Welcome to 2020! Now that the new year has officially started, it’s time to execute the plans you’ve made to promote your business. Networking is key for new businesses. I’ve written other blogs on networking (links are below) and as I’ve learned more, I’ve found 3 top tips that have worked for me. #1: Focus on Building Relationships Some people love networking, some people would prefer to have a root canal. For these people, networking is much easier and more enjoyable when you focus on building relationships. Why? Because it takes the pressure off. You can approach anyone with a smile. You can rely on an ice breaker statement because you are focusing on the person, not on honing in on a potential client. (A link that lists some of my favorite ice breakers is shared below.) You can delight in the reality that even if the person you [...]
Telling someone that they’ve gone down a “bunny trail” is a kind-hearted way to let them know they’ve gotten off track with a story they are telling. This is what we were trying to tell life the year this painting came to be. Everything felt chaotic, especially with family and work issues. We yearned for a break, a time to hit the open road and drive. But that was not to be. Instead, Tom found peace in painting about our yearning and I found peace as I watched the painting appear from a blank canvas. When he told me the title, I laughed in delight. It was our private joke about a year we were glad had drawn to a close, thankful we had survived the lessons it taught us.
My last blog introduced how to use a survey to refine your mission and messaging. We’ll now take a closer look at how that works. The survey I conducted early in my business included 4 questions centered around how the participants handled their business presentation (logo, business card and website) when they first started. Business owners in this specific and early stage of business are the businesses I seek to serve. Following are the 4 questions I asked each participant. (Click here to download “Reap the Reward of Research/How to use a simple & short survey to refine the mission and messaging of your business” which outlines the complete survey process.) Did you hire someone or do it yourself? What was the biggest challenge or stressor (logo, business card or website)? What was your biggest fear about using the approach you used? If you could solve that problem and [...]
A SHORT & SIMPLE SURVEY TO REFINE YOUR MISSION AND MESSAGING In order to present your business professionally to your ideal clients, you have to know them well. Without knowledge of their pain points, your marketing and promotional efforts will miss the mark. How well do you know your ideal clients? Can you state their pain points? Can you reassure them that your unique product or service, combined with your background and experience, can solve them? If you answered no (or you’re not sure) it is time for you to embrace research. Research is not difficult to do but it may push you outside your comfort zone. Follow the simple process outlined below, starting with people you know. This will help you push through your reluctance to Reap the Rewards of Research. Start with people you know. Send an email requesting an interview. Call them at the appointed time [...]
Tom’s grandparents lived on a farm in rural North Dakota... During a visit in his early childhood a strong storm developed. Everyone was huddled in the house watching and waiting. Tom’s memory begins with hearing the twister rather than seeing it. As it approached, the strong wind tipped over the outhouse. To his horror, his mom and an older cousin ran out into the driving rain and blowing debris to set it upright. The distance seemed enormous to Tom and he tried to run after her. His grandmother had to hold him back. When the storm passed, everything was okay. A hay wagon had flipped over but there was no real damage. Yet the memory of his mom out in the midst of the storm shook the security of a very young Tom! He decided to commemorate the experience and “Vanishing Point” is the result.
An Essential Element For A Consistent And Professional Presentation Of Your Business Did you work with a design professional to create a logo and build a brand for your business? If you did, the design professional should have provided you with a Style Guide or Style Sheet. This document may also referred to as a Graphic Standards Guide. Regardless of what you call it, the purpose is twofold. First, it ensures that your business presentation is consistent everywhere. It shouldn’t make a difference if someone connects with your business on-line via your website or Facebook page, or in person when you hand them your business card. The presentation should look the same. Consistency is not boring, it builds credibility! Second, it saves you time. There is no need to start from scratch each time you undertake a new promotional or marketing activity. Rather than searching for typefaces, colors, and [...]
This painting was inspired from a one-of-a-kind experience. A few years back, we were visiting the Flat Tops Wilderness area, fishing at a small lake called Chapman Reservoir. It’s a few miles outside the tiny mountain town of Yampa. On this particular day, we had the lake to ourselves. I had camped and fished at Chapman as a child and so I knew the best spot to fish from. We walked around the lake and settled in for a relaxing few hours. Across the lake we saw a bald eagle take flight. It glided so effortlessly on the air, that in itself was a special moment. But then, to our dismay, it dove straight toward a smaller bird. At first we thought we were about to witness a raw moment in nature, the eagle attacking and killing the smaller bird. But that was not to be! To our delight, [...]
The Dog Days of Summer-Stretching into New Ways to Market Your Businesses The hot and sultry “dog days” of summer have arrived. My dog, Holly, has the right idea. Stretch out in the sun! Bask in the light. When it gets too hot, retreat to a shady spot to cool off. I find a parallel to my small business in her actions. Do you? In my business, I stretch myself out in search of the hottest new ideas for promotion and growth. After a while, though, I need to retreat to a quiet spot to evaluate them. I’ve learned that: #1) not every new idea that comes down the pike is right for my business, and #2) even if the idea is great, the timing also has to be right. I can't do everything at once! This means the quiet time to process and evaluate ideas is one of [...]
Effective Website Design for Small Businesses. For small businesses without store fronts, our websites become our “location,” the place people go to meet us in person. Just like a brick and mortar building, visitors can come in, browse and leave without ever saying a word. How many times have you done that in your life? Walked in, looked around and left? What is it about some businesses that make you want to search out a person to say hello to? Or ask a question instead of leaving quietly and quickly? Did it hinge on finding something that interested you? If we want our ideal clients to stay on our websites, they have to be designed with them in mind! Poor location is a top reason that businesses fail—even businesses that don't have a brick and mortar location! A well designed website essential. Components of a Well Designed Website Would [...]
The Story Behind the Painting: The Long Winter One of the most memorable experiences in our life set the stage for this painting. I was working for the Colorado Wildlife Heritage Foundation. The Foundation was supporting the re-introduction of lynx to Colorado. Lynx were trapped in Canada, then brought to a wildlife rehabilitation center near Creede, Colorado, for a three-week stay. They were released in late winter/early spring, just before the breeding season. A sustaining population was reached in 2010 and the program was declared a success! In this particular year, the release date happened to coincide with our wedding anniversary. The invitation to be at the release was an amazing gift, because spectators were kept to a minimum! We headed to Creede from Denver after work on a Friday evening. Creede is about a 5 hour drive from Denver, so it was about midnight when we arrived. We [...]