Articles Tagged ‘Small business tips’

Don’t Get Shifted On

Monday, June 4th, 2012

Sales have changed so much over the last 30 years that people that have not made the adjustments seem to be struggling unnecessarily. They are not using the changes to their advantages.

Yes, there are 5 times as many media coming at your target clients, yes there are 5 times as many businesses going after the same dollars, yes people used to return calls and e-mails and they don’t anymore. . . but the difference between getting shifted on and riding the shift is simple.

Be Relevant, Be a Solution and Be Persistent with Value.

Here is what I mean about being Relevant. Your targets don’t care one iota about your business until they believe you can are about them or their businesses. Just talking about it doesn’t cut it anymore. The power in content marketing is that you can speak to their lot. You can show that you understand what they are going through because you have spoken right to it. You can speak into their lives “virtually”, no pun intended. Caring just doesn’t mean gushing on them with kindness. It means doing your research, strategically and critically thinking about their situation and offering suggestions.

If you have perspective of understanding about your target market’s business then you can take the next step, which is designing the solution. So many times we as service providers, consultants or professional services in general are afraid to do “free” work, but I am firm believer in Seth Godin’s Take Your Best Stuff and Give it Away. Today people want to know the quality of your thinking before they hire you. Business is about problem solving and if you can solve problems, people will literally beat a path to your door. If you think well you can demand your price. Provide real solutions in selling situations using their numbers and talk to them in the media they dominate in so they can hear you. If they are phone people, be great on the phone, if they are e-mail people, write great e-mails, if they are social media people, embrace these new mediums.
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Would a “Makeover” Improve Your Customer Service?

Friday, May 11th, 2012

Quaker Oats man loses double chin

I heard that Larry, the guy on the Quaker Oats logo, just got a makeover.

The Quaker Oats PepsiCo brand is 134 years old. and Larry is looking a little tired. Since his makeover his double chin is gone and his hair is a little shorter. If you look closely, he looks like he lost about 5 pounds. Just the loss of his chin makes him appear younger. With some minor changes it changes the feeling of the brand.

They left the crow’s feet around his eyes because removing them would make him too too young!

Can you really look too young?

The Quaker Oats company was founded in 1901 so it was time for a makeover. Larry’s Quaker cousin, Aunt Jemima, traded in her bandanna for a new hairdo several years ago so she was less of a “mammie.”

She also lost 100 pounds. It’s probably time for another new hairdo.

The Jolly Green Giant has become nicer over the years, more friendly but always in good shape. But maybe his language needs to be brought up to-date and he should stop yelling “ho.”

These are subtle changes but nevertheless make a difference. They make a difference to the brand and the customers.

Of course it started me thinking: Why did Larry need to lose five pounds?

One reason is that Quaker Oats represents itself as a healthy choice cereal,one which promotes energy and the ability to lower cholesterol, and Larry doesn’t look that good. It goes together, the cereal is good and Larry looks good.

Would the customer think that Larry looks bad because he doesn’t eat Quaker Oats? Or if I eat Quaker Oats would I look like Larry? Larry represents the Quaker Oats brand and his looks need to be consistent with his brand of “good health.”

How about your brand? Who is your brand connecting to and who is your customer? How are you representing your brand? Are you and the brand looking tired and old?

What are you doing to update you and your brand?

Let’s face it; the baby boomers are working hard at staying young and living a healthy lifestyle. One of the payoffs should be looking better but it’s obvious what you eat and drink can’t change everything. So what does this mean to your business?
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Bad Money

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

ScottManning

Okay, so, there is actually no “bad money”, but there are bad, destructive, detrimental ways to make money and certainly people to make, take, share it with.

Today I’d like to talk with you about something critically important to your long term success and more importantly, your sanity and lifestyle. Although by the clinical definition of insanity/sanity, I’m sure it exists, but I don’t believe you could classify any entrepreneur’s mind or life or business as being sane, at least not all of the time.

Anyhow, back on point – you must always be monitoring and assessing not just the
money you make, but how you make the money – what are you doing, being, giving up,
obligating yourself to in order to exchange your “resources” (meaning life, time,
energy, people, money, brainpower, etc) in order to receive money.

Of course there are those societal judgments put on how people make money through
illegal measures and immoral ventures, but there are also criticism for money made
from the internet, paid to professional athletes, selling of certain products, and
on and on.

The power of all of this is you get to choose what, how, who, when, why you make money.

The message today is not about those 5 things, rather the consequences of your
choice. And I use the word consequence intentionally, but, you could say result,
outcome, responsibility or other words.

Many I talk about your principle based business and life decision
making process, about setting priorities, about goals, ambitions, and the “reasons”
and purpose why you are doing what you are doing.

But, do you often look at the flip side of things, which is what I’m discussing here.

If you feel stuck, uneasy, uncertain, or anything other than confidently focused and
deliberately driven in a direction for your business and life it is because you are
ignoring some “consequence” of a decision you’ve made that is standing in your way
of further, faster, more fruitful progress.

As example, I often say not all clients or customers are created equal, not all
means of making money are created equal because the same amount of money is not the
measuring stick it is what you had to do to get the amounts.

At the beginning of this year my brother and I made a decision to eliminate income
streams from our business that were not congruent with our future vision, that were
holding us back taking time and energy away from the direction we really wanted to
go. Keeping that money was short term gratification not long term ambition focused
and principled by how, why, when, where, what we wanted to be doing.
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Rock Star Customer Service and my Encounter with ZZ Top

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

A few weeks ago I was having lunch with a friend in Las Vegas when another ‘celeb moment’ took place. As we chatted, I glanced to my left and noticed a long, red-bearded man walking briskly by us with another man. I said to my friend Sherri, “That’s the guy from ZZ Top!” Being a huge fan, I excused myself and told her I’d be back in 2-minutes.

As I walked behind the two men, I said “Hey, I’m a big fan of ZZ Top.” They initially looked back as if to ignore me. I kept walking to their right and said, “You guys rock, keep it up” thinking that would be the end of the encounter.

After my second attempt to get their attention, the associate with Billy Gibbons, gestured with his hand to keep walking along with them. As he did this I noticed Billy reach into his pocket almost on cue and grab what looked like a stack of post-it-notes, a sharpie, and sign the paper. He then handed the autographed note to me while walking, smiled, and kept on going.

When I returned to lunch with my friend Sherri I showed her the autographed picture that had the caption at the top which read, “ZZ Top – Billy.” Being a HUGE music fan I thought this was cool for three main reasons:

#1. He could’ve ignored me but he didn’t and gave me a cool autograph (My 9-year son wants it badly!) and rock-n-roll moment I’ll never forget.

#2. He was fully prepared to handle a request by having pen and paper at the ready so as to not ignore his customer – me, the fan.

#3. Being a well-known “rock star” he left a positive impression versus the negative perception of most celebs who often times ignore, forget or mistreat their fans who helped get them to the top.

Tony Rubleski
Mind Capture
616-638-39121
www.mindcapturegroup.com

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