Tag Archives: small business

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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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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Expiration Dates

Everything has an expiration date, well except maybe true love and Jesus. Your job is to be prepared for the time when your marketing and/or sales efforts expire.

Whether it’s Facebook or LinkedIn, certain tools you use to help grow your business will no longer be effective. However, instead of holding on to those tools like their precious resources, you should have a succession plan in place.

What does a succession plan look like? It’s really just a marketing plan. Understanding your company, your target, and your why, will give you the foundation you need to be successful marketing on whichever platform makes sense for your business.

Having this solid marketing foundation will help your business adapt to any changes in the marketing sphere. The key is to always be paying attention to where your target spends their time. So, understanding your target becomes invaluable. Once you truly understand your target demographic, you can easily move channels with them.

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No Magic Pills

There are very few magic pills in marketing. Marketing your business, like anything else, comes with almost no guarantees.

Social media is often viewed as a magic pill – a fix everything marketing solution that will magically bring in customers. Social sites like Facebook and Twitter have done a lot of good, and in some ways, leveraged the playing field for small businesses. Still, they aren’t guaranteed.

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Never Get a Case of the Mondays Again

Do you hate Mondays? Do you find yourself saying, on a weekly basis, that you have a case of the Mondays?

There are two simple cures.

The first, quit your job and find a job doing something that you love.

Or, the second cure, start your own company doing something that you love.

It may be trite, but life is too short to waste away at a job you despise. If you truly love something – fishing, hunting, snowboarding, skiing, video games, music, arts & crafts – I promise you can find a way to do it for a living. Write it down as a goal (or as a prayer) and meditate on it daily. You can’t just meditate on it, you have to take action as well. You have to move in that direction.

In the meantime, try on a little positivity. There are things to consider. At least you have a job, and although it’s not your dream job, it’s paying the bills. And, it’s only a temporary gig until you discover what it is you want to do from now on.

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Do something, do nothing, but don’t do anything

Anyone can do anything. Seriously.

It takes guts to do something. In some cases, it takes guts (or stubbornness) to do nothing. But to do anything doesn’t take anything at all.

Starting my own business was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. And honestly, it was the biggest step in faith I’ve taken to date. But I had to do something, because no one wanted to hire me.

That’s the point though. I was trying to work for someone else, anyone else. At that point, I would have done anything, and that would’ve been wrong.

Instead, I took a step and a leap and ended up more satisfied, career wise, than I’ve ever been.

Each choice affords you the opportunity to do something, or to do nothing. You’ll get in the most trouble if you do anything.

 

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Tough Love

Editor’s Note: This is a pretty heavy handed post from me, but what I describe here happens a lot and hurts a lot of small businesses. 

Having a social media account that you don’t update – or worse yet, that you don’t use anymore – is like locking up your business at the end of the day but leaving the open sign on.

Unsuspecting customers walk to the doors expecting you to be open and find the doors are locked. You may not think it’s that serious, but nowadays, a large percentage of people are making decisions based on what they find online.

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The Top Three Mistakes I See Small Business Owners Make

I wrote up these three ideas in response to a HARO query looking to compile a list of mistakes small business owners make. If you don’t know what HARO is, you should most definitely check it out.

Anyway, the three mistakes I submitted are as follows…

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Shopping When You’re Hungry

Out of all the advice I’ve ever given, or will ever give, this principle seems to be the most important. Why? Because I see the same mistake made over and over and over again.

Do not make important decisions regarding your business when you’re strapped for cash or when you’re emotional. You won’t be thinking clearly, therefore you’ll make poor decisions. Just like going shopping when you’re hungry.

My advice? Take a deep breath. Consult a third party, preferably one you trust. Or, at least wait until you’re no longer hungry.

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