By k | December 31, 2013 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Tonight, many of us
will be attending
New Year parties.

You could indulge
in the usual talk
about the weather, jobs,
celebrities
or you could ask guests
about their New Year resolutions
and help them
achieve their dreams.

There has been a lot of debate
about whether or not
talking about goals
helps us to meet them.

One thing that is not debatable
is the value
of SETTING goals.

When you ask someone
about their goals
(in this case, resolutions),
you’re suggesting they should HAVE goals.
The majority of people
DON’T have goals.

Goalmaker shares

“Harvard Business School researchers
have taken a vital interest in
what makes the difference
in success or failure
for people of similar backgrounds
and educational standards.
Their studies find that
3% of people are successful,
30% are moderately successful
and 67% just exist.
The significant difference
for the 3% who are successful is
that they have written down, specific goals.
The 30% who are moderately successful
have a general idea of where they are going
but don’t have any goals formalised.
The rest are happy
to watch the world go by.”

Change the world tonight
and ask someone about her resolutions.

By k | December 30, 2013 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

My primary goal
as a writer
is to make my reader (prospect)
care about my story (product).
My first page,
first paragraph,
first sentence
is designed to create a connection
between the reader and the story.

Why?
Because sales don’t occur
unless there’s a connection.

Telling a story about the product
is one of the easiest ways
for business owners
to create this connection.
Stephanie Walden
gives an example.

“Zady is a new ecommerce venture
that specializes in ethically made goods
(apparel, accessories and home products)
with transparent supply chains.
Each product
(like this red crepe de chine blouse
from Steven Alan)
tells a story about the maker,
often taking shoppers directly
into a designer’s studio.
Including these backstories
adds a personal touch
and allows customers to feel
a sense of connection
to the product or brand
—factors that promote sales.”

Create a connection
with your prospects.

By k | December 29, 2013 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Goals should ideally be
S.M.A.R.T.
(specific, measurable, attainable,
realistic, and timely).

In previous years,
we’ve talked about
the S
and
the M.

Today, we’ll talk about
the A - attainable.

It makes little sense
to list a goal
if it is impossible to attain.

Some goals are clearly unattainable.
You’re unlikely to ever
be able to fly unassisted
or turn into a dinosaur.

Other goals you may think
are unattainable now
might be attainable tomorrow.
I would have thought
five years ago
that New York publishers
would have never published erotic romance.
Then 50 Shade of Grey happened.

YOUR capabilities can also change.

As Top Achievement shares

“You can attain most any goal you set
when you plan your steps wisely
and establish a time frame
that allows you to carry out
those steps.
Goals that may have seemed
far away and out of reach
eventually move closer
and become attainable,
not because your goals shrink,
but because you grow
and expand to match them.”

I normally stick to goals
that I feel are attainable
during a certain time frame
(in this case, it would be a year).

Make your goals attainable.

By k | December 28, 2013 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Yes, we should be setting
goals for our businesses
for 2014
but we should also be setting
personal goals,
goals to make us
more successful entrepreneurs.

I always have a continuous learning goal.
I plan to take courses
or read business books
or learn new skills.

I usually have a delegation goal also.
Every year, my business
becomes more successful.
Every year, in order to grow,
I have to delegate more non-core tasks.
I don’t want to be the bottleneck
for my own success.

Jordan Fried
has five other great resolutions
for entrepreneurs
.

My favorite is to stop complaining.
As he shares

“All too often I hear
wannabe entrepreneurs
complain about something.
“If only I had a cofounder who could write code,
then I’d be successful” or
“if only we had some more capital,
then we could make millions.”

Entrepreneurs are problem solvers
– not complainers.
If you can’t write code
either learn to write code,
pay a developer,
or find another creative solution.
As an entrepreneur
your job is to find solutions.”

Remember to set personal goals
for yourself
as a business builder.

By k | December 27, 2013 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

I’m often asked
what is the right way
to pitch a story to an editor.

It depends upon the editor.

My editor at the big New York publisher
is happy with a twitter-length pitch.
Give her one great line and she’ll buy.

One of my other editors
wants to see a 2 page synopsis (summary)
of the story
and a couple of sample pages.

Another editor
won’t contract without reading
the first three chapters
and an 8 page synopsis.

Pitching an 8 page synopsis
to the twitter length pitch editor
greatly reduces a writer’s odds of success.

When you’re pitching to
venture capitalists, resellers,
distributors, and others,
you’re facing the same situation.

Do your research
and find out HOW they want
to be pitched.

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

Today is boxing day
in the UK and Canada.

I think of this day
as the day
to ‘box up’ the current year
and to look toward the next year
(2014).

I revisit my key lessons for the year
- what worked well,
what didn’t work well,
my successes,
my mistakes.

Did I meet my goals?
If yes, which tactics contributed
to this success
and which tactics didn’t?
If no, why?
Did I have the wrong goals?
Did I lack knowledge?
What could I have done
to ensure these goals were met?

This year end review
helps me
when I put together
the goals and the plans for next year.

Take time to review the year.

By k | December 25, 2013 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Yes, entrepreneurs have unlimited work
we could be doing
but every once in a while,
we need to recharge.

Today,
many of our family members
and our friends
have the day off.

If you can
(and I realize
that not everyone can),
put away the work,
the laptop,
the phone,
and
consider spending
some undivided time
with your loved ones.

Believe in them
as they believe in you.

By k | December 24, 2013 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

My editor with the big New York publisher
only accepts story pitches
via Twitter.
She feels if I can’t sum up my story
in 140 characters,
she won’t be able
to pitch it to her marketing and sales teams.

Chris Guillebeau
asked business owners
to give him their mission statements
in one tweet - 140 characters.

Why?

“You want to generate
surprise and delight
throughout your business,
beginning with that first impression:
“What do you do, exactly?”
It’s not just about an elevator pitch;
it’s about clearly knowing
what you do
and how it helps people.

When you have
a clear and concise answer,
it’s much easier
to move to the next step:
“Can I sign you up?””

Describe your business
using 140 characters.

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

I was struggling with
a huge writing project proposal.
It involved multiple books,
multiple story lines,
numerous characters and settings.
I tried plotting it using Word.
I was struggling.
I couldn’t see it.
Then I laid it out using Excel
and suddenly it was easy.

Years ago,
the business development team
was sitting in a boardroom,
brainstorming ideas
for a new juice-based beverage.
The ideas weren’t flowing.
So we moved the brainstorming meeting
to the lunchroom.
Within a half an hour,
we couldn’t write fast enough
to capture the ideas.

When I’m stuck with a story,
I’ll change from keyboard to pen
and then vary the pen colors
until the words start to flow again.

If you’re stuck for solutions,
change your tools, location,
color, methods.
It sounds simple
but it often works.

By k | December 22, 2013 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

I can’t compete on price
with my romance novels.
There are writers
who are willing to give
their stories away.

So I don’t even try.
Yes, my stories are reasonably priced
but the price is not what I market.
I market my unique stories.

As Rieva Lesonsky
shares

“You can’t compete
with Walmart
on low, low prices,
so don’t even try.
Instead, go the opposite direction
of mass-produced
and focus on hard-to-find items.
Promoting products
customers can’t find anywhere else
is an easy way
to make your small store stand out.
Look for unique items
such as products made by local artisans
or manufacturers
or wares that tie into
your neighborhood’s history.
Not everything in your shop
has to fit this bill
—but be sure some key pieces do,
and highlight them
in your store windows,
displays and marketing outreach.”

Make your product
or customer experience
or story
unique.