Simplifying Growth

Big Brave Business Plan

As I mentioned in my annual plan blog (here) I am knee deep in my own annual business planning process. And of course as a marketer I’m always pretty keen on looking at how I might want to grow the community that I work with.  (See why I don’t  use the term target market  explained here). Market segmentation – yup love doing that. Finding gaps in the marketplace – what could be more fun? Owning my value proposition, finding my unique advantage and the sweet spot in the marketplace, well that all goes together  like popcorn and butter doesn’t it? But over this last year I have had a  mind shift. When deciding how I would grow my business these are the questions that sprung to mind:

Who can I help?

Who can I help the most?

When is my help needed?

Who needs my help now? Within the next 12 months, within the next 3 years?

It seemed like a subtle mind shift at first so I tried it out. I said to potential new clients here is  how I can help. I wasn’t selling a snazzy new program or template or my hours  I was simply saying “I can help you with that”. Wanting to help someone comes naturally and we all want to give a hand up when we can. So I  started to look for people who needed my help and it kind of mushroomed. To the point where I  was stopped in the grocery store by a client who said “you know who else needs your help?” My own clients giving me leads – that was cool and completely validated the power of the mind shift.

I work with many clients who will often say to me  say “I’m very good at what I do I just can’t sell myself”. My response – don’t bother selling yourself. Instead find people you can help. Small twist that will  simplify and empower your growth.

In 2016 who can you help?

Join the 42% in 2016!

2016-01

It’s a ‘brand’ new year! Corny yes, but I just love the whole idea of a new year stretching out  in front of us. Glimmering with possibility. I even love to write New Years resolutions and goals and post them to myself through futureme.org. Have you ever tried it? So fun, empowering and motivating getting an email from yourself and seeing if you are still on track.

Somehow the writing of your goals – committing to the words always feels like the first step to making them happen. And apparently that’s not just how I feel because I have never forgotten the stat I read in Forbes that you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals just by writing them down. I like the idea of being part of the 42%.

January is also my annual planning month. And I love doing that too!! I help businesses do their own annual plans and putting myself through the process gives me new insights and keeps the process fresh and vital. It also reminds me how vulnerable you feel when you lay down a plan and truely commit to a timeline to make it happen. It’s all a bit thrilling to put risk and reward all on the same page.

What lights me most about the process is how empowering it is and how it gives meaning to my business and my time which ultimately  makes life in general pretty rewarding. I have eradicated the phrase “I’m so busy” from my life and replaced it with “I’m making things happen”. I don’t say things like “I don’t know where the time goes” anymore because I can tell you exactly where the time goes. I don’t say things like “time flies” because time doesn’t fly unless I’m the pilot. And all that feels good and gets me where I want to go.

Are you ready to make your plans for 2016? I’m getting started this week and I’ll keep you posted on my progress and if you are eager to do the same thing and don’t know where to start send me an email and we will see if my planning process is right for you.

Cheers to 2016 and joining the 42%!

Talk Love Not War

Heart

Change terminology. Shift mindset. Drive Profit.

Most businesses start their business with a passion to help people. They have a product, service, project, event or an idea that is going to make somebody’s life easier, nicer, prettier or just plain better. There is energy, vitality and buckets of hope.

They start with love. Then they plan for war.

Suddenly their customer who they have lovingly imagined enjoying their product, has a target on their back with an arrow going right through them. (If you really picture that – ouch that would hurt!) When the “target market” is ‘nailed’ they move on to “tactics”. (Which is an equally unpleasant visual.) I don’t want the brands I love and support to think of me as a target who won’t buy before I have an arrow right through me! And you shouldn’t either.

Semantics maybe. But try this on for size:
What if your target market becomes “your people, your crew, your neighbourhood”. Doesn’t that warm things up a whole bunch and make it easier to say the meaningful things you want to say to them? Isn’t it much easier to rally “your people” than rally people with a target on their back?

If this is all sounding a bit too hipster for you and you are reaching for your “All you need is Love” LP take a look at the science. Famous neuroscientist Antonio Damasio was able to prove that the majority of our decisions are based on our emotions, not on logical reasoning. That’s a game changing fact for marketers. Remove the target, put down that arrow, and start making emotional connections.

Give the love, to get the love.
The kind of love that goes beyond reason and builds life long brands.

Say Thanks – It’s Good For You!

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Thanksgiving seems like a good time to pass along the best advice I have ever received and given and it is simply: to say thanks.

I walked into a client’s office last week and he had a thank you card I had written him from 3 years ago on his desk. Said it still inspired him!! Yup, true story. (On the flip side of that coin I have never gone into a clients office to see an email printed out and tapped to a desk. Just sayin’)

When was the last time a customer, client, or co-worker sent you a hand written thank you note? I hope your desk is just littered with beautiful notes but likely it has been a while and that is why this strategy when applied authentically can set you and your brand apart.

And the truth is we are thankful – we do appreciate what others do for us. We just don’t always know how to say it. So keep it simple. Keep it short. Send it immediately.

Here are some hints if you struggle with what to write:

First, think of person you are writing to, visualize that they are standing right in front of you. Now talk to them like you would speak to them if they were really there. This  will insure you get the tone right either formal or casual however you normally converse. Keeping things  keeps  real and sounding less like the Wal Mart greeter. So grab your pen and think of someone you need to say thank you to and start with:

Line 1: why you are thankful

Line 2: why what they have done for you matters to your business or to you personally

Line 3: a burst of generosity  – give some knowledge away

Line 4: a personal line about when you might see them next or something that you both share an interest in.

Here is an example:

Fantastic to connect today – thanks so much for sharing your time and energy with me.

I am completely inspired by the work you are doing  – my mind has been blown wide open! Your work is changing lives and it meant a lot to me hear about what your latest project.

You mentioned you were having trouble coming up (insert something you were discussing) and I had an idea flash –  (insert your brilliant idea or a link to some helpful information here). If you would like any help fleshing this idea out further reach out anytime.

Hope you pile on the pumpkin pie this weekend and cheer wildly for the Riders.

All the best,

Xxx

What to write on?

Well preferably a branded thank you note. If you don’t have that – well email me right now here so we can design one for you! 🙂 Or run as fast as you can to Chapters and buy a stockpile of simple, classy looking thank you notes (think Kate Spade) with a blank inside. Then keep them on top of your desk so you can reach for them often. If your thank you is not branded include your business card in the envelope.

If you were just about to pull out the – “but you haven’t seen my handwriting” excuse. Well, think of this as good practice. Honestly, you can manage 4 lines!

Veering towards the  ‘nah “I’ll just send an email”  – very nice but won’t have a fraction of the impact. Trust me on that.  Old school, is the cool school besides.

And I have saved the best for last – science actually proves that saying thanks will make you happier too. Happiness researcher Shawn Achor has shown that when we thank others and look for the positives we start to feel more positive too. “The more opportunities for positivity we see, the more grateful we become.” And the good news just gets better, Achor says “When researches pick random volunteers and train them to be more grateful over a period of a few weeks, they become happier and more optimistic, feel more socially connected, enjoy better quality sleep and even have fewer headaches than control groups.”

Convinced yet?

Thanks for reading this. It means the world to me that my little thoughts reached yours and maybe started a tsunami of thank you notes being sent around the globe :).

Marketing lessons from Duke the Dog

duke

Those who have dogs who are ball focused, will not be surprised by the intent and delight of Duke’s complete focus on the ball. Honestly, it amazes me everyday! It never changes. That ball appears and everything else in his life fades to black.

I often wonder what would happen if brands could be this aligned with their purpose. Completely focused on how to best serve their customer with this much joy, attention and singularity of purpose – what would happen?

Well according to Duke you would be exhilarated, competitive, and chomping at the bit to do it again.

If you were as intent as Duke at solving the needs of your customer, or caring about your business this much – how would your business change?

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