Category Archives: Sales & marketing

7 Steps to Becoming a Highly Successful Entrepreneur

successful-businessThis past weekend, I attended a personal development training led by a husband and wife team of multi-millionaires with multiple business assets constantly throwing off cash on their behalf.

I listened intently to what they had to share. One of their tips was to ‘release the breaks’. The supposition being that we’re actually doing things (or not doing things) that keeps the breaks on our business engaged.

I gleaned 7 steps from their talk on how to become a highly successful entrepreneur. Add these to your strategic planning and implementation activities and you’ll raise the revenue and profitability levels in your enterprise, even if it’s in its infancy. In fact, the sooner you apply these principles, the more easily you’ll reach your goals.

1. Zoom out
Take time to imagine the long-term vision of your company and your life. Really get in touch with your purpose on this planet and the impact you want to have. Think big. Think bigger than you think is possible. It’s hard to see all of your potential grandeur when you’re not yet there, but work at it and let your perspective expand to the greatest possible heights.

2. Zoom in
Once you’ve gotten clear about the big, bright future, reel yourself back to the present and identify what tiny (or not so tiny) steps you can take TODAY to start down the path toward your destination.

3. Organize
Identify the activities that seem to be generating the best results. Clarify which ones are working. Simplify your processes in order to minimize wasted efforts, resources and time.  Unclutter your life and business.  Focus on what matters most. Focus on what works the best.

Get rid of everything else that could distract you from reaching your goal

4. Actualize
Keep taking productive, consistent action. Keep moving forward. Things may not always turn out the way you expect. Learn along the way. Adjust and keep taking action

5. Monetize
Keep looking for revenue streams. Perhaps there are new markets to be tapped. New ways to deliver the products/services you already have. Partner with others to gain access to new prospects.

6. Can it and clone it
Once you have a business model that works, document it. Identify the processes (think McDonald’s). Keep them simple so it can be replicated. Replicate it.

7. Increase your reach
Visibility is critical for success. Look for ways to get in front of your ideal clients. Get referrals, advertise where they hang out, speak to them (individually or in groups) to demonstrate your expertise and value. Use marketing tools to carry the message farther.  Get your product or service sean, heard and read about by as many people as possible.

Follow up with them. You’ve probably heard this advice before but are you doing it? The fortune is in the follow up. Follow up!

Implement these 7 steps and watch your business soar.

Beating Out the Competition & Becoming a Client Magnet

Believe it or not, there’s a bird over there, cleverly disguised against the desert terrain.

The photo is a little fuzzy because I was zooming fast to capture this quail (I think). He beat out his competition for the female that is nearby but off screen.

Right before I snapped this picture, there were two male birds challenging each other and trying to win the attention of the nearby female bird.

She walked away while they ‘duked’ it out. When the ‘hero’ emerged and I captured him on digital film, he was following her up the hill for a little fun and merriment and family making.

So what does this have to do with you?

Few of us are in businesses that are so unique that we don’t have any competition.  So as a result, we’re constantly having to distinguish ourselves as different, better than, smarter than, more prestigious than, cheaper than…You get the picture.  It’s a primitive battle where only the strongest survive. And it’s really hard getting deals done like that.

The key is to position yourself as the go-to expert so that your reputation raises your above the herd.  When you do that, you get people seeking you out.  When they seek you out, they’re already pre-sold on you.  They’ve already decided they want YOU so there is less need for you to ‘convince’ them that you’re the best choice. You become a client magnet!

So how do you become that expert & client magnet?  There are 3 ways to do that.

  1. Speaking – Most people are literally scared to death of speaking in public.  You’ve probably heard that when surveyed, people rate speaking in public ahead of dying as their top fear.  So if you have the guts to stand up in front of a crowd (even a small one) and have your voice be heard, automatically, you’re a rock star in the eyes of the audience.  Even if you’re quaking in your boots on the inside, you’ve still accomplished a mighty feat from their perspective.
  2. Writing – Whether writing articles for a national publication or your local neighborhood periodical, having your name in print makes you look smart!  Clearly the national publication will get you seen by WAY more people, but you’ll get credibility none-the-less with the readers of your work
  3. Publicity – Being written about is even more compelling. That third party endorsement goes a long way toward building credibility.  When someone with familiarity, name recognition and credibility (like a report) writes about you, their importance and credibility transfers over to you.  It’s like having someone make a referral introduction for you.

I’ve been using all three of these strategies for years and now I get to reap the benefits of them.  Whereever I go, people tell me “I see you everywhere!”

Can you imagine how great (and humbled) that makes me feel?  Can you imagine if people were saying that about you, that you wouldn’t have to work so hard to dredge up new clients? You betcha!  So start using these three magic strategies to raise your visibility, credibility and client-magnet quotient.

Making Your Business Feel So Good

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I went to see Chuck Mangione who was appearing at one of the local casinos. He put on a great show and ended his performance with one of his most popular tunes, “Feels So Good”.

I started thinking about what it meant to have one’s business ‘feel so good’. Many business owners I know are working hard and yet, not quite feeling as satisfied as they’d like.

I believe there are five keys to happiness and success as it pertains to creating the business of your dreams.

1. Doing work you love
2. Working with clients you love
3. Having clients who love you
4. Making the amount of money you love
5. Having an impact you love

That may sound easier said that done. I’ve elaborated on these tips on to make your business feel so good.

1. Doing work you love

Most business owners go into business because there is something they are gifted at or love doing.  They then get consumed with running their business and it takes  over their life.  In the beginning, they wear many hats: service provider, sales person, bookkeeper, marketing strategist, administrative support.  They wear themselves ragged. If things go well, eventually they think about hiring someone to help.  But many people think they aren’t able to hire someone or fear that they’ll lose control or quality if they delegate and let go.

I’ve spoken about this before, but it bears repeating.  Stick with what you love.  Just this week, I made a list of things I found myself doing that drain my energy and brain power.  Yes, I CAN do those things, but doing so wears me out.  I’ll be searching for people to add to my team even if they only work a few hours each week.  Each of us have a gift and it’s better for us and for our business when we stick with spending our time exercising those gifts.  That will make us feel good!

2. Working with clients you love

In the beginning, we tend to work with ANYONE who is willing to pay us.  But the most successful people have taken the time to articulate who their ideal client is.  They know demographic information about their ideal client (gender, age, education, income, etc.).  They also know psychographic information (personality, likes, hobbies, temperament, etc.).

When you work with clients you don’t like, they rob your energy and make you dread ‘going to work’.   If you have clients that are draining you, fire them!  Identify your favorite clients then resolve to fine more just like them.

3. Having clients who love you

When you work with clients you love, you’ll be at your best.  You’ll understand them, serve them.  Dote on them even.  You’ll provide an extraordinary level of service and delight them with your efforts.

As a result, they will love working with you.  The relationship will continue to blossom and grow.  It will be easy to be happy around them.   They will treat you well.  They will tell their friends.

4. Making the amount of money you love

Clearly, having sufficient business revenue and profit levels to enable you to pay yourself consistent with the lifestyle you envision is the key.  When you focus on doing work you love, you’ll excel at it and will become a client magnet.  When you work with clients you love, they’ll love you back and recommend their friends to you.  When those things combine, voila! Revenue goes up.

Make sure you’re investing money in products and services that will help you grow your business and run it more efficiently.  If cash flow is an issue, barter for services with others who are willing to do the same.  Get the help you need.

Ramp up your perception of yourself.  Don’t undervalue what you provide your clients.  If you have doubts about your value – get over it.  Ask you clients what they love about working with you.  Listen to what they say and incorporate their feedback in your marketing and sales efforts.  Offer new products and services that highlight your gifts.  Then look for clients who can afford to pay you what you’re now coming to realize that you’re worth.

5.  Having an impact you love

Nothing does more for your confidence than delivering your gift to your target market (or anyone for that matter) and receiving feedback that it helped transform someone’s life.  But first, you must know what your legacy is: what impact you want to leave on the world.

When you’re clear about that legacy, it will shape the conversations you have.  It will guide your actions.  It will lead you to populations that need your gift.  You will be fulfilled.

When you accomplish these 5 things: doing work you love, working with clients you love and who love you back, making the kind of money and impact you love, your business will “Feel So Good” and so will you!

Marketing Tips from the Las Vegas Strip

People flock to Las Vegas from all over the world.  While travel to that desert hot spot has dropped with the stock market in recent months, overall, marketing efforts for the town are generally quite effective.

Las Vegas is a town of illusion and fantasy (at least on The Strip.)

Here’s a pic from our 5th anniversary celebration in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago.

This one is with “Barbara Streisand” – ok, not the real Barbara Streisand, but a pretty decent impersonator who put on a great show with a very young “Frank Sinatra”.

A great time was had by all that night!

When we arrived Friday afternoon we were actually shocked  at the dearth of people along the Strip.  It was a beautiful, sunny afternoon yet hardly anyone was walking and there wasn’t even much traffic on the street! By Saturday, however, the longer-distance travelers (I presume) arrived and the crowd began to swell.

It was a brilliant marketing strategy that actually got us to Las Vegas.  Faced with drastically lower room rentals, hotels and airlines teamed up to create unbelievably great deals to drive traffic back to Tinsel Town.

It got us back and seemed to pull in other opportunists as well.

You may not think there are similarities between Vegas and your business, but I’ve come up with a few that I hope will entertain you.

So what lessons can we glean from the marketing strategies that keep Vegas a destination of choice?  How can you use those lessons to make you the supplier of choice?

1.  Be clear about the experience you want to create for your clients.

Before you open you mouth, ask yourself what you want them to think, feel and do as a result of being in your presence.  Create that ideal client experience in your mind.  Being clear on your intentions will guide what you say and how you behave with your clients.  And they will step into an environment of your choosing.

2. Put your money where your brain is.

Las Vegas is obviously one of the major gambling and shopping spots of the world.  You could fritter away hundreds or thousands of pennies, nickles, quarters or dollars in a flash.  In your business, make sure you are thoughtful about where you money flows.

Invest only in items that will generate positive cash flow with higher potential payoffs rather than hoping on the roll of the dice. Set limits and stick to them.  I invested $5 of my gambling budget and won $6 so I doubled my (tiny bit) of money. But it doesn’t always work out like that. Don’t through money into investments without either a clear return or a clear purpose (like having fun).

3.  Put your best face forward.
People are drawn to success.  Even if you don’t always feel successful, act the part anyway.  Believe in yourself. Reach down deep, find something you feel confident in about yourself and stand firmly on that confidence.  Keep your eye on the prize and let the Law of Attraction create your desired future now.

Peacocks, Power & Prosperity

It’s critical in this economy to find attractive ways to communicate the value you bring to your organization and what your organization brings to its clients (internal and external). We should always be in marketing mode and this is especially true when times are tough.

Prosperity arises when people find what we have to offer attractive enough to either part with their money or give us resources we need.

This beautiful peacock sculpture from the lobby of the Encore at Wynn Las Vegas symbolizes the importance of packaging.  During mating season, the male peacock struts in front of his target female, fanning shaking his beautifully colored tail plume.  If you’ve ever seen this courtship dance, you’ll know how dramatic it can be.

Some of you might be loathe to be so shameless in your self-promotion, but it’s a big mistake to assume that if you just do good work, that you’ll get the promotion, contract  or deal you’re hungering for.

You must communicate your value and make it attractive to your audience.  Here are some ways you can (not so obnoxiously) do that.

1.  At the end of a successful project, write a synopsis of what was accomplished, what was learned and how the project benefitted your department, company or client.
Quantify it if possible articulating cost/time savings or revenue dollars earned.

2.  Ask your clients (internal or external) what they most value about your service or product and use what they say the next time you need to ask for more budget or headcount.

3.  Similarly, ask your clients for testimonials that you can use. If nothing else, you can have them ‘recommend’ you on LinkedIn or other social networking sites.

4. Buddy up with someone and make a pact to promote each other whenever you’re not together. Getting good press from someone else will add more credibility than you patting yourself on the back.

5.  Make sure you know what other people value, are concerned about and are motivated by. When you talk about what you do, couch it in terms that they are already thinking about.  Your message will be more easily heard and received.

By taking on a peacock mentality and implementing these tips, you’ll build confidence, get out of your head and into the worlds of the people you’re attempting to influence.  They’ll respond more favorably and you’ll enjoy more power and prosperity.