Twelve Actions to Build your Biz in the New Year

  1. First write a business plan–or update it if you have one on a shelf. You can buy my friend Erica Olsen’s book. Can’t bother with a book, try her online program to help you keep track. Whatever it takes, make a plan and review it regularly.
  2. Target your audience. Really dig deep in their demographics-age, gender, marital status, everything you can figure out. Then figure out what their lifestyle is. Then figure out what motivates them to buy what you offer. If you have clients it’s easy to engage them. If you are starting up a business you need to research the possibilities and check competition.
  3. Next flesh out the marketing plan. Know just how much networking, customer relations, social media, publicity, events, media relations, etc you need to reach the clients on your plan.
  4. Invest in list management.You need a place to put your leads and a way to communicate. Ideally you move beyond the capability of the 50-100 limited emails you can send with your personal email. You need at least 5 times as many people to talk to so you can get the “yes” sales you need. That’s a lot to track. We use iContact. Also recommend Constant Contact or Mail Chimp. There are others–find what is most user friendly to you.
  5. Work your customers. Best sales force is word-of-mouth. Best way to get positive WOM is to talk to your customers. Stay connected. Offer them value. Engage them into your company-you know, like a relationship. Not a hook up.
  6. Focus your business growth on what you do best-not on the 10% that you suck at. We spend so much time trying to fix that last percent of what’s broken–and will never get fixed–rather than build the best thing into the superlative thing.Focus on what you love or are best at.You’ll grow even more.
  7. Make things easy for your clients. Whether its sending them reminders about their appointments or offering to drop materials off at their work site–whatever it is you can do to make their lives easier do.
  8. Make time for sales and marketing. You spend 40 hours a week making the product or doing the service. It’s best if you sell it.
  9. Delegate what you can’t get done. Building on the fact that you should be the primary sales force, what can you delegate to others? Bookkeeping? Marketing and public relations? Being in the store? Remember focus on your favorite element for your own pleasure and then delegate–enlist family or hire staff or outsource some services.
  10. Play it forward. You’ll really reap more if you give to prospects and share with others than if you are stingy with your time.
  11. Make sure your marketing outreach materials are current. When is the last time you updated your website? Your handouts? If you pulled everything together and put samples on a board can you tell it’s the same company or does it look like you picked up an assortment–if visually it doesn’t look the same, you need to do some branding.
  12. Stuck? Hire a coach. Coaches can help you puzzle through what blocks you; train you on beginning steps; help you break down a giant project into manageable pieces. They also can provide the accountability you might need to meet deadlines. Not to mention the encouragement. Solo-preneurs definitely need that sounding board. And we can help you with that.

 

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6 Tips on How to fill your Event

You’ve planned the event. You’re hosting a coffee Q&A, a fundraiser, a workshop, a networking gig. You set the date, picked a venue and orchestrated the logistics of refreshments and a program. Now how do you get the people to come?

First step-know who you want to attend. Is this for prospects? To raise money from long time donors? New benefit for clients? Don’t tell me everyone–nothing on this planet is a product for everyone. If you think about water, which everyone does need to exist, then tell me in 10 seconds the different waters you can purchase, you realize my point.

Second step-plan in advance enough to be able to notify people. You can’t get 100 people to an event with less than 2 weeks notice. Part of the plan is having a tracking mechanism to know how many are coming. But know the formula for attendance. Used to be invite twice as many as you hope to attend. Now people would give an arm to have that. It’s really about 10x the number of people. Put another way, however many you invite, across platforms, expect only a 10% return.

Promotion and publicity happen in four platforms: in person, on the phone, online (email to social networking) or third party (local newspapers, client referrals). You need a plan to promote across every channel.But keep in mind that in-person, super time intensive. Not likely to happen-if you have that kind of time you probably should be retired.

Most of you try to hit the most number of prospects by going to the local news. It’s a broad reach, a little work. But results are limited. Certainly from a public relations perspective send out a news release and submit your event to calendar options to all the news outlets. And this includes newsletters such as the Chamber of Commerce, not just the local paper. Know what’s available in your community. You aren’t likely to get 100 people to attend with just this tactic. Works for awareness (making it worthwhile to do), not so much for the trial/adoption buy-a-ticket phase. Think about how many news calendars you look at for stuff to do. Usually you find an interesting event you might want to attend only after you’ve gone to looking for a specific event for you kids’ soccer team or your mother-in-law’s senior club.

Then be sure to push the event on your social media (blogs and tweets) and your social networking (Facebook and LinkedIn). And repeat. Friends/clients aren’t on their social media all the time. You want to post when people are likely looking at their sites. And vary that to catch as many of your target as possible.

You absolutely must share with your list and more than once. You can include info if you have a scheduled newsletter, but don’t just leave it at that. You need to be sure to send a stand alone email to your list with specifics about the event. Make it easy to sign up and calendarize by adding these features in the text.

Finally, pick up the phone. Especially for a fundraiser. People forget; you may need to remind them about their RSVPs or that they usually go and they haven’t signed up. Don’t expect that your fabulous information is always read and by 100% of the people you sent it to. Even your mom won’t read all your stuff.

If it’s a one time event try to schedule it when there aren’t competitive events for your same clients (i.e. fundraising). If it’s a regular club event, be sure to set the schedule so members know it’s every third Tuesday at lunch–makes it easier to calendar.

Be sure to repeat the communications-social media posts and event invites and emails. And plan for fewer folks to attend than RSVP on those social media platforms. Follow up phone calls, best way to get people there.

Tragedy Strikes! Sharing best practices.

Newsletters are hard to do. You need to be brief, provide value and be engaging. This is the best newsletter I’ve seen. Printed with permission.

 

a new way to buy wine…
simply…
based on flavor and body

Damonte Ranch Town Center
1131 Steamboat Parkway
Reno, NV 89521
775-851-VINO (8466)
www.vino100reno.com

Click here to visit us online!
Tragedy Strikes Vino 100
Last week on Tuesday Phil and the crew moved the cash register down 35 inches in anticipation of the arrival of our bar which was built off-site and was to be moved in like furniture.Thursday the trailer got hooked up and our bar was on it’s way to Vino 100!! Maury (who built the bar) noticed the trailer unhooked, the safety chains both broke and the trailer kissed the retaining wall on the freeway, 396 North near College Parkway. The granite top came crashing down and broke into 4 pieces. The 1/2 wine barrel (which was the corner of the bar) hit the trailer, got banged up and went sliding along the freeway!! Lots of dam age.

Our bar attempted suicide.

We are in mourning.

The bar was rushed to the ER where the physicians got out the paddles, yelled “CLEAR” and began resusitating our new baby!! The bar is still in urgent care but is expected to pull through with a little TLC!!

The new tasting bar is expected to be at Vino 100 by around Nov 10 or so. Come see if they did a good job on the repairs!!

November 3-Thursday- Art opening for local artist Susan Moore 5:30PM. Come check our her artwork and sip on FREE wine (while supplies last)!! Also, it’s Martini Night 2 for $13!!

Nov 4-Friday Appetizers, an entree’, and dessert by Chef Antonio from 5:30-10PM…come join us and check out our new beers!!

Thursday Nov. 3….First day for November Wine Club Pick-up!!

Saturday Nove 4- Free Tinytini tasting 12-9pm!!! Try 3 different flavors and rate them:)

Monday Nov. 7-Martini Madness Monday. Try the new “Pumkin Pie Liquified, Lemon Meringue, Honey-Mint, Cucumber-Basil, Strawberry Shortcake, Classic, and MORE 2 for just 13 smackaroos!!!

Wed. Nov 9- Wining Women 5:30-9!! A special night of girl bonding at Vino 100!!!

Vino 100 Wine Club Wine ($35 + Tax) – Club Members get 20%* discount any purchases made during their Wine Club coupon (starts on the 1st Thursday of every month). Plus Wine Club Members get 15% off on all 4 Wine Club Feature Wine all month! And LOTS more….just ask us!!

Four Times “so what”

A great strategy (ok, it could be a game) for developing your message and defining real clarity for prospective clients is to play “So What”? Here’s how it works:

  • Ask a trusted friend or colleague to help. You need someone who will give honest feedback and not just affirm how fabulous you are. Ideally they have skills to listen and write down what you say (or type fast on their iPhone).
  • State your message-you know, your cool 30 second elevator speech.
  • NOW your ally needs to ask you “So What?”
  • Expound, get to the next level.
  • Your ally needs to ask you “So What?” AGAIN.
  • Flesh out your message. Instead of the features of what you do (you make better widgets, smoother process) talk about the BENEFITS of what you offer–solutions to the prospective client’s needs.
  • For a THIRD time your ally gets to ask “So What”?
  • Answer by try ingto overcome objections, even if they aren’t stated.
  • ONE LAST TIME your ally says “So What?”

If you have really pushed through this process, the final message is the heart of what you offer. It differentiates you from competitors and it’s the place where your passion shines through. A new business acquaintance kept asking me while we were at lunch the other day, until I reached the place where “my face lit up” at the point I discussed what I do and can do for my clients. That’s the “So What”! Now work with these words and use as your opening messages at your next networking event.

Five tips for trade show booth planning

If you have a booth or attend a trade show as a vendor, make sure you keep these basic rules in play:

Determine the purpose for your participation.

  • Are you going for new prospects? Then create a mechanism for capturing names. Drawings are good; freebies for a signature are good. But promise not to spam them or abuse their contact info.
  • Need to demonstrate a new product? Think through all the elements you’ll need to be able to do that well. Samples a possibility.
  • Trying to be in the community? Be sure you can be seen-sign up early so you aren’t at the back of the room, usually given to last minute reservations.

Make your booth or table visually interesting and branded. This means investing in table cloths in your brand colors and ideally printed with your logo; table runners or banners for the table top if not pre-printed; a stand-up poster on the table and a banner/signage for above and behind the table and/or to the side of the table.

Bring manageable materials. Trifold brochures or postcards or even business cards are easy to carry, but 8×11 get folded or rolled and eventually never read or not even picked up. Consider being the vendor to provide the bag–great promotion all over the trade show with your logo being displayed.

Creating an engaging display. Visually is a start-less is better. But also try for a game or some interactive testing of samples or something for the participants to DO. They’ll be more likely to stop at your booth if there is something to do. Think of the pyramid of design concepts:

Staff your booth the whole time; so figure out bathroom breaks and meal breaks for you or your helpers. An empty table/booth is a missed opportunity to engage with prospective clients.

Now talk to the attendees. It’s not a reverse circus.

Four tips on planning for Tabling Events

One way to reach a large number of prospective clients includes sponsoring a booth or table at an appropriate event.

The first step is to determine if your client prospects are attending this event. Targeting women? Perhaps there’s a women’s expo in your community. Provide business-to-business solutions? Then the local Chamber of Commerce or a business Cooperative might be a good source. Conduct health services? Sponsor a health fair.

Once you determine the right venue, then figure out your level of participation. Can you afford a sponsorship? What does that entail–booth space, name on promotional materials done by the event organizers? Determine the value besides access that goes with a sponsorship.Too expensive alone? Consider sharing with a business that offers a non-competitive service but targets the same audience.

Next question-Booth or a table. Be sure you figure out the materials you need: banner to see your booth, stand up items, a freebie to engage participants, signup sheets and handouts. Sometimes you can just give away promotional items as the freebie. Sometimes you can give away a “large” valued item as a raffle prize for those who leave a business card–then you are capturing leads at the same time.

Another option may just be attending the event. People at booths are good targets as well as other attendees. Use your business card with a NeoReader code linked to a coupon or discount or just offer the discount for an upcoming workshop or other service you provide. Distribute widely.

Connecting conference attendees with Twitter

When you host a conference (or attend one) be sure to share a Twitter Hashtag with attendees, so they know where to keep the dialogue going and someone else doesn’t start one for you. Clueless? Let me explain.

Twitter is mini blogs using 140 characters (letters and spacing). Not 140 words. Characters. When you “post” it’s called a tweet. As a business person, it’s imperative to check in for news sources, politicians, business leaders or even your kids.  Even the President is tweeting. Brevity or abbreviations rule this form of social media. One aspect is use of a hashtag- #. When you preface info with a real hashtag it creates a place for everyone to have a sidebar conversation, an ideal way to connect people at a conference and clue in to what’s working–or not. What speakers are generating conversation or boredom? What thought provoking conversation is out there?Note that some people use the hashtag to indicate irony or sarcasim and it’ll be something like #don’tseewhytheybother. That won’t really be a conversation, unless one or two people share that, but it won’t go into depth and is a waste of time to follow. You’ll catch on to real vs smarty pants quickly.

A terrific use is to send out info to the conference attendees and provide the hashtag in advance. One great example was the President’s first twitter session #AskObama. If you type that in to the search section of twitter, the entire conversation comes up. You can see the random questions, legitimate questions and some ploys for business exposure or derogatory comments.

The eWomenNetwork are using #eWN2011. You include this hashtag and ID as part of your 140 character Tweets and everyone sees the conversation. For the savvy business person, getting in on this conversation early helps you connect to others quickly and find interesting people to “follow”. AND it’s great for people who can’t actually attend the conference to check in to see what they are missing.

We’re heading to Dallas next week. Look for our tweets @algaulden and see what the #eWN2011 conversation is all about.