By k | December 21, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

I’m selfish.
Most people are
the same way.

I might do things
that benefit others,
like giving to charity,
but that’s
because giving to charity
makes me feel good.

When I get into
any business relationship,
any partnership,
any selling situation,
the first thing
I try to figure out
is why the other person
would be interested
in that relationship/product/service.
What does that person
personally want?

She might be buying
for her company,
might want the best product
at the cheapest price
or the best service
or the most innovative product,
but
she has a personal agenda also.

Maybe she wants to look
like a cut throat negotiator.
Maybe she wants to land
a huge deal
to impress her boss.
Maybe she wants to delegate
her workload
so she can focus
on a side project.

Once I figure out
what she personally wants,
I can predict her actions.
I can better frame
my offer to make her happy.
I know what she’ll do.

Figure out
what the other person
personally wants.

By k | December 20, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

If small business can’t compete
price-wise
on customized products,
what can we compete on?

Caring about our customers.

Big business can give customers
the illusion of caring for them
by collecting and using
their personal preferences
but we can give them
the real deal.

I use my personal profile
on Facebook
much more than
my business page.
I friend my best customers
(readers).
I comment on their posts.
I tell them I care about them
(because I truly do).
I ask them how they’re doing
outside of a business transaction.

Big companies can’t do this.

I still have to give my customers
a great product at a reasonable price
but our personal relationship
is a factor in their buying relationship.

Can this scale?
For me,
having 5,000 core readers,
readers who consider me a friend,
readers who will promote for me,
provides a base
to reach 1,000’s more readers.

Caring about your customers
is something only you can do.

By k | December 19, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

In the past,
small business could compete
price-wise
with larger companies,
on customized products.

It was a niche
we could easily own.

That’s not true anymore.
With computers and robots,
customization is becoming
less and less expensive
to do on a huge scale.

Seth Godin
shares

“The future clearly belongs
to these mass customization
opportunities,
situations where
there is little cost
associated with stop and start,
little risk of
not meeting expectations,
where a robot and software
are happily shifting gears
all day long.”

If you rely on customization
to give you a competitive advantage,
you might wish to
investigate other ways
to be different.

By k | December 18, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

I was shopping around
online
for a specific item
as a gift for a loved one.

The vendor with the lowest cost
offered free shipping
for orders over $50.

The item was $13.
I did all of my shopping
for this particular person,
an order totaling over $150,
at this one vendor
simply to get that free shipping.

I would have happily paid
$1 more per extra item
simply to get that free shipping.
Yep, it doesn’t make financial sense
but I’m not the only person
who thinks this way.

Consider offering
free shipping
(within a certain range).

By k | December 17, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

In 2017,
I’m launching a spin off brand
(a new series)
of an already popular brand
(an established series).

A brand extension
usually stands
for the same thing
as the original brand.
A spin off
stands for something different
while still appealing
to the original brand’s core customers.

It is important
that prospects know
it is different
but not too different.

Rogue One is a spin off
of the successful Star Wars franchise.
How did they ensure
movie goers knew it was a spin off?

Ricky Strauss,
President of Marketing
for The Walt Disney Studios,
shares

“By calling it a Star Wars “story”
as opposed to an “episode.”

The movie builds on
the Star Wars legacy
and mythology
but has a different feel
and complexion.

In the marketing materials,
there are no lightsabers,
there are no droids
and there is a brand-new group
of actors.

When you look at
the outdoor campaign,
the only thing you can see
that is similar are Stormtroopers
— but like you’ve never seen them before,
standing on a beach.

It’s very clear that
Rogue One isn’t one of
the episodic Star Wars films.”

If the brand is a spin off,
signal that clearly.

By k | December 16, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Recently,
The Hollywood Reporter
hosted a roundtable
on diversity in animation.

The participants
were seven white guys.

I’ve worked for many large companies.
Almost all of them
are struggling with diversity.
They might have programs
in place
but they can’t remove
the bias built into their businesses.
They can’t change
how the people in charge
truly think.

I got tired of that bias
and left.
I was damn good
at what I did.
Why would I fight
the neverending fight
to receive recognition for those skills,
that effort sucking up
my time and energy,
when I had the option
of working for myself?

The business you’re building
right now
doesn’t have this bias.
You have the ability
to create a business
that attracts
skilled people,
the BEST people
from all backgrounds.

Right now,
skill is a precious commodity.
In the future,
it will become even more valuable.

Create a business
that has the best opportunity
to find and keep skilled employees.

By k | December 15, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Being a perverse person,
I usually take the opposite stance
of everyone else
on a project.

If a business builder is told
her idea is fabulous,
I will share
why she should be cautious.

If a business builder is told
her idea sucks,
I’ll point out
why she should be excited
about it.

During 2016
I haven’t once played the pessimist.
That role has been
MORE than filled by others.
I’ve always been the cheerleader.

What does the cheerleader do?

Seth Godin
shares

“This is the person
who will find ten reasons
why you should try something.

The one
who will embrace
the possibility of better.

The colleague to turn to
when a reality check is necessary,
because the reality is,
it might work.”

The role of hope killer
has been sufficiently filled.
There are plenty of folks
supplying the often paralyzing
gloom and doom.

We need more energizing hope
in the business world right now,
some positive vibes,
some enthusiasm.

Be the cheerleader.

By k | December 14, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

I send out my
romance writing newsletter
once a month.
I started sending it out
only on release days.
There would be one call-to-action
- buy the new release.

If I didn’t have a release
for a couple of months,
however,
I’d receive emails
from concerned readers
who thought they’d somehow unsubscribed.

After changing to
once a month newsletters,
my readers are, ironically, happier.

I still, however, have
one call-to-action
per newsletter.

As Richard Israel
shares

“One clear call-to-action
focuses your audience
and can help drive more traffic
to the landing page
you care about most.”

Have one call-to-action
per newsletter.

By k | December 13, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

A customer sends you an email,
telling you how wonderful
you are.
You’re tempted
to take a screenshot of that email
and post it on Facebook.
Everyone else is doing it.
It must be okay, right?

a) You don’t know
that everyone else is doing it.
They could have asked
permission first.

and

b) No. It isn’t okay.
It is telling the customer
that you don’t care about confidentiality
or about her/him.

But-but-but I blanked out the name.

No.
Just no.
The customer will be able
to recognize her own email.

If you post private correspondence
(i.e. anything not posted
where anyone can read it),
good, bad or neutral,
on social media,
just assume that
you’ll never hear from that person again.

Also assume
that you’ll never hear
from MANY people again
because we know you’ve posted
someone else’s private correspondence.

If you receive permission,
say exactly that
–XXX gave me permission
to post this.

Private correspondence
should remain private.
Be a person/business
others can trust.

By k | December 12, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

When I was young,
a mentor told me
to never say,
“I can’t do this.”
but instead to ask,
“SHOULD I do this?”
and
“HOW can I do this?”

This reframing
changed my life.
Anything is possible.
We merely have to figure out
how to make it possible.

Maia Haag,
co-founder of
I See Me! personalized books,
shares

“When young women see
other women
starting and running companies,
they realize that
this is not just a man’s game.

That realization shifts
the conversation from
‘Can I do it?’
to
‘How should I do it?’”

You can do anything.
Take ‘can’t’ out of your vocabulary.