Tired Of Holiday Wishes Yet?

tiredxmasI adore vacations and time spent with loved ones as much as the next gal. I love presents and shiny decorations and big celebrations more than you can imagine. Then what’s my beef about getting a gazillion Happy Holidays emails in my inbox? It’s not differentiated. And in marketing speak, in the world of small business, it’s a death sentence to be like EVERYONE else.

Here are a few tips to pull up your proverbial marketing socks for next year if you’ve already gone ahead and hit send this year.

Say or do something different than every other business

For the love of God, if you’re going to send Holiday wishes at Christmas or Valentine’s messages in February or Save Now messages on boxing day, say it differently than everyone else. I was almost nauseated by the amount of the same old same old messages that I got in my inbox this year. Maybe I even sent the same myself last year. But this year, I have a bigger understanding of what it means in business to stand out, deliver different things and to be noticed. Look at how a company called Cards Against Humanity stood out from the rest on Cyber Monday and actually increased their prices, getting a record increase in their sales.

Use your brand voice

A client asked me, “what will I say that’s different than all those gurus who have more knowledge, more training and more experience about this subject?” I told her, you have something nobody else has and that’s your personality. Nobody sees the world from your eyes or can explain things in exactly the way that you do. This point was brought home to me when I heard the exact same message from a 70 year old American hippy called Dr.Wayne Dyer and then a decade later, heard a 40 year old leopard tights-clad woman named Danielle LaPorte spouting the same teachings. Was the message different? No, it’s universal. But the way that each delivered it was so unique that I was made astoundingly aware of this phenomenon-that it’s not what you say but HOW you say it that resounds with people.  What can you do to add your brand voice to the equation and say what you truly want to say to your followers to wish them well in the new year?

Give something

Even if you can’t afford to give gifts to all your clients and networks over the holidays, give the gift of advice or understanding. Call someone you know who is spending the holidays away from loved ones. . This is a time for giving so instead of the middle finger, why not give some love to a former client who you parted ways with acrimoniously?

This article is my own way of wishing you your dreams-come-true in the new year. I hope you think it was different than everyone else’s.

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

5 Ways to Prepare for Next Year

So it’s the first week in 2013 and I’m back at my desk. Are you wondering what you should be doing now that the new year’s started? Are you excited or a little anxious about the coming year? Here are some great tools to get you started as soon as you’re back to work:

1. Clean Out Your Email

Only leave emails in your inbox that require specific action. You may be surprised at what you find. There may even be opportunities you missed earlier in the year. Delete everything else.

2. Sort Through Your Facebook Friends

Hint: If you don’t know who they are and how you met them then they aren’t really friends. One of the reasons you can’t keep up with the news-feed is that too many people are posting things you don’t care about.

3. Sort Out Your LinkedIn

Go through your list, look at the profiles and identify 10 specific people who can actually help you with your desired objectives. Send each of them a Happy New Year greeting and begin a conversation.

4. Clean Your Desk

Move as much paperwork to electronic filing as possible.  You’ll clear your view, your mind, and might even save a tree or two.

5. Set Your Top 5 Priorities for Q1

Start the year with clear purpose. Take a few hours to identify the five priorities that will advance your journey this year. Write out your top five initiatives for the next three months and post them on the wall by your desk.

via 5 Ways to Prepare for Next Year.

The most important one of the above 5 tips in my opinion is the last one where you need to have your Top 5 Priorities for Q1. My Top 5 are: 1. Get 5 new clients in Q1 2. Secure 5 new speaking engagements 3. Write my book 4. Re-do my website 5. Get 3 more consulting jobs.

I can’t wait. Write me and tell me about your Top 5 Priorities in 2013!

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!

Take a Guilt-Free Holiday Break

Conrad_Black_guiltyI have holidays on the brain. I’ve picked December to be the month of re-engaging with all my clients and important networks face to face for the first time this Holidays Season. No, this is not a new client aquisition strategy and it’s not a hard sell approach but it’s a building and nurturing relationships approach that’s more long term. When I saw this article about how to have a guilt-free holiday, my eyes went there. Hopefully yours will too. Here are some ways to do that:

Small business cloud accounting company FreshBooks recently offered some tips on its blog, ranging from the sensible but obvious (tell your clients you’re taking off) to the less expected. The advice from writer and entrepreneur Justine Smith includes:

Pay Your Bills in Advance. Who wants to pay bills while on vacation? I certainly didn’t, which is why I always tried to pay my bills before I took my time off. Besides the traditional bills, I also made sure to pay my contractors earlier so they too could enjoy the funds for their holiday needs.

Make Your List, Check it Twice. Before you officially leave, think about creating a schedule of projects and deadlines you have in the New Year so you can jump right back into work upon your return. You may also consider creating a hearty to-do list for the New Year so you can get all those gnawing tasks out of your head before you take time off.

via Take a Guilt-Free Holiday Break.

Some of my other ways to be guilt free while on holidays is to have a kick ass plan for January. Right now, I’ve got 3 big events planned to generate new clients for that month. Another thing I’m doing through the holidays is to draft the synopsis for my new book that I plan to publish in the first quarter of next year. There are so many things that I’m still thinking and planning all the while that I’m eating that turkey and sitting in the car through hours of travel out of town that by Jan 2nd, I’ll be raring to go!

So what are you going to be doing before you jet off to have a guilt free holiday this year?

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!

A blues buster E-zine

This is a photograph I personally took when Wa...

Image via Wikipedia

Every newsletter I seem to read in the recent weeks is a strategy or list of to-do’s for coping during difficult economic times. Of course, I’m no dummy and I recognize why, but I decided to do a different type of list for the New Year. One that talks about inspiration, which in my opinion is the one true blues-buster in the world.

The word “inspire” in the dictionary means “to fill with animating, quickening or exalting influence”. Going into such a potentially bleak year such as 2009, I personally want to forget about my worries and remember instead those things that fill me with this said animating, quickening or exalting influence. Inspiration is the true fire starter in all of us– in our business, at home, and even in the middle of the night when we lie sleepless in the dark.

Here are the people and ideas they embody that inspire me to live the way I live, doing the jobs that I do and interact with people in the way that feels right to me:

The Peace Pilgrim
For over 25 years, a woman known only as the “Peace Pilgrim” walked more than 25 miles on a personal mission of spreading the message of peace. I ran across her name at renowned speaker and author Dr. Wayne Dyer’s seminar. When I read her philosophies which were compiled into a book by her fans, what inspired me the most was her absolute trust in the goodness of other people and her desire to teach the world about the uselessness of conflict. She walked for decades with no food, money, and the clothes on her back. She had no home. Taking refuge in the kindness of strangers, incredibly she was never harmed during her long and difficult journey. My favourite quote from The Peace Pilgrim sums up what I strive for (but sometimes fail at) every day of my life: “If someone does an unkind thing to me, I feel only compassion instead of resentment. Even upon those who cause suffering I look with deep compassion, knowing the harvest of sorrow that lies in store for them”
The Peace Pilgrim inspires me to be better in life and at work. Continue reading