Tag Archives: marketing

Why Does Tinderbox Exist?

Companies, heck even people, need a mission. Most companies and organizations operate from a mission statement, vision statement, or beliefs statement.

According to Wikipedia, a mission statement “is a statement of the purpose of a company, organization or person; its reason for existing; a written declaration of an organization’s core purpose and focus that normally remains unchanged over time.”Our mission statement follows a formula borrowed from Simon Sinek, often referred to as a WHY Statement. To create the WHY Statement, a paragraph is constructed using three elements: why an organization exists, how the organization does what it does, and what the organization does.

At Tinderbox Consulting, we believe we can serve God by serving others. We use a philosophy called the campsite rule, leave everyone in better shape than we found them. Much like you would a campsite after a weekend of camping. This is done by working diligently to serve our clients and put them in a better marketing position than when we found them. Creating a marketing plan is one thing. Executing said plan is quite another thing. This is how we operate. Create and execute marketing plans, and leave our clients in better shape than we found them.

Tinderbox WHY

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The One Thing Starbucks Never Does

The one things Starbucks never does is ask me to leave if I am there just to enjoy the free wifi. I can set up shop for twenty minutes or three hours and never order a coffee, Frappucino or Chicken Artichoke Panini on Ancient Grain Flatbread.

The One Thing Starbucks Never Does

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Hide the Mop Bucket

Your customers are going to be tough on you. You may think it’s personal, you may think it’s unfair. But, as a business owner, you need to accept the fact that your customers are going to judge you, and in some cases, they may not even be nice about it.

Mop bucket on floor in toilet

Here’s a hypothetical situation: you go out to eat to a new restaurant, and It’s your first experience there. The dining room is clean and well-decorated, and the staff is all friendly and professional. The food is served and it’s amazing! Then you look over, and in plain view, next to the hallway to the restroom, is the mop bucket left out in the open. You wonder that if the hallway is left in this condition and you can see it, what about the kitchen you can’t see!?

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How to get people excited about what excites you…

People get excited about what excites you.  When a keynote speaker is jacked up about a topic, it’s hard not to be jacked up as well. If your pastor is passionate about a Sunday teaching, you’re more likely to remember it and absorb that teaching.

Passion

As a marketer, small business owner, or salesperson, remember that people will listen when you’re passionate about whatever it is you do. Someone once told me, “you can’t sell it if you don’t love it.” If you truly love your product, business, website, blog, whatever, then people will be infected by your passion.

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Evidence of Progress

I have the pleasure of having a group of educators as a client. Educators have a fascinating way of looking at the world. Typically, they talk and think about the same things as people in the business world do, educators just have different ways of describing those things.

Return on Investment

Take ROI (Return on Investment). In the business world, this typically refers to the expectation that you’ll receive a fair value for a service/product that you purchase. There can be positive ROI – you received equal or greater value. There can also be negative ROI – you received less value.

As marketers, we are constantly looking for ROI. To do so, we measure the analytics. How are our social channels performing? How is the website performing? How did our recent sale do? How did the [name your paid advertising campaign] do to increase sales? The analytics help us collect dots and hopefully paint a picture that defines the ROI.

Educators do the same thing with their students. They want to make sure that the time invested in their students is producing a positive result. They don’t call it ROI, however, they call it “evidence of progress.” Educators are constantly looking for evidence of progress. This is such a positive way of looking at things.

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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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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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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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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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Marketing research is great, but…

Often, marketing professionals talk about research. What’s the perfect market for our service? How will the market respond to our product? Who is the most likely to visit our store? What are the competitors doing and how are they doing it?

The results of the research can be enlightening, discouraging, or a variety of other adjectives. The question still remains: what do you do once you have the research?

Tinderbox Marketing Research

Research – just like marketing plans and business plans – is useless unless put into practice. If you’ve narrowed down the perfect demographic to target with your marketing, you have to actually market to them.

The key part of the research should include where your audience is living, and how they engage in those spaces. Whether it’s on social channels or in real-world environments, your target demographic has characteristics. Your research should be teaching you all about those things so you can communicate more effectively.

But the key will always be  in doing. Research is useless without action.

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