Showing posts with label business. Show all posts
Showing posts with label business. Show all posts

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Embracing The Local Market's Inner Customer

On any given day, embracing a specific market's customer is supremely more important than considering the customer-at-large. The local customer, with their personal preferences grounded in the every day world they live in, can be the most meaningful key performance indicator in determining the overall success of a business.

Even a mom and pop shop on Small Business Saturday can learn something from their larger corporate brothers and sisters. An REI in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where the focus of living outdoors is literally achieved right outside the front doors, is entirely different than the REI in Plano, Texas, where, unless you're doing some urban backpacking, you have to travel just a little further out. Each store's appearance may seem the same, but the customer experience and general atmosphere is entirely different.

How a business interacts with their most immediate community is also a huge indicator of success. Are they active in local community events and government affairs? Yes, Corporate Social Responsibility is huge factor here, but it goes beyond that. The local community requires something different from any local business, no matter how large or small or corporately driven and regardless of the business-to-business considerations.

A business' involvement in the local community is, and should always be, inspired by something completely different and relative to the part of the world that that business serves. The takeaway isn't the revenue generation itself, but how a business' investment in the community is perceived and ultimately shared, locally and globally.

What are your thoughts on the customer experience where specific markets are concerned?

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Missing the Social Media Mark

Across the social media universe, it's as easy for your messages to get missed as it is for you, as an online connection, to be forgotten. I talk with so many people who steer clear of platforms like Twitter because they feel information flies too fast and furious for comfort, or they only connect on LinkedIn for that 'professional' contact but then never actually share posts or join groups.

I admit that sharing information without regard of who is on the receiving end can congest the internet super highway with meaningless data. This approach certainly has no hand in creating publicly beneficial knowledge - garbage in, garbage out negatively impacts all of us, everyday, in our personal and professional lives.

However, social media networking, when utilized in effective ways, can not only benefit you and your business, but it also has the potential of creating powerful change in your industry and the world we build together. So, how do we look at connecting with each other in a different light and what are some examples of relevant shared messages?

On the connection side, if I'm wanting to connect with you, it's because I want to get to know you better. Not because I feel I need to but because I genuinely feel we can benefit from each other. It's another step to further our relationship when we may not always (if ever) be able to connect in person.

This caring, connective ideology isn't true for everyone though. When you only post, share, comment, and 'like' information about yourself and your company then you are not only failing yourself but also your connections. And when you don't grow from shared knowledge, your customer doesn't grow.

Where sharing is concerned, talk about what others are doing. For example, if you sell vinyl windows, don't just post about that recent award your company received or the charity they supported. Share an article that addresses alternative materials that you don't currently have or manufacturing processes that you don't utilize but improve humanity's environmental footprint. Relay an interesting article about petroleum, since that's the core material for vinyl windows anyway. Or, and this may seem counter intuitive, post what your competitors are doing to overcome obstacles.

The point is, connecting and sharing individually on social media is never self-serving (or at least it shouldn't be). But when you share information from outside your company and immediate community, you create a meaningful dialogue of online social interactions that benefits you, your industry, and the world-at-large.

What message has social media taught you?

Friday, January 1, 2016

We Are All Leaders of the New Year

We are all leaders. We choose to take lead of some, if not hopefully every, aspect of our lives. And although each of us is completely accountable for our individual actions, our actions ultimately serve the greater good. 

So this year, and every year . . . 

Make your interactions the most they can be. Instead of just meeting someone new or rekindling an existing relationship, find each and every way you can work together to make a difference. 

Read books, articles, & blogs that focus on innovation that matters. Not innovation that only serves to boost you, your brand, or even your industry, but rather innovation that makes a difference for human progress. 

Write. I know this is a tough one for some. Heck, it's tough for me. But you don't have to call yourself a writer to write. Just write, and I think you might be surprised by what comes out. 

By the end of this new year, we want look forward into the next, not backward, and realize that our choices matter. Because we only grow when each of us has recognized that leadership is a choice, not a fate.

How will you lead this year? What difference will you make? 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Don't Be A Tool, Be A Resource


With all the tools we have at our disposal, the greatest one lies just behind your eyes and between your ears. Your thinking self. Your mind. Your mind provides you with the ability to transform thought into memory, and long term memories into constant resources.

Taking this all a step further, we're not only resources to ourselves but to others as well. Our ability to think interpersonally helps drive us to be all we can be. We weave ourselves into the tapestry of our lives and our business. 

In business though, it's not enough to want it, you have to sell it. You have to ask:  Am I a tool or am I a resource? Am I acting for the sake of what somebody wants or expects, as quickly and long forgotten as a unitasker, or am I the resource:  the person always remembered for contributions to peers, to the industry, and ultimately, to the world-at-large.

Be a resource for your peers.


Helping them understand a different point of view, helps everyone. And since not everyone learns the same way, read, write, & explore new ways to envision the world around you. 

Be a resource for your business plan.

Walking the straight and narrow is a helluva lot easier than making waves, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't splash around. Take an innovative approach to your business model.


Be a resource for your customers and clients.

Today's customer may want a quick fix, but that's not all they want. They want to know more. They want to be more. They want to inspire and be inspired. And since you're the customer too, help others be the game changer you want to be.

Be a resource for your industry.

Profit keeps the business model alive. Given. But when you put money first, you've burdened the industry with the chore of ignoring you for fear you're always trying to sell something. When, in fact, all you're trying to do is be the change you want to see in the world.

Be a resource for the World.

We live, every moment, with each other. And at the end of the day, we can sell for the sake of profit or we can sell whatever makes the world a better place to live in, now and in the future. Reinvent sales and change the story.

Be a part of the story. It's your story. And whether you choose to or not, it doesn't matter because you're already a part of the world around you. Be yourself, but be the best version of yourself. Ready. Set. Go.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Gender Inequality in the Workplace

1.01/1.00:  according to The World Factbook, and supported through various other sources, this is the ratio of how many more men than women there are in the world.

97/100:  according the U.S. Census Bureau, this is the ratio of how many fewer men there are than women in the United States alone.

So why is that, with almost an equal ratio of men and women in the U.S. and the world, we struggle to maintain gender equality in the workplace?

Gender inequality is an ignored reality that impacts all of us. Every day. It's an unfortunate driver for seemingly so much animosity towards feminism and other productive efforts to improve social change in the world. It's a particularly sticky topic in the U.S. as our government is always at odds to make meaningful decisions for the workplace. Perhaps the biggest example here is that the ERA which has yet to be ratified. 

Could it be that creating a gender equal workplace requires that we uphold what's logical and not what's morally subjective? So long as women still make 77 cents to every dollar a man makes, and are yet still expected to be the primary homemaker and parent, the odds will continue to be stacked against women. Is it getting better? No. Well, maybe. But even more progressive Millennials are still struggling with gender roles.

In business, salespeople are encouraged by management to reach for the lowest hanging fruit. The lowest hanging fruit of inequality in the workplace is unquestionably gender inequality. 
Ratify the ERA

Heck, take a simple, yet widely used word like salesman. Salesperson or salespeople is certainly better than salesmen just like all of the gender biased words and terms we use daily in the workplace. Guys is another problematic word. 

Could it be argued that sexism has been weakening our evolution through the ages? Gone are the days of the Ozzie and Harriet mentality of a woman's place being a homemaker, but we still have so far to go.

Blinded by tradition, at least where big business and government is concerned, being professional means high heels and make-up for women. They have been the fashion for how many decades now? Outside of the why, let's overcome this barbaric contribution of negative stereotypes driven by the male dominated business ship that we continue to let sail without regard of where it's taking us. 

So what might we take from these thoughts? Where gender equality in the workplace is concerned, and no matter what your position or role, if it looks or feels wrong, it is. If doesn't feel wrong or you're not sure, and yet someone else is telling you it's wrong - it still is. If it feels good, if it makes other people feel good, and if it encourages others to change their positions on gender equality - run with it.

Let's continue calling out gender inequality until men, as a whole, actually have cause to complain about their position in culture. Let's support women, engage them, and be a part of their movements. #YesAllWomen

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Innovations Are Not Solutions

I watch, you watch, we all watch & listen. We observe. And that observation drives innovation. Innovation, however, is not as a solution, or even a means to a solution. It is rather a catalyst of change. 

Now change doesn't imply that we try to change all at once. We couldn't do that even if we wanted to because the world around us is always changing. Instead, change embraces the idea that when we challenge the world around us with new ideas - new innovations - we evolve. 

What's more important yet is that we continue to push those boundaries. Just like the world never stops turning, we never stop changing. We learn to appreciate that what's better in the moment, isn't an end-all, be-all solution.

Take time to make changes. Bike to work, use a motorless mower, recycle. If it's not a hassle to take time to brush your teeth, why would it be difficult to always keep reusable bags handy?

Walk a different path. Don't try to be something you're not. Don't try to be the next Google. There's already a Google. Take the road not taken. 

Plug in to the world. Plug into the choices you're making. Plug into what may be a solution for everyone, and not just what benefits the individual in the moment.

Focus on the future. There is no greater cause or inevitability than our future. We can explore the past and the present all we desire, but the future marches on, with or without us.

Do what you can, when you can, how you can. Observe. Learn. Change. Grow. And when someone says:  because we've always done it that way, ask, Why?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Marketing Reminds Us

You've achieved success and earned the privilege of meeting your customer. They've come in, contacted you, or expressed interest in your product or service. So? What's next? 

Unlike sales, marketing is your first opportunity to demonstrate what you offer. It gives you the chance to set yourself apart from others. Because of this, marketing is as much a reminder for you as it is for anyone else.

Marketing reminds us of who we are. Think about who you were yesterday. Think back a year. How about ten years? You're not the same (or at least I hope you're not). You grew. Your business grew. Appreciating we all do, why would you offer the same conversation today that you did yesterday?

Marketing reminds us to innovate. Research & development are as vital to our collective successes as they are to us individually. Continuous improvement strategies help us improve and realize our goals. But it's our innovations that keep the conversation going. 

Marketing reminds us that we're never alone. Individuals and groups reach out to others to grow. Individually, or even as singular business model, we may offer a well conceived product or service, but it's through organizational & industry alliances that we really make a difference, for ourselves and others.

Marketing never stops. Marketing is the reminder.

What does Marketing remind you to do?

Monday, January 12, 2015

You're Not That Busy

How many times have you heard, or perhaps said, 'I'm busy'? Too busy to talk. Too busy to work on that right now, too busy to even take a break.

We're all busy. To say you're too busy to anyone (a co-worker, customer, partner, friend) implies that your time is more valuable than theirs. No one is that busy.

You can't do everything and no one expects you to. You can't possibly know everything, and the person reaching out to you might be doing so to help. So . . .

Just take a moment


When was the last time you took a break? Stand up. No seriously, keep reading this but stand up. Are you thirsty? Do you have to pee? Well, go, come back, and finish reading this. 

Take the time - you've earned it.



According to a study conducted by Oxford Economics for the U.S. Travel Association's Travel Effect Initiative, American workers forfeited 169 million days of PTO in 2013. That equals about $52.4 billion dollars in time off benefits. You ready for that break yet?

Make it a daily habit

How do you start your day? We all have an internal circadian clock - a biological process driving our behavior throughout the day (and night). Some of us are morning people, some of us are night owls, but, all of us eventually find our own rhythm. The trick is remembering that breaks are a necessary component of that clock.

By all means, set boundaries and set limits. But also take the time for a break - every day - for your sake and for others.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Why Being the Best Is Irrelevant

Be good, be better, be great in life and business, and you will discover that being the best becomes irrelevant. Now success on the other hand . . .

Success is not defined by being the best or winning. When you excel at something, anything really, you will find happiness AND success.
And when the individual succeeds, the team succeeds. Whether it's a large matrix of teams under a corporate umbrella, teams of active players in an industry, or even our world commerce, success is driven by people advocating for causes greater than themselves.
People that find success drive for change that improves the social good. Social good represents the best our humanity. Hillary Clinton, Peter DiamandisLaci Green, these are people who have succeeded by being advocates for the social good of humanity, each in their own way but all for the greater good.

Sir Richard Branson is one of the greatest examples of advocating for the social good. He rose beyond his dyslexia to build an enterprise of companies. But he didn't stop there. In addition to promoting social good within each business effort, he fights for human progress through endeavors like Virgin Galactic. Then, taking it a step further he became an ambassador of hope & human prosperity through founding humanitarian efforts like The EldersCarbon War Room and The B Team.

Think of all the successes you've had in life. Which are the most meaningful to you?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Social Media Teaches Us

In Marketing, it's important for business owners, small in particular, to integrate and aggregate ideas as much as possible, as soon as possible. Your time is valuable. And, since you can't avoid Social Media Marketing as a necessary business development tool, it's important to remember that Social Media teaches us to:


Deal with opinions:  You're going to have them and that's okay. How you express or respond to them is another story. Don't dismiss the bad in favor of the good, and always, always respond to everyone and every situation.

Call everyone out:  No one likes being called out, but we all need to be. There are plenty of examples of this thought but certainly nothing more comparable than being a parent. Managing a business is a lot like being a parent.

Recognize the youngest person in the room:  Well, young may be relative, so how about:  recognize the person with the freshest idea at the time - not necessarily the best idea, but certainly the newest & the boldest - even if it's as quickly dismissed as it is heard.

Most importantly, it's critical to stay on the innovative & early adoption side of technologies, tools, & resources. This is true even if you have a dedicated team managing marketing and influencing your brand. And all of this is just the start because Social Media Marketing never sleeps and never stops. 

What does Social Media teach you?


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Good Speaking is Good for Business (and Our Humanity)

Stand up comedians are great role models for speakers. I recently read Still Foolin' 'Em by the comic giant, Billy Crystal, and I have a newfound appreciation for stand up comedians. Making people laugh is one thing, but truly great comic geniuses have a profound grasp of the human condition and the world around us. They take what's real, put their funny spin on it, and throw right back at you - in your face.

Thinking about these comedians reminded me of what it takes to be a good speaker. The better speakers:

  • Are confident and prepared. They know themselves, their topic, and most importantly - their audience. 
  • They know what's relevant ahead of time and switch gears as needed - they're dynamic, innovative, and motivating. 
  • They never stop listening to and watching the audience for queues. They know when to ask questions (if not just rhetorical), listen, and then move on - timing is a definite key to a great presentation.
At the end of the day, generations alive right now have most recently lost Robin Williams, and over the last few decades we've lost other great ones, George Carlin, Joan Rivers, and Jonathan Winters to name a few. But what we really lost was someone to remind us of our faults. We still have Billy, Bill Cosby, and others to keep the truth coming though, and I look forward to the comic geniuses of tomorrow to keep me on my toes.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Marketing Starts With You!

Marketing all starts with you. You are the "who" and the "what" when people think of your business. You know "where" you want your business to go and "how" to get there. And, "when" you get down to it, you are your business’ best marketing resource!


Exploring all of the marketing options today may seem a formidable task, but there are some concepts that seem to rise to the top. As of 2013 (and looking into 2014), a lot of these trends revolve around:




If these particular trends tell us anything, it’s that we live in the digital landscape - at home, at work, and on the go. A good question for any business, organization, or cause then becomes:


What is the impact of life on the digital landscape?


The overall impact of marketing touches everyone, every day. Whether it’s a student opening a laptop for class, a sales person demonstrating their products on a tablet, or a busy mom demonstrating to her kiddo how she manages shopping on her smartphone with an app, the potential touch points for marketing are everywhere.


Still, each impactful marketing moment is both utilized and perceived differently by the individual versus a more collaborative, if not complete, whole. These marketing moments aren’t just good for promoting your business, they create a social good.

By sharing, individuals become better innovators and thought leaders, businesses collaborate more often, and markets come together as communities. And all of this creates a global social good in which industries work together to change the world.

So, are you ready to get started?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Better Marketing Through Change

In Marketing, if you're not changing everyday, you're failing yourself and the business or organization you represent. Marketing is about sharing, internally and externally, to help your business grow. And the best way to share is to adapt and change with the ever-evolving Marketing landscape.

This type of change might seem expensive or daunting to think about with everything that's out there (and on the horizon). However, changing with Marketing trends in today's business climate is not only necessary but also unavoidable. Adopting newer technological tools & resources will help ensure Marketing success by:

  • Streamlining employee happiness, nurturing the desire to stay and grow with the business or organization.
  • Providing worthwhile resources for all employees to better the overall business model, processes, and practices.
  • Letting the customer know you care about the products and / or services you provide and that you are leveraging all of the Marketing resources you can to better their experience.
So how do you stay on the cutting edge of marketing yourself and your business or organization? Here are just a few ideas:

Be an innovator. Be on the innovative and early adoptive side of technology to help gain market share. Be the person, be the business, that represents the best of what's out there and shares in the effort of what is yet to come to make the market better.

Stay in tune with Marketing trends. Read daily about Marketing trends and write about your take on incorporating newer Marketing tools and resources as they relate to your market or industry. When was the last time you commented or shared a blog or news story that had nothing to do with your market or wrote a white paper that has everything to do with your industry?

Be a beta user. You don't have to take on every new Marketing resource out there. There isn't one perfect CRM (Customer Relationship Management) resource or smartphone or tablet that fits every business in every market in every industry. But there's no harm or misspent time in being a beta tester of multiple options to see which one(s) fit you best.

Change is not a burden; it's a gateway to our future. What technological tools and Marketing resources do you find most useful today and which ones are you excited about integrating tomorrow?

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Don't Get Caught Marketing With Your Pants Down

Being transparent in marketing and business is critical. This is especially true considering the public perception of your Marketing is (or at least, should be) found throughout the business model. However, it's equally important to never get caught with your pants down in Marketing.

People today are plugged in everywhere they go. Their digital quick capture cameras and social media smartphone apps are ready and waiting to have a reason to post your dirty laundry. So, unless you have a PR department or consultant on staff ready to play spin doctor, it's important to protect your transparent self and your business as much as you can. Here are a couple of tips:
  • Be prepared with a Marketing Plan and marketing strategies that are meaningful and purposeful to you, your staff, your market, & your industry. Marketing strategies should easily be assessed, evaluated, and streamlined every year when the Marketing Plan is revamped.
  • Don't get left behind technology-wise. Spending too much time trying to catch up with the latest technological trends long after they've had their hay day, hurts staff productivity and, ultimately, eats away at the bottom line of revenue.
  • Always strive to be on the cutting edge of innovation. This doesn't meant that a business needs to have a Research & Development team. It just implies that your business is perceived as the one of the first in your market or industry to incorporate innovative business tactics.
  • If you say you're going to do something, then do it. Empty promises & white lies always have the potential to tarnish the public perception of you and your business. This is applicable at all levels, for all personnel, and at all stages of the business model. This will help solidify you as a thought leader.
What marketing strategy tips or suggestions do you have that help a business from getting caught with their pants down?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Marketing: The Common Thread of Every Business Tapestry

From Advertising & Business Development through Sales & Customer Service, Marketing plays a huge part of business growth. It is an integrative thread woven in and out of the overall business model. It links together information that can be reviewed, assessed, and evaluated to determine future growth strategies.

Marketing is as much about the individual as it is about the collective whole. It touches every staff person, subcontractor, vendor / supplier, and customer. The public perception of your business is defined by the interactive color tapestry that bleeds bright with each momentous achievement and can fade just as easily with each misstep.

Every threaded needle starts somewhere. For Marketing, it all begins with ownership and executive leadership. An owner is responsible for the size & scope of the tapestry and the breadth of colors that a business projects. Even the smallest business can shine as bright as a corporation when a leader weaves a design people like.

The next interwoven piece is Internal Marketing. Internal Marketing essentially is the process of marketing a business' mission and vision to all of its employees in order to improve morale, core competencies, and, ultimately, customer relations. This involves everyone, from office administration through sales & service personnel. The mantra of effective Internal Marketing is: support the staff that supports the business and business will grow.

Finally, the Marketing thread weaves it's internal formulated pattern through the various arms of your Business Model that touch each customer, business relation, and the general public. These might include:
  • Business Development
  • Advertising
  • Public Relations / Publicity
  • Sales
  • Customer Service
Each of these business components can change the overall business tapestry. When one or more is stained or frayed, changes will be needed. Since Marketing is the common thread of business, you can change the color or direction of the tapestry by taking away what works and what doesn't. The marketing thread is responsible for breathing life, adding color, and changing the direction of how every business grows.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Marketing Your Super Powers

From R.E.M.'s hit song, "Superman", to the much adored, Oh the Places You'll Go!, we are constantly reminded of how much impact each of us can make on others. Marketing streamlines this thought pattern and gives a reason to make our interactions with others more meaningful.


Effective Marketing is like having a superpowerIt's not just about what you know. Knowledge without being shared is just useless information ready to be forgotten. Marketing is a reflection of how our actions make the world a better place.

Marketing focuses on your strengths, personally and professionally. Each of us possesses a special talent. Sometimes we know it well, and sometimes it's hidden from us just waiting to be discovered. Either way, once we are in touch with our inner strengths, we can apply them as key motivators for our marketing success.

Practice Transparent Marketing. Marketing isn't about what you have done or where you are now. It's about where you are going, as a person and as a business. Sure, we take what we know and we apply it, but we also have a responsibility to grow and, in turn, help others grow. Our super powers must then be used for the Social Good, and our marketing has to reflect this.

Find Marketing guidance from the Scientific Method. In Marketing, we think, we act, and we grow just as we hypothesize, research, and test to find appropriate Marketing strategies. And, just like the ever inward and the ever outward studies of scientific thought, we should always analyze and research new ways to improve upon our methods.

Marketing has a steady gaze toward the horizon, always read to put the future in focus. And just like entrepreneurship, innovation, and technology, Marketing revolves around forward thinking. It changes the world we live in and makes it a better place.

Set your sights on your future. Where is your marketing taking you?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Encouraging Employees to be Your Brand Stewards

Marketing a business can be a daunting task. This is especially true when you are a small business and don't have a dedicated marketing person or team to lead the charge. However, the strongest brand steward a business has for marketing and getting the branded product or service message out is it's team - the whole team.

If you look at your business like a megaphone, with your voice at the mouthpiece, you can really let the public hear your passion through your words and actions. Now, take that megaphone, enlarge it, fill it with the voices of all of your staff shouting the same brand message, and really get the message out.

The following are a few good considerations. Some may seem obvious and some may just be reminders, but as a whole, it's better to prepared:

Passion
If you don't share your passion with your staff, it certainly won't be conveyed well to your customers, potential customers, and industry partners.

Drive
Finding the drive to support your passion is key to marketing success and will be noticed - even when you feel it's not.

Motivation
Ideally, staff members don't just depend on an employer for a paycheck, so if you're motivating your staff constantly & consistently, they'll appreciate you all that much more.

No matter how you spin it, employees should never be forced to blare a message they feel is not their own. A business' employees are brand stewards, not soldiers. This is even true when you are working with contracted or outsourced partners.

Each person on a business' staff brings as much marketing potential as a dedicated marketing team member. When you encourage employees to be your brand steward, your marketing voice will be exponentially amplified no matter what your market or industry may be.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Business Development: The Bridge Between Marketing & Sales

How do you define Business Development?

Whenever I talk or write about Business Development with small (or even medium sized) business owners and representatives, they frequently ask: what is business development? It's amazing to me how many business folks, from owners to managers to sales & marketing representatives, have varying opinions on what it is and what it means.

The term has been explored by the always insightful marketing guru, Seth Godin, and even Forbes over the last few years, but even they refer to it as business puzzle yet to be fully realized. Perhaps it's because Business Development is a relatively newer term. Or maybe it's that there are few books or college courses that even address what it can mean to any business in any given market or industry. What is certain is that Business Development has moved beyond just being the latest buzz term. It has planted itself firmly in Marketing efforts, Sales Cycles and, ultimately, Business Plans regardless of the unsolved mystery of what it really means.

In it it's simplest form, Business Development is the bridge between Marketing & Sales. Most of this transition has been made easier with our online communications and especially CRM (Customer Relationship Management) resources. With CRMs - even the free options - Sales representatives can record their activities as leads migrate from traceable Marketing & Advertising efforts.

It's not enough just to record your Marketing & Sales efforts. Businesses, large and small, have to monitor their Business Development activities, analyze the data, and provide reports with meaningful information for Continuous Improvement (another fashionable buzz term.) Continuous Improvement is the underlying link between creating improved customer relations, employee satisfaction and work habits, and Business & Marketing Plan development. Or in simpler terms, Business Development on the front end and continuous improvement on the back end.

Implementing Business Development strategies is a key to maintaining an effective revenue. It is the gateway transitional element carried forward from your initial Marketing & Advertising efforts to give purpose, meaning, and structure to the Sales Cycle. It is because of Business Development that successful businesses are able to move and think beyond the Business Plan for purposeful Continuous Improvement.

What Business Development strategies have worked best for you?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Delicate Art of Getting Things Done

Whether you're following your regular work calendar or having an impromptu meeting about the recent lack of ROI from your marketing team, today you will break up your schedule into the smallest units of time to get things done. You'll find yourself saying things like:

"I can have that to you by next week."
"Give me five minutes."
". . . just a second"

All of which you might be saying to others, yourself, or even your computer which is always slow to process whatever you're working on at the most inopportune moment. This process never ends as you map and plan out tomorrow's schedule.

And planning is, of course, a good thing.  In fact it's completely necessary - especially when it concerns our professional lives.  But when our professional lives become so dependent on time that we have to make time for family and friends, maybe it's time to stop and reevaluate how you spend your time. 

When reappropriating your time, consider:
  • Time for yourself:  topping the charts, this may or may not include time with family and friends, but it definitely excludes anything even remotely work related.  Stopping to smell the roses not only rejuvenates the body and mind, but it also allows you to reboot and take fresh perspectives for work, family, and personal activities.  This also includes mandatory physical exercise of the body and mind nourishment such as reading books and listening to music OUTSIDE OF YOUR CAR!
  • Time for your relationships:  from the family and friend side, this is ensures that you're not a negative topic that others roll their eyes at or hide your posts in facebook.  From the work perspective, your interpersonal relationships need to be nurtured to cultivate new ideas and conversation and not just talk about shared projects and upcoming meetings.  If you're going to play golf for example, play golf; but just play golf.
  • Time for work:  this has less to do with filling in your Google calendar and more to do with following your passion.  If you spend more time worrying about gaining or retaining clients and less time about the process of why your working with or for them, then you're wasting your time.  Work should always be pleasurable, and if it isn't, then it's definitely time to find work that you can feel passionate about.
Filling in a calendar can be easy enough, but realizing the delicate art of getting things done is more challenging and more rewarding.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Social Media: A Sales Perspective

I originally wrote this piece from Market Integration's website as:

Social Media - A Salesperson Perspective

posted Aug 23, 2011, 3:51 PM by Stirling Morris   [ updated Dec 12, 2011, 3:12 PM ]


We're all salespeople.  Whether you're a mom trying to explain to your child why practicing good hygiene is important or you're a CEO out to lunch with a new investor prospect, we all have something to sell.  Some of us are really good at it and some of us aren't.  But most of us don't even realize we're selling until our client (or child) agrees or disagrees with whatever we've pitched.

No matter who you are or what you do, social media is a not only a tool for networking but for selling.  Unfortunately, not every company has learned this lesson.  I actually had a General Manager of a sales company in the construction industry once tell me, “Networking must be limited to assure it does not take any time away from selling.”  I don't think he realized the power of social media in sales and networking.

I was asked by a Retail Sales Manager within the same company for advice regarding networking; particularly through social media.  After spending years as a sales / product representative in the construction industry, here are some of the finer points I offered:
  • In addition to joining professional organizations, social media is the key to business relationships for tomorrow to keep you informed when you can't be present or just to stay up-to-date with industry activities
  • Connecting and engaging with individuals and businesses on facebookLinkedin, Google+, and Twitter is vital to a successful, long-term relationship with tomorrow’s customers.
  • Most importantly, actively participating (e.g. joining groups, asking questions and giving answers) is the best way to make social media successful and you potentially seen as a Thought Leader. You can’t just create a social media profile / page and expect customers to come knocking. If people don’t see you engaged, they won’t follow back. And, if you only promote yourself, your business, or your services, you are committing sales suicide and will often be hidden or blocked by your customer's (or potential customer's) social media feeds.
Social Media helps us grow as people by creating interactive dialogue when a phone call or in-person visit or meeting isn't feasible.