Tag Archives: business

Want more Time?

Who doesn’t want more time?

As a small business owner it is your most precious commodity, so it only makes sense to use it wisely.  Here is a simple, yet powerful, way to help you gain more time for your business and your family.  Best of all, you’ll be helping another business owner do the same!

Get More Time & Business Here

 

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Filed under BNI, Life Hacks, Marketing, PR, referrals

A Little Reminder for Me (and maybe You)

I wanted to take 1 minute, to share this article that I wrote for BlogBNI as a reminder to myself today–no matter how busy you are, you can almost always scrape up 1 minute to do one of these things. I’ll bet the ROI will be far more than you invested!

One Minute to Better Networking

 

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Filed under BNI, Entrepreneur, Marketing, PR, referrals

The Art of an Excellent Testimonial

We all love receiving a testimonial about ourselves or our companies, but have you ever thought about what goes into making a truly excellent and useful testimonial?

  1. Speak from a position of knowledge; you need to have used the goods or services before you can give a testimonial about that person or company.
  2. Be Specific.  People want know how and why you used the product and how it performed.  Be sure to include some basic details about your age and demographics. i.e. Forty-six year old, mother of two girls.
  3. Honesty is the best policy. If there were glitches in performance but you were overall satisfied, include that information so that others can make an informed decision.  Be sure to acknowledge your own role in any shortcomings.
  4. If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. At least in public.  If you truly had a poor experience, take it directly to the company and let them know that you would like to offer them the chance to correct the situation.  Don’t use a testimonial opportunity to lash out at someone else; it will only make you look bad.
  5. Short is sweet. You can give a great testimonial without giving two paragraphs of back story about why you decided to use the service. While people like to know a little bit about you, the point of the testimonial is to tell them about an excellent company or person.Harry
  6. Put it in writing.  The very best gift you can give a company or person is your testimonial in writing.  Whether you write an online review on LinkedIn or speak up in a BNI or Chamber meeting, putting it on paper gives them something tangible that they can use to market themselves even better.

Bonus Tip: One of the best ways to receive excellent testimonials is to give excellent testimonials.  Use these guidelines the next time you want to give a testimonial and see if the good karma you generate pays off.

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Filed under BNI, Entrepreneur, Marketing, PR

6 Minutes to Finding Your PR Moments

I had a phone call the other day from a friend who has a great public relations (PR) opportunity in the form of an event that is taking place at her business on

Uncle Jerry celebrates Pi Day.

Uncle Jerry celebrates Pi Day.

March 14 (3/14) or “Pi Day.” She was looking for some feedback on what kinds of PR might be appropriate. Since my friend has more than 20 years in the marketing industry, she’s no slouch when it comes to recognizing PR moments.

But what about everyday business people who are so busy running their businesses that they barely have time to take out the trash, let alone think about PR?

PR moments surround us, but it often hard to see them without a little guidance. These questions will help you generate a list of possible PR moments so that you can garner more awareness for you and your business. Grab a sheet of paper and use the next six minutes to put together your PR road-map.

1. What National Days might naturally fit with your business?

For example, if you run a bakery you’ll want to mark National Cupcake Day (Dec. 15) as well as National Dessert Day (Oct. 14) on your calendar. And that’s just the start, there’s also days set aside for Oreos, Banana Cream Pie and Pi Day. Google “National Days” and see what opportunities exist for your business.

2.  Does your City/Town/Village have annual celebrations?

Make sure you put each and every local festival and parade on your PR calendar. There are always opportunities to raise your business profile by marching in a parade, sponsoring a contest or hosting a booth. If you happen to do it with a zany theme or to benefit a children’s charity, media will be delighted to hear about it.

 3. Has your business been nominated for or won any awards?

Don’t wait until you win! Even being nominated for an award is an honor and a press release to let the public know about it is perfectly legitimate. If the organization giving out the awards hasn’t created a release, you can build a little good will with others and mention all the award nominees in your press release. If you’ve won a coveted award, make sure the awarding organization has a professional photo of you or your business to send with their press release.

 4. Do you or your employees have any unusual hobbies or collections?

The media loves juxtapositions, so if you are a beautician by day and a roller babe by night, that’s the kind of “opposites” that make for an outstanding story. Bonus points if there are great visual elements to the story.

 5. Is there a trend that you’ve been seeing in your business?

One local business in our area has had eight couples become engaged at their facility in the past three years. Because the business owners generally know about the proposals in advance, it opens up some fun opportunities for that company to leverage the tenth engagement or an engagement that has unusual elements (like a singing mascot). Media is always on the lookout for emerging trends (why more people are doing public engagements) with great visual elements (a newly engaged couple with a singing mascot).

 6. Is there an organization or charity that your business avidly supports?

If you have a charity of choice, especially if you have a personal story that makes that bond tight, consider raising awareness and funds for that organization by hosting a special event or activity at your business. This is truly a win-win-win, with the media getting a great positive story while the charity and your business raise awareness.

 Take this list of PR moments that you’ve just generated and plan your PR for the year. I guarantee that taking advantage of all these precious PR moments will pay off big for both you and your company.

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Filed under Entrepreneur, Marketing, Non-Profits, PR, Sponsors

The Secret Life of an Entrepreneur

It seems like whenever my friends are looking for new jobs, they turn to me with stars in their eyes and say things like, “I’ve always wanted to start my own business.”  While I love being an entrepreneur (well, today anyway), I feel like I would be doing a HUGE public service if I did a bit of an intervention.  So here goes…

Public Life of an Entrepreneur Graph The Public Life of an Entrepreneur Screenshot(click to see a larger version)

As an entrepreneur, what items would you add to this list?

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Filed under Entrepreneur

How do I Market to Women?

Online or in person, understand that women want to be engaged and informed.  They like having an opportunity to learn more about your product or services in a non-threatening and comfortable way.

Smart marketers listen when women are talking.

One of the best ways to engage women is to ask them relational questions.  By this I do not mean talking to them about their kids (or yours) or assuming that they are a Soccer Mom or that they even have kids.  Do not ask them when their husband will be joining them or in any way indicate that they are not the primary focus of your conversation.

Do not try to “game” the system and take shortcuts to establishing a relationship with women.  You have to expend the time to build the relationship.  One way to do that is to connect with women by supporting the causes they care about:  education, health care and community.  Above all, be sincere.  Women can see through insincerity quickly and will walk away instead of confronting it.

What’s the payoff?

If you connect with the right women, the rewards are vast.  A woman who loves your product or service will tell her friends.  And because women value relationships so highly, they frequently have a lot of friends.  But you have understand that she puts her personal relationships at risk to do this, so you need to acknowledge and even reward her trust in you and your company.

Learn to market to women today and your business will prosper and thrive over the next few decades as women control more of this country’s wealth and continue to make a disproportionate amount of the purchasing decisions.  Even better, you may find that your products and services  are much improved by establishing these long –term customer relationships with women.  That makes marketing to women a win for everyone.

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Filed under Marketing, Women

Selling to Women Isn’t About Telling Them What They Want

Many marketers think if they put bling on an item or advertise to the “harried soccer Mom” that they will cut a large swath through the female purchasing demographic.  In this day and age, that’s marketing at your own peril.  Women make up the majority of the consumer purchasers and marketers should look for ways to focus on specific segments and their needs instead of lumping all women into the “Mommy-sphere.”  Some of this marketing trend is the result of the influx of influential Mommy Bloggers, but while they are a legitimate and vocal part of the female demographic, they do not represent the majority of all women. Marketers need to remember that.

Women value relationships.

What do women want?

Quite simply, women value relationships.  They want to be treated like adults with brains.  They prefer to engage in a conversation instead of being lectured.  They like to create relationships with people they do business with and they want to feel like they can recommend the businesses they use to their friends and colleagues.

This is a paradigm shift for many men who are typically more transactional.  A good example of this is frequently seen at business networking events.  It is not unusual to be introduced to a businessman and have him hand you his card within the first 15 seconds of meeting you.  From his perspective he is simply being efficient and courteous.  If he happens to hand out his business card to people who have no interest in his goods or services, he thinks, “maybe they’ll hand it someone else.”

Conversely, you may stand and have a conversation with a businesswoman for 15 minutes before she asks if she can give you her card.  From her perspective, she doesn’t want to hand out her card to someone unless she wants to continue to build a relationship.  She’s being efficient and only handing her card to those with whom she wants to consider doing business.

For many salespeople this is an uncomfortable place to be.  They are trained to meet, greet and ask for the sale, all within 5 minutes.   Taking any longer means you might be missing out on the next sale.

A simple example comes from a client I was meeting with one day.  We were discussing the sales process he used when meeting with women and he said, “And then at the end I overcome all their objections.”  If you are a woman reading that, you just took a mental step backwards.  As a man, you may not have even noticed his faux pas.

Most women are looking for someone who will “answer their questions” not “overcome their objections”. They want to be an equal partner in the conversation, not be subjected to a sales pitch.  They also value sincerity and don’t like to be rushed.

The next time you are at a business networking event, take a few minutes to eavesdrop on some of the conversations going on around you. Listen to both same-sex groups and mixed sex groups talking and note how they behave differently.  And if you really want to market to women, spend some time actively listening to what they are saying before you ever open your mouth.

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Filed under Marketing