By k | April 10, 2015 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Large companies might have
the advantage of scale
but smaller companies have
advantages also.

Small companies can be nimble,
responding to changes
in customer tastes faster.
They can have the ability
to customize orders,
giving customers individual attention.

Jon Haber,
owner of Alto Music,
shares

“We can do things
like special orders and custom work
that a larger company wouldn’t take on.
We stay close to our customers
to get a feel for what’s happening.”
“We keep our ear
to the ground more
and can turn on a dime
when we need to.
We can jump right on it.”

I say ‘can’
because this is a choice.
Some small company choose
not to be nimble,
choose not to customize orders.

Every company size
has advantages.
Are you using your advantages?

By k | April 8, 2015 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I write for a large publisher.
This publisher
is in the middle of fierce negotiations
with their largest bookseller.
The bookseller is threatening
to delist all of the publisher’s books.

Press releases are being zinged
back and forth
between the two camps.

We, writers, have to answer questions
from readers,
from the source
of the publisher’s revenues.
Are we sent copies
of these press releases?
No.
We have to scour the internet
for copies
and
often our readers see them first.
When they approach us
and we don’t even know the news,
it does NOT reassure them.

The publisher has our emails.
How difficult would it be
to copy us on the press releases?

Extend your valued partners,
especially those working with your customers,
the courtesy
of providing them with press releases
at the same time
or preferably before
the press receives them.

Give them the information
to be your ambassadors.

By k | April 7, 2015 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Terry Starbucker
recently posted
the 5 best pieces
of leadership advice
he’s ever received.

One was
“Take the word
“can’t” out of your vocabulary,
it’s useless.”

Two of my mentors
gave me the same advice.

The first mentor
was my mom.
When I told her
I couldn’t complete one of my chores
because I was busy
with schoolwork,
she corrected me.
She said I could complete my chores
but I CHOSE to complete
the schoolwork instead.

The second mentor
was the V-P
of a huge beverage company.
When we’d tell him
‘this can’t be done’,
he’d reply
that everything could be done.
The real question was…
SHOULD it be done?
Do the results
warrant the resources?

Make a deliberate effort
to eliminate the word
‘can’t’ from your mental dictionary.

By k | April 6, 2015 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

The product you’re developing
is different.
(I know this
because if it was the same,
there would be no reason
to launch it.)

When it releases,
some people in your industry
won’t be happy.
They might call you
a trouble maker.

That’s okay.
No, better than okay.
That’s what you want.

As Angelina Jolie
shares

“I was told I was different.
And I felt out of place:
too loud, too full of fire,
never good at sitting still,
never good at fitting in.
When someone tells you
that you are different,
smile and hold your head up
and be proud.
Cause a little trouble.
It’s good for you.”

The same has been done.
Be a trouble maker.
Be different.

By k | April 5, 2015 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

The lowest price for any product/service
is zero
and there will always be someone
willing to offer it for free,
on the hopes she will get more business,
paying business.

If we can’t compete on price,
some of us
will try to load our product
with more features,
hoping to appeal
to EVERYONE.

That’s impossible.

Today, I read the marketing copy
for a 600 page romance novel
with a vampire/werewolf time traveling Duke
as the hero
(offered for free, of course).
A vampire hero is cold and aloof,
unemotional.
A werewolf hero is wild and savage,
driven on instinct.
Combining these attributes
into one product
almost guarantees
both groups of prospective customers
are unhappy.

More isn’t always better.
Sometimes it is merely more.
And your product will never
have EVERYTHING.

By k | April 4, 2015 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Does being creative
mean creating something completely new?

No.

If you look at a best selling novel
like
Fifty Shades of Grey,
you’ll see that many of the components
appear in other novels
written by different writers.
Writers were writing about BDSM.
Different writers were writing about billionaires.
Still other writers were writing
about newly graduated virgin heroines.
What Fifty Shades Of Grey did
was put these components together.
The usual became unexpected.

Tim Sanders
shares

“If you are creative at work,
you produce the unexpected,
the new…
but it solves the problem
and doesn’t produce complications.
Notice I didn’t say that
creativity required
completely original ideas
as there is no such thing.
It’s all about approaches
that are unexpected.”

Don’t worry about being unique.
Try to be unexpected.

By k | April 1, 2015 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I recently took a voyage
on Cuba Cruise.
Cuba Cruise has an unique niche.
It is one of the only cruise lines
doing a full circle of Cuba.

That is its sole appeal.
In all other ways,
Cuba Cruise can’t compete
with other cruise lines.
(One small example:
Their toilets can’t handle
toilet paper.
Passengers have to place it
in a waste basket.)

The issue is,
of course,
that the Cuban travel market
is opening up.
Cuba Cruise has a year
or less
to impress passengers,
to make the most
of their niche domination.

Unfortunately,
I saw no evidence
that they were aware
of this window of opportunity.

Don’t be as complacent.
Make the most
of your window of niche domination.

By k | March 31, 2015 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

In this go, go, go world,
we all want things
to happen instantly.
We want instant replies,
instant action.

That’s great
when you’re paying for a task.
When you’re asking a favor,
time is required.

A loved one wants to use
our house as a hotel.
(i.e. This isn’t a visit.
He merely needs a place to sleep.)
He knew we were out of communication
for a week.
Even though his trip
is over a month away,
he booked his flights
while we were out of communication,
assuming we’d be home during his stay
and able to pick him up at the airport.

Another loved one
wants me to complete her tax returns.
While we were away,
she called three or four times a day,
leaving messages,
asking me to pick up her information.
She has a month to file the returns.

Neither of these instances
makes me super enthused
to grant the favors.

Ask for favors
well in advance of deadlines.
Then be patient
if the favor granter
has deadlines of her own.

If you don’t have the time
to wait,
spend the dollars
and pay for the services.

By k | March 30, 2015 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

The first romance story
that many new writers write
is a contemporary,
a story set in today’s world
with human characters.
Writing a half decent
contemporary romance
is easier
than writing in another subgenre
because there’s no massive
world building required.
(Writing a great story in ANY setting
is ALWAYS difficult.)

Today,
with the publishing barriers to entry lowered,
there are thousands of contemporary romances published
every week.
Competition is fierce.
Profit margins are low.

However, in the subgenres requiring world building
(historical, paranormal, science fiction romance),
there are fewer releases.
Why?
Because researching or inventing everything
from the utensils the characters eat with
to the scent in the air around them
is damn difficult.
This is where many
of the professional romance writers
have ventured.
This is where the profit remains.

As Seth Godin
shares

“The word economy
comes from the Greek and the French,
and is based on the concept of scarcity.
The only things that are scarce
in the world of connection
and services
and the net
are the things that are difficult,
and the only things
that are valuable are
the things that are scarce.
When we intentionally seek out
the difficult tasks,
we’re much more likely
to actually create value.”

Seek out the difficult tasks.

I like to partner with successful people.
I learn from them.
They inspire me to achieve more.
They understand
what I’m trying to achieve.

How do you spot a successful person?

Barbara Corcoran
Co-Founder
of Barbara Corcoran Venture Partners,
shares

“I’ve never met a successful person
who had low energy.
All successful people move
to a certain beat, and
that beat moves forward.
Energized people tend to work faster
and get the job done,
while low energy people
may quietly drain your team
and feed off the bright light
of the energized worker.
I only hire high-energy people.”

Surround yourself
with high energy people.