No You Are Not ‘The Same’

No You Are Not ‘The Same’

Communication, Featured
In a recent conversation a sales manager told me that his product was the same as all his competitors. I was appalled. Having used his product and his competitors' products I knew this was not true. If you are the same, you have a commodity and the only factor that matters is cost. For a commodity, if you're not the lowest cost provider, you're out of business. You have to stress what makes you and your product or service different. That includes ease of use, how it ties in to other products, do you combine different services, or personalization of a product. You need to focus on what is different about your product, not what is the same. If you don't have a differentiating factor, ask yourself why someone should…
Read More
How Much Time Are You Wasting ‘Communicating’?

How Much Time Are You Wasting ‘Communicating’?

Communication, Featured
Clear communications is important to your success. The more transparent you are and the more your various audiences understand, the better off everyone is. There is a point of diminishing returns. How much time are you wasting in your quest to be transparent? Recently I sat through a webinar detailing the changes that were occurring between my company and one of our business partners. I disconnected after 45 minutes. In that time approximately 10 minutes of valuable information was imparted. That information was repeated several times. Not only was most of the webinar wanted time, the information could have been imparted in an email. Webinars are hardly the only culprit of time wasting. How often have you had an exchange of emails going back and forth many times when the…
Read More
Why You Should Have A ‘Personal’ Professional Website

Why You Should Have A ‘Personal’ Professional Website

Communication, Featured
The nature of work is changing. The world where you went to work after school and stayed with a company for your entire life are long gone. As more companies use consultants instead of employees, you have to treat your career as a business, and that includes how you market yourself. Having a website at yourname.com or yournamedescriptor.com gives you a place to showcase your abilities that you control. When you make a professional Facebook page, Facebook controls how many people see it, and what you can post. They can even take down your page if they decide you don't meet their standards. With your own personal site, you have control. Even if you are a small business owner, you should a website separate from your business site. The business…
Read More
Marketing Doesn’t Take Place In A Vacuum

Marketing Doesn’t Take Place In A Vacuum

Communication, Featured
One of the most fundamental mistakes that companies (large and small) make in their marketing is the way they divide up the responsibility. Websites and SEO are managed by I.T. departments, advertising is handled by a marketing person, social media is handled by anyone who uses it in their personal life. By not coordinating marketing channels properly you lose much of the value you are trying to create. Each channel needs to work with the others. SEO is greatly affected by social media. Social media channels should be bringing traffic to your website and vice versa. Advertising should continue the branding of the website and other digital channels. Here are some steps to make the coordination simpler: Create a branding manual. Write down what colors, taglines, keywords, and messages can…
Read More
Staying Connected is Key to Your Startup’s Survival — Here’s How to Nail Internal Comms

Staying Connected is Key to Your Startup’s Survival — Here’s How to Nail Internal Comms

Communication, Featured
When it comes to communications, founders are often laser-focused on the outward-facing victories, like securing a splashy podcast spot or landing the coveted cover story. But while earning external press helps to add a coat of polish to your brand, it’s the day-to-day work of internal comms that keeps the engine running. When teams are in sync, it fortifies every aspect of company and product-building. Making sure that everyone understands what’s going on, the role that they play and how to prioritize helps your company speed toward its goals. It’s also the secret to employee engagement: When an employee feels bought in, informed and listened to, you’re far more likely to hold on to your best talent. On the flip side, when the internal communication lines are faulty, instability threatens the entire company. Neglecting to seek perspectives…
Read More
How Leaders Can Make Better Use of Feedback

How Leaders Can Make Better Use of Feedback

Attitude and Mindset, Communication, Featured
Do you get real value out of feedback? Sometimes leaders aren’t sure how to move from receiving it to using it to grow. To put your feedback into practice, Harvard Business Review recommends that you take the following steps. First, talk it through with someone who is trustworthy, curious — and not in a position to evaluate your performance. Ask them to listen carefully and help you sort through your thoughts. Next, draft a development plan. It should include a summary of the feedback, questions you have about it, the steps you’ll take to improve, and the help you’ll need. Then share this plan with the people who gave you the feedback, and use the opportunity to ask your questions. Don’t debate or get defensive. Next, revise your plan with…
Read More
5 Actions of Power Networkers

5 Actions of Power Networkers

Communication, Featured
Networking is a key activity in building your success. Whether you are a business owner or an employee, networking is an important way to build a referral base, find a new job, move up in your career, and build your personal brand. Networking doesn't come naturally to most people, so here are five tips to follow to supercharge your networking. 1. Do your homework. Utilize all the resources at your disposal to determine which events are relevant and interesting to you, given the topic as well as the people attending. After determining which event to attend, map out a plan to make the most of your time there. Leverage existing relationships for introductions to individuals who are attending whom you'd like to meet. Let your social networks on Twitter or…
Read More
Practice Saying No to Requests for Your Time

Practice Saying No to Requests for Your Time

Communication, Featured
Most people have far more work than they can possibly get to. That’s why it’s so important to say no to things that aren’t a great use of your time. But turning people down can be uncomfortable. To get better at it, practice saying no politely and gracefully. If a colleague asks you to do something that isn’t your job, you might say: “That isn’t my area of expertise, but I’m happy to connect you with someone who could help.” If you’re asked to attend a meeting or join a project that you don’t have time for, say: “Thanks so much, but I have to decline. My schedule is at capacity right now.” If you’re asked to finish a task on a too-tight deadline, say: “I would love to help,…
Read More
Help Your Team Embrace Change

Help Your Team Embrace Change

Communication, Featured, Improvement
Companies are constantly changing. And whether the changes are big or small, leaders need to inspire their employees to embrace what’s new. Here are some ways to do that: Talk about how people feel. Change stirs up lots of emotions (fear, frustration, and anxiety, to name a few). Hold regular meetings for people to express what they’re worried about, and encourage them to be honest.Tell stories. Stories can be powerful examples of how people overcame challenges. Think about the challenges your employees are facing, and share stories that relate to them.Ask “What if?” questions. “What if we built our workflows from scratch — what would they look like?” “What if we were all freelancers — how would we solve problems differently?” Use change as a catalyst to rethink the ways things are done.Treat…
Read More
Why Isn’t Your Free Trial Really Free?

Why Isn’t Your Free Trial Really Free?

Communication, Featured
You've developed a killer product. You want people to try it so you offer a 30-day free trial. Of course you don't want people to just use the free trial so you ask them for a credit card so you can bill them at the end of the trial. That's where you made your big mistake. What's the message you just sent your customer? When you ask for a payment method for a "free" trial, the customer is immediately suspicious. The message that you just sent is that your product isn't that good and you're relying on people to forget to cancel the trial so you can charge them for a product they don't really want. Is that the first impression you want to make? If you want to offer…
Read More