Uncomfortable Marketing?

If you feel sleazy and dirty when you think about marketing yourself, listen to this interview I did with Money Coach Flo Grunfelder about how to get over the discomfort of marketing and to joyfully connect with great paying clients.

Most businesses fall into their marketing, no planning, no communication strategy. The secret is to first pick a viable niche and to become a credible expert in that niche. Get clear on your this and you’ve got the start of an easy peasy way to market your business. Also, have a ‘depressing thought’ strategy to overcome your gremlins. This is a big mistake that small businesses make when they’re starting out. Lastly, get a coach. I am a coach and I’ll always have a coach. Couldn’t do it alone and you shouldn’t have to either.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk!

Chala’s radio interview about calming down entrepreneurs

I was on a radio show this summer talking about breaking free from fears for small business owners who want to grow their businesses.

We talked about the top fear of Entrepreneurs as being too much success and how I got over the first 2 months of sleeplessness when I left my corporate pay cheque. Click below to see how you can get over your entrepreneurial jitters!

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk!

Are you guilty of oversharing?

Too much

Too much (Photo credit: anyone’s ghost)

Last night I listened to a speaker who was highly touted by the host as being so phenomenal as to be back by popular demand from thousands of miles away. Her topic was the same as mine, helping small businesses grow through branding so I was truly looking forward to her perspective.

Gory Story

After listening to the speaker cataloging 14 deaths (some in gruesome detail) over 2 years in her family, the buffet dinner wasn’t sitting too well in my stomach. Neither was the speaker.  I couldn’t understand how  hearing her going on and on about the various horrible things in her life would help my business.

Down in the dumps

Don’t get me wrong, I teach my clients to tell a deeply moving and personal Phoenix rising story of how they were down and out but learned (and now teach to others) the skills needed to survive and to thrive. The key difference between what I do and what I witnessed last night was context. If the deeply moving oversharing has little or no bearing on why I’m listening to you in the first place, then that’s oversharing my friend.

Make it relevant

For example, I tell the story of how I had a miscarriage on stage during a talk due to self neglect and overwork as an opener to my Breakout of Burnout keynote. The point I make is that I learned the things I’m going to be teaching that night to avoid the same type of burnout from happening to the audience.

Just stop it

So stop playing on the heartstrings of softies and stop exasperating jaded souls like me and tell me a story that relates to how you can help with my pain instead. If I understand that you get me and because of your story, now trust and belive that you can help me, then you’ve got me, I’m yours.

Don’t waste people’s time or attention. There’s little enough of it to go around–use it to help them by telling them the story of why you can help them.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk!

What you absolutely need to be doing right now to grow your small business

What should you be doing right now as November folds to a close in order to grow your business? No, it’s not Christmas shopping for your clients (although there’s obvious rewards to that too). You should actually be planning your 2013 marketing activities to reach your income goal for the year.

Watch this video to see the things you should be doing right now!

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk!

5 Ways to Set a New Company Up for Success

Success - P'tit Bazar 2007 (02)

Success – P’tit Bazar 2007 (02) (Photo credit: alter1fo)

It was only last August one year ago that I left my big corporate job to become an entrepreneur. I really could’ve used this advice back then and actually did implement some of these suggestions to success. If you’re a small business owner who wants to grow, see if any of the below can help you:

1. Set low expectations.  By starting with a conservative approach, a modest success will be noticed and you will be perceived as even smarter than you are.

2. Start local. By developing and testing your idea or product in a local environment, your most powerful network — that is, people you know — will be engaged, and you can do any polishing you need to do before spending big bucks on an untried process in a larger market.

3. Grab low-hanging fruit. Pretty much every product or service has at least one super-strong potential buying group. Focus your efforts on that group with everything you’ve got.

4. Start with a single, likely client. Research their customer base and determine which customers would be the most interested and why.

5. Partner with another successful firm. Suppose a complementary and not competing company has the visibility and attention you want for your company. It may be a wash for you in terms of revenue, but you’ve gotten your product in front of real customers.

via 5 Ways to Set a New Company Up for Success.

Collaboration, conservative optimism and using your networks is what it’s really all about when a business is starting up. Telling your loved ones about what you’re doing (here’s my warm letter from last year) and setting up wonderful ways of working with others who serve the same audience as you (see my Coach’s Buffet that I’m doing at the Toronto Women’s Expo free of charge!) are surefire ways to soar to success.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk!

5 Ways Social Media Can Ruin Your Reputation

Maxistheman

Maxistheman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As a relative social media newbie who helps entrepreneurs grow their businesses, I am really worried about doing the wrong things online. The other day, a friend had to explain that #FF on a tweet meant that they were praising your work. Who knew! So if you’re like me and you want to understand how not to damage your brand on social media, read the great tips below.

1. Boring posts. A boring post is anything that lacks your unique personality or perspective. Giving a fresh perspective on an old topic or going against the status quo is what gets noticed.

2. Disrespecting others. Social media is not the place to work out your problems with people. But don’t retaliate publicly. Simply delete the negative comment, block the person and then decide if you want to address the issue privately, or just move on.

3. Failing to promote others. When someone gives you a great piece of advice, post it on Facebook or Twitter and tag that person. Or utilize the Endorsements feature on LinkedIn and begin endorsing people within your network.

4. Not replying to comments. Actively monitoring comments and questions on every post can be time-consuming, but even posting one follow-up comment per post can show you care and that you’re engaged.

5. Being tagged in questionable photos.   As a business owner, be mindful of how you want to be perceived publicly. Untag or delete yourself from any inappropriate photos.

via 5 Ways Social Media Can Ruin Your Reputation.

If you’ve already made some of the above blunders online, don’t worry. Thankfully social media is so fast and furious that your mistakes are pages and pages of posts ago and what counts is your momentum going forward.

The key thing in social media is a nice blend of social and business while keeping it real and personal. I am such a newbie that I didn’t know how to mass invite my LinkedIn contacts to a workshop, plus I didn’t want to invite everyone. So, I personally wrote a different message to each person I invited including what I thought about their website or biz idea. Wow, did I get complimentary comments and great results. Sometimes, it pays to be a novice!

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk!

Collaboration Stagnation

Collaboration logo.

Collaboration logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We live in the age of collaboration. All around us, silos are becoming extinct and joint ventures have emerged as the new marketing tool to fill our practices.

For most of us, it’s still a new experience to marry another business—whether for the duration of a co-promotion, an event or even a longer term joint venture project.

Here are some personal pet peeves to avoid when collaborating with another business (this is very similar to finding a real life marriage partner by the way!)

Not speaking the same language

If by “we’ll connect soon” you mean tomorrow and they mean a week from now, this is a huge factor in how well the collaboration might go. I say scope out the first few interactions and bail quickly if you’re not in synch.

Not setting expectation of collaboration at beginning

While you might love making new friends, you’re in this partnership to ultimately make more money.  Whether you’re expecting more exposure, new leads, list access or cost sharing from your joint venture, clarify and quantify what each of you are expecting before you start the partnership.  Also talk about contingencies of what happens if either party can’t deliver those expectations. There’s nothing worse than a wasted partnership that goes sour.

Not making a fair division of duties

I collaborated with a partner on an event where I agreed to doing most of the work and getting no cash rewards for the benefit of getting client leads for my coaching business. The unfairness of the division of duties, not to mention the lack of cash while I busted my chops to fill seats rankled deeply even though it was MY IDEA to do it that way. Since that experience, I’ve never offered to do anything more than my partner and never accepted anything less than equal profits.

Not making sure your brand characters mesh well together

If you’re strictly George Clooney territory and you’re doing a partnership with a business whose brand character is channelling Howard Stern, clearly there’s a mismatch and any partnership will be potentially confusing and may be personally frustrating for all involved.

Once you’ve covered these ground rules, go ahead and join the bandwagon of collaboration. You’ll see that one truly is the loneliest number—even in business.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk!