Be a Stalker

stalkerWhen a tiny product research company called Metric Labs wanted the attention of their ideal client, a hardware heavyweight named Griffin Technologies, they had to resort to stalking.  Metric tried every warm contact they had but simply couldn’t reach the CEO. Finally in a last ditch attempt, they sent a LinkedIn connection request to the CEO and said “for whatever reason we’ve tried but can’t get through to you and we think we have something you need to see”.  The result? A licensing agreement that was a dream come true for Metric!

Peeping Tom and Voyeur Too

In life, being a little too curious about your fellow man (or woman) could get you in trouble with the law.  In business you need to talk, peep and follow your potential clients obsessively.  Such was the case with Metric.  They were so set on acquiring a licensing agreement with Griffin that they built several prototypes integrating their products into their technology.  Metric admits to having looked at every Griffin product, every employee and even every company philosophy in detail before approaching them.  It clearly paid off for them.

Stalking Tips

What about you? Who are you trying to woo as a client? Here are some more tips on how to effectively obsess about your small business audience:

1. Figure out Who to Stalk

Like any good pervert, you need to figure out a good target.  In business, this would be called your ideal client.  Make sure it’s someone who needs you, can afford to hire you and will value your expertise.

2. Find Their Pain

If your target client’s not in pain, then they don’t need you. Use your stalking to dig deeper into finding out what their pain is and how they talk about their pain.  Read their group blogs, talk to people who work with or who know them.  The more you understand your ideal target clients, the faster you can attract them.

3. Find Their Hang Outs

Once you’ve got a handle on who your ideal target clients are and what they need, the next step is to find out WHERE you can stalk them.  For work or for play, where do they frequent? What do they read or watch? What meetings or trade shows do they congregate in?

As the author of a book on Gentle Marketing, it might seem strange for me to be touting stalking as a marketing tool. When you think about it though, stalking is really the only way to get to know your ideal target market.

So learn from success stories like Metric and turn a term used to describe sick obsession into a profitable business strategy for you!

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 Biggest Money Mistakes of Rookie Entrepreneurs

337/365: The Big Money

337/365: The Big Money (Photo credit: DavidDMuir)

Money is truly oxygen in our world and especially in the world of a small business. When I started my small business marketing consulting practice 1.5 years ago, I had saved up only $15K for startup costs and emergencies. Luckily, I have barely touched that money and it’s still my emergency backup, not to mention my darling hubby who holds down a real day job. This article was really interesting and very accurate in reflecting my thoughts on how small businesses should treat money in the first few years. Here are some money mistakes to avoid:

1. Underestimating Your Needs

Everything takes longer in the trenches than it appears to in the planning stages. There are also costs you can’t imagine until you absolutely need that one linchpin item to complete a customer delivery.

2. Going Too Large

Entrepreneurs dream big, and our eyes are sometimes bigger than our wallets. Set yourself up for success by distinguishing between what’s necessary and what can wait.

3. Packing in the Payroll

I’m pretty sure living on minimum wage wasn’t what you had in mind when you started your business. Before you add anyone to your team, be very clear on what each position is to accomplish. With that clarity, look to independent contractors for their expertise. Hire full-time employees only when you can keep them busy in their core competency on a long-term basis.

4. Buying New

Resist the allure of new. Don’t overlook going-out-of-business sales. It can feel a bit vulture-esque, but remember, you’re doing your fellow entrepreneur a favor.

5. Failing to Mark the Exits

Always keep an exit plan with an objective marker. It could be a revenue number. It could be a level of debt. It could be a specific time frame. Coupled with your emergency exit plan should be a personal emergency fund. Three- to six-months’ living expenses is a large amount of money, but it gives you security while you tee up your next play.

via 5 Biggest Money Mistakes of Rookie Entrepreneurs.

The big missing component of course in this list is to plan your business spend, particularly your marketing spend. If you have no plan, how will you know which trade show to prep for or which network to join? Without a plan, how will you know if you’re spending too much or too little on your marketing?

Heed the advice above and make sure you’re never out of oxygen and can breathe clearly at all times.

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!

Stage (S)kills!

My first public speaking experience that was memorable was in my 8th grade French class where I was doing my utmost to explain the mating habits of a praying mantis in French (they eat their partner once done with them!) to a class room of English-speaking pre-teens. Everyone ignored me. I then stopped everyone in their tracks by starting to draw on the board behind me, the actual mating process and the eating that ensued thereafter. I haven’t stopped wanting to arrest people in their tracks when I speak since then.

I’m so passionate about being a captivating speaker and teaching people how to get clients from a good speech that I put together my first ever full day public speaking training bootcamp.

In the video above, I talk about the 3 fundamentals of Public Speaking success:

What’s the audience’s pain?

Why are the people in those seats? What pain can you help them with today? With me, it’s usually about getting more clients and figuring out a marketing plan to get there.

What’s your solution?

There are a million ways to help the same problem but your audience is interested in findng out what you did in the past to help clients with similar pain and what their results were. If you tell interesting and relevant stories about how you helped another client with the same pain and all the wonderful outcomes of your actions, you give people a chance to find out how they can also benefit from your help.

Entertain me

If you do the above two and don’t entertain people in some way–then you’re missing the entire reason why people came to see you talk and not picked up a book. They want to connect with you as a human, they want to hear personal stories and they want to be inspired and amused. The shortest way to anybody’s heart is to make them smile or even better to make them laugh. Even if you’re not a comedian or an entertainer, tell a story of your past that made you smile. Make sure to link it to the audience pain and your solution and voila–you have a captivated audience!

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!

Business Burnout

MS Polarfront weather ship IMO Number: 7608708...

When you’re the only crew on your ship, it’s tough to take our hands off the rudder. So you keep saying to yourself…

But many business owners don’t allow themselves the luxury of a day off here and there, and certainly not a vacation. This can lead to Business Burnout, and that’s not pretty. Business Burnout will make you far less effective, more moody, less decisive and possibly depressed, anxious and resentful. Who wants to do business with someone like that?

It’s too difficult to get away.

It’s not worth it, because I just come back to a mess.

I might miss an important opportunity if I take time off.

Who will take care of the clients?

No one else can do what I do.

I can’t afford to take time off.

It’s no fun to take time off if I can’t afford to do anything different.

via Business Burnout.

The road to burnout for entrepreneurs is well documented. In fact I’m doing a webinar about it in 2 days, come and take steps to focus your life and skip the burnout.

In the meantime, enjoy the reasons why you became self-employed instead. Commit to someone else that you will take that time off no matter what. Remind yourself of the consequences of burnout.

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!