By k | April 30, 2013 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

One of the phrases
romance writers hear over and over
is “Write tight.”
What this means is
every sentence,
every word should count.
The color of the heroine’s dress
means something.
Her name means something.
The flowers on the dining room table
mean something.

Many casual readers,
including critics of romance,
won’t appreciate this tightness.
They’ll read the story
at the literal level.
For them, the heroine’s dress,
name, flower choice
is completely random.

But for the savvy reader,
the well-read romance reader,
this tightness separates
a story destined for the keeper shelf
from the quickly forgotten stories.
When that savvy reader
is an influential,
magic happens.

Tight isn’t the same as perfect.
Tight is about meaning,
about adding features
because they make the product better,
about making deliberate choices.

Tightness should be the goal
of every new product designer.
Fill your product with meaning.

By k | April 29, 2013 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

Recently one of my publishers
changed their submission requirements.
They eliminated the short story category.
Although I had 40 plus stories published in this length,
I received the same announcement
every other writer did.

When I let the publisher know
I would no longer be submitting monthly to them,
they were surprised.
They assumed I’d switch to writing novellas.

We might scoff
but isn’t this what many companies do?
We eliminate a product
and we assume the customer will choose
another product from our offering.
Many times, the customer simply leaves,
never to return.

The first step to reduce these losses
is to acknowledge,
if we can,
the customers who are using the eliminated product.
This publisher has less than one hundred writers.
It would have been easy to send customized emails
to the dozen or so writers
writing in this length.

When eliminating products,
don’t assume customers will choose another product
offered by your company.

By k | April 28, 2013 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

I often find
the most informative part
of a meeting happens
BEFORE the meeting starts.

It is when we hear tidbits
about the project
that might not be important enough
to make an agenda
but still make a difference
to what we do.

It is when we hear
what other people are
working on,
concerned about,
feel is important.

It is when we connect.
It is also when other people decide
whether or not
a meeting is worth attending.
They’ll drop into the meeting room.
If the person they want
to connect with is there,
they’ll stay.

If you wish for online meetings
to replicate face-to-face meetings,
consider opening the online rooms early.
Allow people to chat, to connect.

By k | April 27, 2013 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

I’m taking an online writing course.
Many of the attendees are lurkers.
They aren’t asking any questions
or presenting their work to be critiqued.

This is AWESOME for the rest of us.
The presenter is spending more time
on our questions,
on our issues.
She’s personalizing the course
for our needs.

A good presenter or professor
will do that.
She’ll tailor her workshop
to the audience.

How does she judge
what the audience is interested in?

By the questions asked.
If all of the questions
are about social media,
a marketing workshop
becomes a social media workshop.

If you want a course to address your needs,
ask questions related to those needs.
If you don’t have any questions to ask,
why are you taking this course?

By k | April 26, 2013 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

A buddy was offered a promotion
in a more prestigious department.
When he shared this with loved ones,
one family member responded with
“Sounds like your boss
is trying to get rid of you.”

That was a ridiculous comment
but this family member’s negativity
sucked much of the happiness
out of his announcement.

We all know completely negative people.
They’re not simply negative about certain ideas.
They’re negative about EVERYTHING.

The first thing I do
when faced with a negative person
is accept who they are.
Being negative works for them somehow.
That’s why they’re negative.
I’m never going to change them,
no matter what I do
or whatever proof I have to the contrary.

I then avoid these people.
Being negative works for them.
Being around negative people
doesn’t work for me.
When times are good,
I want to enjoy the good times.
When times are bad,
I don’t need nonconstructive
gloom and doom.

If I can’t avoid negative people
(because I’m related to them),
I keep my hopes and dreams
and anything else that is precious
to myself.
When asked about my business,
I’ll change the subject.
Sometimes I’ll make a game
out of out-negativing them
or I’ll count the number of times
they say won’t or never.

Completely negative people exist.
Develop your own coping methods
for dealing with them.

By k | April 25, 2013 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

I’ve worked collections
for other companies.
It isn’t a fun job.

Working collections for our own companies
is even more challenging.
We’re worried about
upsetting and losing
these late paying customers.

Erika Napoletano
talks about how she solved
her collections challenge.

“Some clients will
never (ever) pay on time.
Knowing this,
I was faced with two choices:
get rid of the slow paying ones
or make it worth my while
for them to pay in their own sweet time.

Given that I truly love working
with all my clients
(I’d already long ago purged
the ones who were more headache
and less awesome),
I established early pay discounts
and late payment penalties.
Now I’m offering a reward
for those slow-to-pay clients
that step to the plate and pay early.
I’m also getting paid for waiting
when they go beyond
our agreed upon payment terms.
Either way, I get paid.
And now I’m getting paid early
more often than not.”

If you have a collections challenge,
consider early payment incentives.

By k | April 24, 2013 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

When I find myself low on content
for Clientk,
it is usually because I’m not reading enough.
I’m not doing enough research.
I’m not staying current.

Angela Stringfellow
shares her favorite tactics
to build blog content

“What recent industry news
has caught your eye?
If you’ve read an article
or seen a headline
that made you stop in your tracks,
write a blog post about it.
Because you work in your industry
every day,
you immediately generate
thoughts and opinions on major news
—it’s human nature.
Share all those opinions
with your audience
through a blog post.”

I also repeat ideas here on Clientk,
ideas I love being reminded about

By k | April 23, 2013 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Writers are taught
that a character’s strength
taken to the extreme
becomes a weakness.
A brave heroine might become reckless,
acting first and thinking later.
A wise hero might become all talk and no action
or so ‘perfectly wise’ that he can’t relate
to flawed others.

This is true in leaders also.

As Bruna Martinuzzi

“It’s a known fact that our gifts,
taken to the extreme,
can be liabilities.

For example, one of your strengths might be
that you are prudent in your decision-making.
But what you view as caution,
taken to the extreme,
might result in fear of risk taking.
In the long run,
this can work against you.

You may pride yourself in being a visionary,
but taken to the extreme,
you may bounce off in too many directions,
frustrating others on the team
by switching gears too often.”

Know what your strengths and weaknesses are
but also know what the upsides and downsides
of these strengths and weaknesses are.

By k | April 22, 2013 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I love watching The Voice.
The blind auditions
behind The Voice
show us that passion can be heard
and felt.

Some of the so-called performers,
because it is a blind audition,
simply sing.
They stand there and sing.
They don’t perform.
They don’t engage the crowd.
They don’t entertain.
They do the bare minimal
and that’s it.

The true performers perform.
They move around the stage.
They give the audience a show.
They put everything they have
into the performance.

And the judges feel this.
They turn around for the true performers.

Your customers might not see
everything you do either
but they WILL feel your passion.
Give it your all.

By k | April 21, 2013 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

As I receive yet another rejection
on a manuscript,
I remind myself that
rejection is part of every success.

The pilot for Mad Men
was rejected by both HBO and Showtime.

As Mad Men’s creator
Matthew Weiner

“A lot of the business people
and creative people
that I’m fascinated by
all have something in common,
which is a lot of failure
–a lot of dramatic failure
–and a lot of rejection.

All of us face conflict in our life
and obviously no one just gives you anything
–that might create its own problems.
I don’t know about that.

But you get to a point
where you’re like,
okay, I can be bitter
and just stop
or I can keep going
because I really don’t have a choice.”

Don’t allow rejection
and failure to stop you.
Keep going.