Category Archives: Business

You can’t win them all

You won’t close every deal. You won’t convert every visitor to your website. Not every person that passes your trade show booth will love your product. And that’s ok.

I’ve said this before – and it’s an idea I’ve been borrowing for some time – that every “no” gets you that much closer to a “yes.” What does that mean? It means that if your success rate is 4 out of every 10, or 40%, you’ll need at least 6 people to tell you “no” before 4 people can say “yes.”

This should encourage you. Don’t worry about every lost deal. Do what you can to learn from that interaction – was your price too high or too low, were you too aggressive or not aggressive enough, etc. and then get ready for the next potential customer.

You can’t and won’t win them all. Stay focused on the success rate, and always try to leave everyone in better shape than you found them.

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Tips for Buyers at a Trade Show

1. You don’t have to buy, but that doesn’t mean you have to be rude.

Look, I know attending a trade show as a buyer can be tough. All the exhibitors are looking for their big break, and when they see someone walking by with a buyer badge they think their ship has come in. That said, it doesn’t mean you need to be rude when someone offers to show you their product. Instead, be honest.

I’d rather a buyer tell me that they aren’t buying or that they aren’t looking for new products than have them be rude. At least I’ll know there’s no shot and I’ll move on to the next prospect.

Which leads me to my next two tips…

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The Best Business and Marketing Tips Ever

So, maybe not the best business and marketing tips ever. But certainly very good tips. And most likely the best tips you are reading right this very moment.

1. Have a pretty URL (web address)

I know that it is becoming harder and harder to buy the perfect URL (MyExactBusinessName.com), but that shouldn’t keep you from getting close (MyExactBusinessName+City.com). I’m also a believer in avoiding the .net and .biz whenever possible. Consumers expect to see .com. They expect to see your business name in the URL.

Bonus tip: spell out your business name. No abbreviations. Potential customers don’t know how you’ve chosen to abbreviate your business name.

2. Get a professional email

If you have purchased your URL, you can get a professional looking email for very little cost. Google Apps for Work costs less than $5/month for a professional email.

What do I mean by this? I mean [email protected]. Having @gmail, @outlook, @yahoo, @aol, or @hotmail as your business email is not very professional.

3. Keep track of all your passwords

There are software programs that will help you generate random passwords. These programs also save and organize your passwords. One such program, 1Password, lets you generate random passwords for all your accounts while only needing to remember one password.

At a minimum, you could keep a spreadsheet of all your business accounts and passwords. I do that, however, I have the Excel spreadsheet encrypted with a  password.

4. Not good at marketing? Outsource.

Not everyone that runs a small business is a marketing guru. In fact, very few are. That’s ok. As I always say, there are people great at baking cupcakes, but terrible at selling them. You don’t have to wear every hat and do everything for your business.

Outsourcing your marketing doesn’t have to be expensive, nor does it have to be outsourced overseas. You might know of outsourcing marketing in terms of advertising agencies, PR firms, marketing agencies, design agencies, etc.

Finding a firm (shameless plug: like Tinderbox Consulting) to handle your marketing, can make life just a little easier. And hopefully, drive some more sales too.

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Why Do Organizations Move So Slowly?

Organizations move slowly because they choose to move slowly.

In most cases, moving slowly is a bad thing. Slow moving organizations are rarely proactive, and when they’re reactive, it’s typically too little too late. Additionally, they are usually unable to make adaptations or course corrections in a manner that allows for meaningful change or full implementation.

Maybe it’s the leadership that sets the example of moving slowly. Maybe it’s a long standing culture of moving slowly. Whatever the reason, it’s a choice.

What I mean by an organization “moving” is an organization’s ability to change, adapt, innovate or correct mistakes. I wrote a blog “Two Essential Components to Running a Business” and talked about being nimble and flexible:

“Nimbleness means your business is able to quickly and effectively make decisions that affect the bottom line. An employee needs to be hired (or fired); a piece of equipment needs to be ordered; a system or process needs to be changed.

Flexibility means you’re able to carry out those decisions, because making decisions and carrying them out are two different things.”

Organizations and businesses can move quickly if they want. But that’s the problem, many have made a choice to move slowly.

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Save Time and Do Less

The folks over at WeWork have put together a great blog post that features seven tricks and tips to save time by doing less. It’s a great article on productivity, especially as it concerns being efficient.

My favorite tip – although they are all excellent – concerns the delegation of certain tasks. From the blog post:

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I am My Worst Customer

I often joke that marketers – especially those who are also small business owners – are our own worst customers.

During the course of any given week, I give my clients all kinds of marketing and sales advice:
– Post daily on social channels. Post content that is valuable to your followers, not you.
– Have a marketing plan.
– Set sales goals.
– Be consistent.
– The list goes on…

Funny thing is, I am terrible at taking my own advice. In fact, I am my own worst customer.

I like to tell myself that I’m too busy to do certain things, like blog regularly, but the truth might be something scarier. Maybe I’m afraid. Afraid that my advice won’t work when applied to my own business. Afraid it will work and I won’t know what to do when it’s time to expand Tinderbox Consulting.

Those things you aren’t doing in your business, are you not doing them because you’re afraid? If it’s because you’re too busy, that’s a good thing. Find someone to do the things you’re too busy to do. Even if it means you hire an employee, or contract with someone like me. Just don’t sacrifice best practices on account of being cheap, lazy, or afraid.

 

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Find your next Everest

In business (or life, for that matter) it’s not enough to just climb Everest. Climbing Everest is a great goal that takes years of training and dedication (and money) to accomplish. But what do you do once you’ve climbed Everest? If you’re a serious climber, you find another peak. You find another Everest.

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Having a goal is great. Having a set of goals is great. However, you should always be ready with the next goal. What’s the next mountain you plan to climb?

Oh, and just a heads up, I’m pretty sure I borrowed this idea from John Maxwell. However, the Everest metaphor is all mine.

 

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Taking Care of Business

What do you consider to be marketing? When you tell your friends and family that you’re starting a new business? When you open for business and there’s a write-up in the local business journal?

Many things small business owners and entrepreneurs do are considered marketing. It’s just that, all too often, they don’t realize or consider that what they are doing is actually marketing, so they don’t do them well. They don’t develop a good pitch for their business. They don’t send a press release to announce their grand opening.

Even the sign on your door is considered marketing. I’m not talking about the sign on the street that you paid umpteen thousand dollars to have put up. I’m talking about the sign you hand wrote in sharpie on a neon green piece of paper and taped to the front door of your retail location to display the store hours. This is marketing! Those afterthought things we do as small business owners and entrepreneurs are, in fact, marketing. If we don’t do them well, we aren’t taking care of business. Our business.

Tinderbox Consulting

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Two Essential Components to Running a Business

Simply put, the two essential components to running a (small) business are:

1. Nimbleness

Merriam-Webster: able to move quickly, easily, and lightly : able to learn and understand things quickly and easily.

2. Flexibility
Merriam-Webster: easily changed : able to change or to do different things : willing to change or to try different things.

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Wonderful is Assumed

When was the last time you wrote a positive review about a business? I’ve probably written three positive reviews online. Ever.

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