Education

Education

Are Social Media Gurus Talking To Themselves?

Communication
There are many ebooks, articles, etc. talking about how you can use Twitter as a marketing channel. The number grows further when you include periscope and other video channels that rely on Twitter. Before you jump in, you need to take a look and see if your target market is on Twitter. Based on the latest quarterly results that Twitter reported, the answer is only yes if you're targeting social media gurus. Despite the number of people swearing by Twitter, the service is not growing and not attracting a general audience. Twitter has a huge following among the media, tech people and social media gurus. If this is who you are trying to reach, jump right in,. The water is fine. If that's not your target market, chances are you…
Read More

What Sets You Apart Is You

Attitude and Mindset, Communication
There are very few, if any, businesses that operate in a unique space. There is someone offering a similar product or service as you. In many cases, there are other companies offering the exact same product as you are. What sets you apart from your competition isn't your product or service. It is you. The one thing your competition can never have is you. (If you join them, they are no longer the competition.) The culture of a company can create a type. Even years after they leave the company, you can usually tell if someone worked at IBM. For small businesses, you are that culture. You need to reach out to potential customers not just as a representative of the company but as a person. In the eyes of…
Read More

Marketing Is Not Sales

Communication
Despite the fact that every business depends on marketing, most still don't understand that marketing is not sales. Sales is a part of marketing. Sales is the ultimate goal of marketing.¬†Marketing is not simply about sales. Businesses have multiple constituencies that they have to interact with. Stakeholders include customers, employees, investors, suppliers and community. Sales deals with customers. Marketing deals with all constituencies. Marketing builds a brand for each group. It is about convincing employees that they want to work at your company, investors that your company is a good place for them to make money, suppliers that they want to be in business with you, and the community that they want you as a resident. None of that will directly convince someone to buy from you but it is…
Read More

Focus Lessons From Inigo Montoya

Focus
For 20 years Inigo Montoya searched for the six fingered man who killed his father. For that entire time he knew exactly what he would say when he found him (say it with me). "Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." As businesspeople we need to focus on our tasks to move business forward. There are drawbacks to the single-mindedness that Montoya exhibits. Here are a few lessons to learn from him: Focus without a plan doesn't work: You can focus on a goal but unless you have a plan, it isn't going to work well. Montoya wasted 20 years searching aimlessly until he finally stumbled onto his target by accident. Put together a plan to reach the goal you are focusing on. What…
Read More

Big Data Needs A Dose Of Creativity

Communication, Innovation
There have been many things written about how big data is the future of business. There is a major drawback to relying on big data. Thanks to companies like Facebook, Google and IBM everyone can have the same big data that you do. Using big data doesn't differentiate you from your competition. To get the most out of data, you need to apply creativity. Think about advertising. Agencies have used data to calculate the best placement of media for decades. However, the best spot is useless if all they put there is a picture that says "buy me." If you follow the crowd, you will be behind your competition. Being creative makes you stand out.
Read More

Command Attention like an Executive

Communication
Executive presence is not an innate quality; it is a set of behaviors that you can learn over time. Whether you are a natural wallflower or a social butterfly, you can enhance your presence by doing the following: Focus and relax. Calm is the foundation of presence. Use your breathing as an anchor that you return to when you get stressed or start to lose focus. Gain awareness. To change your behavior, you need to know how you are perceived. Pay attention to how people react to you and ask for candid feedback from those you trust. Practice with support. Telling a colleague or mentor you're working on presence can boost your skills and confidence. The feedback you receive can also reinforce momentum.
Read More

There Is No Universal Sweet Spot

Focus
You may think your product or service is the greatest thing since sliced bread and that everyone can benefit from it. That may even be true, but everyone isn't going to want it. We all try to find the sweet spot for our customers the one thing that will grab them and keep them. The problem is that there is no universal sweet spot. One customer will look at your product and decide that it is too expensive where another will be drawn to the high price because it conveys exclusivity. Some people ¬†will be drawn to the simplicity of a product where others decide it doesn't do enough. There are different sweet spots for different audiences and they often contradict each other. Your job is to define who your…
Read More

The Worst Grilled Cheese Recipe Ever

Process
I watched an online video claiming to show the ultimate grilled cheese recipe. As I watched I was amazed at how bad the recipe was. To be fair, there's nothing wrong with the sandwich you get from the recipe. The problem is the recipe itself. At several points in the recipe, it is stated "if you can't find this ingredient use whatever you want." This is terrible for a recipe because you have just given up any idea of what the final product will be like because you have told the cook the ingredients don't matter. I bring this up because a recipe is at its most basic an operations plan. It is the step by step instructions on how to create a specific outcome. Imagine if a manufacturing plant…
Read More

Don’t Pursue a Doomed Idea

Innovation
When it comes to innovation, irrationality can be a blessing. Many a great decision has resulted from people taking risks that didn't make logical sense at the time. But irrationality can also blind innovators to real problems. Here are three ways to seek the right amount of reason: Find a devil's advocate. Look for someone who can poke holes in your thinking and point out when you're being dangerously irrational. Test your hypotheses. Turn your proclamations into experiments. Use them to check your logic. Make resources scarce. An abundance of time, money, or people should accelerate innovation, but it often does the opposite. Set early deadlines, consciously constrain funding, and keep teams lean to pressure-test your idea before you get too far down the road.
Read More

The Importance of Continuing Education

Improvement
Many professions require you to take ongoing classes in order to keep your license current. What about those of us that don't have this requirement? Does it mean we are exempt from having to continue learning new things? Absolutely not! The world is changing rapidly. All of us must continue to learn new concepts to stay at the top of our games. I had a conversation with a SCORE counselor. For those of you not familiar with SCORE, it is a program from the SBA where retired executives who volunteer their time to help people start businesses. The counselor in question was retired for awhile and had not continued learning. As a result, when the topic of marketing came up he was unfamiliar with inbound marketing, social media, content marketing…
Read More