By k | February 28, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

Every aspect of your company
can make a difference
in your marketing
and in your sales.

Kevin Knight,
Founder of
Knight Solutions,
hires veterans
to care for military cemeteries.

As he
shares

“We tell them that
we’re not just any old contractor.
We are a veteran-owned
and friendly company
that hires vets
to take care of your vet.
That gives them the satisfaction
that their government cares about them.”

What makes your company special?

By k | February 27, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I believe that
success in life
is about knowing
your strengths and your weaknesses.

Many entrepreneurs are great
at starting companies.
They aren’t great at managing these companies.
Some entrepreneurs sell their companies.
Other entrepreneurs,
including Marie Moody,
fire themselves as CEO.

Marie Moody,
Founder of
Stella & Chewy’s,
shares

“I had to learn everything as I went.
But I surrounded myself with good people
as soon as I could afford to.
I understood that I couldn’t do everything myself
and I had no problem delegating.
Having hundreds of people report to me
and managing performance reviews
and making hiring decisions
is not where I thrive.
I understand these are hugely important things
but they’re not where
I want to focus my energy.
I think more at a strategic level.”

Know your strengths and weaknesses
and have the balls
to fire yourself if you can’t do the job.

By k | February 26, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

There is a lot of conflicting advice
about naming a new business.
Some experts say to keep the name general.
That’s great long term advice
but businesses have to survive the short term
and often the best name to jump start sales
is a specific name,
a name that doesn’t need explaining.

As Allison O’Kelly,
Founder of
Mom Corps,
shares

“Having ‘Mom’ in our name
is both good and bad.
The key is that people
immediately understand
the concept of what we do.
The name resonates,
which is really important.
Plus, from a PR standpoint,
it’s catchy
and people like to write about us.”

A great business name
can jump start a company.
Choose your name carefully.

By k | February 25, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Millennials are a rising consumer force
and a big opportunity
for new businesses.

What are some of the things
they’re looking for?

Market Research Blog
shares

“They want what they want,
when they want it, and
they expect more for less.
They are adventurous and
are less likely to fall into
the lull over strict brand loyalty,
which was the hallmark of Baby Boomers.
In essence, the Millennial consumer profile
is built on convenience,
flexible/non-existent brand loyalty,
and price sensitivity.”

This lack of brand loyalty
might mean trouble for the established companies
but it is an opportunity
for new businesses.

Consider the millennials
as a target market.

By k | February 24, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I had a release failure last week.
I got mad and then sad.
Now, I’m in the post-launch evaluation stage.
I’m looking at everything that went right
(because something usually goes right
with failures also)
and everything that went wrong.

This stage is painful
but necessary for success.

As Erika Napoletano
shares

“If insanity means
doing the same task repeatedly
hoping to get a different result,
then isn’t the path to sanity
figuring out what worked
and what you could do differently?

Because something has to change
if you want any shot at all
at making your plan work.”

Take time to evaluate your failures
to increase your odds of success.

By k | February 23, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

One of the most important steps
in building a team
is deciding on rewards.

As Seth Godin
shares

“If you’re not happy
with how institutions or people act,
take a look at what they get rewarded for.

Until we change the rewards,
we’re not going to change the behavior,
because people always have a reason.
Even if the reason isn’t our reason.”

Even if your partners aren’t interested
in the actual reward,
they place an increased value
on whatever action you reward.

The street team for one of my pen names
knows that whenever we hit the top 100 lists
at Amazon,
we have a big party.
They work their a$$es off
to earn that big party.

Rewards matter.
Ensure you reward the behavior you want.

By k | February 22, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

My stories contain humor.
Humor is a hard sell in romance
because everyone finds different things humorous.
Sad is an easy sell.
Almost everyone finds the same things sad.

But when humor works,
it REALLY works,
and that’s what
a new writer, company, brand
needs.
We need to stand out
among the hundreds or thousands
of other offerings.
That means taking risks.

Carmine Gallo
shares

“Humor involves some risk
and if you are not careful,
it could go terribly wrong,
which is why
most business presentations
are awfully dry and boring.

It takes courage to be vulnerable,
to poke some good-natured
fun at yourself and your topic.

The key is to be authentic.
Don’t try to be someone you’re not.”

Yes, humor can fail.
But dry and boring,
in today’s environment,
is an automatic fail.

Balls to the wall, baby.

By k | February 21, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

Under one of my pen names,
I have both a personal profile
and a page
on Facebook.
Personal profiles cap at 5,000 friends
so I’ve very particular about whom I friend.
The page is unlimited
so I’m not fussy about who likes me.

What I’ve noticed
is when I talk about a book release,
I have much more clicks
on the post on my personal profile
than the post on my page.
I might have more likes on my page
than I have friends
but the people liking my page
aren’t buying my books.

It isn’t about the number of likes
or friends or followers.
It is about the quality.

As Lana Khavinson,
group product marketing manager
at LinkedIn
shares
(about small businesses)

“I’ve seen a definite shift
from just looking at sheer volume
to more, ‘Am I reaching
that exact audience I want to target?’
and building a community
with the right audience.

They can use metrics
to see what type of followers
they’re pulling in,
how often they’re clicking
and whether they’re visiting the company profile,
and build those relationships
that will drive purchases at the end.”

Simply collecting random followers
is unlikely to increase sales.
The quality of the followers matter.

By k | February 20, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

When I told people
that I was going to
quit my cushy corporate job
and become a romance writer,
the reaction was… well…
it wasn’t encouraging.

If I hadn’t thought it through,
if I hadn’t been determined to do it,
the reactions likely would have stopped me.

If you’re doing anything truly different,
you’ll likely face resistance.
Sometimes it is better
not to say anything
until the gutsy deed is done.

Dave Barrett,
Founder of Expensify,
shares

“Actually, that is
my biggest piece of advice:
Don’t tell anyone what you are doing.

I wasn’t afraid that
someone was going to steal my idea;
I didn’t tell anyone
because when you do tell people,
the experience is completely demoralizing.
In the years leading up to this,
I would go to friends or family
and tell them an idea I had for a company
and, with the best intentions,
they would say things like,
“Well, have you thought about this?
And this?”

Talking to people about an idea
made me spend my days
thinking about why I was going to fail.
With Expensify, I didn’t tell anyone
but my wife until we launched.
I’d been working on it
for about 18 months at that point.”

Think before you tell people
about your plans.

By k | February 19, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

My story ‘failed’ yesterday.
The reviews were great.
The sales were not.

The biggest concern is that the publisher
(a big New York publisher)
will drop my low selling a$$.
That will likely happen.
There’s little tolerance in many big companies
for failures.

Decades ago,
that would have been a huge blow
to my career.

Now, I have choices.
If I’m dropped by the publisher,
I could self publish these already edited stories tomorrow.
I could sell to a smaller publisher.
These options could be BETTER for my career.

And that’s why
the price of failure has never been lower.
I can fail and fail and fail
until I finally succeed.

You can also.
Don’t be afraid of failure.