By k | September 16, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I don’t use my tablet
without my keyboard very often.

Why?

Because it is rare
that I’m simply reading
or watching something.
When I read/watch,
I usually comment on
what I’m reading/watching.
When I read a business eBook,
I’m making notes for clientk.
When I read a romance novel,
I’m making notes about the story,
phrases, word choice, etc.

Seth Godin shares

“When the masses only connect to the net
without a keyboard,
who will be left to change the world?

It is possible but unlikely
that someone will write a great novel
on a tablet.

You can’t create the spreadsheet
that changes an industry
on a smart phone.

And professional programmers don’t sit down
to do their programming
with a swipe.”

If you want to change the world,
use tools
that enable you to do this.

By k | September 15, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

A writer I know employs practices
that many believe are ethically challenged.
She insists they aren’t,
stating that she’s not breaking any laws.

These tactics WORK
…for her.
She has made all of the best selling lists utilizing them.

A buddy decided to copy these tactics.
She believes these tactics are ethically challenged
but she forced herself to use them.

Her attempt failed.

Why?
Because she didn’t believe in
what she was doing.
She was an honest person
using dishonest tactics.
It felt wrong
and
that guilt didn’t allow her
to put all of her energy
behind the tactics.
Readers also didn’t feel it was authentic.

It is very difficult
to find success
with tactics or a product
you don’t believe in.

If you believe tactics are unethical,
don’t employ them.

By k | September 12, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I received an email
from a budding young entrepreneur.
He expressed understandable frustration
over the fact
that I never give absolute steps.

Yesterday,
I didn’t tell you
that you MUST call your customers
friends or buddies or family members.
I suggested that you think about it
and make your own decisions.

Why?

Because…
I don’t know what your goals are.
I don’t know what your vision
of your company is.
I don’t know your industry.
I don’t know your customers.
Hell, I don’t know enough about you
to make ANY of your key decisions.

There are entrepreneurs
who have been successful
(whatever their definition of success is)
doing what I suggest
and there are entrepreneurs
who have been successful
doing the exact opposite of what I suggest.

YOU have to decide.

By k | September 10, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I recently sailed on the Carnival Freedom.
It was a pleasant voyage
except for embarkation and disembarkation.
That was a hassle.
We stood in frustratingly long lines.

Carnival employees said there was nothing
they could do about the lines.
That was the port’s responsibility.
That might be true
but I KNOW there was something
they could do with how enjoyable
standing in those lines were.

Other cruise ships supplied lemonade and cookies,
had bands playing happy vacation music.
One cruise ship instructed their dancers
to teach line standing passengers
a couple of dance steps.
These lines were an event,
not an irritant.

During the holiday rush,
one of my favorite booksellers
hires jugglers to entertain their customers.
They give out hot chocolate and cookies.
They often hire carol singers.

Yes, try to eliminate lines for your customers
but when that’s not possible,
consider taking advantage of
having your customers’ undivided attention.
Make your lines events.

By k | September 9, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

It is a competitive world
and we ALL make mistakes.

The knee jerk reaction
to seeing a competitor’s mistake
is to pounce on it,
to make a big deal out of it,
to make it appear as though
this mistake is an indication
of the quality of the competitor’s product.

This might be the right reaction
IF you never make the same mistake.
If you make the same mistake,
expect to be treated
as you treated the competition.

When I responded to a writer’s rant
with a parody,
I communicated to my readers
that I expect them to respond
to any of my future rants
with parodies, humor, teasing.

Yes, take advantage of any competitor f**k ups.
If they’re having delivery issues,
touch base with their customers
and offer an alternative.
You don’t have to mention the f**k up.
The customer is well aware of it.

But think
before dissing the competition
for a mistake.

By k | September 8, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

There is unlimited drama
in Romanceland.
Someone is always upset.
Something is always happening or changing.
If I addressed all of the drama,
I wouldn’t have time for writing
or selling my own books.

Why did I decide to get involved
with last week’s drama?

Because a reader aka a customer
approached me about it,
venting and asking my opinion.
She had a problem
(she was stressed about the situation)
and she came to me looking for a solution.
If she had this problem,
other readers will have this problem.

By publicly addressing the situation,
I controlled the conversation,
setting the tone.
I showed
that I was aware of the problem,
solving it BEFORE they asked.

If one of your customers is concerned
about a situation,
assume all of them are concerned.
Address the situation.

By k | September 7, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Yesterday, a writer had a mental meltdown
and posted a rant,
telling her readers they were idiots.

Some writers gleefully pounced
on this rant,
spreading the post
throughout Romanceland,
making a bad situation
even worse.

Readers became very upset
(often associating
the writer spreading the gossip
with the rant).
Upset people don’t buy books.

I posted a parody of the rant
(not referencing the original).
Readers who hadn’t read the original rant
thought it was amusing.
Readers who HAD read the original rant
thought it was hilarious.
My readers returned to their happy states,
buying and reading books.

YOU have the ability
to escalate
or
to defuse
a tense situation.

Make this a conscious choice.
Think before you act.

By k | September 5, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Two advertisements played over and over
on the radio yesterday.
One ad for a college
pitched that college grads make more money
and isn’t that what everyone wants?
The other ad for a job search website
asked listeners to find a new better paying job
because more money is, again,
what everyone wants.

No, it ISN’T what everyone wants.
What everyone wants is happiness,
whatever their view of happiness is.
This could be security, family,
companionship, health,
respect, freedom,
or a hundred other interpretations.

Amassing money isn’t an end goal.
Money is a bartering tool,
making the exchange of one good/service
for another
easier.
It is a intermediary step
or a short term goal.

It also might not be
a necessary intermediary step
to get you
to your final goal.

If amassing money or increasing sales
is your end goal,
reevaluate what you TRULY want.

By k | September 1, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

In the romance novel business,
caring for readers (customers) is key.
There’s a relationship
between
the author (the manufacturer)
and
the reader (the customer).
Authors are selling love.
Customers are buying love.
They not only want to feel it
between the pages
but also with their favorite authors.

Rohit Bhargava
shares

“When you care first,
results come later.

Caring first can mean
having customer service people
who answer the phone
without putting customers on hold.
It can mean making
the packaging on your product
easy to open instead of
the plastic death traps we often get.
It can even mean making it easy
for your customers to return a product
even though it may cost you money.

Caring first is the human thing to do,
but it can be an easy thing
to forget in a world
where cut-and-pasted
terms and conditions are easier
and easier to coat
on top of nearly
every customer interaction.”

Caring is a strategic advantage
that smaller companies
can have
over larger companies.
Work that advantage.

By k | August 31, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Creativity isn’t enough.

Many of the most successful writers
in the romance genre
also have business or law backgrounds.
If they don’t have these formal backgrounds,
they take workshops or courses
teaching them
about business, marketing, sales.

Aimee Kestenberg,
fashion designer
and founder of
Jatalika,
shares

“I do think many designers
struggle from not having
any training in business.
I am fortunate to have
a lot of business experience
for a 27-year-old.
My dad had an import-export business
when I was growing up and
I was exposed to so much
of the business at a young age.
I assisted him
working at trade shows
from the age of 11.

I think that to be very successful,
you of course need the talent,
but you also need to
understand business—
especially if you are doing it
on your own.
Designers should do things like
take a class on business
or entrepreneurship
because it’s so important
to understand every aspect
that’s going on in your business.”

Business knowledge is essential
even for creative folks.