By k | March 14, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Everyone is an expert.
They’re usually not true experts
but they spout off opinions
like they are.

This can make mentoring
challenging.

I’ll give newer writers advice
and then I’ll hear things like…
‘My Great Uncle Bob almost wrote a book once
and he says you’re wrong.
You should do it this way.’

My protégés will give
the advice from
these armchair experts
equal weighting to my advice.

So what I do now
is I tell stories about my own situation.
‘I did it this way
and this was the result.’

When my protégé brings up
Great Uncle Bob’s advice,
I ask her what his specific results were.

Great Uncle Bob usually has no results
because Great Uncle Bob
hasn’t done shit.
He has no real life experience.

After a couple of pushbacks
like this,
my protégés learn
not to mention Great Uncle Bob’s advice
unless he has taken action
to back it up.

Combat armchair experts
with real life experience.

By k | March 13, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

When I was in new product development
at a major beverage company,
one of the questions we would ask
about each new product
was
what brand does it fall under
(if any)?

Each brand made a promise
to customers.
One brand might have
‘fun’ fruit-based drinks.
Another brand might have
more ’serious’ fruit-based drinks.

Ensuring the new product
was in the right brand
was key,
not merely for the new product’s success,
but for the success
of the existing products
in the brand.
Adding a ‘wrong’ product
could destroy the brand.

Bella Andre,
New York Times Bestselling Author,
shares

“Fulfilling the promise
to your reader.

This is
the #1 most important thing
I do,
all day every day,
as a writer
–and also the “brand manager”
of my “Bella Andre” brand.

I am very clear about
what my promise is to my readers
(emotional contemporary romances
with deep family bonds at the heart
–even my Maverick Billionaires
while not technically related by blood
are a close-knit family),
and after 50+ books,
when I’m writing/editing
I know when the promise is there
and when it isn’t
and needs to be rewritten.”

If your possible new product
doesn’t fulfill your existing brand’s promise,
consider launching it under another brand
or not at all.

By k | March 12, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

I once worked for
a major beverage company.
It had one main competitor.

Customers would switch
back and forth
between these two companies.

The beverage company
would lose a customer.
The competitor
would gain the customer.
Four or five years later,
the opposite would happen.

Losing that customer
gracefully
ensured the company
gained that customer
in the future.

Mike Michalowicz
shares

“Let your client know
that they’re always welcome
to bring their business back to you,
no questions asked.

Since nobody can predict the future,
you may want to make sure
your customers know
you’ll happily take them back.”

Keep the door open
for your former customer.

By k | March 11, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

We all know that
making a difference
in the long term
is a constant effort,
the ‘drip.’

But many of us,
myself included,
think one time exposure
is enough to make a substantial difference
in the short run.

It often isn’t.
What is needed
is a combination of pushes.

Seth Godin
shares

“In the short run,
drip by drip rarely puts people on alert.
It’s the thunderclap,
the coordinated,
accelerating work of many people,
that causes those in power
to sit up and take notice.
Do it a few times in a row,
or fifty, or a hundred,
each with more impact,
and you can successfully intervene.”

Once is not enough.

By k | March 10, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

When one of my stories
doesn’t work,
my editor will tell me
my readers would be disappointed
with it.

This doesn’t say
the story is bad.
It simply says
I haven’t met the expectation
I’ve set for my readers.
I haven’t met my own standard.

Seth Godin
shares

“One of the nicest things
a generous critic can tell you
is that a particularly off-key email
or comment
doesn’t sound like you.

It’s generous
because that’s precisely
the sort of feedback
we can use to improve our work.

And it’s nice
because it means that
not only do you sound like something,
you sound like something
worthy of sticking with.”

Don’t tell people their work is bad.
Tell them it doesn’t represent
the work they usually do.

By k | March 9, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I always advise business builders
to love the business they’re building,
to enjoy being part of that industry.

Because they will be spending
quite a bit of time
and investing a lot of hard work
into that business.

I work EVERY day of the week.
I write from Monday to Friday
but Saturday and Sunday
are big marketing days.

Bryan Baeumler,
handyman
and TV personality,
shares*

“I grew up
watching my dad,
and knew early on
that to put food on the table
and keep the lights on,
you had to put
blood, sweat, and tears
into it.”

Expect to work hard
while building your business.

*March/April 2017
The Costco Connection

By k | March 8, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

At the end of the year,
a big romance novel bookseller
went out of business.
I had a book releasing
in February.
Readers had pre-ordered it
but the bookseller didn’t give them
a refund.

If I had published that book
at a big New York publisher
and that reader had contacted the publisher,
the publisher would have told her
there was nothing they could do.
Their issue was with the bookseller.

But I self-published that book.
Readers contacted me.
Normally, I don’t give readers
free copies of books either.
But this wasn’t a normal situation.
I gave them a copy of the book
and kept those readers as customers.

Robert M. Galford
and
Cary Greene,
share*

“When small businesses
start to grow,
owners often find
they need to establish
formal rules and procedures
so things will be done correctly
even if they’re unable
to supervise in person.

That’s smart policy.

But those rules invite sabotage
- instantly -
when they prevent
employees’ personal judgment
from overriding processes that,
for whatever reason,
are not working in the moment.”

Consider giving your employees
permission
in some cases to take short cuts,
to bend the rules
to make the customer happy.

*March/April 2017
The Costco Connection

By k | March 7, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

One wrong word
can ruin a 100,000 word book.
It can destroy the experience
for the reader.

One wrong word
can also change
how your team acts.

Dave Wilk,
Founder of
Four Day Weekend,
suggests
saying “Yes, and”,
rather than
“Yes, but.”

He
shares*

“Saying “yes, and”
to something
does not always imply agreement.

It is accepting the reality
of a situation or information,
and building upon it.

Be aware of
how you acknowledge
the other person’s ideas.

Saying “yes, but”
is really just saying “no”
while wasting time
and creating confusion.
Word choice matters.”

Be aware of which words
you use.

*March/April 2017
The Costco Connection

By k | March 6, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Everyone is born with disadvantages.
I have a terrible memory.
If you offered me one million dollars
to tell you what 7 X 8 was,
unassisted,
I couldn’t do it.

But, as fiction writers know,
every disadvantage is also an advantage.
Not having a great memory
forced me,
as a young age,
to develop systems.
That talent made me very successful.

Look for the positives.
They are usually there.

Actress Lisa Berry,
in the March/April
Cineplex Magazine,
shares

“I feel like
if I put my best foot forward
and love the hand
that I was dealt
rather than
be upset at the hand
that I got,
appreciate
rather than
expect,
then everything falls into place
in a wonderful way.”

Appreciate what advantages you have
and you DO have quite a few advantages.

By k | March 5, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Things don’t always
go as planned.
Disasters happen
while we’re building our businesses.
These incidents
have to be communicated.

Bruna Martinuzzi,
Founder of
Clarion Enterprises Ltd.,
shares

“If you are delivering bad news
to an executive audience,
don’t waste time in preambles.

When an audience hears bad news
in midstream,
it may have a negative emotional effect.
The audience may feel that
they have been set up,
and no one likes to be
caught by surprise.

Get to the point quickly.
Follow up with
a recommended solution.”

Odds are
people know
about the disaster.

Address it quickly.