Dec 312011
 

Born Entrepreneur, Why Entrepreneur, Business Coaching, Passive Income, build a better business, leadership, persuade others to follow, learn from failures

 

 

 

 

Why Entrepreneur ? Reason #4.

4. Build your Leadership resume.

If you have chosen the path of Entrepreneur, then you have given yourself a great opportunity to learn a skill that you can apply to any business or leadership role. Nothing looks better on a professional resume than the ability to create something out of nothing. The ability to build and lead a group of people toward a common goal.

What is Leadership? Leadership is simply the ability to persuade others to take action. It is nothing more and nothing less. I don’t believe that leaders are born I believe they are made. This is done by trial and error, by learning from your mistakes, by picking yourself up when you are down. Most people consider these experiences a failure in some way. I look at these “failures” as opportunities to grow as a leader in your life and your business.

The more “failures” you have, the more learning opportunities you will have. The more learning opportunities you have the better the leader you will become. The better the leader you become, the better the business you will have.

Do you want to learn more about leadership? Check out these recent book reviews.

Are you ready to cash in on the riches inside of you? Book review”You were BORN RICH.

The Ultimate Lesson of True Leadership. Book Review- “Greater Than Yourself”

 

If you enjoyed this post, I would be grateful if you helped spread the word by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Thank you!

 December 31, 2011  Posted by at 6:00 AM Leadership Tagged with:  No Responses »
Dec 292011
 

 

So you want to build a better brand for your company. How clearly is your company’s image currently BRANDED? In order to do this we first must understand the  difference between Marketing, Advertising, and Identification.

In part 1 we looked at the 3 Branding tools that make up your company’s brand. In Part 2 we will discuss specific tips  on how to use these tools to help build your company’s brand.

3 Branding tools

1. Marketing
The American Marketing Association defines Marketing as: “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” Wow that’s a mouthful.

I believe marketing is the Umbrella over PR, Sales, and Advertising. In this 2 part article I would like to focus on the third area of marketing, Advertising.

2. Advertising is the art of buying customers.  Advertising is just an opportunity for you to buy customers. Step 1 is to have a marketing strategy/plan. Step 2 is to keep track of your advertising and ask customers how they heard of your company. Step 3 is to calculate the acquisition costs of each customer. We do this by dividing the total advertising dollars spent, by the number of customers you acquired for each advertising campaign. Test, measure, and tweak your advertising to continually improve this number.

I believe small businesses need to be focusing on converting prospects into customers. The only people who care about the name of my business is me and maybe my mother. Everyone else along with your prospects are asking themselves…How does this benefit me? What’s in it for me? Make sure all your advertising campaigns reflect this understanding.

So, how do we use Advertising in our small businesses? Answer: Very carefully. Advertising is most expensive lead generation strategy available. It’s unfortunate that new business owners think that this is the strategy that they need to take in order to grow their business. I’m not saying it doesn’t work, in fact I have had many advertising campaigns that went very well for me. I am just issuing a word of caution that advertising should be looked at as a strategy, just not the one and only lead generation strategy. It should be thought of as an investment and an opportunity to buy customers. Whether its direct mail, TV, Radio, or internet advertising make sure to test and measure your investment  every step of the way.

3. Identification

Yes, that’s great if you get a few prospects to call because they saw your logo or business name somewhere. Using your logo or business name for identification is a completely different purpose than for advertising purposes. What do you want your audience to feel when they see your logo or business name? Achieving this is 80% of your Brands job.  If they feel appropriate about your brand, they’ll reach out and contact you with the other 20%.

So, How do we use Identification in our small businesses? Below are some low-cost examples, and in my opinion a great place to start when it comes to building your brand.

-Business cards, brochures, fridge magnets, promotional gifts.

-Vehicle signage, building signage, window display, sidewalk signage

-Email signature

-Nice logo & uniforms

-Put logo on Equipment & Tools that the customer will come in contact with.

 December 29, 2011  Posted by at 6:00 AM Growth Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »
Dec 282011
 

Branding, Business Coaching, Service Businesses, Build a Better business, Business Planning, Advertising, Marketing, Identifying

4 Simple things that I do everyday to grow my Service business.

1. Buy.

What am I buying? With my window cleaning business I buy, office supplies or production supplies. But if you look at my monthly P&L you will notice that my payroll is the largest expense. With most service business this will be your largest expense line item. Why is that? Because of OPT, Other People’s Time. OPT and OPM are the 2 most common ways to create leverage. Learn more about leverage here.

2. Sell.

What am I selling? The answer to that questions has to do with what your customers are buying. The obvious answer for me is our window cleaning service. However, any sales professional will know that there is a lot more that goes into any sales process. I am also selling piece of mind, convenience, and quality to name a few of our selling points. What are your selling points? More importantly what are your unique selling points?

3. Hire.

Hire slow, fire fast. This is the advice that my mentor gave me. We are always on the look out for good technicians and team members that fit in our culture. We have a hiring process that we use on a regular basis during our busy season. I never turn down an opportunity to interview a new candidate. When putting together my team I am always interested in new and fresh talent. If I need 10 technicians to complete our scheduled work, I would rather choose my best 10 technicians from 20 different candidates, than from only 10 candidates.

Fire.

Again, hire slow. Fire fast. Now I admit compared to industry standards, we have a relatively slow turn over rate for our team members. This being said we do not Fire someone daily, like the title of this article suggests. However, on a daily basis I am always evaluating the performance of our team. Each day is an opportunity for our technicians to show how committed they are to our culture and our common goal. Commitment is one of our points of culture that we take very seriously.

What are the points of your culture that you take seriously?

What tasks do you spend the majority of your time on?

How do those tasks help you reach your annual, monthly, or daily goals?

 

If you enjoyed this post, I would be grateful if you helped spread the word by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Thank you!

 December 28, 2011  Posted by at 6:00 AM Growth Tagged with: , , ,  6 Responses »
Dec 242011
 

 

What does the Grinch and an X-Box have to do with building a business? We’ll for starters it’s a darn catchy title. But beyond that this post is about time management, new years resolutions, and the E-myth.

Every year a new years resolution of mine is to take a close look at how I am spending my time each week, each day, and every hour. I like to graph my daily task into  4 quadrants. The 4 quadrants are the following:

1. Like and high value tasks

2. Like and low value tasks

3. Dislike and high value tasks

4. Dislike and low value tasks

After you have completed this exercise you can then delegate the tasks in quadrants 2,3, and 4. This is a great exercise to help you free up some time in your day for the tasks that you enjoy doing and that are of the highest value.

Below are some addition tips for regaining control of your day.

Kill the TV
Kill the X box
Focus on managing of tasks. Not time. We cannot manage time, there will only ever be 24 hours in a day. All we can do is manage the tasks that we do in those 24 hours.

Now that you have all this extra time available in your day. I want you spend it working ON your business not IN your business. Carve out 5 hours a day for working ON your business to start building the systems that will help you build a  better business.  Not sure what the difference is? Read my book review of the E-myth here.

 

Happy Holidays!

 

 December 24, 2011  Posted by at 8:00 AM Time Tagged with: , ,  2 Responses »
Dec 232011
 

Below you will see 4 reasons why this book is going to rock your world.

1. The overall idea of the book is that- your business is nothing more than a direct reflection of who you are. If your thinking is sloppy your business will be sloppy. If you are disorganized your business will be disorganized. So if your business is to change, first you must change. Ouch.

2. Each business owner has 3 personality’s or roles in one. The Entrepreneur, the manager, and the technician.

The Entrepreneur is the visionary or the dreamer in us. The entrepreneur lives in the future, never in the past, rarely in the present.  To the entrepreneur, most people are problems that get in the way of the dream.

The Manager lives in the past, the manager craves order. The manager builds a house then lives in it forever. The entrepreneur Continue reading »

 December 23, 2011  Posted by at 4:00 AM Leadership Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »
Dec 222011
 

 

So you want to build a better brand for your company. How clearly is your company’s image currently BRANDED? In order to do this we first must understand the  difference between Marketing, Advertising, and Identification.

In part 1 I want to  look at the 3 Branding tools that make up your company’s brand. In Part 2 we will discuss specific tips  on how to use these tools to help build your company’s brand.

3 Branding tools

1. Marketing
The American Marketing Association defines Marketing as: “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” Wow that’s a mouthful.

I believe marketing is the Umbrella over PR, Sales, and Advertising. In this 2 part article I would like to focus on the third area of marketing, Advertising.

2. Advertising is the art of buying customers.  Advertising is just an opportunity for you to buy customers. Step 1 is to have a marketing strategy/plan. Step 2 is to keep track of your advertising and ask customers how they heard of your company. Step 3 is to calculate the acquisition costs of each customer. We do this by dividing the total advertising dollars spent, by the number of customers you acquired for each advertising campaign. Test, measure, and tweak your advertising to continually improve this number.

I believe small businesses need to be focusing on converting prospects into customers. The only people who care about the name of my business is me and maybe my mother. Everyone else along with your prospects are asking themselves…How does this benefit me? What’s in it for me? Make sure all your advertising campaigns reflect this understanding.

3. Identification

Yes, that’s great if you get a few prospects to call because they saw your logo or business name somewhere. Using your logo or business name for identification is a completely different purpose than for advertising purposes. What do you want your audience to feel when they see your logo or business name? Achieving this is 80% of your Brands job.  If they feel appropriate about your brand, they’ll reach out and contact you with the other 20%.

 

 

 December 22, 2011  Posted by at 7:00 AM Growth Tagged with: , , , ,  1 Response »
Dec 212011
 

 

In today’s economy it seems that everybody understands when a company decides not to throw a holiday party. Employee’s understand that times are tough and having a holiday party is just not something that is expected anymore. Most employees of small businesses are just happy to keep their jobs these days.

Yes, I think what we are talking about is the expectation of the holiday party in today’s small business environment. Has the downturn in the economy changed the holiday party landscape for ever? Or is this just a temporary shift in expectations? What do you think? Please comment below.

Did your company throw a holiday party this year? Ya, mine neither. Do you plan on throwing one next year? ha ha ha. We’ll that depends on the expectation now doesn’t it. Personally, I think the businesses that are currently profitable and successful today(2011-12) can expect to blow off the holiday party until the unemployment rate gets back to its historical position. We are good for another 2-3 years.

Now that doesn’t mean that you can be a Grinch for the next 3 years. It means that you can use the dollars towards buying new equipment. It means you can pay down your line of credit a little. It means that you need to start thinking about where you want to be(capacity wise) in 3 years. I believe this is the Gen Xer’s current window of opportunity.

 December 21, 2011  Posted by at 7:00 AM Growth, Team Tagged with: , , , , ,  No Responses »
Dec 152011
 

Branding, Business Coaching, Service Businesses, Build a Better business, Business Planning, Advertising, Marketing, Identifying

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Part 1 we discussed some of the dangers when implementing a BRANDING strategy for your small business.

Below are first of 2 Tips from PART 1 on how to Harness the power of branding for your small business without the risk of wasting your hard-earned money.

1. Plan the Work, Work the Plan.

Have a marketing strategy/plan that you document and follow. An example of this would be to add BRAND related items into your annual budget. In January create a new logo. February have professional pictures taken of you, your jobs, and your team. March use the pictures, the new logo, and create a new website.

2. Testing and measuring all your advertising investments.

You can’t manage what you don’t measure. You would be surprised at how many business owners I run into that have no idea of where their customers come from. They really aren’t sure where their leads are coming from. They then wonder where they should invest their marketing dollars. Of course you don’t know where to spend your marketing budget, it’s impossible to know if you aren’t measuring it.  Business is a game.  How do you know if you are winning or loosing if you are not keeping score?

You also may notice that I described advertising as an investment. Advertising is just an opportunity for you to buy customers. Step 1 is to have a marketing strategy/plan. Step 2 is to keep track of your advertising and ask customers how they heard of your company. Step 3 is to calculate the acquisition costs of each customer by dividing the total advertising dollars spent by the number of customers you acquired for each advertising campaign. Test, measure and tweak your advertising to continually improve this number.

 

Part 2. A few more tips you can implement to Harness the power of branding for your small business without the risk of wasting your hard-earned money.

3. ONLY use Low cost and high return ways to build your brand.

An example of this is to use social media, create a Facebook fan page, plan a high-profile event, plan a charity event, give back to the community, hire a PR expert, get your business name in the local paper, and  have them create a small business profile on you and your business. Be aware that these low-cost ways allow you to save money by spending time. Make sure to manage your time and your tasks efficiently.

4. Consistency is key.

Consistency is the key to communicating your message. Before you start blasting your name out there make sure you have all your ducks in a row. Make sure you have your company name and logo finalized. Make sure you are clear on the advantages for your customers on using your service over the competitions. Make sure that your competitive advantage is clearly defined and clearly communicated in your logo and across all your marketing materials. Such marketing materials may or may not include your vehicle signage, google ads, brochures, business cards, and email signatures.

5. Back end Branding.

You will need to back up the branding with quality service. Branding is all about making a name for you and your business. Customers then associate your name with your company name, logo, and colors. A key factor to helping that name spread like wild-fire is to make sure the quality of your service exceeded the customers expectation. Your customers will be more likely to spread the word and give out referrals if you master the delivery of your goods and services while consistently exceeding your customers expectations. Back end branding is often looked over as a key component to the growth of your company.

So, is BRANDING the right strategy for your small business? It can be, just make sure you proceed with caution and follow the tips outlined above.

Do you have any additional tips when implementing a BRANDING strategy? Please comment below, I would love to hear them.

 December 15, 2011  Posted by at 10:00 AM Growth Tagged with: , , ,  1 Response »
Dec 142011
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If your business is seasonal, don’t be afraid to take sometime off and enjoy your off-season. Spend time with family or take a vacation like Santa in the above picture.

According to Dictionary.com Gratitude is defined as:
grat·i·tude   [grat-i-tood, -tyood]
noun
the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful: He expressed his gratitude to everyone on the staff.

 

Yes, Gratitude is the Attitude for the Holidays. My mother used to always tell me and my brothers to be grateful for this and grateful for that. Never really grasping the concept completely we would just say ” yes mother”.  Gratitude today has a much deeper meaning. If someone asked me what Gratitude meant to me I would explain it’s meaning using the missing tile syndrome.

We all have the missing tile syndrome. What’s the missing tile syndrome? Let’s say that you were on vacation in Europe and you walked into the gorgeous church or historic building. As you looked up you noticed a ceiling that was immaculately decorated with a gorgeous mosaic tile. Even though it maybe hundreds of years old, it is of the greatest detail and with vibrant colors . Now let’s say that in the middle of this tile ceiling one of the tiles was missing. Now despite the how gorgeous this art work is, what is the first thing that you notice when you look up at the ceiling? Yep, that’s right you notice the missing tile.

Easily explained, practicing gratitude is about focusing what we have in life and not on what we don’t have. This is an exercise that we need to practice everyday and is not easy for anyone.

What are you Grateful for this holiday season? Please comment below.

Happy Holidays.

 

 

 December 14, 2011  Posted by at 10:00 AM Leadership Tagged with: ,  1 Response »