In the land of opportunity entrepreneurs, marketers, and just plain smart people are constantly looking for the thing that can give them an edge, an upper hand to their competition so they can dominate the market. But, if you had one shot, one opportunity to seize everything – would you capture it or just let it slip? Continue reading “Would You Brush Off Michael Jordan?”
What separates you from your competition?
If you answered “quality” or some variation thereof, YOU FAIL. In today’s market, where there are more options than ever, everyone expects and demands quality from everyone they do business with. Quality isn’t an edge, it isn’t your selling point, it’s simply the right way to act and not lose business.
As we all plunge into the new year, we are once again inundated with articles, posts, and tweets about how to get focused, stay on track, and set our goals. These reminders and encouragements often contain nuggets of wisdom, valuable insight, and new ideas for us to ponder and use. However, as I see these bits of information fly by during the first work week of the new year, I am reminded of a Jay-Z lyric: “Is you still on that? If you still making money cause we still on that.”
Lately I have been seeing a lot of startups fighting to boot-strap and develop their strategy in order to get things rolling. It seems like almost all of my friends are either running or trying to start a small business these days! I love it! I think the greatest thing about this is that the majority of boot-strappers today are people like me, who just decide to start a business and figure the rest out as they go. I wanted to write a few basics to developing brand strategy that I have learned from launching a few startups as a reminder to myself, as I am once again in startup mode, and to help others that are on the same path as me!
Continue reading “Developing Your Brand Strategy”
If you’re like me, you have no shortage of ideas for creative things that you could do to make money. We have all had and heard plenty of ideas on how we can “make money online” and run our own businesses, or even just generate additional income. I have heard dozens and dozens of great ideas for websites, business models, or collaborative projects from friends, family and people that I know from online, but why do so few of them ever see the light of day? One word: FOCUS. Continue reading “Startup Challenges”
As we all face this new year, many of us are excited to face new challenges, meet new goals, aspire to become new people & see new triumphs. We all prepare ourselves in a variety of different ways, lists, calendars, new apps, seminars, meetings, new habits, and this year, even a new president. These things are all good, and help us focus & get on track. But where is your heart at?
You know those moments that you have on rare occasion where your heart rips out of your chest, raw & alive, and is exposed to the world? Maybe it happens riding in a car with an old friend, blasting an old record with the windows down. Maybe with your spouse in the kitchen after sharing a good laugh. Maybe at church when something profound hits you. Or after a conversation that kept you up to the wee hours of the morning. You know, those experiences that give you goosebumps and make you feel like you’re really living? When you stop to reflect in that moment, what is your thought?Â Is your self reflection a “this is what I’m meant to do” or “this is who I’m meant to be” type of statement? I know for me it often is. Your perception of “reality” throws caution to the wind and your heart beats with passion as your mind grasps to catch up.
Savor that moment. Bottle it up and take it to go. I think the whole concept that “reality” sinks back in is bogus. What is reality that it won’t allow us to live up to the full measure of who we are meant to be in those moments? I’m not saying that we all have to abandon the 9-5 to go live the dream, but what is it that holds us back from living out that fullness in our ordinary lives? Why not BE who we’re meant to be no matter what we’re doing or where we’re going? If we all lived up to our highest self standard, how much better would that make every environment? What if everyone around you was trying to be the kindest person they knew how? Or the biggest giver that they could be? How radically different would that make your workplace, your friendships & yourÂ intimateÂ relationships?
I think that if rather than focusing on goals, aspirations, and resolutions this year, we all focused on trying to listen to what our hearts tell us in those moments that we have all had, we would see much greater success than we would hope for with our planning & goals. So I challenge you, in the face of your new years resolutions, and year planning, to set aside some time and get in touch with your heart. Delve into those innermost thoughts and figure out who it is you want to become this year through your travels. Become that person, and all your other planning will fall into place.
(Photo credit:Â coconutbased.com)
The third class in the Partnering Profits seminar from Brian ClarkÂ included guest Rich Schefren of Strategic Profits. This class totally rocked, and Rich rocked the house with the nuggets ofÂ wisdomÂ that were falling from his pockets.
Here are the top 10 nuggets of wisdom:
- Joint ventures are all about leveraging: weird circumstance, connections, strengths, etc. – You need to leverage them so they benefit all parties.
- Once you figure out what it is that you’re good at, it will open doors for you to work with others who are good at other things. – This works with the concept of leveraging, leverage your skills to work with other skilled people.
- Work with people who have the same sense of fairness – There are plenty of deals out there, don’t try to convince someone for a larger piece of the pie, just find another pie!
- You need to have a “just in time” perspective rather than a “just in case” perspective – information online goes stale very quickly, so better to act fast than have things under your belt for the future. (ex. write the blog post today, rather than thinking about writing it in the future)
- Look for opportunities in areas that truly interest you – Love what you do, and you’ll be a lot more productive!
- Sometimes you don’t value what it is that you know that’s special, because you already know it. – The goal is to realize what’s special that you know, and value it.
- Attention is the scarcest commodity, the way to rise above the clutter is to run a sprint when everyone else is running a marathon – When everyone else is plugging away, you can gain attention by working extra hard in short bursts.
- People pay for advice, not information.
- There’s always someÂ luck involved in success, but if you keep knocking at the door, you’ll get lucky eventually!
- You don’t have to be the best at what you do! – There are plenty of people who don’t know anything, you just have to be better than them to be an asset!
Tonight’s Partnering Profits session was especially interesting because Jon and Brian chat about partnering together, how it happened and why. Here are a few of my favorite notes:
Jon, who used to be in real estate says that the web and real estate are similar: the web = land & websites = buildings. In real estate you buy property and fix it up to make money; online you make products that people need to make money. I like this analogy. He also says that the greatest myth on the web is that online business is exempt from all of the traditional rules of business. To me, this is both comical and insightful, I don’t know how many of my friends and family members have talked to me about my business pursuits online, and then once hearing what I have to say have related my knowledge to business in the “real world.” Do I not sit at a real computer? In a real chair? In my real office? MAKING REAL MONEY? I also am always intrigued to see principles coming into play that I have read about in some of the most classicÂ businessÂ books, like my personal favorite: How to Win Friends & Influence People. Conversely, I think it’s interesting to see trends that emerge online translate in “real” life. But that is a different conversation altogether.
Morrow discussed that partnering is a type of selling, in a sense. Just the same way that copywriting is sales. With copywriting there are 3 steps to the sales process: 1. Get their attention 2. Earn their trust 3. Call them to action. In the same way, forming a partnership requires all of these elements. A potential partner needs your attention, they need to feel that they can trust you, and then they need to act on what you are asking them to do.
So then, how do you grab the attention of someone that has a great product, but no online presence? (You will note from my first review that this is the perfect scenario for a partnership)
- Don’t tell them that they need you! – Â If they have a successful product, they will likely think that they have a handle on things and not want to be convinced otherwise. (which isÂ innatelyÂ true, otherwise why would you contact them?) Even if you did convince them temporarily, you’re only setting yourself up to disappoint them.
- You HAVE to become relevant! – Be helpful, be insightful, help them where they can’t help themselves. Get involved in the discussion, answer a few questions, show them your value without parading it in front of them.
- Understand their business – Show them you understand their business by repeating back to them how it works. They don’t want to talk to another techie hotshot! Business owners pour their lives into theirÂ businesses, they aren’t gonna hand them over to someone who doesn’t understand how it works!
- Show them how you can apply online marketing principles directly to their business – Business owners make informedÂ decisions, they want to see the plan in action before they commit to it. Show them how it will work for THEM.
I think there are many talented people out there that are looking to form the right partnership, hence the saying “2 heads are better than 1” right? We just all need to understand how that partnership is going to affect our businesses and our goals. I thought it was interesting when Jon starting talking about this misconception that people have that if you’re smart enough and talented enough, you can do anything. His thought is that you’re basically an idiot if you try to do it all yourself. He also said:
All of the greatest success stories in business history are usually 2 or more great people working together to build something phenomenal.
Food for thought at the least. My thought has always been that it isn’t about being able to do everything, but being able to see the potential in others and connect with them.
Lastly, more of an afterthought.. In the conversation it came up that the book The 4 Hour Work WeekÂ wasn’t originally titled “The 4 Hour Work Week.” I thought this was really interesting, so in the Q&A I of course asked what theÂ originalÂ title was. Brian said that he wasn’t sure of the very first title, and that there were several potentials,Â one of them was something like “Nuked Overwhelmingly”Â . The finalÂ decisionÂ for the title of the book was decided upon because a group of readers were asked which they thought would be the best title. Obviously, the group was right. Conclusion: TEST!
The Partnering Profits training sessions are aimed to help you succeed in dealmaking and partnerships in the increasingly chaotic economic climate for 2009. This description to me is both intriguing and vague, so to say the least, I didn’t quite know what to expect. Luckily, I was extremely pleased with the session.
While I won’t give you aÂ throughÂ analysis of the 1st session, because:Â 1. you should have paid for it yourselfÂ &Â 2. because I didn’t take enough notes and haven’t gotten the audio recording yet 😉 I will summarize what I thought were some of the best and most useful points.
The following ideas are not mine, just summarized in my language 🙂
Basically, there are experts everywhere. Experts on painting, raw food, how to buy a used car, they are everywhere. And they know how to do everything. The problem is, right now, they are sitting at home watching TV, and not being experts at the thing which they know how to do best. Why? Because they don’t have the platform to practice their expertise from, or the platform isn’t big enough. They are experts at one thing, and that one thing does not always include how to build a platform for themselves and then stand on it and shout.Â
So, if YOU are an expert at building a platform, and then shouting from said platform, this would be a good opportunity to pioneer a partnership with these types of experts. Seems basic, I know, hindsight is always 20/20.
On the other token, if you’re the one with a product to push: “The best way to get traffic is to make someone who has traffic an offer they can’t refuse”. How do you do this? Well, in short, convince them that they will make a lot of money. Here are the steps:
- Convince them that there is big money potential
- Convince them that your product will convert
- Convince them that you will pay them, and pay them on time
- Develop and track metrics from your own small campaigns to show successes
- Convince them of the quality of your product
These steps have to be taken, and you may need to work your way up the ladder depending on where you’re at. The “A” list website or blogger that you might want to push your product might not even consider you if you haven’t had some successes with other websites and bloggers that are “B” list. “It’s all baby steps”
Also, a few notes on general partnerships:
- Have things written down, even something is better than nothing, include exit strategy if possible
- Partner with people that you’d at least want to have dinner with
- All partnerships end eventually, even if its because one of you die, just try to make the split nice
- COMMUNICATE – partnerships go sour when partners stop communicatingÂ
Overall, this was a fantastic kickoff to what I suspect is going to be a brilliant program. Hats off to both Â Jeff Walker and Brian Clark. It’s all about networking, finding partners, and creating promotions.
“Publishing is the best business in the world, there is no better business.” – Jeff Walker