring her up to speed,
sell her on how she can help you
(because clearly
she’s concerned about the XYZ account).

As Gil Schwartz shares
in the April 2012 Men’s Health

“The boss may have
called the confab,
but it is you who
sets the tone,
establishes the content,
and organizes a clear structure.
Do not waste the man’s time.”

When your boss requests a meeting,
be prepared to lead that meeting.

By k | February 17, 2013 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

Martin Lindstrom,
author of Brandwashed,

during an appearance
on Allan Gregg
talked about why we buy products
endorsed by celebrities.

In a recent experiment he ran,
he discovered that people are more likely
to buy a pair of shoes
if a celebrity’s photo is merely placed beside it.

Yes, simply the illusion of a celebrity endorsement
is enough to influence our buying decisions.

Why do we do this?

“we fundamentally need a leader
in our lives.”
This is especially true during times
of financial or social uncertainty.

So yes,
celebrity endorsements work.
The celebrity doesn’t have to be
a Hollywood star.
He/she could be anyone
the prospect views as a leader.

By k | February 16, 2013 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

During his talk to the IFOH,
Clay Shirky,
author of Cognitive Surplus,
talked about how
things like LOL Cats
and Twitter are important.

“There’s a gulf
between doing something
and doing nothing.”
“LOL Cats are the gateway drug
to other forms of
making something,
sharing something.”
“Twitter is plainly a creative act.”

In the writing world,
we have fan fiction.
The writer creates the world,
the characters,
the ‘rules’,
and fans create variations
on these existing stories.

Many writers
use fan fiction as a stepping stone
(the most recent being
E.L. James with 50 Shades Of Grey).
It is an easier first step
along the road to innovation.

Do what works for you
to cross that gulf
between doing nothing
and doing something.

By k | February 15, 2013 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

During a presentation by
Clay Shirky,
author of Cognitive Surplus
at the IFOH,
he shared that
North Americans spend
200 billion hours a year
watching TV.

In contrast,
Wikipedia is estimated
to have taken
a mere 100 million hours to construct.
That’s all pages, all languages.
As Clay Shirky states
this is “a rounding error”
compared to the time spent watching TV.

Think of the difference
you and I could make in the world
if we allocated
merely a fraction more
of our TV watching time
to a project we care about.

No, don’t think about it.
DO it.

By k | February 14, 2013 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

Most of my romance heroines
have brown eyes and brown hair.
Because most romance readers
have brown eyes and brown hair.

I am very aware of my target readers
and I tweak my product to appeal to them.

45% of all students
in K to 12
in America
are non-white.

And this percent will increase every year.

What does this mean?

If you’re marketing to kids,
you should understand the non-white demographic.
You should consider hiring employees
who represent this demographic.
You should consider designing products
to appeal more to this demographic.

I can guarantee that
the face of your target customer
is changing.
Is your product/marketing/sales force changing also?

By k | February 13, 2013 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Last week,
I talked about
how I pushed it
doubling my word count
to take advantage
of some opportunities.

This week,
I found out
that one of these opportunities
paid off.
I’m in negotiations for a deal
that will greatly increase
my likelihood of long-term success.

Yes, there was a luck component.
I sent the right manuscript
at the right time.

But I wouldn’t have had
that manuscript to send
if I hadn’t worked my a$$ off
to get it written in time.

Pushing it DOES pay off,
not every time
(I’ve pushed it before and not seen success)
but eventually it will make a difference
in your success.

By k | February 12, 2013 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Every Valentine’s Day,
men (usually) run out
and buy their loved ones
chocolates or roses.

I can’t remember
the last time I read a scene with
the romance hero giving his loved one
chocolates or roses.

Because roses and chocolates are meaningless
on their own.
There’s no magic,
no awww… moment.

The awww… moment is
in the card,
in the words,
in the story.

The common message in romance novels
is that the hero will help protect the heroine.
He will help keep her safe
as she follows her dreams.
He will stand by her side
when the bad times come.

I believe this is what
real life heroes do for their loved ones.
The big difference is
romance heroes SAY it.

WRITE something on that damn card.
Four words is all it takes.
“I support your dreams.”

BTW… romance heroes,
despite the tall, dark and handsome stereotype
and the covers which writers have no control over,
come in all shapes and sizes
- compact (short),
bald (such a BIG market that we don’t use a code word),
rotund (chubby),
teddy bear (extremely hairy and usually chubby),
distinguished (old), struggling (broke a$$),
lithe (scrawny),
you name it.

They are definitely not perfect
but almost all of them
support their loved one’s dreams.
THAT is what romance readers
fantasize about.

By k | February 11, 2013 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Whenever I hear
people talk about building a business
or writing a book
because they want to become rich,
I cringe.

As you and I know,
there are usually years of struggle,
little income and hard work,
before any business or career is successful.
If making money is the sole aim,
we’ll give up long before this happens.

Mukesh Ambani,

the richest man in the world,
“My father was a big believer
that any business
that has the sole purpose of making money
is not worthwhile.
Business must serve
a larger societal purposes.”

I write romance novels
because I want to make the world
a happier, more hopeful, more optimistic place.
The money is needed
to put a roof over my head
and is a great incentive/benchmark
but that is not why I chose romance writing.

Why did you start your business?
Why do you do what you do?

By k | February 10, 2013 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I’m motivated by deadlines.
As many people are.

When I add a project to my to-do list,
I also put a deadline beside it.
It may be a deadline I decided upon,
a self-inflicted deadline.
It doesn’t matter who gives me the deadline.
If I put a deadline on a project,
I’m much more likely to complete it.

Terry Starbucker outlines
what makes a great deadline.

“The business world has lots of deadlines,
and for the leader,
the biggest challenge is
how to choreograph them
in a way that maximizes productivity.

There are deadlines
that you don’t control,
of course,
but there are plenty more that you do.
And the timing and substance
of those controllable deadlines is critical.

If the deadline has an overly aggressive goal
and the timing is too “tight”,
you could create a failure and morale killer
that wasn’t necessary.

If it has a “slam dunk” goal
and is stretched out at a leisurely pace,
it can create a false sense of security
and can lead to complacency.

And much like the college professor
who had the threat of a failing grade
to motivate me to action,
leaders need to back their deadlines up
with clear consequences.”

Consider using deadlines as a motivator.

By k | February 9, 2013 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Organizations have rules.
These rules can be
written or unwritten.

There are some rules
that can be changed
and there are some core rules
that shouldn’t ever be changed.

A writing buddy wants
Romance Writers Of America
to change their rules
to accept all genres.
This rule shouldn’t be changed
because if it was,
the group would no longer be
Romance Writers Of America.

Another writing buddy
wants one of the eligibility requirements
to be changed from
40,000 words to 25,000 words.
This rule COULD be changed
without destroying the group.

Before joining an organization,
find out which rules can be changed
and which rules can’t be changed.
If you can’t live with the rules
that can’t be changed,
that organization is NOT the organization for you.