10 Terrible Excuses Not To Market Your Small Business

excuseAs a small biz marketing guru, I’ve heard them all. They have one thing in common: They are all excuses that are holding you back from your dreams. They are false beliefs you picked up somewhere from your family, your culture, the media, a bad experience..you name it. I can go on.

Here are the ones that I’ve heard most often. See if you can spot yourself in one.

1. I Have No Time

I once heard a quote that said ‘Time is a created thing. When you want to, you find it.’ I couldn’t agree more.

2. No Money

The way that I marketed my business when I first started my coaching practice almost 3 years ago was practically for free. I went networking at low-cost events and got on the phone to book myself in as a speaker in front of crowds I wanted to penetrate. In addition, through social media, I could reach almost anyone I wanted to and did. You will never have enough money if you make this one an excuse.

3. No Connections

Didn’t I just mention social media? Not only that, but when you reach out to your own friends and family and give them a clear picture of your ideal client and ask for their help in meeting them, you will be surprised at how many connections you truly have.

4. Don’t Like To Network

I used to be against networking. I bit the bullet and kept going to the same events that my ideal clients go to. Over and over and over again. Now, I’m surprised if I don’t know at least 10 people at ANY event I go to. The very first ones I used to go to, I’d ask the organizers’ help in getting introduced around. In others, I’d find one accommodating soul at the buffet and ask if they knew anyone and ask to be introduced. The rest is history.

5. Don’t Know What To Do To Market

If you’re truly clueless about whether you should be networking or advertising, then get some help. There are thousands of business coaching programs available at every price point. If you’re starting from zero, you need help. Stop wasting your time with this excuse and learn what to do.

6. Can’t Market Until My New Product Launch

Or until I finish my new certification or until my lease is up or until etc etc. This is a time-honored delay tactic and the granddaddy of all excuses. It’s a false belief that what you offer isn’t enough until you get something to complete you. Even if your entire business is the new product, you still don’t have to wait for the launch to start marketing. Ever heard of teaser campaigns?

7. It’s Icky To Self-Promote

This is a huge excuse and an honest to goodness belief that a lot of my clients have. Do the work to flip that belief (see my post on Dr.Joe Dispenza’s work to help you) or you’ll go bankrupt fast. If you didn’t self promote, you would continue to be the best kept secret in town and help no more than a handful of people in the world. Is that what you were born for? Surely your destiny can’t be meant to have you playing so small?

8. I’m No Good At It

I’m no good at beach volleyball, snowboarding, scuba diving, running, speaking French at cocktail parties, keeping my opinions to myself..and I can go on and on. I do it anyway and guess what..the more I do it, the better I get. Ditch your excuse and get out there.

9. I Have A Young Family

Oh, this doozy was mine for ages. I didn’t want to leave my 5-year-old at home and go out networking or travel out-of-town to large conferences and speaking gigs. Well, some wise women (one being Sandra Yancey) had me changing my perspective about this and I began to see it as simply the excuse that it was. I’m not like the George Clooney Up In The Air character where he was gone 300 days of the year. I only venture out-of-town once a month for a few days. The networking also isn’t so bad because I get to see him during the day.

10. I Need To Make Money So I Have To Work IN The Biz

Well, this is perhaps the biggest place to hide for entrepreneurs-their work. I have clients who build their businesses with me and get so busy with client work that they literally drop our marketing work entirely. I get a call from them during their dead season a few months later asking to start the work up again. Biz growth is a mean mistress. Unless you build it into your busy life all the time, she will not want you back easily.

I hope you were NOT able to recognize yourself in this list. Maybe there are even a few excuses I’ve missed. Let me know..I always love a good chuckle.

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 My Superhero Power Would Be

picnicmanWhen I found out that a multimillionaire, multi-talented serial entrepreneur named Tina Roth Eisenberg credits her success with her ability to answer one single question, I was intrigued. The question was:

If you were a superhero, what would your superpower be?

What The Successful Said

She said that almost all the successful people she met were able to answer this question instantly. For example according to the Inc. magazine article, John Maeda, who led the MIT Media Lab and Rhode Island School of Design, responded with “curiosity.” Maria Popova, who curates the popular Brain Pickings blog by reading 12-15 books a week, said “doggedness.” Eisenberg’s own superpower? Enthusiasm.

What I Said

I really loved this question because it made me realize that my own answer is the focus of my business and it’s simply this:

To enable people to overcome their childhood crap around money (which translates to their ability to market and sell themselves).

Yup, this is my life mission.

Your Focus

If you think about what your greatest mission in life and in your business is, then wouldn’t you naturally want that to be your superpower?

For example, a client who is a financial advisor recently decided to become ‘the business tax deductions expert’. Imagine a superhero looking at your finances and finding missing deductions to hand you unexpected savings out of the blue! How about another client who helps women get over hot flashes through simple dietary changes? That’s a superpower any woman would love.

If you don’t have a niche, you probably haven’t met me or haven’t had the pleasure to speak to me about this topic that’s my personal frustration with businesses I meet. I try not to cringe every time someone tells me that they work with everyone and do everything.

I want to convince every one I meet from every industry and every walk of life that indeed, life is sweeter when your business has a focus (a niche) and you can’t become a superhero if you don’t have one main strength. Otherwise the Xmen franchise would star a single hero and wouldn’t that be boring to watch?

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

Funny Thing Happened At The Airport

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What happens when a small business coach who has just spent her last week writing and talking about how important it is to stop selling services by the hour and products by the unit goes on vacation? Her work follows her to the airport of course!

As I was contemplating exchanging my Canadian dollars to US, I noticed a very prominent sign in the exchange booth window. Much to my disbelief, even a currency exchange bureau was offering PACKAGES to customers. The title on the sign pretty much said it all: exchange more, save more. I got so excited about this sign because it was just one more proof about why it’s essential to package your products and services and stop quoting by the single unit.

Here are some arguments about why this is such a good idea:

Simplicity Sells

In this world of what my favorite coach Sam Horne calls Infobesity-information obesity where we’re swimming in too much information  we kind of blank out when it comes to absorbing most of the messages that surround us. Simplicity is key to getting your message across in a concise way in your business. Why shouldn’t your actual offer, the most critical part of your selling and marketing process be just that simple? Presenting your offerings in the form of packages just makes it that much easier to process, understand and remember what options there are to work with you.

We Live In A World Of Packages

Everywhere you go, from retail stores to high level service providers, everyone is offering packages. We have become a consumer who understands and deals in packs. Why should your business buck this trend and try to peddle your wares by the single unit and invite comparisons and calculations that are sure to come up short in the eyes of your consumer?

Ditch the solo act and get onto the package deals. Then make sure to sweeten your packs with added bonuses and extras and get creative about providing things that your competitors don’t.

You Can Give More Value

If you were to simply sell your products or services as a stand-alone, that’s all you’d be selling. Instead, you’re now providing bigger and better value by offering cross services, complimentary products and bonuses that don’t take much for you to offer but can add tremendous value to the whole pack of what you’re selling. Remember a package offering is larger than the sum of its parts. Sold separately each part wouldn’t be as valuable but put together cleverly by you and designed based on your clients’ needs, they provide true value.

Makes Choosing Simpler

It’s already difficult to decide to buy, why not make it easier to choose. Your client’s buying decision can only be enhanced by simply organized, high value and high impact packages that are offered 2 or 3 at a time. People love choices and you want to make sure that they’re not making a choice between buying and not buying but rather between your packages. You influence and control the decision when you offer packages.

If you still insist that you work in an industry where selling in packs isn’t feasible, look no further than an exchange office at the airport and think about the money you’re leaving on the table by refusing to reshape your offerings.

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

Do Sales-y People Nauseate You?

nauseatedIf the title of this blog post got your notice, you might have at one point in your life been turned off and even offended by a person selling something. That person could have even been me who nauseated you!

I used to feel exactly the same way. Now I know why and what it used to cost me and my small business.

Let me explain.

The Unending Pitch

At a networking event I happened to be attending with my own coach, tickets to a conference were being sold to the audience. The meeting which was supposed to end at 9pm dragged on for at least an extra hour due to this sales pitch. I was resentful of the time taken from my evening and had a long drive home. Several other women I spoke to later on even told me that they’d dumped their membership from the networking group in protest of this outrage. Most people were upset that they’d been ‘sold-to’. I mentioned it to my coach and his answer really woke me up. He said that people who have a negative reaction to selling and sales people are almost always suffering from a lack of sales or money in their own business.

Your Money Story

Wow! I had no clue that my dislike of a ‘pitch’ was coming from my own beliefs around money. It made total sense though. I come from an immigrant family who was raised in a developing country in the 50’s. My Mom was the coupon queen. My Dad had so much stress about money that he had high blood pressure at the age of 40! We weren’t poor but we were taught never to have a debt and always to be very careful with money. My income set-point never got any higher than just under 6 figures. I thought that earning more than that would equal abandoning my family and health. Is it any wonder that I disliked people who had no qualms about taking my money? When I learned that my money story and belief around my inability to get more money equaled a mistrust of someone selling me something, I really took a hard look at myself and changed the way I viewed money and sales. For the first time in my life after 44 years of living, I was able to crack my earning ceiling!

Is Selling Taking Or Giving?

The fundamental truth about people who view selling as taking money (or whatever money equals for them–like freedom or security) away from people is that they themselves are never comfortable with or good at taking it from others. When business owners start to view the act of selling as giving help, service and options to people, that’s when they become less nauseated with people who are doing it to them.

Take Note

So the next time that you hear a sales pitch and hear people complaining about being offended about someone selling them something, take note of your own reaction and try to think about the implications for your business success. If you can learn from those who are doing it well and even from those who aren’t so polished at it, you can only add prosperity to your business and get to help that many more people who desperately need your services.

Stop criticizing people who are selling to you and learn from them. Stop hanging around with people who are nauseated by sales-y people and see your income go up. Get down to the core of your money story and your limiting money beliefs and break out of your own money set point like I did. This could be the single biggest success factor 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

How Brad Pitt Helped My Newsletter

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It is mind boggling how important celebrities are in our society. I discovered this last week after putting up a funny little New Year’s Resolution list I hand wrote as part of a blog mentioning Brad Pitt.

I had so much response to that small mention that my newsletter readers wrote in to tell me stories of other celebrities that they’d met. Another reader and friend told me about how her husband was mobbed at a concert because he was mistaken for Brad Pitt. (no, my friend isn’t Angelina Jolie…)

The mere mention of the name of a celebrity in a tiny portion of my newsletter got me thinking about newsletters in general. Do businesses really need one? What makes a good one and what’s it really about?

Here are some reasons why you absolutely, positively need a newsletter for your small business.

It Keeps You Top Of Mind

I’ve seen over and over again, how after my newsletter goes out, people who owed me an answer or who I hadn’t heard from in a long time remember me and write me back–replying directly to the newsletter. I’ve gotten jobs, free tickets to events and clients from just the fact that I’m in my target clients’ inbox every week, without fail!

It Engages People On A Human Level

A client swore up and down that he REFUSED to do a newsletter for his business because he felt that if people wanted information, they knew where to go get it. He said that he felt it an insult to intrude on people’s space with his thoughts with a newsletter.

I then sent him the following true email that I got from someone I’d never met but who was on my newsletter database:

Chala, this article about driving over the border CRACKED ME UP, had me in STITCHES.  Having grown up in St. Catharines (where I crossed the border without my parents when I was 17), I found your vulnerability and wild imagination to be completely adorable and relatable.  Thank you for sharing.
I appreciate the wonderful variety of topics in your newsletters – the funny, the educational, the thought-provoking – all of it engaging and entertaining.
FWIW, I have to be honest, I subscribe to VERY FEW newsletters.  Much of the time when I subscribe to one, I wind up unsubscribing in a matter of weeks because the content is just mundane or unappealing or an obnoxious incessant sales pitch.  By contrast, I’ve been on your mailing list for a couple of years now and your emails (even the subject line) always catch my eye!  You truly do a great job.  When I see your name in my inbox I almost feel like I “know” you after all this time – that’s an incredibly powerful social media connection.
Keep up the great work!

I didn’t send this to my client to brag but to demonstrate to him that newsletters can be valuable and do have followers. He conceded to try his hand at one but he’s still struggling with the concept. What do you think?

It Showcases Your Expertise

When you’re blogging, making videos or speaking about the same topic every week of every month of every year, people tend to get the idea that you may know more about this one topic than perhaps they do. This is why it’s so important to pick the right expertise to niche in and pick the right ideal target audience to continue to write about. Illustrating your ideal client’s pain points via real life stories and showcasing your expertise by talking about how you helped them is the best way I know of convincing other potential ideal clients to seek your help.

Exposes Your True Self

What I love best is that newsletters allow you to be yourself and show the world who you are as a person. You can demonstrate your own personality by the titles you pick. For example, I’ve noticed that the more outrageous and personal my article titles, the higher my open rates. But I don’t pick these titles to be sensationalistic. I do it because I’m a little bit crazy, a lot of fun and like to laugh. I don’t want to be bored when I’m sent a million newsletters so I put myself in my readers’ shoes and try to deliver an out of the box title every week.

If you’re still not sending your potential ideal clients compelling, entertaining and informative newsletters, you are missing out on a tremendously valuable marketing tool. Lack of time and ideas is no excuse. You can get articles written for $5 on fiverr.com now so there really is no better time to start. Lack of email marketing software is also not an excuse, it costs $10/ month. Failing that, you should just go ahead and send an email to your fans today. People want to know the genuine you and they want your help. Make sure to give it to them on a regular basis.

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