Sep 232014
 

This may seem counterintuitive but it’s not. You have to try many things and have many failures before you know what works for you — – and only you.

failure - EdisonA famous quote by Thomas Edison is “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

That doesn’t mean you don’t need to plan – you do.

Your plan as a solopreneur is not carved in stone but should be looked at least every 6 months and assessed. You don’t know when you start a business who your target market will be or which marketing activities work.

But I’ll repeat — plan anyways but put “review” right in your plan.

Several of us who coach and mentor business startups recently had a conversation and agreed that one topic which should be taught and emphasized is that people need to try things a lot in the first year. A woman who started her business last year said that she’s changing her target market and asked if that was alright. We all chimed in “of course it is – that’s normal. Don’t feel guilty that you didn’t know when you started. Few people do.”

It’s like learning to ride a bicycle.

startup business tipI was about eight and kept watching with envy the other kids on my street who could ride a bike. They would “whiz around” the neighbourhood. My parents had bought me a bike and a neighbour offered to teach me to ride. He held onto the back of the seat so I wouldn’t fall. Needless to say, I didn’t learn. Then another neighbor (a teenage girl) stepped in one day.

I thought she was holding onto the seat too so I kept riding. But when I turned around she waved at me from half a block away and called out “you’re riding.” I fell right away but got back up. I fell often at first but kept trying  … and rode. I was still wobbly but in about an hour I was riding up and down our street.

What did I learn from that?

  • Focus Know what end result you want and go for it.
  • Persistence  “Try, try again.”
  • Confidence She (the one who taught me) believed in me and said so.
  • Falling is good. Just keep getting up.
  • Plan for mistakes

failureMake lots of mistakes. Plan to fail. It’s a good thing. Make failure a part of your plan.

Review your results every six months. If you’re not getting where you want to go with the marketing tools you’re using — try something else.

Ask clients what they want and are willing to pay for. Focus on a smaller segment of your target market or change markets completely :-)

What I do today is different from what I did in 1980. I’ve refocused or changed businesses six times since then and tried many different things in that time. Each time I assume that making mistakes will be a part of the process.

Tell me about your plan and the mistakes you’ve made.

photo credit: LifeSupercharger via photopin cc
photo credit: StormKatt via photopin cc

 September 23, 2014  Posted by  Marketing Mindset, Startup Business Tagged with: ,  No Responses »
Aug 202014
 

“It will “all” seem far easier when you keep in mind, all of the time, that it’s supposed to be easy. Everything.” Tip from “The Universe”.

possibleIs marketing easy? You bet! Can we all do a little bit each day? Of course!

What you need is to believe that it’s easy and to have a marketing mindset. And how do we get a marketing mindset, you may ask?

Well we can start with the belief that it’s possible.

Then we can look for marketing in everything around us whether it pertains to our business or not. After a while we see marketing ideas for OUR business everywhere.

What do YOU think. Do you agree or not?

 

Image by sattva courtesy of: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 August 20, 2014  Posted by  Marketing Mindset No Responses »
Jul 302014
 

face to face conversationYou need to be on social media if you have a business today. But the best way still to build a relationship is to get together face to face. I was reminded of it a few years ago when my “movie buddy” and I went to see The Social Network which was about Mark Zuckerberg founding Facebook.

You may think I’m going to write something I learned from the movie but I’m not – exactly.

We met before the movie to catch up over a coffee, and play some checkers, too. That event reminded me that a “face-to-face” get together is really a reunion. It’s a chance to see the person’s expression and “feel” their warmth (pleasure or displeasure) as we each take a turn to talk. You’re building your relationship.

Then we went into the movie and I was reminded that even though social media is important for us and our businesses to attract people that the physical act of getting together is better – even wonderful. We should savour every second of it. It’s an opportunity to “be in the present”.

So meet your clients in person if you can. It’s more than good marketing. It’s great to be WITH someone. And if you live far away from them you can use skype or google hangouts to see them. when you chat.

What do you do?

(By the way, it was a good movie.)

photo credit: [Duncan] via photopin cc

May 212014
 

cats and businessHow are cats like business?

A couple of years ago I spent the long Canada Day weekend babysitting my niece’s cat (a black one she named Cheese). Cats are independent, people-averse, aloof, don’t learn tricks, don’t do what someone tells them – but wait. That’s a stereotype!

And the stereotype didn’t fit THIS cat. It was independent (of course – all cats are), people friendly (it wanted to be in the same room as me AND “talked” directly to me!), close (rubbed against my leg often and loved to be scratched), knew a trick, did what I told her (if I said “down” and meant get off the table, she would – eventually) and she was playful, too.

She was the opposite of the stereotype many people have of cats!

 

Business and marketing tip: Don’t “judge a book by its cover”. How do you treat people? Do you make a judgement based on their appearance? I don’t :-)

photo credit: pedrosimoes7 via photopin cc

May 142014
 

use products or services differently than intende Products or services be used for different purposes

You may only sell your product or service for one use but people are creative and will use it in a way that works for them and that may be very different than you intended.

Two ways to sell more … with more uses

1. Talk to your clients about how they use your product in other and often unique ways. For example, baking soda is sold as an ingredient for baking AND as a fridge deodorant. In this time when we want to “reuse” and “recycle” things there are lots of different approaches to take.

2. Give people ideas. A friend of mine went to a Christmas Artisans’ Show and Sale at the Distillery District here in Toronto. She showed me one of the things she bought and when I went to the product’s website, there were loads of suggestions for each product they had. As an example, they sold blankets and said they’re great for: snuggling on the couch, traveling and camping, an emergency car blanket, dorm rooms, comforting the elderly, and arenas and stadiums. (Go to the Hugs for life to see this.)

See what I mean?

How can people use your service differently than intended?

You have a service and not a product and wonder what to do. You may sell your organizing service. You might suggest that it can be used by realtors for relocation, caregivers as a service for seniors, homeowners for moving and/or downsizing, or home sellers for home staging as well as the usual clearing clutter.

Reposition your product or service in a new market. It’s a great idea! What have you done? Share your ideas with the rest of us.

photo credit: Nina Matthews Photography via photopin cc

 May 14, 2014  Posted by  Business Basics, Marketing Mindset Tagged with:  No Responses »
Apr 022014
 

art or scienceThe question should be asked as often as possible. I think Seth Godin‘s blog posr (I get them delivered to my inbox regularly) answers this.

He begins by writing “It’s both, and that’s the problem. ….Some marketers are scientists. They test and measure. They do the math….The other marketers are artists. They inspire and challenge and connect..” We need both, don’t we.

Read what he has to say … Is Marketing an Art or Science?

Good. It makes you look at your marketing in a new way? Tell me what YOU think!!

 

photo credit: Capture Of Dreams via photopin cc

 April 2, 2014  Posted by  Marketing Basics, Marketing Mindset Tagged with:  No Responses »
Jun 132013
 

The world has changed – as it always does and we in business must keep up if we want to be successful (no matter how we define success for us). Offline marketing has become online marketing – or has it? Do you need both? I think so.

Technology has REALLY changed. I remember (I’m 63 now in 2013) co-owning an Apple computer dealership in the 1980s and a conference company in the 1990s where we held events for people who used what were then called hand-held computers (PDAs). We were always at the “bleeding edge” of technology (just before the “leading edge” – always in the red and not making money but always the first to know about things).

When we had the computer dealership we had:

  • one of the first fax machines (as big as a small photocopier but with very few others having one and therefore no one to send things to),
  • one of the first cell phones (the battery for this was the size of a car battery and the handset like that of an “older” phone

And when we ran the conference company we were:

  • one of the first to use the internet to market with our “email blasts” which were formerly “fax blasts” (some people had email addresses but most companies didn’t have websites yet)

Times continued to evolve and with this came what was then a revolution (we even produced a print booklet called A Revolution in the Making which in 1984 took 6 weeks to produce even though we had the latest desktop publishing software at that time) that caused all of us to transform ourselves and our thinking.

In fact my nephew who is 23 now and studying at Ryerson University and producing art by paint and on computer, films on his Macintosh and photos with his digital camera and his cell phone is a great testament to this transformation. He is of the generation who grew up with and used all technology. He even had access to my brother’s Macintosh when he was a baby. 

(From left to right: my brother Phil, his son Jake – the one I write about here and my other nephew Josh who’s 30+ now and has been in the computer business since he was 17.)

But I digress :-)

There are at least 6 ways in which online marketing is different from offline marketing and here they are. One just needs a computer, a hookup to the Internet and a browser such as Firefox or Internet Explorer.

  1. Speed – one can do EVERYTHING faster. Once you have set yourself up, input some data you can send it at the “touch of a finger”
  2. Cost – EVERYTHING costs less or is free (do you know of the book   Free: The Future Of A Radical Price )   – audio and video production and even payment processing
  3. Reach – one can make contact (for free) with many contacts both locally and globally
  4. Measurement & Tracking – one can easily get access to key metrics with ad trackers, newsletter openings, website analytics etc.
  5. Easy to do marketing –  one can “do it yourself” (if you’re not a technophobe AND have the time)
  6. “Abundant”  information at your fingertips – with most search engines like google or Ask one can search for and find anything – anywhere in the world. Remember that this info has the caveat of buyer beware as does any info you find online)

How has this blog made you think – you “technophobes” who didn’t grow up with technology?

Here is access to the other post I wrote  13 Ways Offline and Online Marketing Are The Same

Compare the two and tell me what you think. I’m VERY interested in what everyone has to say!

Feb 062013
 

The world is always changing and we in business must keep up if we want to be successful (no matter how we define success for us).

Technology has REALLY changed. I remember (I’m 62 now in 2013) co-owning one of the first Apple computer dealerships in Toronto in the 1980s and a conference company in the 1990s where we held events for people who used what were then called hand-held computers (PDAs). I’ve always been at the “bleeding edge” of technology (just before the “leading edge” which means always being in the red and not making money but always the first to know about things).

We had/ were:

  • one of the first fax machines (in 1984 as big as a small photocopier but since very few others had one there were few  to send things to)
  • one of the first cell phones (in 1985 the battery for this was the size of a car battery and the handset like that of an “older” phone)
  • one of the first to use the internet to market with our “email blasts” in the conference business in1995 which were “fax blasts” using email addresses (some people had email addresses but most companies didn’t have websites yet)

Times continued to evolve and with this came what was in 1984 a revolution (we even produced a print booklet called A Revolution in the Making which in 1984 took 6 weeks to produce even though we had the latest desktop publishing software at that time) that caused all of us to transform ourselves and our thinking.

  In fact my nephew who is 22 now and studying at Ryerson University and producing art (by paint and on computer, films on his Macintosh and photos with his digital camera) is a great testament to this transformation. He is of the generation who grew up with and used all technology. He even had access to my brother’s Macintosh when he was a baby.  (From left to right: my brother Phil, his son Jake who I wrote about here and my other nephew Josh who’s 30 now and has been using computers since he was 4 and has been in the computer business since he was 17. He’s now 32!)

But I digress :-)

There are at least 6 ways in which online marketing is different from offline marketing.
One just needs a computer, a hookup to the Internet and a browser such as Firefox or Internet Explorer.

  1. Speed  One can do EVERYTHING faster. Once you have set yourself up, just input some data and you can send it at the “touch of a finger”.
  2. Cost  EVERYTHING costs less or is free (do you know of the book   Free: The Future Of A Radical Price )   – audio and video production and even payment processing.
  3. Reach  One can connect (for free) with many contacts both locally and globally.
  4. Measurement & Tracking  One can easily get access to key metrics with ad trackers, newsletter openings, website analytics etc.
  5. Easy to do marketing   One can “do it yourself” (if you’re not a technophobe AND have the time).
  6. “Abundant”  information at your fingertips  With most search engines like google or Ask one can search for and find anything – anywhere in the world. (Remember that this info has the caveat of buyer beware as does any info you find online)

How has this blog post made you think – whether you use technology a lot or you’re a  “technophobe” who didn’t grow up with technology?

Here is access to the other post I wrote  14 Ways Offline and Online Marketing Are The Same

Compare the two and tell me what you think. I’m VERY interested in what everyone has to say!

Feb 012013
 

Mindmapping is a visual way to do a number of different things including planning what you want to accomplish in your business this year or what you have to do in a new website or to take notes.

I was first introduced to it by my friend and colleague Aletta de Wal “way back” in the late 1980s. She now runs  Artist Career Training . She uses it all the time and for everything including note taking on coaching calls with her clients. I’ve used it myself for planning and now that I can only use the computer in order to write, I use the Tony Buzan software.

As Aletta says “… Adapt your recordkeeping to the way that you think, instead of cramping your style. This visual note-taking and brainstorming method is a fun, easy way to get your thoughts out of your head and on paper.” She just interviewed Chris Welsh of Mastery of Learning who she introduced me to 20 years ago and they talked about “ideamapping” and how he uses it. You can find that interview here.

Tony Buzan is known as the originator of mindmapping and as such is world renowned and a respected authority on it.

Wikipedia lists some of the things you can use mindmapping to do.

  • problem solving
  • outline/framework design
  • structure/relationship representations
  • marriage of words and visuals
  • individual expression of creativity
  • condensing material into a concise and memorable format

Susan Gregory is a trainer and as a local Toronto person teaches productivity and thus mindmapping workshops and she adds to this list:

  • memory improvement
  • brainstorming
  • note tasking with clients or in meetings
  • organization of projects
  • writing blogs, articles and even books

Would you like to know how to use a visual method for your planning?  

Buzan suggests the following guidelines for creating mind maps:

  1. Start in the centre with one word and an image of the topic.
  2. Use multiple colors throughout the mind map for visual stimulation and to group things.
  3. Use images and symbols throughout your mind map.
  4. Use one keyword per line.
  5. Each word/image is best alone and sitting on its own line.
  6. The lines should be curved.
  7. The central lines are thicker from the centre and thinner as they radiate out.
  8. Make the lines the same length as the word/image they support.

If you’re looking for a non-linear approach to planning then mindmapping is for you.

How do YOU use mindmapping? Try it if you don’t yet and share your experience in a comment here. Remember to develop your own personal style.

Jan 292013
 

In the early 1980s I was working on my doctorate in Special Education. A friend of mine was working on her Masters in Adult Education. We had discussions regarding how children and adults learned. She (who had no experience teaching kids) held the accepted (at the time) opinion that they learned differently. I said they learned the same way except adults have more experience and therefore have to “unlearn” some things. (I had taught both kids and adults.)

At the time I co-owned an Apple computer dealership (one of the first in Toronto, Canada) and trained our customers in how to use computers. I had taught elementary school kids from 1972 to 1980 and those in special education from 1976 to 1980 so I had lots of “real life” experience.

It’s 2015 and the belief now in Adult Education is that “adults and children learn the same way except adults have more experience and therefore have to “unlearn” some things.” Hmmmm.

What if online marketing which many believe to be different than offline marketing ends up being the same? Hmmm … interesting again.

Here are fourteen ways offline and online marketing are the same.

  1. they both use advertisements
  2. they both use networking to get clients
  3. they both  use articles
  4. they both use newsletters
  5. they both use books or booklets that you sell or give away
  6. they both use strategic partnerships
  7. they both use “free reports”
  8. they both use follow-ups with prospects and clients
  9. they both use direct response
  10. they both use promotional videos and audio products to promote
  11. they both use radio
  12. they both use free seminars and demos
  13. they both use publicity
  14. they both use images/ pictures

Way back (ha! ha!) in 1984, Jay Conrad Levinson wrote a book that has become a bible for small business owners. It was called Guerilla Marketing. Secrets For Making Big Profits From Your Small Business. It’s on its fourth edition now and the term “Guerilla Marketing” spawned a whole series of books that he continued to roll out for 30 years until his death in October 2013. Everything in that book still holds true today. The only difference is that with the invention of the internet and the widespread ownership and use of computers it’s now easier and cheaper AND you can promote your business both locally and internationally.

So what’s changed? Not the marketing activities themselves. What’s different is just the method. Do you agree or disagree? Tell me.

Next time I’ll write about how offline and online marketing are different. Watch this blog for that!