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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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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They say before you start a war…

…you better know what you’re fighting for.

When you correct someone’s grammar on twitter, what are you fighting for?

What are you fighting for when you slam a business on Facebook?

When you gossip or spread rumors (and I’m great at both), what’s your war?

Twitter

Actual tweet. Possibly starting a war.

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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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Love and Respect

You can’t expect your customers to love and respect you, your business, your company, your employees, etc. if you don’t love and respect your customers and employees. Love and respect = value.

When you take advantage of your employees, your customers will inevitably find out. Think Abercrombie & Fitch. If you take advantage of your customers, your employees will have low morale.

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The Small Business Express Podcast

image001A few weeks ago, I was blessed to be the first guest interview on the podcast The Small Business Express. My friend Mike Monroe, along with Gary Shouldis, are packing the podcasts full of great information for small business owners. Definitely worth downloading, and the best part is that the podcasts are free.

The topic for the particular podcast is how to have success on Twitter in 15 minutes a day. My favorite part is Mike’s disclaimer when introducing me, “..he is a very fast talker, for those of you that have never spoken with Josh or don’t know Josh. But definitely worth listening to cause he packed a lot of really great information in very short period of time.”

I feel very honored to have be interviewed by these two gentlemen.

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The Path Towards Progress

Progress is typically defined by forward momentum. Is a company moving forward? Is a person moving on? Is an organization taking progressive steps? The question should really be, is growth taking place?

Progress should not be defined by the number of steps taken forward, but by the number of steps retraced for the sake of learning. Growth and progress always come with bumps and bruises. Mistakes will happen. External forces will work against us. Which means that sometimes, in order to achieve progress, reflection on those mistakes must take place. Although the goal should be to avoid as many mistakes as possible, they will happen. Progress will only take place when learning from those mistakes has occured.

Thomas Edison said it best, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” With each failed attempt, Edison couldn’t just start over. He looked at what was done, why it didn’t work, and then tried again. Progress.

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Lessons Learned from Church Name Tags

Have you ever been to a church where all the (regular) congregation members had on name tags? Did you have a name tag too? If not, did they offer you a ‘Guest’ tag?

1428915_19697637I was at a large meeting the other day, and as name tags and Sharpies were going around for us, someone mentioned that her church has name tags for everyone. My first thought: that church has name tags for everyone except for first timers. My second thought was a question: how many times does someone have to attend before they are given a name tag?

In this situation, name tags equal exclusivity. Even if that’s not the message this church intends to send, it’s the message that’s likely being received. If I was new to church and the whole God thing, I’d be freaked out if the church I decided to visit was full of people wearing name tags. I’d be even more freaked if they wanted me to wear a ‘Guest’ name tag.

Does your business unintentionally create exclusivity? If exclusivity is created intentionally, that’s one thing. But if you’re a small business, you probably can’t afford to be exclusive. You definitely can’t afford to create barriers for new customers. Entry – to your website, or your brick and mortar location, or your LinkedIn group – should be easy and with as few barriers as possible.

Otherwise, it may seem like you’re just another social clique.

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