Are feedback loops really worth the effort?

22nd February 2012

What are your top weaknesses? What do your customers just love about you? If you take growing your business seriously, then you have your own ideas about the answer to these questions. Unless you’re regularly and consistently asking your customers for feedback, then you’re missing out on a tremendous opportunity. Let’s take a look at three ways that customer feedback loops help your business. Read the full article →

A one cylinder engine for your business?

15th February 2012

Have you ever noticed little cars with big sounds? I get a kick out of the way some kids “fix up” their ride by adding this coffee can size muffler. The result is something that sounds more powerful than it really is. In the end it is still a small car with a small motor, it just makes a lot of noise. Not a powerful sound, just loud. I don’t care much for loud little cars, but I’ve always liked the deep sound of the muscle cars of times bygone. Those 8 cylinders sound like the purring of a big powerful cat. What does all of this have to do with growing your business? Let’s look at a couple of ways to add more power to your business. Read the full article →

The most effective advertising money can buy

14th February 2012

PT Barnum famously once said that he knew half of his advertising wasn’t working, he just didn’t know which half. With some kinds of advertising – such as awareness building advertising, wasting half of your advertising budget is a fact of life. Although this situation may be inevitable for large scale advertisers, it is entirely unnecessary for small business advertising. To be successful, you’ve got to play to your strengths, not your weaknesses. For small businesses this means making every dollar of your small ad budget count. Let’s look at how this is done. Read the full article →

Passing The Buck

8th February 2012

As the little voices grew agitated I called out to the girls to come down to my office. I had intervened in the situation, just as war was about to break out. When they arrived I asked them one at a time to “tell me what you did.” Amazingly, each one had a story that was virtually identical in structure. “She did this and made me do that.” Not exactly personal responsibility at its finest, but that was a big part of why a squabble was erupting in the first place. It never ceases to amaze me how much little kids can teach us about life. Just as personal responsibility doesn’t come naturally for most kids, it doesn’t come naturally for most adults either. Let’s take a look at two simple techniques for taking ownership of the results in your life and moving forward. Read the full article →

The 8 Critical Web Metrics

7th February 2012

Love it or don’t look at it seems to be the two opposing sentiments when it comes to website analytics. Serious marketers who are heavily into measuring and testing advertising results, love the Internet because of the vast amount of information that is available when it comes to direct response advertising. It is this same, almost infinite amount of information that is a big part of why most small businesses don’t look at their web analytics very much, if at all. Feeling overwhelmed by all of the information in their analytics software, they aren’t sure what really matters and what doesn’t. Let’s cut through the clutter and take a look at the 8 foundational web metrics that you can rely on for any website. Read the full article →

The most expensive 2 words in the English language

1st February 2012

All eyes were on the teacher as she slowly made her way down the lunch table. As she passed each of us 4th graders, she placed a small cup of ice cream down in front of us. “Thank you,” I said as I opened my cup and began devouring the creamy chocolate contents with a passion known only to the young. After lunch, as we formed a line to march back to the class room, the teacher was clearly upset. She began by describing why she had passed out ice cream that day and that she had paid for it out of her own money. Then she asked, “Do you know how many times I heard the words ‘thank you’ as I gave each one of you a special treat today?” It turns out I was the only one who remembered my manners that day. That made quite an impression on me that day, in large part because I was so seldom in the teacher’s good graces. And until recently, I thought of expressing gratitude only in terms of politeness, but there are profound business implications as well. Forgetting to say thank you can be extremely costly in business. Let’s look at why this is and how you can put this to work in your favor. Read the full article →

Did you find what you were looking for?

31st January 2012

Amy flitted into my office like only a six year old girl can and handed me a piece of paper. “Daddy, come and find me!” she said, and with a giggle she was gone. As it turns out, I’d been given a map. A map that if properly interpreted would lead me to where my Amy was hiding and waiting to be found. After a few wrong turns and dead ends in my attempt to interpret and follow the map, Amy squealed with delight as I opened the closet in which she was hiding. Since I’d had difficulty recognizing certain things on the map, I asked her what they were. After she explained what each item was on the map, it all seemed so obvious. However up until then, it was a mystery. Just as a six year old wants to be “found” by Daddy, we all want to be found by our customers. Let’s look at three keys for increasing our find-ability with our ideal customers. Read the full article →

Overcome the silent resolution killer

25th January 2012

When I was small kid in grade school I perfected the art of procrastination. I could easily take 15 minutes or more to get out my pencil and paper. My teachers used to tell me that I belonged in the Guinness book of World Records for taking the longest amount of time to get ready for class. As a kid who didn’t enjoy school, this seemed like fun. What I didn’t know then was how difficult this habit of procrastination would be to overcome. Whether you procrastinated instead of getting ready for class or not, procrastination is something that we all to one degree or another must overcome in order to grow and achieve more in our lives. Read the full article →

Relevancy and the betrayal of trust

24th January 2012

What is it that separates a highly responsive list from one that isn’t? I don’t need to tell you that a highly responsive list is worth its weight in gold – you already know that. Nobody starts out saying to themselves that they’re going to build a big unresponsive list, but too often this is the result. Building and maintaining a highly responsive mailing list, whether the email kind or the snail mail kind, requires that you master 3 things. Read the full article →

Don’t Unplug From What’s Working

17th January 2012

As I was putting my Day-Timer calendars away for the previous year I noticed something startling. I had stopped doing something several months ago without even being aware of it. I certainly had not intended to stop doing it. Not only that, but the activity that I had accidentally stopped doing had been a big part of the reason why things were going so smoothly several months ago. As I made plans to immediately begin that activity I realized that unplugging from what is working is something that we all face, but often without even recognizing it. How can we avoid unplugging from what is working for us? Read the full article →