Persistence, The Rah Rah Post

Persistance..the rah rah postPersistence is a funny concept. On one hand, it is a glorious, motivating being who propels you forward into previously unimagined consequences. On the other hand, it sometimes drags you down in the bowels of despair thinking, “is this all that will ever be?”

This is year is a pivotal year for me. I have been plugging along, building bits of my business up and letting some other bits fall by the wayside. I have had brainstorms that amounted to less than a shower and crackpot ideas that blossomed into full downpours. What I can say is that through it all, the main reason I am so excited for the year is that I have never stopped. Losing momentum is the biggest dream killer there is…keep going forward whether you know where you are going or not, at least along the way you will have produced something.

My Top 10 Thoughts About Persistence (in a somewhat top to bottom order)

1. No excuses

Okay, this is not my thought, it is Chris Brogan’s thought. He has dubbed this the year of #noexcuses. Check out his post My Goals Don’t Care

2. Alchemy and getting to do what you love

This next one is probably one of the coolest things I have ever heard. If you are not a writer, substitute your industry for writing. Pressed for time, start at minute 22 (the link for the podcast is at the bottom of the page). The Rocking Self Publishing Podcast

3. BHAGs

Big hairy audacious goals. This one is a tripper-upper. You need to have specific tasks that break down your goals and make sure that you have enough bandwidth to accomplish them. Our BHAG this year is to publish a book a week. I just did my calendar and accomplishing that means that some other things that I have had as pet projects have to go away (for now).

4. Scheduling

You cannot be successful if you are flopping all around, doing what feels right at any given moment. We are planners starting at monthly (what our monthly theme is to accomplish) then moving down to daily. If you have BHAGs but have not put time into your calendar, they will not magically get accomplished. Figure out what you want to accomplish this year or month or even week and set up your calendar making that a priority.

5. What You Like To Do

I KNOW, there are bits of your business you HAVE to do (banking is one of those for me). That said, you need to whittle the things that you hate to do out of your life. I am not talking about “outsourcing everything” as that rarely works (except for Tim Ferris). Get the horrible things contained in one day a month or do 5 minutes of them every day, whichever you work best at. Find a partner or team member that is good at what you are not and share. When you dread doing something it takes on HUGE proportions that are way out of sink with reality.

Then you will free up time to do what you love. If you are a small business owner, you should be spending most of your time loving life!

6. Make A Plan

Now that you have freed up time for your favorite bits, make a rock solid plan for what you are trying to accomplish. Put EVERYTHING you would like to do on a big giant list, brainstorm with your friends and business contacts to get a REALLY BIG LIST. Now, figure out what your major goal is…could be to make money, could be a building year, could be anything, depends on you! Now, figure out which of those things fit into your major goal. Do those things until you are done and don’t do anything else that is not vital in the meantime. Crap will always try to creep in…to succeed you HAVE to put on your crap deflectors.

7. Stop Yelling At Yourself

That voice in your head will be FREAKING out right now. She will tell you that you are dumb for thinking that this can work. She will tell you how you have failed in the past and that you are currently the biggest loser on the planet. She will run through a list of your failures, starting with the fact that you quit band in 10th grade and move forward with a highlight reel of all your shortcomings. The cool thing about having a major plan and LOTS to do is that she doesn’t get to talk all that much because you are busy. When she does pipe up, tell her to shut up and review what you have to do today to accomplish your BHAGs!

8. Stop Reliving Past Failures

This is a big one for me! We are getting ready to launch another pretty big project and it is something that I semi, sorta, kinda, tried before. I got dragged there kicking and screaming and it failed (go figure). So this time, that stupid voice is jingling back there, you aren’t good at this, you tried this already and it didn’t work. Well, to be honest, I didn’t actually try. I did the limp handshake thing and did the absolute minimum required. If you have something on your goals that you did try before, be honest with yourself…if you tried your hardest and it failed, maybe you need to pivot and do something similar but not exactly the same, if you didn’t try and failed, imagine what would happen if you gave it your all!

9. Learn Something

You can’t do amazing things alone. You need a team to help like coaches, mastermind partners, brainstorm friends AND people who know what to do! I spend all my time not working listening to smart people. I have books on tape and podcasts downloaded. I read articles and watch YouTube videos that fill me with hope and help explain things. The people I see who are stuck, honestly believe that there is no time to educate themselves. They are in a rut and just churning down there, never looking up to see the light at the top. If you are “too busy” to learn things, you are probably busy at the wrong bits.

10. Living The Dream

Every one of us who owns our own business needs to take a moment and consider what that means. Want a raise, work harder. Want a bigger raise, work smarter. Want to take a day off? Take it, just work harder the next day. If you are self employed, get down on your knees right now and thank goodness you are not working for the man, that you are master of your own destiny and that this year is going to be the best one ever!

Small Business Marketing – Getting Motivated

If you could do one thing this year to increase your small business marketing efforts, I would say that getting motivated is at the top of the list!

I talk to A LOT of business owners about their small business marketing and the thing I notice most is that they are generally okay with their business. They are not happy or unhappy, they are just okay. They would like more customers and since they are talking to me, I KNOW that they are at least a little bit interested in how to make that happen, but that being said, very few are IN LOVE, head over heels with their business.

So how do you fall in love and get motivated again…here are a couple of things to do!

1. What Are You Doing?

Small Business Marketing - Getting MotivatedMake sure you are SUPER CLEAR about what you are selling and who you are selling to. I have to say that most of the problems that we see with our social media marketing clients is not because they are not seeing results, it is because they don’t even know what the end game is for their efforts. More than one has come to us and said, well we aren’t getting X, to which we reply, hmmmm well we weren’t trying to get X because you told us to try and get Y!

Step One…get crystal clear on what your goals are for the next 3 months. I use a three squares worksheet to do this, you can do it with a piece of paper and a pencil. Put down 3 long term goals for your business (5 years out). Then write down 5 things to do in the next three months that would be shorter term tasks that would get you to your goal. Then every day, work on one of those things to the exclusion of all else! Don’t worry when you get them done faster than you ever thought possible, you still have your pencil and can add more tasks if you get finished early.

the one thing - jay papasanBonus bit…I have been reading the advanced email copy of Gary Keller and Jay Papasan’s book The One Thing and they have some GLORIOUS ideas in there about focus and how to start habits that will lead to sucess…buy this!


2. Get Some Systems!

So there are lots of quotes about a goal without a plan or a dream without a date…here is the hard truth, if you do not have a step by step plan written down to get things done, you will fail. Life will get in the way and you will be exactly where you are now in 3 months (or three years).

I have a weekly meeting with our team to go over what we are shooting for, what we need to get done by the next meeting and make sure we are still on track. These kinds of weekly reviews make sure you are steering along the right course and that everyone is doing what they are supposed to do. I know many small business owners who feel that this kind of meeting and review shouldn’t have to happen, that their employees and partners should be able to work autonomously without any direction. Hmmmm…considering how hard I work to keep ME on track, it is no wonder that our teams need some guidance.

Additionally, we have worksheets that allow us to check off boxes when we accomplish things. For the social media for my company, I have a worksheet that lists every day, which social sites to hit, and lo and behold, it gets done. If I were to just say, well I will get to it, I guarantee that there is no way I could do that for a week, let alone every day of the month!

Step two…take your crystal clear goals for the next three months and make some forms or worksheets to remind you to do that thing every day. If it is make videos, make a level for each week and just do it. If it writing sales copy and you have research, put down half an hour a day to research and write sales copy. Stretch yourself more than you think because an amazing thing happens, once you get used to doing, it goes faster!

Bonus bit…if you need help with this, please sign up for my one hour marketing consultation so that you can get clarity!

3. Get Some Tools

I was talking with my bestie this morning about her real estate business and had to step back and look at what makes it so hard to market her! She is using an old fashioned database and my goal for her in the coming year is get her moved over to an internet marketing database like I use! One of the reason that she isn’t as on board is because it is not a real estate database and YEARS of marketing tell her she needs a real estate database….sigh…will let you know when I get her moved over!!!

Another thing that came across my desk this week was notice that someone had set up a new website for her financial services business. I though, holy cow, let me see, I bet she is doing really well if she is upgrading like that….sigh…it was a free weebly website and obviously was not going to instill great confidence in people who would be entrusting their life savings to her. SERIOUSLY? A free website?

Step three…figure out the tools you need to succeed and start budgeting for them now. My goal for my bestie is to have her on a real database by the end of July! BUT I want her and her assistant to learn about it now so they bust their butts to get the money together to get on board. If you are thinking about using a new technology, talk to trusted resources, get a demo from the company and then make a goal for how to make the money to acquire it!

Bonus bit…if you have questions about which database to use or whether you should do some kind of marketing…leave a comment and I will let you know my recommendations!

Success Quotes and Thoughts for Small Business – Burn the Boats

Okay, today I am going to talk more about mindset than marketing! What if you totally commit to your small business and burn the boats? Success quotes and thoughts for small business.

Henry Ford Quote - I am looking for a lot of men...I am from the rust belt of America. The Northwest corner of Pennsylvania just south of lake Erie, in a tiny town called Saegertown. The dads of my school friends worked on their farms, in tool and die shops and at the Talon zipper factory. They DID something or MADE something. After high school, I migrated south an hour to Sharon, PA, home of Sharon Steel, well previous home of Sharon Steel, the mill shut down and a huge portion of the town’s families were out of work with no future in sight.

Colin Powell Quote - None of us can change our yesterdays, but all of us can change our tomorrow's.To me, this economy feels much the same for my small business owners and their marketing. It seems like what we did in the past is not working (the Yellow Pages, having a big Rolodex, conducting seminars for payment, writing a best seller). All of these things used to guarantee success, but not so much anymore.

Today, to succeed in business it seems like you have to have mad computer skills, be online 24 hours 7 days a week, speak in person, speak online, have products, tweek your services…arggg.

Pick Something and Stick To It (for at least 3 months)

Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new - Albert EinsteinSo what SHOULD you do to be successful in an economy like this? Be SURE of what you are selling and what your goals are. I mean like, you can get woken from a deep sleep with a drill sergeant yelling in your face and say, “I do (mine here) social media marketing, speaking and info products, sir yes sir!”

I recommend you pick 3 things to focus on in your business for 3 months at a time (the three squares for any of my coaching clients or seminar attendees).

Next you need to have a plan. An “in writing plan” based on your goals. You need to know in the morning when you get up EXACTLY what you need to do today to get you one step closer to your goals. Somedays I think, well why should I do the Twitter today, BUT since I sat down with a clear head and a sharp pencil 3 months ago and set in stone to check Twitter every work day, I just do it!

Burn The Boats

While there are lots of legends about where the phrase “burn the boats” came from, generally what it means is that once you reach land, burn your boats so that you have to go boldly forward without the ability to look back.

I LOVE this idea. Set up a plan and then COMMIT to seeing it through. Even when times are hard. Even when you want to give up (you do know that from time to time EVERYONE wants to give up!) Make no excuses. If you said you would write a blog post a week, then darn it, at 11:45 on Friday night you should be pounding it out, even if the time isn’t right or no one will read it.

Make YOU accountable to YOURSELF. Be disappointed if you make excuses.

If you need help getting YOUR focus and goals on paper, give me a call today to schedule a 1 hour call to get YOUR plan in order!!! 727-415-9165.

My Favorite Success Quotes

I am looking for a lot of men who have an infinite capacity to not know what can’t be done.
Henry Ford

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.
Wayne Gretsky

The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack in will.
Vince Lombardi

Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit when I know there are footprints on the moon.
Paul Brandt

The greatest results in life are usually attained by simple means and the exercise of ordinary qualities. These may for the most part be summed in these two: common-sense and perseverance.
Owen Feltham

Most of us serve our ideals by fits and starts. The person who makes a success of living is the one who sees his goal steadily and aims for it unswervingly. That is dedication.
Cecil B. DeMille

Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.
Robert Collier

Mindset – How You Do Something Is How You Do Everything

So today’s post – how you do something is how you do everything – is more mindsetty and less marketingy, we will be back to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow!

So what does that mean? To me, it means that if I have integrity in my business and my home, then I will have it across the board and not have to worry that I am falling out of being in alignment with what I feel inside, what I talk about when I speak and how I coach my coaching clients. Soooo…here are the ways that I do everything (would love if you think about how you do things to try and make sure your business is in alignment – it could also be a great exercise for creating a mission statement for your business).

Everyone Matters

Just the other day a dear friend told me that someone said her business was not a valid model and that she should not dream of charging anyone for her services. OHHHH that made me mad! Especially because they had not paid her for work performed.

I figured out a long time ago that it is important to listen to people and what their thoughts, goals and likes are. When I do a one hour marketing call, I spend the majority of time listening to what they like to do, what they have done in the past that works and figuring out based on those criteria what they should do going forward. As a young buck marketing “expert” I didn’t do that. I would come in like a bull in a china shop and tell them what they should do based on what my world view was…not good!

First off, I DO think her business model is valid and secondly, be careful about what you say about someone else’s dreams. My respect for the person who said that decreased greatly and I will not be recommending them or working with them in the future.

Everything Matters

Brian Tracy talks about this A LOT. I have a recording of his that I listen to frequently that speaks to this over and over, everything matters, everything matters. This is another way of saying, how you do anything is how you do everything.

This one speaks to the way that you conduct your business and your life. If you have a high work ethic and get a lot done, you probably have a high work ethic with your home and your family too (if you don’t, then look at your priorities and make sure you are consistent with everyone, especially the people who matter!). If you have trouble getting things done or finished, then that is probably systemic and something you should work on with a coach or trainer to make it a habit in your business.

As adults, no one is really watching your every move and it is easy to let things slip or to tell little white lies (oh I didn’t get that email or yep that got done on time). If you decide to do everything with integrity, it does make everything easier (I really didn’t see that email or I saw it but it slipped my mind, SORRY). Saying your sorry for making a mistake is SO much easier than trying to justify your wrong actions. Always try to do your best and that is all anyone can ask of you (including yourself)!

Stay Organized

This is one I struggle with! I have tons of worksheets and charts to keep me in line. While I sometimes bristle with having these limitations, I try to look at them more as helpful boundaries that keep me on track. I also calendar my work life to the nth degree. Everything goes on there and I stick to it. Here is a great post about how to set goals and manage them effectively.

That having been said, I slip in this area as much as anyone else. I HATE when I see myself procrastinating about something and TRY to “just do it” to get it out of the way. The one way I have found works well is to organize your environment to make things easier. For instance, I HATE when I get a bunch of receipts in my purse and can’t find my money. One way to avoid this is to bring receipts up to my “receipt box” every time I come home from an event. Takes 3 seconds, I have to climb the stairs so I get a little exercise and it makes my days better (the fact that I have a “receipt box” is a post for another day!)

When you notice that you don’t want to do something, try and figure out if you can make a path of least resistance to getting there for yourself. Put your checkbook in the drawer right below your desk so that you can pay bills or deposit checks easily, set up a “one touch” system for emails, to dos or bills. Seriously, I am not the gal to tell you how to do this, if you have these issues, get an organizer in who works with people like you (I am SO visual) to help.

Have Grace

One of the main things I have as a lifelong, ongoing goal is to have grace (I even have a stamp that I use to remind myself). To me, having grace means respecting other people and their opinions. Listening and really paying attention instead of running people over. Doing what is required with a smile instead of crying about what I “have” to do.

Because I am clear on the front end what my goals are (to be a great marketing company owner, speaker and coach), I have something I can hold each of my icky things up to an say, “do I need to do this to further my business” or “can someone else do this better than I can”. There are many things that only I can do which I would not do given the choice BUT because I want specific things, those numbers are limited and manageable!

So I hope you can get a little bit out of this, I basically wrote it to remind me that I am a work in progress BUT that I am trying and succeeding in many different areas! If you do decide to set some of these up for yourself, BURN THE BOATS! Start today and don’t look back worrying about what WAS, go forward and change what IS!

Being Authentic Is The New Black – Small Business Branding

Small business branding is just like corporate branding, just cooler! As a small business owner, you have the chance to project your personality and focus into every aspect of your business, starting with being authentic!

Recent Corporate Branding News That Is Bad

So we were sitting around with the family yesterday and the topic of the new Cooper Mini came up (two mid 40’s, two mid 60’s and a mid 70’s aged people). That got us talking about the new Fiat 500, which lead to the fact that Fiat faked Jenny From The Block. For those of you who don’t know it, Jennifer Lopez has built part of her brand on the fact that she is just a girl from the Bronx and Fiat tried to make it look like she was tooling around in NYC but she was actually in Los Angeles during the filming. Here are some of the articles about the debacle:

So why was this so egregious to my family who has no stake in Fiat or Jennifer Lopez? Because it felt like we were lied to…period. If you are going to show her driving in the Bronx, which is her home town and part of her brand, would it really have been so hard to do it there? Was she too important to go back or was Fiat too lazy get the girl to the city? Either way, it did not feel authentic!

Small Business Branding and Authenticity

So what does this mean to you and your brand? My brand it being “TARAdactyl”, a marketing obsessed, time managing, blogger, speaker and coach that gets things done. (Who knew in the early 2000’s that having a Google name like that would follow you around forever?!?!)

When I speak, I am brutally honest. When I talk on my blog, honest, in person, online, in print, everywhere, same schtick. The nice thing about this is that I don’t have to try and remember what I told to whom. I can speak my mind and not feel like I am being untrue to myself.

Now, could a lawyer or doctor do that? SURE! Dr. Oz is one scary dude, but he is honest about all kinds of things that most people won’t talk about on TV.

But being authentic to your brand does not all have to do with honesty, it also has to do with staying true to who you are and what your company sells. If you are selling cars or houses or bathtubs and you are proud of your product and how you represent it, that will show through.

(if you are not all in on your product, that is a post for another day, but seriously, quit selling that right now and get going doing something you LOVE doing!)

Watch This! Gary Vaynerchuk talking about being authentic from 2008 – this shit never goes out of style!

small business branding consulationIf you would like to find out how to get YOUR small business branding on track, click the link to find out more about our marketing consulting sessions!

Branding Yourself – Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Branding Yourself - Your Unique Selling PropositionBranding yourself can be a scary proposition, what if everyone hates you and throws tomatoes? BUT, to make an impact in today’s world, you have to have a unique selling proposition!

So lately I have been setting up a small business marketing coaching program and so I have been thinking about MY branding, not how I present Marketing Artfully, but ME and what I bring to the the table.

Now, you need to know from the outset that I HATE the term Unique Selling Proposition or USP because it is trite, overused and intimidating. That having been said, it is the correct term so we will use it here.

So How Do You Start?

First off, who are you. What do your friends think of you? I have a piece of paper on the wall that I got years ago with a list of traits that people who knew me said I was like. This keeps me going when I am blue, but was a good start for my USP! The words are; honest, a wealth of knowledge, focused, independent, always willing to help, clever and funny (my favorite) and passionate about what she does.

So, TODAY, email your friends, favorite clients and loved ones and ask them to pick three words to describe you. If you are brave, do this on the Facebook. See how other perceive you and pick the ones that match YOUR insides. I picked, clever and funny, focused and passionate about what she does.

Chew on those for a week or so and see how you can fit them into how you position your services or your business focus.

Figure Out Who Is Going To Buy From You

Next I tried to figure out my target audience. While I like all small business owners, I LOVE people who are as crazy and goal driven as I am. SOOOOO, I am going to write a sales page that talks about all the nutso parts of me that people like that will appreciate. Things like my HOLY COW, Coaching Program which is a balls to the wall, 4 week death march to get things done. Is this one for everyone, SO NO, but it will mean that I am going to be working people who are focused and goal driven which is congruent with me and my business.

OKAY, I can hear you now, if you are targeting those types of people, what about everyone else on the planet. aren’t you going to miss out on sales? YEP! I am and YAY!!!

Why would I be happy to miss out on sales? Because I have worked with detail oriented, check off every box, have to know the why of it all people before and we are not a good fit. They get frustrated that I don’t tell them every little tiny step or go in a line from Point A to Point B and I get frustrated that they take a week to do something that I could have done in an hour. Does that make them bad people, ABSOLUTELY NOT, it makes them GREAT people who are not going to be a good fit for working with me!

Final Thoughts About Your USP

Okay, hopefully knowing the back story of my Unique Selling Proposition helps you a little bit. Here are the steps to take in order with details (for all you detail peeps!)

  1. Find out from your friends who you are to them
  2. Write those down and pick three that feel good to you
  3. Pick a target market of people you would like to work with>/li>
  4. Write your copy and offers in words and feelings that will attract those types of people

I know it SOUNDS easy, but doing anything with YOU is always funny because we tend to not like looking at ourselves so closely. The glory of this is though, once you have this handled, you can move on, living a life of prosperity and honor (okay that is a little much, but you can know that your message is the same as your being and do good with it!)

Buy The Book!

Advanced Sales Strategy - How To Craft Your Unique Selling PropositionAdvanced Sales Strategy: How To Craft Your Unique Selling Proposition USP
If you have ever sat down and tried to write a USP (Unique Selling Proposition) for you or your company, you know the frustration of trying to figure out how to make everything sound different and special. Sometimes figuring out what makes you so special is not easy as you would think! This book will walk you through exercises that will get your creative juices flowing and get words coming out fast and furious!

Small Business Marketing – How To Finish The Year Strong!

Small business marketing is not sexy (there I said it!) It is ALL about the grind and getting things done. Today we are going to talk about the grind and how the next two months can be the most productive ones that your business has seen!

Small business marketing - finish the year strongWhat Small Business Marketing Is

People are always amazed when I talk to them about small business marketing! They think we are going to be talking about Twitter and Facebook (the current darlings of the marketing scene) or about what their logo should look like. Well, for me it is all about:

  • What products do you have for sale and how are you going to get the word out about them?
  • What services do you offer and it is CRYSTAL clear to the people who you are selling to
  • Is it easy to buy something from you or are you being “cute” or just not clear
  • What is your sales funnel and how are you going to get people in the top of it?
  • How are you going to followup with those people once they have raised their hand (hardly anyone buys right off the bat)
  • What is your sales message and are you selling YOU or what THEY want?

I have to stop now because I could go on and on with problems that I see in small business marketing today! OH, one last one… Are you focusing on important things or are you obsessed about something that matters to you but will not get you more sales? Sigh. I see this all the time! A client REALLY wants to have tiny logos under his email signature but doesn’t know how to write the code to make that happen but is still spending time worrying about it. I wanted to have a popup on one of my blogs and spent over 10 hours trying to get it to work (wish I could have that time back now!) Another client took over two months to figure out the name and right font for his logo (let’s not even talk about how many colors and styles he looked at).

Whatever you are obsessing about, finessing until it is perfect, worrying over, STOP IT!

How To Finish The Year Strong

I see too many business owners this time of the year “winding down”. They actually say, Halloween is coming like it is the start of the end. Don’t get me started about the whole, shut down from Thanksgiving to New Year’s model that many business owners have.

I have to tell you that I cannot afford that in my business and if you read my blog and like marketing, I have a feeling that you can’t afford to take off two or three months a year either. I say three months because if you start stopping in November, it will take you well into January to get things going again.

So what can you do? Let’s break it down!

1. You can be the one in your marketplace with a strong presence throughout the end of the year. If you blog, post more. If you network, network more. Phone calls, you get the picture! When everyone else goes away, this is your time to SHINE! Market share you take over now never goes away!

2. You can get all your “stuff” in order. My site went down yesterday and I had to do a quicky re-design and update BUT had that not happened, it would have been on the calendar to fix in November or December. I needed to get some SEO work done, but additionally, I needed to make sure that my products and services were easy to find and buy. On social media, you can get your lists in order, email you can start growing your list or segregating your list.

The best way to get on track with this is time block and set up systems for your marketing, lead generating and followup tasks so that they become second nature (writing blog posts has become like breathing to me, just happens).

3. Hire a coach. Seriously, I hired a coach for the last three months of the year and the insight and accountability that comes from having a third party look at your business and give you direction is invaluable. If you are thinking about hiring a coach, check out our small business marketing coaching options.

4. Develop new products or services. Don’t get me wrong, I KNOW that there will be a slowdown for most businesses during the Thanksgiving week, and the week between Christmas and New Years (for all my retail readers – I KNOW this isn’t your problem BUT use this info for your after the returns slowdown…:) During the time that you are slow, sit down and figure out what you can offer, write a sales letter for your current products that shows them in a new light, write those autoresponders you have been putting off. Using this time to create new products is SUPER VALUABLE and will serve you well in the new year!!

small business marketing coachingWant to finish the year strong?

I KNOW that having systems, written goals and action items are the only way you are going to succeed with your marketing efforts! If you are thinking about hiring a small business marketing coach to help, I work with a handful of business owners each month to get them on track and moving up to the next level. Check out our small business marketing coaching programs today!

Small Business Marketing – Telling The What But Selling The How

Small business marketing is all about SELLING a product or service that people have a need for, unfortunately most people on the internet are looking for free and easy. That is why we tell most of our clients to be free and loose with the WHAT and sell for access to the HOW.

Small Business Marketing - Selling the what not the howSmall Business Marketing – Telling The What

I was talking with a client the other day and he was worried that having a blog and talking about his business and the intellectual property was hurting the chances to SELL something.

The funny part of this is that we had just gotten done talking about how great the response was from some of the recent things we posted – TRUE business opportunities!

In this day and age of instant access to whatever your heart desires, it can feel like selling anything via the internet is a lost cause. “Buyers” are looking for money for nothing and the clicks for free. That having been said, I have found that there are 3 types of “buyers” on the internet:

  1. People who want information for nothing – These types were never going to buy and if you help them great.
  2. People who want information and want to do it themselves – These types are good for a membership site or to get signed up for a seminar or class.
  3. People who want information to make an informed buying decision – BINGO! These people are checking out what and how you say things in anticipation of working with you or buying your product in the future and are the ones that we should focus on.

If you dumb your stuff down so far that you are not giving away anything, the chances of anyone noticing you is slim. It is much better to share too much and then have a rock-solid plan for monetizing that traffic or audience which brings me to…

Small Business Marketing – Selling The How

If you are a reader of this blog or have attended one of my live free events, you will hear me say often, “give your best stuff away”! For me that means telling people in the room the one neat thing that I found that works great or the couple of key things to do that will increase their business. This goes back to my three types of buyers above, the ones that were never going to buy still will not BUT the ones that are cruising for real help will definitely get their ears up if they think I know something REAL that can help their business.

Additionally, I will often tell you exactly what you should do, sometimes in EXCRUCIATING (to you) detail. I know as I am writing when I have crossed a line – when I tell you HOW to do it. That takes away from potential sales to my membership site or small business services company. For my client above, telling them what real estate markets to target is fine, telling them what types of investments are good is fine, posting how to buy them (or even find them) without him in the middle somewhere is less than fine!

So, long story short (too late I know)! For your small business marketing efforts, make sure they are in this order:

  • Sell something you like and are knowledgeable about
  • Get crystal clear about what product or service you are going to sell
  • Share your knowledge about your industry and make sure you have calls to action to purchase your product or service

To find out more, check out our Small Business Marketing Services or DIY Small Business Marketing Membership Site.

Small Business Marketing – The DISC and Your Sales Funnel

Small business marketing is full of fun things to trip you up! How your disc personality index and your sales funnel can keep you from making sales from all those leads.

Small Business Marketing DISC and Sales FunnelYour sales funnel is the process by which you get people to buy from you. They move through the funnel from Sales Leads to Followup to Conversion to Sales. Very rarely will someone call you from a piece of your marketing and be ready to buy on the spot. This is where your DISC personality type can get you into trouble!

My DISC personality type is a D – driver. When I buy something I do not research 1,000 different options, ask for referrals or angst about the buying process. My sales process usually goes like this, I hear about something interesting, I buy it. This makes it VERY hard for me to sell to other people of different personality types. They generally do not make decisions that way and so I have to have systems in place that will allow them to learn more about my products or services (followup), give them buying options and a little time to decide (conversion) and then, bang they buy. This process can take MUCH longer than I think it should and requires that I have an active part in making the sale.

One of things that I do, knowing that I am that “D” type personality, is to slow down when I am talking to a prospect who is NOT like me. I talk lower and slower so that I do not scare them off. I answer ALL of their questions, even if I think that it is crazy to ask so many. I also have other people involved in the sales cycle who are better than I am at calling to followup and also to send information that is going to be vital to making the sale.

D types are good rainmakers and can help drive new leads into your sales funnel.

I Personality Type and Sales – “I” or intuitive type people are GREAT salesmen or women. They like the social interaction that comes from talking and getting to know new people. They truly care about the prospect and want to make sure they understand what they need. The one thing that can hurt an I is wanting to “make the sale”. A lot of times I’s will not want to lose the sale because the company is not able to perform a certain task. If you are an I, watch out for trying to make your prospect happy at the detriment of your business going forward!

Another thing that I’s have to look out for is the high-highs and the low-lows. Every lead feels like a win and they are ready to run with it, BUT every no feels like a loss or even a personal rejection. This can cause disappointment or frustration and if enough come at the same time, I’s can get thrown off of their games for weeks at a time. My suggestion to I’s if this happens is to call one of your favorite current or past clients to get a warm fuzzy about what you are good at and get right back on that horse again!

I types are good rainmakers and can also drive leads into your sales funnel.

C Personality Types and Sales – “C” Type people are analytical and facts driven. They want all the details of the process to be outlined and would like the sales funnel to be linear. I have a client who is a Denver Bookkeeper, TOTALLY a “C” type. To her the sales process should run like a well oiled machine. A sales lead comes in, a phone call is made, a meeting is set, facts are given and then the prospect buys. Easy-peasy! Well, we have been tracking how that is working in function and initially there was a gap in her followup. If the person did not buy on the first call, she wrote them off as not a “real” lead, not thinking that the sales cycle for most people is longer than one call. She has implemented a great followup call system using a true salesperson who stays in contact with her prospect, but still has a hard time closing the sale.

We talked yesterday and the gap is now at the prospect preparing their documents in order to be able to hire her. They want bookkeeping help, they need bookkeeping help, but they are not functionally doing the tasks required to make this possible like collecting bank statements, filling out spreadsheets or getting their receipts in order. This gap actually makes sense! If the person is not generally good at keeping these things together then they will be overwhelmed at the thought of having assemble them in order to hire a bookkeeper. My suggestion was to make part of her services a “hand holding” hour or two where she gets together with the prospect or client to get those items together. To her it feels silly, “why can’t they just get those things to me”, but to the people who need help, this could be a HUGE value add!

C type people are technically good at details and followup.

S Personality Types and Sales – If you are a D or an I type personality and need help with your sales, go TODAY and find a “S” to help you! S type people are stable, steady and caring. They will take all of the crazy ideas that you have and help you to implement them. They will followup on prospects and help them make good buying decisions that are win-win for you both.

I have a S! She is great for me as she doesn’t get distracted by my wild flights of fancy, she is dedicated to helping our company grow and she is the one all the customers say “I LOVE Michelle”. OF COURSE they love Michelle, by personality type she is set up to be caring and nurturing.

C type people make great customer service and inside sales people, getting prospects through the whole funnel to the sale.

I will bet you a dollar that your DISC personality type is effecting your sales process in some way, making your small business marketing efforts less effective. Take a look and really see what you might be doing to cause gaps in the process, find the holes and fix them! If you are looking for ways to improve the process, take a DISC personality yourself AND give one to any new people your are considering hiring – while it is fun to have someone who shares your DISC personality type, more often than not you need someone who is NOT like you to help grow your sales.

Crazy Goal Setting and Lead Generating Ideas

If you are a bit of a procrastinator, like me, fooling yourself with crazy goal setting and lead generating ideas can get you motivated and keep the drive to grow your business going!

Lead generating and goal settingEveryone thinks that I am a go-getter with unlimited enthusiasm for my work. They say things like “I see you all over the internet” and “I could never do as much as you do”. Well, I am here to tell you, NO ONE likes doing most of the things that I have to do to grow my business, INCLUDING ME! I read the best quote the other day, “It’s not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what’s required.” Sir Winston Churchill. Most of what you have to do to grow your business is NOT what you love, it is doing what is required to succeed.

I have friends who are great at lead generating and who spend two hours every morning, EVERY day, calling prospects. If they miss their time slot, they do their calling later in the day. I know people who attend 15-20 networking events A WEEK. However you decide to focus on lead generating, you must do it A LOT and with uncompromising focus!

Here are some crazy Goal Setting and Lead Generating Ideas to get you started

  • Make a grand pronouncement – This December I stated that I will write a blog post EVERY day for the entire month. This accomplishes two things, I will rank better for my target keywords which will bring me more blog traffic, BUT more importantly, it will set the habit of writing more frequently in stone. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit and I will definitely have gotten in the swing by the end of the year! Notice I did not say I will “try” to do 31 blog posts in a month. REALLY, there is NO reason that I have to try and do it, I am just GOING to do it. No excuses, just action. Like Yoda says, “Do or do not, there is no try”.
  • Make goals not wishes – I have already decreed that I will get 20 new clients in 90 days. That is an attainable goal with a set number of clients I have to add. Basically if I focus on my activities I will get more leads and if I follow up on leads religiously I will get more clients. Saying that I want more clients would be a cop out. Two more could be more clients. I tend to be on the side of setting attainable goals rather than huge ones I cannot achieve but some people like to have huge goals and are still happy if they miss them, your choice, just do SOMETHING.
  • Have a contest with your friends – When I was trying to grow my facebook fan page I got in a stupid contest with a friend. She got more fans and I cheated by buying Facebook ads to try and get more fans BUT the whole way through we had fun and picked at each other unmercifully. If you are competitive, this one works great!
  • Get an accountability partner – I do not need someone to hold me accountable every day, BUT you might! An accountability partner is someone you call every day at a set time and report that you have accomplished your tasks for the day. The best suggestion for this that I ever heard was to give your accountability partner a check made out to an enemy for $500. If you fail to do what you are supposed to or fail to call, the accountability partner sends your check to your enemy. Now that would motivate me!
  • Set up a mastermind – I am not talking about a sit around and chat mastermind. I am talking about a mastermind where you have goals, accountability and FEAR. Fear that if you do not do what you promised to do the other people in the group will lose respect for you. Once or twice a month is good for this kind of thing. ALSO, make sure you ask your mastermind group for suggestions about what they think you should do and take the ones that make you the most uncomfortable – suggestions you like will not move your business forward.
  • Enlist your friends – I set up a facebook group called 31 Days of Business because I was going to be working the entire month of December and wanted company. If you can sucker your friends into doing what you are doing, the momentum of the entire group can get you going, even when you are not excited about working.
  • Death March It – When I have something that I hate to do, I Death March it. I sit on a chair, curled into a little ball and do nothing but that until it is done. If it takes 16 hours, I sit for 16 hours (potty breaks and beverages are fine). No email, no chatting, no fun until it is done. This is ABSOLUTELY the best way to get something off your plate but it will make you grouchy and your family nuts so use it sparingly!

I KNOW, all of these lead generating ideas sound hard, well sorry to tell you, that is why they call it work BUT I am here to tell you that the results will be GREAT and you WILL get more business. If you are doing one or two of these things consistently, your business will increase!

Some things that motivate me:

Brian Tracy’s Blog
Gary Vaynerchuk’s Keynote Speeches

Are you excited about your business?

One question I always ask people is, are you excited about your business? Do you leap out of bed every morning just thrilled to get going on your day? If you are self employed and you are NOT this excited, then you are doing it wrong!

are you excited about your businessSmall Business Entrepreneurs – A Get Rich Slow Kind Of Scheme

We work with many different types of entrepreneurs and small business owners who are working on a get-rich-quick kind of scheme. They jump from idea to idea, thinking the next one is going to be the BIG one that makes them heaps of money. I have never seen this work out, although I am sure you have gotten tons of emails telling you that it is possible for just $997.

One of my favorite bloggers, Remarkablogger, posted a challenge to other bloggers about revealing their secrets to breaking through to the other side of blogging success. I do not really talk about what makes my life easier or harder as an internet (and REAL) marketer, but in hopes it will help someone else, here are a few of my favorite things.

An Entrepreneurial Upbringing – A BIG ONE – One of the reasons I am successful at marketing and speaking to small business owners is that I grew up with that mindset. When I was young we had the “Whalers Walk” behind our house. This was a little gift store that was open whenever someone was home (as I was too young for a driver license, mostly that was me). I would follow shoppers up with my little cash box and sell to them. The next store my parents had was the DandyLion gift shop (my mom was WAY more creative with her naming conventions than I am!) As a child, I got an early exposure to the thrills of opening and running your own business.

Early Internet Interest
– Around 1999 I got into a job where I did marketing for an internet company. When I started I had NO idea the difference between Linux and Windows servers, what programming languages where good for websites or even a lick of graphic design. Through trial and LOTS of error, I learned enough about that kind of thing to talk reasonably well with clients and overcame any fear that I had of technology. NOW, do not get me wrong, I am not a techy girl BUT I can talk the talk and not get snowed by fancy sounding techno-speak.

Failing A LOT – This one is HUGE – I mess up a lot. I have rolled out products that no one bought. I have spent good money on copywriting that would not make a starving man buy food. I have developed a “no lose” monthly product that I could not get more than 35 people at a time to sign up for. I have learned that you should not put years of time into something until you KNOW that it will make money. Do it good enough to get out there and then refine it AFTER you know it is something that the market wants.

Naming and pricing things – Oftentimes we know what products we have and what we like to do, duh. Most times we keep that a secret from potential clients by not formally naming it and putting a price on it. I used to do more piecemeal items, which I hate. Once I set up monthly marketing services, my business really took off. I LIKE working with committed people who are determined to make their businesses succeed, not just throw up a website or blog and think it will solve all of their problems.

Learning new things – Last but certainly not least is that I know everything is going to change and that I have to stay on the front lines to keep up. If you told me 5 years ago blogging and making blogs would be paying the bills I would have said you are nuts. Three years ago I did not know anything about social media and today I get paid to speak about it. It makes me sad when I see people stuck in what USED to be. They want everything to go back to how it was when they understood it. Well that is not going to happen. Progress moves forward and we have to keep up the pace. This little excerpt from Micheal’s post says it all!

If you look back to the 70s and early 80s, you’ll find something both interesting and very revealing of human nature happened. The robots came. What I mean is, robotics in manufacturing happened. And everyone knew it was going to happen. People who worked in factories knew it was coming. Those workers had a choice: they could learn something/do something new to take advantage (or at least sidestep) the coming change (like go to to school for… oh, I don’t know… robotics), or they could do… nothing.

You know what most people did, right? Weird, huh? Like lambs to the slaughter, etc. Those people were responsible for families, too, who were then harmed by this fatalistic refusal to deal with the changing times. Sad.

How To Find Your Small Business Passion

Finding your passion is all the rage today. You are supposed to get out there and start doing what you are put on this earth to do. Problem is, most people do not know what their small business passion is!

Finding your small business passionYesterday I wrote about having a small business and entrepreneur marketing focus and man-o-man was I humbled by the response from my past clients and readers. Hearing that they are making thousands or tens of thousands of dollars more from the advice that I gave them was overwhelming.

So what is the magic that causes this to happen? Is it because I talked to them? Nope. Is it because they magically had the secret to making millions online. Nope. It is because they had a passion for what they wanted to do with their business and then worked really hard to make it happen.

About ten years ago I dubbed myself “Queen of Marketing”. No one bestowed that on me and I have no fancy schmancy college degree in Communication or Marketing. What I do have is a passion for marketing that is all out proportion with how interesting it is to normal human beings. I read about it, watch webinars, teach classes and consult with clients, basically it consumes about 75% of my waking hours. Can you say that about your business?

How To Find Your Small Business Passion Overview

I have read Gary Vanerchuk’s book Crush It and know that you have to have a passion. I have read about half of Joel Comm’s book KaChing and know that you have to have a passion. I have also talked with thousands of small business owners, entrepreneurs and realtors and know that most do not have a passion. They like their work well enough OR hate their work but like the income OR just are doing something for right now to get them through.

REALLY? You are spending 40 hours a week or more doing something that makes you go meh. Stop it now!

How to find your passion seems to be somewhat vague and most people have no idea how to go about it, and even less about how to fit it into their business model.

Where To Start

Start by figuring out what you like to do. I do not mean knitting, unless you are a rabid knitter and it consumes your every waking thought. Most people have hobbies and those should not be confused with their business life. Keep those fun and figure out what you like to do work wise. Here are some weird things that I know people like to do:

  • Accounting tasks – now I am an accounting dud. I hate balancing my books BUT there are people out there who get a thrill from making all those numbers add up. One is my client Joy (of Lakewood Bookkeeping and Accounting fame) who likes to work with small business owners. She enjoys helping them to regularly manage their accounts and grow their business. Another client likes to get in there and find out all of the problems in small and medium sized businesses, straighten them out and get them on an automated track. Same job, two different versions.
  • Real estate – My pal Cyndee, Clearwater Realtor extraordinaire, is hyper focused on providing great service and information to high end buyers in the Tampa Bay area. She has spent the last two years targeting that group and referring out anything that does not match her high-end criteria. NOW, you may think who does not want to target high end buyers, well many realtors actually would rather work with first time homebuyers OR sellers in distress OR people looking just for waterfront properties. Each person needs to target exactly what their passion is and go after that with gusto.
  • MLM Business – Two of my friends and clients are in multi-level marketing (or direct sales). They sell such diverse things as passion products and green cleaning supplies. While they LIKE their products they LOVE sales and business building respectively. It would not really matter WHAT they were selling, they are focused on the aspects of their businesses that they have a passion for.

So what is your passion?

If you do not know what your passion is, frustration can overwhelm you. Stupid passion talk.

Stop beating yourself up and start noticing when you are having fun. If you are making phone calls, getting leads and making things happen, maybe doing phone support is your passion (and one that can be VERY lucrative). If you ADORE researching new products online and figuring out what is going to be hot next season, maybe that is your passion.

Yesterday I spoke at a networking group and asked an insurance guy if he had THE MOST INTERESTING insurance information. He said no. Why would I want to read, listen or buy from a guy who did not have the passion for his business to make sure that my home and family are secure.

Here is how you do it…close your eyes (oops that doesn’t work for this venue), well keep your eyes open and think about what one thing you would do business-wise if that is all you could do for the rest of your life. Don’t worry about your industry, concentrate on what tasks you like to do within your business life.

There. You are done! That is your passion and now you can go out and make yourself work that matches that passion. It will probably not start or be lucrative today. You may have to keep your J-O-B for now or keep selling to people who do not thrill you today. BUT if you know what you want to do and take one or two steps towards that everyday, you WILL get there.

Fast Track To Passion Success

Most people should stop at the end of the last paragraph. They will find something they like to do, do a bit each day to move towards that and in a couple of years be comfortable financially or personally, whichever is important to them.

If you do not have a burning desire to build something, grow your influence or make a change in the world, that is fine! Finish here and prosper.

Warning Hard Work Ahead!

Okay, now that we have the “nice” people out of the way, here is the hard core, make it happen soon, get me to the finish line version.

If you want to Crush It with your passion, you are going to have to work hard with a single-minded focus for a while. You need to live, breathe and work your business for a while before she is going kick ass and take down names.

Whenever I hear tremendously successful people say that they would have done it differently if they had the chance today, it makes me NUTS. If they had worked less, spent more time smelling the roses and enjoying life, they would not be where they are today.

Great success takes hard work. If you can not work on your passion at your current work, you are going to have to do it some other time. Do it early in the morning, knock out some at lunch, stay up late, work on the weekends. If you have the luxury of working at your passion now, can you honestly say you are giving it your all every day?

The only way to succeed at this is to find someone who will kick your butt. I am NOT talking about a warm and fuzzy accountability partner who will pat you on the head if you make your calls today. I am talking about someone who will help you to set steep but realistic goals for the next week or two and who you would be HUMILIATED to tell you failed. I have been up at 11 o’clock at night (REALLY late for me) finishing things that I said I would get done so that I would not have to tell my person I just did not do it.

These should be YOUR goals and the the things that will make the most impact on your business in the next week or two. Do those things and then set new goals. Do them when you do not feel like it, do them when your car breaks down or your cat tears up your curtains. Do them when you would rather be fishing or getting your nails done. Life will always try and distract you BUT if you really want to succeed you will soldier on through and “just do it”.

Start today.

Small Business Marketing Goals Make A Huge Difference

Small business marketing can be super fun and totally overwhelming. Every once in a while I like to throw down the gauntlet with some small business marketing goal numbers so that my peeps have something to shoot for!

Small Business Marketing Goals Make A Huge DifferenceThose of you who have been readers for a while know that about once every six months I post a post with suggested tasks and arbitrary suggested goals! If you do even a couple of these things you will notice a change in your online success!

Stake your claim to audacious keywords!

When I started blogging for Marketing Artfully, I picked three keywords to shoot for based on my targeted clients, entrepreneur marketing, realtor marketing and small business marketing. Through repeated use of these terms in my titles and content of posts, MA ranks pretty well for some competitive keywords.

So now I have a secret for you! If you use the google buzz more and get friends through google, your site will show up on their search results ABOVE all the other regular search terms and google will put some recommendations below also based on the fact that you are “friends” on buzz or your profile.

Small Business Marketing Goal – select some keywords that you think are out of reach and make it a goal to write about them once a week for a year. Yes I said a year. If you think that you are going to write one blog post and take over a competitive search term, you my friend are sadly mistaken. If you think you are going to write one post and stay on top for the next 5 years, again no go. Search these days is more dynamic than ever and targeting keywords in your blogging, tweeting and facebook notes will make a huge difference in your results.

Do more email marketing

Email marketing is a pain in the rear. You have to write an email, then do your links, make sure it is pretty and THEN as soon as you hit send you notice that there is a typo on the first line….noooooo. Okay, that is pretty melodramatic but we all feel stress when we are going to send out something to our entire client base. Some people like accountants, bookkeepers and mortgage pros count on being correct more than, say marketers, so they SHOULD have someone else take a once over with a critical eye.

That having been said, if you send out 3 perfect newsletters per year while your competition is sending out one a week, who do you think will win that game AND do you think your mailing list will notice that you send “perfect” newsletters? Most people do not have time to critique your stuff and the ones who do are no loss. I can tell you in all sincerity, if you have a typo, SOMEONE will let you know! Thank them and then sell to them while you have them on the phone!

Small Business Marketing Goal – Set a schedule for yourself on how often you are going to send out a newsletter. Really. Then do it. Do not “try” to send it once a month and then skip. Do not “try” to send it once a week. Yoda says, “do or do not, there is no try”. If you make a commitment to sending out a newsletter twice a month instead once a month, your sales will go up. Sooo if you are not sending one at all, sign up for a service like Constant Contact and get started today. If you are already doing one (sporatically) make it a priority.

Figure out how to make video more a part of your marketing

Video marketing is going to be huge and just one more way to get your message out there. If you have a well written post and plop a video in there with your voice and some personality, you have made both the search engines AND humans happy! I KNOW that every one of you have watched a video online so you can not say that it is stupid and just ignore it.

So how do you do video? Buy a flip camera today. It is about $150 bucks and super easy to use. If you do not have $150 buck today, get the enhanced videos to do screen captures for $15 a year. If you do not have $15 to make a huge impact on your business, consider doing something else! Harsh? YES. But I see too many small business owners worrying about pennies when they should be worrying about how to dominate their market niche.

Small business marketing goal – If you know how to do video, do one each week or month. Post it to with a link back to your HUB site. Share it on Facebook. If you do not know how to do video, do a search on for how to do Jings and do one today. EVERYONE is intimidated when they do not know how to do something well. Your first videos will be HORRIBLE but as you do more they WILL get better!

Okay this is getting long so I am going to talk about the rest of my small business marketing goal suggestions tomorrow. For now pick just one of these ideas and implement it. Start now.

The Difference Between Not Working and Failing

The difference between something not working and failing is huge and one that most people are not good at recognizing. This has come up a couple of times this week and so I wanted to get it out there, in writing for the world to see!

Not Working or FailingI was talking with my buddy Cyndee the other day and she said “oh I tried that and it is not working”. She then went on to other things that she is trying now AND talked about things that WERE working. The main point is that she NEVER felt like she failed, just tried and something was not working.

My other buddy Deb and I get together and try stuff all the time. We are ridiculous and naive, never assuming that it will not work, just saying that we are going to try and do it. Some of those things ARE working now and some have fallen flat on their faces BUT instead of focusing on the ones that do not work, we choose to look at the ones that did and then figure out how to do more of those things.

I talk to lots of clients who “tried” a website and it “failed” because no one came. They “tried” an email campaign years ago and it “failed” because there were no sales. They “tried” facebook but “failed” because they got no business from it.

I think this may be the most important post I have written this year. There I said it. If you get nothing else from reading this, STOP THINKING YOU FAILED.

I am not going to throw out that old Thomas Edison lightbulb thing or the gagillion other stories about people who overcame adversity to conquer all. This is just a little post about changing how you think about yourself and what you do.

Start trying things today. If they do not work, try something else and do not waste one second on worrying about it. Learn what you can from it, do not do that part of it again and try something else!

If you have success stories of things you have tried that worked, please feel free to post them here. If you have any failures, go back to the beginning and start reading again because you missed the point!

Entrepreneur Marketing Focus and Motivation

Successful entrepreneur marketing is all about focus and motivation! If you are an entrepreneur you better hope your boss is focused and a real task master or you will find yourself veering off track on an almost daily basis.

Entrepreneur Marketing Focus MotivationThat is right, I said that entrepreneurs have a boss. Granted it is you, but you are still master of your own destiny and you better hope that there is a grand plan for success or you are doomed to failure!

I HATE when other people are right and I am wrong. There I said it, I was wrong. Sigh. When I was a Realtor, the gang over at Keller Williams was always saying that you should be working on the twenty percent of your business that is vital to growing and generates income. Gotta say that made me wicked mad as I could not figure out who was going to do that other eighty percent. Well here is my take on the VITAL 20 percent and the not so important other 80 percent!

Step One – Figuring out your ONLY important tasks

If you are an Entrepreneur you better make sure you are the rainmaker for your business. There is no one else who is going to be watching over your sales funnel to keep it stocked or hand you leads. With that in mind, I have to say that my most important function for Marketing Artfully is to make the rain. For me that means speaking, writing blog posts and networking with other humans online and in person. I have benchmarks that I am required to hit each day and week. For example I have to write one blog post a weekday. No excuses.

There are many other ways to generate leads like prospecting phone calls, leads groups, direct mail and email. It does not matter what type of marketing and prospecting you choose, make sure you have a quota and that you are accountable to yourself or someone else to hit that. BELIEVE ME, I know how easy it is to let these things slide, especially when you are busy and successful BUT you have to have a system in place and one that is unbreakable. If you say you are going to make 30 phone calls a day, do that, everyday. If you are going to do email, do not TRY to send out something every week, just do it. Like Yoda says, do or do not there is no try.

Step Two – Do what ever else MUST be done

So in my business I also have clients. They have paid me and I need to do things for them. This is another part of my eighty percent work. NOW, I do not have to physically do everything. There are parts that need my expertise and there are parts that need my supervision. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that you are the only one who can perform all the tasks for your business or you will not be able to grow.

I will give you a great example! There are about 6 pages of line items needed to set up a blog. However, there are only a couple of vital things like doing keyword research and SEOing blog posts so that they show up right on internet. These are tasks that I never give to anyone else. The other 5 pages of line items are MUCH better done by someone who is meticulous and checks off every box.

Look at your business and see what can be handled by someone else (who might even be better at it than you)! The things that do not need to be in your hands are 80 percent things that you can offload.

Step Three – Get rid of the rest

I have to say that there are lots of things that I think I SHOULD do or maybe things that I COULD do in a perfect world. These include tasks that are left over from past processes that are done now (we used to enter everyone into this convoluted CRM system that did not get used fully) or things you like to do (I have seen small business owners require that they review EVERYTHING an employee does – if you are that guy, stop it! Either get a better employee or chill out a bit).

Once you realize that everything on your to-do list will never get done, life gets better. One of the things I do to make myself more focused is to write my to-do list every day. Not just new things but all the old things too. Let me tell you, when you have moved something over for more than 5 days, it is really not all that important or should be outsourced to someone who will actually DO it instead of just thinking about it!

Another thing that helps with focus is to have three things a day that HAVE to be done. You get to pick them BUT nothing else matters until those three things are accomplished today. They say that after 21 days doing something becomes a habit. When I started my one blog post a day rule, writing a blog post was on my three things list. Now that I have been doing it for a while it is a habit and new things have replaced it. Doing this makes that increased effort your new “normal”. If you had told me at the start of my blogging efforts that I had to write a post a day, rain or shine, I would have been overwhelmed. Over the years I have increased the number of posts a week a couple of times until now writing 5 posts a week is normal and easy!

So that is it. Easy-peasy to get your business on track…:)

Small Business Marketing There is no set it and forget it!

This post about small business marketing is a follow up to “There is no one marketing thing that works“. In that post I gave small business marketers the bad news that there is one marketing thing that works like the old yellow page ads used to. Well get ready for more bad news! If you would rather that the world go back to the way it used to be, then this may not be the post for you.

Loudspeaker SalesmanI LOVE the infomercial pitchmen! They are brilliant at separating you from your money with catchy taglines and REALLY strong call to actions. The best tagline I ever heard was “set it and forget it”. This was for a product that cooked an entire meal for you using one appliance and the salesman had the audience chant that over and over during the commercial.

Neato kitchen appliance notwithstanding, there is no set it and forget it for your small business marketing. Buying a website and blog, then ignoring it for a year will not get you top google rankings. Just setting up a business Fan Page will not grow your sales by thousands. BUT worse than that even, learning to use Facebook or Twitter will not carry you over then next 10 years of marketing.

If you had asked about the biggest social networking site a couple of years ago you would have been talking about MySpace, which has now fallen off the face of the earth marketing-wise in favor of Facebook and Twitter. If you built a state-of-the-art website 3 years ago, you may be surprised to find that an affordable blog may be the best way to drive traffic to your sales page.

Nothing stays still and if you are thinking that you can just “set and forget” your small business marketing, you may find yourself losing ground fast!

Do you love your small business

People who meet me or attend one of my training sessions are always blown away by how much I love marketing. Sometimes I get up at 4am because I can not sleep anymore thinking about all of the really neat marketing stuff I get to do that day. Do you love YOUR small business that much? If you do, great, move along with what you were doing before. If not, here are a couple of suggestions about what you can do to get motivated!

falling in love with your small businessGet Small Business Systems In Place

Sometimes I find myself wondering what I am going to do if I get more customers. It is a REALLY high quality problem to have, but if I can’t service them well, what is the point of having them. If you are concerned that you might get too many customers, here are a couple of ways to handle them…

  • Make sure you (and your employees) know what to do from start to finish on each project or sale. I KNOW that taking time to define and write down your systems takes time initially but it will serve your business for years in the future.
  • Know that you are going to be busy for a little bit, but then you can get more help. There is always an awkward stage when you go from the volume of leads and customers you are used to having to having A LOT more. Just know that eventually you can take all that extra money you are making and hire more help!
  • Make sure you are asking your helpers to do what they are good at! If your assistant is good at marketing, don’t ask him to call your accounts payables – those are different skill sets. Find a qualified person to do what they excel at and both of you will be happier!
  • Raise your prices! If you are in a service business and have WAY too much work, raise your prices OR vow to only work with clients you LOVE at the same price you are charging now..:) If you get too many leads or they are not the kind of clients you want to work with, refer them out.

Get more prospects and follow up

  • There is nothing that helps a small business succeed like lots of leads. If a business is struggling, in almost every case I can guess that it is because they do not have enough people to sell to. Marketing fixes this, networking fixes this, cold calling fixes this. Any plan you make that involves doing a specific lead generating task ALL the time (not just when you are slow) will assure that you have lots of prospects to sell to.
  • Brian Tracy says that the most important things to do is prospect, present and FOLLOW UP! Most small business owners have no system for following up with their prospects after the initial contact. This is one area that will make a tremendous difference in your business and which is WAY too involved to cover in a bullet point…:) Get a plan to follow up!!!!

Stop listening to the news and your peers

  • If you are constantly being bombarded with doom and gloom it is easy to think that all business is down. That is NOT so! I don’t watch the scary news but I do read a bunch of blogs by business owners who are excited about their business. They are growing, expanding their lines, hiring more people and basically thriving which helps reinforce to that little voice in my head that it IS possible.
  • I help with a lot of realtor marketing plans and if I could tell you the number of agents I know who think that the market is FABULOUS you would fall off your chair. The good ones are thriving in this market because there is less competition and skill matters more than ever. If they can be optimistic, surely you can!
  • The news says small shops are closing left and right…true but there are also prime locations that were unaffordable before that good store owners can snatch up now!

Really people, if you own your own business and are not thrilled to get up, stop it. Either figure out how to light the fire in your belly again or shut it down. If you are not enthusiastic about what you are selling, how is anyone else going to get fired up to buy from you?

Make 2010 the year to get happy about your business!

Outsourcing is the new black!

So you are considering outsourcing some of your tasks – YAY YOU! Now that the rah-rah is out of the way, what kinds of tasks can you honestly get off of your plate and onto someone elses? One last thing, outsourcing does not always mean sending your work out of the country, just remember that because the standard of living is lower elsewhere, sometimes it just makes sense for certain tasks!

So what do I outsource?

Outsourcing Administrative Help – For any of you that read my blog regularly, you know I use THE Shell Marketing Manager for email database updating work and managing my schedule and clients. Michelle is in the US and very selective about the clients she will take so I am assured that my clients will be handled with the utmost care. She also does phone calling for me – after having had a bad experience previously, I am VERY careful about who I give my database list to call on my behalf!

Outsourcing general admin help that can be done not on site, I generally check first at oDesk . They offer all kinds of support and manage the workers so that you can be sure that you are getting work for the time you paid for! They are good for non-client contact work like submitting my websites to places, posting content to my niche blogs, basic admin tasks AND most don’t need to be hand held through the process because oDesk tests them first…:)

Outsourcing setting up my speaking events – I let Amber from Your Marketing Voice (online and offline networking) handle advertising my Denver area monthly internet marketing training events. She handles setting up events in Facebook, finding a place, answering attendee questions and so much more. Great speakers are not necessarily good admin people – don’t let people fall through the cracks just because you don’t follow up!!!

Outsourcing Blog Writing – I NEVER let anyone write for me for Marketing Artfully as this is my main blog, that having been said, I do hire writers to write articles, blog posts and free website content for some of my other web 2.0 properties. For cheap writing I use and have been VERY happy with the results. I have to tweek it some to make it great but it is SO much easier to edit than to have to come up ideas from a blank screen. For content that I can just plop in there without having to worry I use a couple of different US based copywriters who I like very much!

There are people I outsource my technical problems, my accounting and also people I outsource my cooking too (LOVE that Colorado Home Chef..:) ANYTHING you do not like, have time for or do not know how to do is fair game! Find someone to help and get going working on what you ARE good at AND if the first one doesn’t work out, do not give up – try again!!!

There are affiliate links in this post that if clicked will result in me getting a little bit of money. If you would like to avoid giving me a little bit of money, type in the URLs manually…:)

Email Marketing – Hiding your list

Super secret email newslettersI like email marketing as much as the next gal! I have numerous lists of people who have subscribed to receive my message and I email them twice a month with great marketing information in my newsletter. Do you know something funny I noticed recently? You can’t subscribe to my “real” email newsletter! HA!

Over time I have noticed that people who signed up online to receive my newsletter unsubscribed faster than everyone else. They sent me nasty emails and said “take me off your list” – just so you know, I send out about 1,200 emails and get only one or two unsubscribers per mailing so it is not a common occurrence to me. And it makes me sad. I spend a A LOT of time writing my newsletters and make sure to only send out great information so when someone sends me a mean email it really does hurt my feelings.

So how do I get new people on my list you ask? I meet them! I go to networking and ask them very politely if they mind if I send them out a marketing newsletter twice a month. BRILLIANT! I also teach them. I teach classes on marketing and ask THOSE people if they would like to hear from me too!!!

Sometimes I “meet” fun people online who I don’t really know but it feels like I do – I ask and add them too!

So how do you get on my super cool, very informative small business marketing email list? Wouldn’t you like to know!

PS – I have been working really hard on my membership site and may be a little punch drunk BUT I had SO much fun writing this I don’t care!!!! Happy New Year…:)

Big Changes Coming!

Hi All – Just wanted to let you know that are some BIG (exciting) changes coming soon to Marketing Artfully in the Small Business Internet Marketing, Realtor Marketing and General Marketing Info Arenas!!!

Here are just a few of the things we are going to be doing:

Creating a membership site where we can keep all of the great information that we produce like videos, teleseminars and content all in one place. YAY! OF COURSE, some will be FREE and some will be paid but all will be the same high quality info that we always give!!!! Just a note, if you were thinking about getting the social networking videos DO IT NOW! The price is just $24.97 for lifetime access and that will be the very first thing that gets updated in the new membership site SOOO you can get your social networking videos now before the price jumps to $47 on January 1st!!!

Changing around how Marketing Artfully is set up! I think that I will have to go back to the old layout so people can see the membership login area. I don’t know if you noticed but I added a search the site feature so you can find exactly what you are looking for easily from the hundreds of posts.

Telling you guys more and more specific information about internet marketing, keyword research and blogs. Some of you have been with me a LONG time and I know that you are not newbies anymore. For the new year I am going to be breaking out some tougher marketing concepts and pairing those with webinars and teleseminars!

Anyways – hope you all have a great Christmas (or similar fun holiday) and I will see you next week!

PS – If you have any burning requests for information, specialized seminars or how you like to buy stuff (one time fees or subscriptions), speak now or forever hold your peace!!!

Small Business Marketing – Success Is HARD!

When you think about small business marketing success, there is no magic bullet! I am sorry to be the one to tell you that, but I sick of hearing about “get rich quick” schemes.

I work in the trenches everyday with small business owners and they are busting their humps to succeed. They are learning new skills, networking online and in person, attending tradeshows and training events. They try and fail AND try and succeed!

Some people who make me proud:

  1. Deborah Ward – My real estate buddy who does stuff that I tell her do and never asks why. We are in the process of taking over the St. Petersburg Real Estate and Florida Foreclosures market.
  2. Cyndee Haydon - Cyndee is a Clearwater Realtor who has been working like a demon for 4+ years and now is reaping the rewards.
  3. Mary Dado - Mary and I work together to make blogs for small business owners but her company writes all kinds of business writing. She is working her tail off networking and following up. I am awed by her strength!
  4. Tara Becker – Tara has a great Denver Area Networking group. She is great at talking to people face to face and has grown an 8 meeting a month group. She is NOT a whiz at online marketing but she is learning and slogging through it.
  5. Kirsten McKay Smith – Kirsten of Passion Parties is running hard and has set goals that she is working towards. She is one of the few people I know who have as many things on her plate at one time as I do and I am so glad she is in my High D mastermind!!!
  6. Lori CrawfordTrinity Realtor, Lori Crawford is a great marketer. She is the only person I know who gets a lead EVERY time she sends her newsletter. Into every life some sanity must fall and Lori shows me what professionalism looks like.

I am sure that there are MANY MANY people who I missed but those are the ones that came to mind today. WHATEVER you marketing style is, take a page from one of these gals and JUST DO IT! Start a big audacious goal today, knowing that it will be hard but DO IT ANYWAYS!


Attention – Are you paying attention to what matters?

Someone wise told me a couple of years ago that I should pay attention to what matters. As small business owners and entrepreneurs that is REALLY important on SO many levels! If you work from home, like I do, that line can blur and you may work too much or too little. You can jump around from project to project, never settling on one thing and finishing it. You can be hyper focused and neglect your family and friends or can “take time off” while still working in reality.

Well this week I focused – I took 5 days off! Sort of, well mostly, just popped in to check a few emails and did some keyword research but mostly spent time with my Dad in New York. It was great to be in the now and clear my head so that I can come back stronger than ever! It is really true that if you are never off you can never be on.

What are you going to focus on this week?

  • Are you going to make a concrete business plan to guide the second half of this year?
  • Are you going to make a budget for your business, setting revenue goals and making every expense accountable?
  • Are you going to pick one project and follow it from start to finish?
  • OR are you going to take a whole day off? No cheating, spend it with family, friends, or yourself doing exactly what you want. Do not answer your phone. Do not check your emails. I can guarantee that your business will not crumble, nor will the world come crashing to the ground!

This week I am going to be hyper focused on getting a niche started for small business owners AND finishing tasks that need to be done for our new bloggers. I am going to schedule time to work and time to play. I am going to make a budget (I hate that one) and I am going to have a GREAT week.

Disclosure: I wound up taking out doggies, chatting up my husband and got a cup of coffee while writing this…:) Don’t forget, you can get off track, just make sure to put it right back on the the rails when you do!

How To Pick New Small Business Opportunities

This month’s second small business marketing newsletter was about having multiple streams of income, which got me thinking about how we should choose those streams for ourselves. I have a confession to make…I am a huge proponent of multiple streams of income and I have an entrepreneurial spirit so I spend lots of time considering new things I COULD do to increase my business opportunities. This post is about what I (and you) SHOULD do to maximize my time and effort and minimize pain!

John Jonas gave the best description I ever heard about how to pick what to do. He said you should never get more than one step away from what you do now or more than one step away from the kind of customer you serve now when deciding new things to try.

Here is my one step approach for Marketing Artfully. The three main things I do for my business are blogs, information products and speaking. Because information products often have affiliate programs, starting my own or joining someone else’s is a good fit for me and makes sense to add to my resource page. Also, doing internet masterminds involves speaking (which is one of my things) so it is okay also.

ma_blocksSome other things for me that would be a good fit are things that provide services to entrepreneurs and small business owners, social networking items and other business related items.

Now here comes the brilliant part – when I get a great idea of something to do that is NOT one step away, I can drop it quickly. Instead of spending time and energy on researching something (or more likely diving into something) that will not help my business, I can easily determine if it is a good fit and, if not, move on!

This system works for ANY business! My buddy Deb Ward of Deborah Ward and Associates is a realtor in the Tampa Bay area. You can see from her blocks that there are some things that match well with her business model and some that don’t. She does coaching, sells real estate and owns a team of realtors. Getting referrals and owning shares in a title company are great for her, she could also add speaking to realtors easily because of her coaching focus. BUT, adding non-real estate related items would dilute her message and efforts.

dwa_blocksSo, to all you entrepreneurs out there considering new ventures…make sure that you are checking your blocks and keeping on track for success!!

Marketing in Colorado! How to get started

So I have finally arrived in my new home and will be up and running on Monday. I thought that some of you might like to know what it is like to do (another) start-up on an existing company. 

First off I am going to make contact with humans!

  • Visit local real estate offices and offer to teach classes (I love teaching and miss it A LOT)
  • Check for local meetings I can attend – I will be focusing on small business related meetups. It is always a little scary to go to something new BUT it is SO much easier now that you know you will be welcome…:)
  • I am starting an internet marketing mastermind in conjunction with here in Colorado (probably somewhere between Denver and Boulder to start). I will be working with Chris ( to get this going over the next few weeks!

 So what could you do this week to meet more new people? It is fun and could lead to more business!!!

Small Business Solutions – Obstacle Illusions

When I think of small business marketing solutions like our Thrive Client Contact Program, I am reminded that if you do not implement your technology it is worthless! I read the other day that a good open rate for free email newsletters is 30% and that a good open rate for PAID email newsletters is 50%. HALF OF THE PEOPLE who pay are not even opening the message!!

So what are Obstacle Illusions? I think, as humans, we often look for ways NOT to do something rather than just buckling down and getting to it. Look at April 15th – until legally FORCED to submit their taxes, most Americans will wait and send them in at the last possible moment (some even wait until 11:59pm). 

When it comes to Marketing I see LOTS of obstacle illusions…

Rule: You must send out your direct mail piece on Thursday. It seems to me that some people think that their marketing message will die a horrible unproductive death if it is not going out on Thursday. I can tell you that I have sent out direct mail pieces every day of the week and gotten great results – mostly better than anyone else because I actually sent something. If you have to send out your message on Thursday and you don’t get it out, you have just delayed your mailing a week. Then it is Thanksgiving so you can’t set out your message the next Thursday. Then the last week of November is a bad time to send out your message. Then you want to be poised to send your message the EXACT right time before Christmas but that doesn’t fall on Thursday this year….arggggggggggg! In the meantime, I have sent out 3 imperfectly timed messages and gotten more clients!!!

Another thing I see a lot is that their small business marketing database is not ready yet. It is not perfect. Some people don’t have emails. Some people don’t have direct mail addresses. The categories have been defined yet. I spoke with an agent yesterday who hasn’t sent an email yet because he isn’t ready. READY FOR WHAT? Cut and paste the Thrive info into an email and send it!!! Do it half-way but DO IT. 

If you are waiting for something to be perfect, I have a newsflash – it will never be perfect! Send out a message with a typo and be okay with it – I can guarantee that one of your readers will CALL YOU and tell you there was a typo. Talk to that person and make a sale!

Thanks to Dave Jenks (of Millionaire Real Estate Agent fame) who wrote a post about how it has to get worse before it gets better which made me think of this great idea!!!

Airports, Snow Boots and Your Small Business Marketing Message

I love small business marketing and I love my husband who has moved to Denver for a job transfer. So I have been flying back and forth to the Denver Airport to visit him and try and find a house to buy in the Denver area (we have an offer in – again – so fingers crossed people). What I noticed about the weather here compared to Clearwater Florida, where I am moving from, is that it is C-O-L-D. The people are generally nicer and they have snow boots.

I also noticed that real estate in Colorado is also different from real estate in Florida. They get a different commission than I am used to, they have fewer listings than agents carry in Florida and they have snow boots on when they show houses.

So what does this have to do with marketing you ask? We KNOW real estate is local but so is marketing! If you are in Cleveland, which is a very depressed area right now, you may have to market WAY harder in order to get the same results you got in the past. You may have to do more face-to-face sales pitches to close a client. If you are in Denver, where they say the economy is more solid, you can focus on gaining market share. Do LOTS of marketing to take over the market before the national economy rebounds!!!

While it is not fair that you have to work harder in Cleveland than Denver, make sure you match your efforts to your expected results, not just what worked in the past!

and don’t forget to wear your snow boots!

Seth Godin – 2 Minutes Of Wisdom

Sunday morning. Coffee and reading a couple of blogs – BAM! I was just “hanging out” online and suddenly had GREAT inspiration in under 2 minutes!

Andrew Warner over at Mashable interviewed Seth Godin for a couple of minutes and gave me a great way to start my day of business building! Here’s my take on a couple of the points that came out of the interview..

Less Competition – I was thinking about this the other day. The small business owners that we work with are concerned about all the companies that are failing. Realtors are looking around and seeing their brethren dropping like flies and wondering if this is the time to drop out too. OH MY GOSH – this is SO the time to dive in and take market share! You are competing with fewer like businesses, you can make a slight tweek in your business and make huge differences! Don’t be afraid – be aggressive!

Build Value – It is amazing to me that in this day and age, after YEARS of hearing about Permission Marketing and being “customer-centric” the way that most businesses market. They are still sending out advertisements telling how great their product is and why you should drop everything, reach into your wallet and give them your money. They are NOT using relationships. They are not trying to build a business based on trust and sharing and providing true value for money. 

Focus – Seth’s last point was to be disciplined about what you are building. Deliver what you promise. Provide more than you promise. Work within your budget. I think we need to add to this that you HAVE to know what your business is doing. This seems simple but most business owners do not know what the main goal for their business is – figure it out! 

Thanks Seth and Andrew for starting my business building day off with a bang!

Focus Schmocus – How to get things done!

You have a million things you HAVE to do TODAY. You need to finish your paperwork, call some clients, send a newsletter, read an article, do some more paperwork, call that icky client, start your taxes, arggg!

I can tell you that there are probably only two or three things that you HAVE to do today to grow your business, sell something or get a new prospect. Those are the only things you HAVE to do today! (If you owe money to the IRS you may HAVE to talk to them today – you have my permission!)

So if you only have a few things you HAVE to do, you must WANT to do all that other busy work you have set up for yourself, right? We humans are funny creatures, we like to keep busy, to feel needed, to do important work. If we have lots to do we can justify to ourselves not getting some vital things done.

That ends today people! Today you need to figure out the top 3 things that you need to do for your business and EVERY day, before you do anything else, those things have to be done!

For my business, my top three things are:

  1. Lead generating – writing blog posts, attending mastermind sessions, writing articles, emailing prospects
  2. Strategic planning – getting the systems in place so that when opportunity knocks I am ready
  3. Writing Ebooks or speaking in person – this is my actual physical work!

If you are a realtor, yours may look like this:

  • Lead generating – holding open houses, blogging about a neighborhood, sending out emails to your database, sending a newsletter, calling your prospects or clients and asking for referrals, attending network events
  • Strategic planning – organizing your calendar, targeting neighborhoods or niches, working on your database, setting up automatic emails to your prospects
  • Actual Realtor Work – taking listings, signing buyer broker agreements, showing houses, servicing your listings, writing contracts, negotiating contracts, and attending closings

Doing anything other than those things is a waste of your valuable time! You need to make sure that something from those lists is on your calendar every day!

Write these things out and hang them on the wall. Anytime something comes in that seems urgent, hold it up to your list and see if it something you HAVE to do…you may be surprised how much you have been doing that is unnecessary busywork that you just have a habit of doing.

Small Business Advice – Doing what you love AND…other stuff

Small Business Advice – Anyone who knows me well knows I LOVE talking about marketing, reading about marketing, teaching marketing classes, blah, blah, blah. On the weekends I frequently spend time researching new marketing ideas, planning for new projects and doing lots of other TOTALLY fun things. This weekend I ALSO spent 7 hours fixing my blogs, optimizing them for SEO, picking keywords, etc. I hate doing that! A friend called me during hour 7 and asked what was wrong, I sounded that glum!

I also spent 6 hours this weekend working on a design project for a great client ( The owner is a businessman and marketer who is commited to executing a comprehensive marketing plan for 2009 – that makes me SO happy! BUT he needs design help first, so I am doing that for him as part of the whole plan. That is not my favorite part, but it is something that must be done in order for him to succeed.

So what does that have to do with you? You are a Realtor, or retail store owner, or a craftsman, or a Mary Kay Lady. Well…I am sure that you picked your profession because you love part of it. I know Realtors who have battled through 2 years of hardship with no end in sight, just because they love helping people and selling real estate. I know beauty consultants who like to make people feel good about themselves by making them pretty.

EVERY small business owner (and employee) has stuff the don’t like to do. Stuff that they put off as long as humanly possible before starting and then only do scratching and clawing through each step with horror and gloom. What if you did those things first? Got them out of the way sooner rather than later? OR What if you found someone else to do it instead? Kept the parts of the business that you like and ditch the rest!

Small Businesses – Doing What You Believe In!

So I have been able to talk to a BUNCH of new people lately (Hi Emily of Mind and Body Enrichment and Jacksonville Realtors!!!) lately. I have heard that small business owners are getting ready for a GREAT new year. I have heard that they are PASSIONATE about servicing their customers well AND they are ready to take care of their clients EVEN better. I have heard that they are EXCITED about growing their business and helping even more people have great lives!

Every small business owner feels that they are not doing enough for their customers. They have missed following up on a lead. They have not done every single thing that they could ever possibly do for their clients. They have missed a call or an email. They have not prospected enough, they have not done enough trade shows, open houses, seminars, emails, postcards, etc.

What they have done is BELIEVE in their businesses and their customers! They have tried very hard to do a GREAT job in a market that tells them EVERY day that the sky is falling!

If you are a small business owner you are doing a good job (I know – no one ever tells you that, so I am telling you right now!) You are doing the best that you can, with what you know how to do, with the time that you have. 

Keep it up and continue to do what you believe in! I realized lately that I believe in a lot of things that I am proud of:

  • You SHOULD buy American (when possible)
  • I like mom and pop stores
  • I respect businesses that have customer service centers in America (I grew up in Western Pennsylvania – I buy American cars, I try not to shop at Walmart, I think we should encourage Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners)
  • I AM proud that I am working with people who are excited about their small businesses

What is your marketing plan?

So I am teaching a mega workshop this week on how to use your marketing materials and develop your marketing plan. It has been VERY eye opening for me and I wish I could attend it rather than teaching it! I don’t have a marketing plan for my businesses….sigh.

The cool thing about being a student of marketing is that I DO have a lot of ideas about things to do and I do implement them – just not in a cohesive, well thought out manner. It is more of a ready, fire, aim approach.

Now I know what you are thinking, who has time to aim? Who has time to sit down and review what their goals are, what steps are the best to take to get there, how much money it will take to get from here to there and what you need to do each day to make that goal a reality.

Well if you want to be in business long, hopefully you will make the time!

In the tough economic and cultural times we face, every dollar and minute will have to account for itself. If you are a small business owner you should be setting goals for attaining new business, servicing the business you have and making the most of your limited marketing dollars.

I TRULY believe that through all sectors of business we will be seeing closings. What does that mean to us as small business marketers? OPPORTUNITY! Opportunity to take over market share. Opportunity to provide services that were not needed during booming times AND opportunities to charge more for specialized services. 

My goal for today is to get the marketing plan worksheet finalized…and filled out!

You have a GREAT IDEA – So What?

I have LOTS of ideas! I spend about 20 hours a week reading different articles, magazines, websites, blogs. I attend masterminds and classes. I reach out (deliberately) to new people who do things differently than I do and try to understand what makes those things work.

So how many ideas do I implement a week? Not as many as I would like!

I think that I am above the curve but nowhere near where I would like to be – sigh. So many great ideas, so little time. So what should we do to make more use of our good ideas?

  1. Write them down! I cannot tell you how often I have had a flash of pure brilliance, thought out an entire business and marketing plan, figured out how I was going to spend the gagillions of dollars it would make me AND THEN FORGOTTEN IT ALL! Because it was SO brilliant, I figured that I would remember it. I would be able to hold all of the pieces in my head and then…life happened. The toilet broke, the car needed oil, the dog had to be let out – whatever I had thought about left me. Now don’t get me wrong, I still had the concept, but all the goodies that I had with my intial concept slithered away. Now I am stuck with a GREAT IDEA that I have to think really hard about. It seems less fun. I am trying to recreate rather than innovate. 
  2. Prioritize – So now you are writing your great ideas down! YAY! Darn it, you have about 30 and your list keeps getting longer. You are starting to get overwhelmed with the amount of work that these ideas will take. STOP! You cannot do all of your great ideas at once. Someday when you are fabulously wealthy and have an assistant and your assistant has an assistant you will be able to do nothing all day but follow your whims, but right now you will have to limit the amount of things you have time for! Pick two things a week that will make a difference to your business and make sure you do those two things! Write them on the top of your daily planner pages and don’t do anything else extra until those are done. Some will be able to happen within the week and some will be ongoing. If they go over the week timeline, assess at the end of the week if they are still one of the two things that will make an impact on their business and see if they should stay on the list.
  3. Make Friends – Now that you have a plan for your two things, what do you do with your leftover ideas? Should they shrivel and die just because you are not able to get to them? NO! Let them free to help the world be a better place!!! Okay, I know I am out of control here, I will reign it in a little…:) There are some things you can do to keep those ideas going – share them, get help, work together. If it is a great idea that you will never use but you know someone who would benefit from hearing it, tell them! If it is a great idea that you would like to use but will NEVER have time to research and develop, share it with a friend who can help with the legwork and you both can benefit! If it is an even bigger idea than that?!?!?!?! Work together with a group of people who can share your vision and chunk out pieces. THEY can put part of it on their two things to do list and the idea can keep moving forward if you all work together!
If you are reading this far you probably have some ideas, you are probably someone who is forward thinking, are curious and interesting (I know that anyways since you read my blog…:)  So what is the Super Secret to making the most of your great ideas? DO SOMETHING! START TODAY! If you are new to the idea game start writing them down. If you are writing them down, pick two to think about. If you are focused on one or two ideas, time block to make sure that you are able to work on them. 
I know you are busy, I know that you have a family, job, house, pet, in-laws, etc. that need your time and energy. I know you are already working as hard as you can possibly work and that if you add 15 minutes more to your day you will DIE! Really? Are you sure you don’t have 15 minutes a day to start. 15 PLANNED MINUTES! Just think, that is over an hour a week that you were not working on your ideas before! If you get going I can GUARENTEE that you will want to do more and more. If it really is a good idea it will HELP your business and you will be even more successful than you are today!!!!

B2B or B2C – What great companies like Listingbook and Keller Williams are doing right (and wrong)

In this day and age, the line between Business To Business (B2B) and Business To Consumer (B2C) has gotten blurred. Many consumers are small business owners (like realtors) and all companies are made up of consumers. The internet has leveled the playing field for many but has also allowed us to get complacent about making sure we know our focus.

Business to business is generally based on the model that the good of the many outweighs the good of the few (my last star trek quote I promise!). With this model you try and make/market you product so that it appeals to most types of businesses. Business to consumer is the good of the few – they want to know what is in it for them and do not care about anything your product has that does not relate to their world view.

Does that mean that we have to develop a product for each and every one of those people. That we need to limit our services to a niche that we have chosen and smite everyone that comes along who does not fit into that niche – NO!

What we need to do is market to those different groups differently. The nice thing about this is that it basically costs thought, paper and time. No big development budget, just lots of brain cells.

Let’s look at Listingbook first (I contract with them to teach – I did this for free before I came on board because I SO believed in the product). They already have a niche, providing MLS internet services to realtors for their clients.

They also have a problem. One of the focuses of their niche is B2B, contracting with MLSs to use their data and then working at the broker level to provide additional value added services at an office level. Their other focus is B2C (realtors are consumers at this point rather than businesses).

What works for B2B is hard to extrapolate to the individual agent level. BUT WAIT! They can’t be everything to everyone you say, they have to build something that will have enough bells and whistles to sell to the MLSs and the brokers you say. This is where the brain cells and marketing come in!

Realtors have problems to solve. How to get more buyers, how to get more sellers, how to keep those sellers happy over a long sales cycle, how to market themselves while still conducting business. Here is the crazy thing – they all think they are unique. They all want to know what is in it for them and making it personal is a niche thing that is relatively easy to solve.

Instead of trying to market to all the different agents, segment them into groups and only show them the features of the product that are relevent to their lives and businesses. Have a class for buyers agents, have a class for sellers agents, have a class showing how to use the product for FSBOs and Expireds, for investors, for lead generating.

BUT WAIT AGAIN! Listingbook does more than that you say, it can revolutionize your whole business you say. Well CONSUMERS don’t want revolution. They want solutions – to their problems!

Now let’s take a peek at Keller Williams (another great company – I am an agent there). They also have a B2B level where they are working with business owners who have market centers (offices) and team leaders (managers). Their consumers are also realtors. What I think they do particularly well is rely on user generated content to reach their customers. The market centers allow KW agents to teach classes and conduct training in their specialty (I teach marketing, John Dietz teaches FSBOs, etc.). They also provide support on a micro level by having the team leaders coach the agents individually.

What they do have is a problem with perception. There is a perception in the minds of non-KW agents that there is A LOT of unsolicited micro managing and that they HAVE to go to classes. What KW doesn’t understandd is how to frame their message so that it is not a sales pitch for KW but a solution for how to do business in the information age of real estate.

Homebuyers and Sellers need something different from realtors today. They HAVE access to the MLS for the most part. The information is there for them and they are using it freely. What realtors bring to the table is knowledge and experience and that is the message that KW helps their agents to get out to the public through training, coaching and systems.

So Realtors, now is my time to take a shot at you! Are you aware of what your focus is? Are you B2B or B2C. Are you both? Could you be both?

In today’s market there are scads of opportunity to be B2B. Banks need help selling their inventory through REO sales. That is a message that you could send. Your vendors are hurting too, could you work with them to cross sell to your databases? Handymen know people who are getting ready to move, bug guys know people who need a bigger house, and banks know who has gotten a home loan approval.

On the B2C front, are you framing your message to “what’s in it for them?”. Are you talking to niches like sellers, buyers, first timers, baby boomers, dog owners, condo dwellers and water lovers? Are you saying it in a way that makes sense to you OR are you saying it in a way that appeals to them? You do not have to change your services, just frame them in a way that will provide a message that consumers can understand and appreciate.

Tin Cup – When do you give up?

So I LOVE the movie Tin Cup with Kevin Costner! It is a great analogy for life – know when you should quit, or at least try something else.

Basically the plot is a guy who is trying to qualify for the professional golf tour who has sabotaged himself throughtout his career and who gets his final chance at the last hole of the US Open. He could lay up or try for the green. He chooses to try, and try and try – rather than going for the safe shot.

Well this week I “tin cupped”. I have written a great ebook on  branding and tried to upload a post that offered the book for free with a sign up form. Because of how my database works, the form “blows up” the wordpress form and I only  get one chance to upload it with no changes. The first time I tried it was a total debacle. The second time I forgot to add catagories, the third time, I forget what happened but by this time I was just flailing away at it!

Luckily I had a function to attend and had to stop posting and deleting. The problem is that each time I post, my loyal email readers get a copy so at that point they were on email 3 with no actual post in sight! This is a great way to drive away your readers and I should have stopped after 1 and gone to plan B which is to post a webpage which bothers no one!

You NEED to know when you are fustrastrated and not being productive and stop. Step away from the computer and try another time. Stop making an ass of yourself and do something else until you can come back with a clear (and productive head).

Basically, what I am I am saying is sorry to my email readers and for the rest of you, there will be a great ebook soon BUT until I can post the link without imploding personally I am taking a break!

Whew – How do you work ON your business when you are IN your business?!?!

Hi, my name is Tara and I am a chronic worker! I work on weekends, evenings and even sometimes during business hours. I fret when I am not working for my clients. I fret when I am not working for me too!

 I hear all the time that you should spend time working ON your business (lead generating, developing marketing materials, doing your accounting, doing your business plan, networking, researching new products, etc.) It is REALLY easy to say and not so easy to do!

Who out there spends as much time on their “stuff” as they should – not me for sure. The worst part is that I KNOW that lead generating and marketing work – it is what I do for other people!

SO…today I am making a stand. I am telling me what to do! I am going to time block for my business! (I know, I can hear the groans from here people, who has time to work on their business?!?!?!) But if I never try I will surely fail!

I need to do my case studies page – it WILL be done (mostly) by Thursday. THIS Thursday, not some stray and random Thursday in the future.

What do you need to do for your business. What is the one thing that would make the most difference to your lead production, your productivity or even just your quality of life? Can it be done by Thursday?!?!?! Make it so!

Time Management – As In Where Does It Go?

When you think of all that you have to do, what feeling comes to mind?

A. Bliss – you love to be busy and have just enough to do to get through the day and leave at 5:00 OR
B. Horror – this cannot be your life, your todo list is longer than a garden hose and there is NO WAY you are EVER going to get everything done

I have a feeling most of us are somewhere in between! These are the problems with time as I see it – when you have lots of time you are bored and when you have none you are grouchy. I have developed a handy dandy survey for you to fill out so that we can all see where we are timewise – BUT first I will give you my opinions so that the survey comes out the way I want…JUST KIDDING!


Should we do the “I answer calls from 11-12 and 3-4″ thing OR should you answer them as you go? I am not so great at returning calls and so I got Phone Tag. It answers the phone for me and then sends an email with the content! I can then call back the people who need immediate help right away and the others later on when I have time. It is a beautiful thing!


Emails – I keep hearing that I should check my emails once or twice a day, first at 11:00 AM and then at 4:00PM. I will tell you, in all sincerity, that if I wait until 11:00 to check my email I will be spending until 4:00 answering them and cleaning up the thousands of spams that will have accumulated.

My thoughts – I do check my email a lot throughout the day. Mostly I can fire off a 5 second response and check it off on my todo list as a WIN for me. BUT I also get sucked into reading stuff when I should be working. Mini Solution – I am seeing all the things I delete automatically or always send to a folder without reading and setting up filters. PS – If you email me dear readers and do receive a response you may be stuck in folder purgatory!


I AM NOT A SECRETARY! I am working my tail off to get to the point where I can hire a secretary. In the meantime I am spending HOURS a day doing data entry and busy work. I am sad. Maybe I will check out a virtual assistant. Excuse me, I have to go add a notation to my database and then commit hari kari!!!


I am GREAT at this and love making calls – okay here is the truth, I hate making calls but LOVE coming up with ways to see people face to face! I like sending out emails and mailers. I attended social events and organize master minds. I have lots of friends and do okay for myself BUT I AM calling more and getting more business!


This is a big one. Sometimes it seems like doing a bunch of the small unimportant things first will make you feel productive. Brian Tracy tells us to Eat the Frog – i.e. do the worst thing first and then all the rest will seem easier. I am trying to focus on my most important tasks and then letting the rest come out where they may!

SURVEY – I have developed a 5 questions survey to see where we are all having trouble – please take the minute and a half to fill it out so we can all know how messed up you are (just kidding, results are NOT linked to any one person!!!)

Click Here to take survey

Mindset – The Company You Keep

So I was hanging out in the hall the other day and I came upon a Realtor from another company. In the course of about 1 minute he told me the market was terrible, that my business would tank and that no one was spending any money or wanted any help. He told me my brokerage of choice was a rip-off and that he was glad that he got to keep more of his commission. He said that he was happy now – WOW I would hate to see if he was UNHAPPY!

Our office is weird, we are generally a happy (competitive) bunch. We run hard and play hard. We don’t fight with each other and try to be polite to everyone. When I went on tour to South Florida I got to meet a bunch of agents who were all looking for some great ideas on what to do in a hard market.

It is REALLY easy to get down with the gas prices, the economy, the slow housing market (I am sure I am missing a few). It is really easy to spend your time worrying about what is wrong. It is easy to let someone “throw up” negative garbage all over you and lose half a day to being depressed.

Buck up little campers – everything is not all doom and gloom! This is the time to scoop up market share! The segment of the market you get now you will NEVER have to give back! Your competitors have stopped trying and are waiting for things to get better before they make any moves – take their customers!

If you start a marketing campaign now you WILL see results. If you get systems in place to increase your lead generation and do your follow-ups you WILL see results.

I have heard from 3 agents this week that they sent out an email to their database and got leads! Not sales but LEADS. The more leads you get, the more opportunities you havve to work with clients, the more opportunities you have the more sales you will make! You can also be more choosy when you have lots of leads! Cherry – pick the clients you like to work with and refer the other ones out!

Surfing Around – Should I Get A Life?

So I was having breakfast with some of my favorite internet friends yesterday and we got to talking about how much time it takes to do “stuff” online. Some of us have multiple sites. Some of us have multiple areas of interest and expertise. And some of us HAVE to get a life!

I was teaching a class this week so I started dinking around with Active Rain (a realtor and associated industry blog site). They have points for doing things like posting, updating your profile, etc. and I got hooked on maxing out my points.

I ALWAYS read Seth Godin’s Blog, I check my emails and see who has sent me something, I look at my site to see who from MyBlogLog has visited, I check my Analytics to see how much I spent on AdWords and to see if anyone came to read my blog yesterday. I visit a couple of my favorite blogs and see if some of my second tier blogs have a great headline I should check out. I post on my blog. I email people. I am considering getting Phone Tag because my friend Brian P said it revolutionized his life. I check my third tier blogs (some of you have these too – I am just not afraid to admit it publicly!)

My husband says I should get a life. Yesterday I cleaned the house – that is lifelike. Today I am going to a ballgame with my internet and realtor friends – that is a life (he doesn’t consider that a REAL life since he has to go too and hear about marketing and real estate!). I play softball once a week. So there! I spend about 6 hours a week having a life!

The rest of the time I am dinking around…sigh…I will try harder!

PS – If any of you do stuff in the real world that is fun share here so we can ALL get a life!

A great marketing letter?

I know that I talk a lot about the importance of having great content in your marketing materials. I know that I talk to you about citing legitimate references when quoting ideas and statistics. I know I talk to you about a call to action. BUT (and it is a HUGE but), none of that matters if your message is a BIG FAT LIE!

I got a letter today from a man in Hawii who I don’t know. It said I could make $250.000 (the punctuation is just like it is in the letter) in weeks!!! It says that Oprah Winfrey and ABC’s investigation Team 20/20 prove it can be done. It says I can invest $6 and make $800,000 …Guarenteed!! It gave me just a few tips to pass along (“when you handle a lot of letters an electronic letter opener is great”, “be smart in handling your money, especially if you’ve never had this much before”). And there WAS a call to action – Immediately send $1.00 to each of of the six people on the list.

I guess I just want to clarify my position. If you provide a GREAT service, tell people. If you can cite statistics that are better than your competition DO THAT. If you want someone to hire you, put a button on your site. BUT if you are trying to defraud people or lie, cut it out! Make a great product, provide excellent service, go above and beyond. I GUARANTEE you will make more money doing that than you ever will by sending 6 bucks to people you don’t know!

Goal Setting – Where is the finish line?

I have found out lately that not having goals means you never get to win! Imagine if 100 people started a foot race and there was no finish line. Somewhere along the way the people who were not dedicated or who hadn’t trained well would stop. Then the people without the right equipment would start to fall apart. Finally you would have the two people who were willing to sacrifice almost everything to win and one of those would eventually take one more step than the other and “win”. No crowds cheering (no one knew where the end would come) , maybe a feeling of beating that one other runner, but no true victory. Someone else collapsed before you did – not a glorious testament to your capabilities.

Now imagine that same race, 26 miles long, thousands of trained runners competing to see who is the best. Same start…Somewhere along the way the people who were not dedicated or who hadn’t trained well would stop. Then the people without the right equipment would start to fall apart. Then there would be FANTASTIC finish where the people who had trained the best and set the goal of winning would all compete for the coveted prize of “winner of the nyc marathon”.

Be one of those winners! Set some goals. If you need to work up to it, set little goals for just this week. Get your sales presentation memorized. Make a fantastic postcard you can use on your toughest customers. Figure out what your niche should be. Finish reading the E Myth Revisited. THEN set a longer goal for the month. Develop your marketing plan. Get two new customers. Send your postcards out or take them door to door. Here it comes…THEN set a goal for the year! Break it down into 12 parts so that you can manage each piece. Review it monthly to make sure you are on track and don’t need to tweak it a bit. 

This week I am going to……..still thinking…….write down my lifetime goals, work with clients and revise my sales presentation. Baby steps!

Imagining the world from 1 idea!

So I have just started talking to my new internet friend Steven from The universe connected us just when he was trying to figure out how to successfully market his artwork and I was looking for people who wanted to learn how to choose a niche and market themselves!

While “talking” with him, I casually threw out a list of things that make up my perfect world. I thought that I should share them so that you will know where I am coming from and where I am going! More than anything it is a way for me to talk to myself and finalize my vision.

My perfect world involves traveling, speaking, learning and teaching others about marketing, spending time with my family and meeting interesting people.

Traveling – This is a weird one for me, I get really stressed about packing but once I am on the road I eager to find out what is going to come next. It seems like I learn more about the world and myself when I am away from all that is familiar and have time to think without the day to day stuff crowding in. My husband is photographer and I love to see the world through his photos. Traveling would give us new things to look at!

Speaking – I have spent a couple of days with a friend who shares my love for speaking. We joked about the fact that if we can get 5 people in a room to listen to us it is a great day! I love the energy that comes from having a bunch of interested people all sharing their opinions and thoughts. This is one that I will be working on A LOT!

Learning and teaching others about marketing – How do you describe a passion for something so weird. Who sits around thinking of all the ways ANYONE could increase their business, help more people, grow their charity, or just touch more lives? I know, Seth Godin does that but is it a career path? I hope so!

Spending time with my family – I have spent the last two years working my tail off at being the best Realtor I can be. I have been inordinately successful at it and have developed some lifelong friendships and opportunites. That having been said it, has taken away from my family timewise and from me personally. It is hard to admit that something is not your passion when you so want it to be.

Meeting interesting people – This one is SO GREAT! I am blessed with wonderful and diverse friends. I have a family that is supportive of all my random strangeness. I am on a quest to spend my time with people who are interesting and driven and inquisitive. I cannot express how wonderful it is to have people in my life who add to my wellbeing just by being alive and being my friends. You know who you are and THANK YOU!

I will ask you all what I asked Steven today – If you could do anything, what would you do?

Who do YOU hang with?

(warning! this is a mindset one, if you are looking for niche marketing specifics tune in tomorrow for another exciting episode) 

I am on a mission to grow. To gain new insights and experiences and to find out more about EVERYTHING. I am also working on getting a life, but that is another post! 

This morning I went to my Internet Friends Mastermind (that is not the offical name of the group, just how I think of them). While on the way there, I was thinking about how much I enjoy talking with people who share the same passion for internet marketing that I do. We chat about what great books we have read, the sites that we have visited and technologies that can help us succeed in business. Because we are different people with different interests, there are always new things that I learn and new things I am able to share.

Yesterday I went to lunch with my Realtor buddy Lori Crawford and Ginger Perkins (a big dog agent out of Tampa) who was gracious enough to share her experiences in the business with us. It was two hours of wonderfully interesting conversation with a woman who has had tremendous success in Real Estate, and who operates her business in a very professional manner. I was honored that she took the time to talk with us and got about 5 great action items to implement in my business immediately. My top insight came at the end when we were milling around in the lobby getting ready to go – I am the rainmaker, leave me alone, I am making rain!

Next week I am going to spend 2 days at a conference that I was asked to attend because I have a personality profile that has a “dynamic, impatient style that is relatively self-controlled and ambitious, but also possessing effective social abilities that can be expected to come to the fore in informal, open situations.” Basically what that means is that when I am working I become immersed and growl at anyone that comes too near BUT that when I am ready to be done I can go back to being nice to other humans. I am not sure what I am going to learn but am excited to find out! Another bonus to this is that I am going to be spending time with one of my favorite people who shares my single minded focus and who is truly a tremendously interesting person!

I am listening to the E Myth Revisited, reading Realtor and Marketing magazines (and a mystery novel) and working on finding more opportunites to hang out with inspiring and interesting people. I do not spend ANY time with people who are interested in whining about how bad the market is or how they can’t get ahead or what bad luck they have. I boss my friends around and make them do things I think are best for them (it is a MIRACLE I have any friends!)

My wish for you (my 11 loyal blog readers…:) is that you

  1. Start something you have been putting off because you don’t know EXACTLY how to do it
  2. Talk to someone that you admire or tell them that you admire them AND
  3. Vow to enrich your life by spending your time with interesting people who add to your life

Don’t worry about how you can’t do it or that you don’t have the time, just start today and surround yourself with wonderful people. Don’t think about it, just do it! Sign up for a class, invite someone to lunch, invite yourself to a mastermind, read a book (or 3). In the immortal words of Yoda, “Do or do not, there is no try”.