(VIDEO) Advertising Your Small Business: The Lazy Solution or Salvation?

Have you ever wondered if new clients are waiting to rush to the phones to call you if only you advertised?

I’m going to stop you right there. I am against service based small businesses advertising. I feel that there are way too many other ways to connect with and market to your ideal client that will result in much faster and higher returns on your investment. But I’m not here to judge. I’m here to help you decide whether an ad investment will pay out or not, regardless of my personal opinion about it.

  1. Your first step in deciding on if you should advertise is to be crystal clear on who your ideal target client group is. You know, the group of people who can afford your rates, who need what you offer and who love you as soon as they meet you.
  2. Once you’ve strategically found your target niche (as opposed to guessing it from your gut), then ask the ad rep how many of those target people will be reading/listening to or seeing your ad.
  3. Then take the cost and divide it by the number of people the ad will reach and you will get something called a CPM, a cost per thousand calculation.
  4. Now you do this same thing and find the CPM for other forms of marketing you’re doing, say a trade show cost vs how many people you talk to at your booth or a bus shelter ad and how many of the thousands will actually BE your ideal client etc.
  5. Then you choose the CPM that’s lowest which means it has the lowest cost to reach a client. In my experience, I’ve gotten the lowest CPM through networking, public speaking and trade shows. Let’s see what your CPM numbers will show you?

For the love of God, please don’t just throw your money on advertising and expect your business to triple in size. Make sure it’s a strategic decision and you won’t regret it.

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

How My Heartbreak Helped My Business

babyloganI was 40 years old when I was able to finally become a Mom. I had 2 miscarriages before and 2 after Logan. After 9 months spent in terror while pregnant with Logan, he was born, and we were ecstatic. Ecstatic but still scared. Scared about his picky eating, scared about his development and mostly scared that he wasn’t talking, only grunting even past the age of 2.

What We Did

What does a scared Mom do when her child is speech delayed? She goes nuts trying to get him every resource possible. So we went through the official, free channels. We were put on year-long wait lists. Do you think anyone as driven and obsessive as me would wait that long to solve a problem? No, I hired outside help. Very expensive outside help.

Today

To this day, Logan still needs the support of a speech therapist. Anyone who interacts with him wouldn’t even understand why. In fact, I’ve had a lot of my friends make fun of me for being so anal. But the experts who had assessed him agree with me that Logan needs help around conversation if he’s going to succeed in life and school. So now I pay hundreds of dollars per hour each and every week in the hopes that he won’t be a social outcast, a special needs student or an academically challenged troublemaker.

How To Afford

How can I afford to sustain this and other expenses that we need to incur for Logan’s special need around speech? 2 years ago, this question would’ve paralyzed me. Now, it’s almost an afterthought. Let me explain…

During the last couple of years, I learned huge things about money. I’ve learned that my childhood conditioned me to be bad with money. I learned that my income set point was set very low and nothing I did while still operating within my conditioning could get me beyond it. Once I learned to break my money set point, I was able to triple my income and be able to afford the things that my child really needs to not only survive but to thrive.

Your Why

A Positive psychology conference I attended this summer presented research that showed high correlation between the pursuit and desire for wealth and depression coupled with anxiety. I found the study highly contentious and was almost on the verge of calling out the keynote until I realized that the crux of the issue is the intention. If WHY you want money is to obtain material things, then I can see that you might have self-confidence and self-worth issues.

What Money represents to me is having enough resources to help my child live a better life. It represents freedom for us in deciding if he needs a special education. It means peace of mind that he’s getting the fastest and best help there is out there.

It broke my heart to see another Mom at a playgroup whose child was diagnosed with Autism and who was put on a year-long wait list just to have the first consult. She cried at every gathering, feeling powerless. I offered to help her financially but she was too proud to take it. I feel so grateful every day that I have the ability to create the wealth to not be in her situation. I go out and market myself everyday for the ability to maintain and grow that wealth. Not for me but for Logan.

When your WHY is strong enough, you cannot afford to play small in your business.

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

Shocking New Data: 42% Of Startups Fail Due To Lack Of Market Need

failureHow’s this for a doozy?

A new study from a research firm called CB Insights revealed that almost HALF of the 125 startups they looked at died 20 months after starting. The main reason for their knockout was because there was NO need for the product or service they sold.

Why Is This Happening

All day, every day, I help small business owners research their own business viability and the proof of existence for their specific niche. Sadly mostly in Canada, I meet a lot of resistance about both niching and researching. Niching is uncomfortable because to some, it’s pigeon-holing themselves. Researching is uncomfortable because it actually involves talking to strangers and near-strangers. If you’re a business owner and you don’t do the upfront work to ask the right questions of the right people, then you might just end up part of the statistic.

Hoping For Your Market To Find You

I often talk about the woman I met while networking, who became a Grief Coach after going through her own mother’s painful death. After 2 years of trying desperately to grow her business, she discovered that most people get grief counseling (similar to coaching) for free through their church or other hospice programs. Like most businesses, she didn’t know that she was supposed to strategically confirm that there was indeed, a paying market for her services. Without first identifying several target groups and having several different products or services to offer them, you can’t systematically and strategically vet them.

How To Beat The Odds

My biggest advice to any new business is to find a good coach. Not any coach. Someone who is just a few steps ahead of you and who has demonstrated success in your own industry. The next step is to implement everything they tell you to do. That’s how I doubled my 20-year corporate pay cheque, 2 years after launching my own small biz. My other advice of course, is to talk to your potential clients. Let the market dictate your niche and your services. Don’t let your pride, ego, assumptions, fears, dreams and passions do it.

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

3 Signs You’ve Hired The Wrong Marketing Help

wrongmarketingHave you ever spent money on your marketing and wondered if you were throwing your money away? As a small business marketing coach, every day I meet small businesses who tell me their woeful tales of hiring some form of help in marketing and being disappointed. Here are 3 hints that you’ve indeed gone and hired the wrong marketing help.

1. They are an expert in implementing one element but not the strategy

If I had a dollar for every client who had hired a social media expert, an SEO guru, a website designer or a telemarketer to help their business growth and not gotten a single new client from their efforts, I’d be living in Hawaii on my retirement funds right now. An expert in one field of marketing can’t be responsible for the STRATEGY of your business. For that, you need to hire an expert who can help you determine your most viable niche, your ideal target client and your messaging. Without any of these, how can you expect anyone to really be able to help your business grow?

2. The things you’re promised are not happening

A client once cried to me about her web designer who had promised her the moon. He’d promised to help her find her niche, determine her messaging and to help with targeting her ideal clients. Of course, months later my client fired them because they weren’t capable of delivering what they promised. Please understand that there are companies who are actually capable of doing that but beware of generalists. Also beware of anyone who says they can help you determine your strategy without doing consumer research. My clients and I research their niches as the first starting point in our relationship. Research is the only way to figure out which way you should go with your marketing and if your vendor is promising you results without it, I would be very wary.

3.  You’re getting no new clients but are assured of long-term ROI

Listen, I know that online strategies take time to make their way to SEO rankings and to help you get found. However, even those should start to yield some new clients of the quality that you want within a few months. If you are not getting any new clients as a result of your investment but are being assured that it’s good to build general brand awareness of your industry, I would sincerely suggest that I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. If you are getting brand awareness but that’s not translating to at least 1 new person a week asking you the question “how much do you charge?” then you’re not getting any leads from your efforts.

So wizen up to how you spend your marketing dollars and realize that strategy and implementation are two completely separate subject matters. Paying for any one element without having a strategy first would be like trying to build a new house first and paying an architect to draw the plan later. Worse yet, is to try to build a house without that plan-which is sadly what most people do, because they simply don’t know what they don’t know.

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

How My Future Self Helps Me Make More Money

The Future Chala

The founder of my favorite brand in the whole wide world, Patagonia (the outdoor active wear company) changed his whole business around when he asked himself one question: What if we’re still around 100 years from now? How would we have to change? After that, a revolution began. The company made it their mission to “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, and use our business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” They changed their address, their suppliers and their marketing.

My Question

While this was going on at Patagonia, I had also been asking myself this transformative question during my daily meditations. Even today, each day I ask myself “what would the future successful me be saying to the today me who is trying to grow her business and is scared of all the change that’s happening?”

My Answer

First let me clarify who the future successful me is. She’s fearless because she has literally seen and done it all. She’s rich in money, friendships, love and health. She is not only a thought leader in her subject matter but an inspiration in her community. She’s a successful parent and a still deeply in love wife. She’s brought about enormous change in her business and in her family’s lifestyle through her continuing successes. Let me also give you a clue (see the picture above) that she’s still pretty damn good to look at.

What does the future me say to me every day? “Hold on Chala. Wait it out. Don’t give up and don’t be afraid of the future. Keep doing the things that you’re doing because you really are 3 feet from the kind of success that you’re dreaming about. Forget the fear and know that it works out really well for us.”

The Science

Now, I knew this as an exercise in NLP (Neurolinguistic programming) which I studied years ago but until I became familiar with Dr.Joe Dispenza’s work I never knew why talking to your future self was a good thing to do.

In an incredible study that Dr.Joe mentions in his book “Breaking the Habit Of Being Yourself” in July 2000, an Israeli doctor conducted research with almost 4000 hospitals and divided patients into 2 groups. One group would have people praying for them to get well, the other wouldn’t. All the patients had sepsis (an infection). He looked at 3 things to determine if the prayer worked: 1. how long the fever lasted, 2. length of hospital stay and 3. how many died as a result of infection.

Predictably, the prayed-for benefited from an earlier decrease in fever, shorter hospitalization time and the death rate was better but not statistically significant versus the unfortunate not-prayed-for group.

Here’s the kicker: the people praying only discovered later that the name of the patient lists they were praying for were from patients who were in the hospital from 1990 to 1996! Four to ten years before the experiment was done. In other words, praying (placing mind energy) on perfect strangers who lived in the past HELPED heal them. How crazy is that!

The Future You

If you were to pray (or have a focused intention during meditation like I do each day) on your own past or future for a better life, could you affect it? According to Dr.Joe, quantum law in physics says that all potential exists simultaneously. It’s mind-blowing but I’ve been practicing this very thing and it’s not only made me feel better but it’s actually manifesting great things in my business.

So, if you can open your mind and your heart and talk to the future you, what would you say to yourself to grow your small business like I am?

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

What Is Your Most Valuable Currency?

I was floored when I watched comedian Jim Carrey do a commencement speech at a spiritual university graduation where apparently they meditate as part of the curriculum! I wasn’t only floored that there’s a university that does (called the Maharashi University) that but that Jim Carrey of all people was doing the speech.

And the things he was saying…I listened in astonishment as every single sentence he uttered made my heart sing and my hair stand on its end.

The first and most important thing he made me realize was..

The Most Valuable Currency I Have Is The Effect I Have On Others

Whether on a stage or chatting with my sister, I never really thought about the effect I had on others and how important that was. You are also walking around, making people either feel good or feel nothing. You either choose to lift people up or live your regular life. How would your life change if you viewed your effect on others as a currency? T. Harv Eker says ‘You help enough people get rich, you’ll get rich’. Likewise, you affect enough people in a positive way, that currency will come back to you in a multitude of ways.

Why Fail At What You Don’t Want?

Jim Carrey talks about his dad who wanted to be a comedian but instead was scared of failure so he became an accountant, which he hated. He got fired from that job so Jim concluded “you can fail at what you don’t want so you might as well take a chance on what you love”! I loved this piece because for 20 years in the corporate world, I did things I didn’t love and I was restructured, disrespected, mistreated and still stayed because I was too scared to do what I really wanted to do. I was finally brave enough to leave but every day I see so many others who are still suffering in the same cycle. Why not try for what you love instead?

Your Need For Acceptance Can Make You Invisible

Boy, I can’t believe I was hearing this from one of the most famous and visible faces in the world. Imagine if HE feels that way, how a regular person like me feels! This topic is such a huge new calling for me that in fact, I’ll be speaking about it to a gathering of 30 women tonight. When you want to be perfect, you disappear. When you want to write perfect blogs, have perfect headshots, look perfect on video and want to have the perfect bio that reflects none of the shame and trials that made you, then like many of my clients, you simply choose NOT to show up in your marketing. Please don’t do that. The world needs to hear your imperfection. You need to speak your shame and fear otherwise everyone’s pretending in silence and nobody can help anyone.

If your small business is suffering because you don’t dare to fail or be imperfect and you don’t realize that your true currency lies in your effect on others, then I hope I’ve convinced you to give change a chance.

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

4 Ways To Keep Clients From Hiring You Today

In my 3rd year of business, I keep running into false and limiting beliefs around doing business in the summer time. People, just because the temperature got above freezing after 6 months of shivering doesn’t mean that marketing your business stops. Here are 4 things you should definitely do if you DON’T want clients to hire you today.

1. Take The Summer Off

Go ahead, the kids are out of school, your business is doing ok, you can afford it right? Wrong. Right about September, my phone starts ringing with clients trying to re-engage my services because they didn’t put in any marketing time over the summer. Do not stop your marketing. Just work it around the early Friday take-offs to the cottage or long weekends but keep at it.

2. Assume That Everyone Also Takes The Summer Off

This is a big one because it affects how you operate. Do you stop sending emails to event organizers to get speaking gigs? (most speaking is planned in the summer!) Do you stop calling key people to move your business forward because you assume they are away for holidays? As Bob Newhart says in his hilarious video as a psychotherapist, “Just Stop It”!

3. Don’t Plan For A Drop In Numbers

I found out that if I don’t proactively plan to be MORE visible and busy in the summer months, that my numbers do indeed go down. So this year for the first time, I’m going to be participating in US trade shows and I’m actually even participating in a golf tournament with my key prospects. I’ll let you know if I get kicked off the course but I can promise you that by anticipating a drop in my natural numbers and putting in counter-measures, I feel much better going into the summer.

4. Skip Networking For The Summer

I admit, some networking groups actually break for the summer so even if I wanted to, I couldn’t attend their meetings. However, I’ve cleverly found others that just do events in the summer. Also, as I’ve already mentioned, I’ve signed up for a very uncomfortable (for me) sport which seems to be revered by my target clients in the summer. Find out where your ideal clients are this summer and go hang out with them. Just don’t sit in your backyard and BBQ. Get out there.

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