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What Are You Really All About?

The blind men and the elephant Remember the old fable about the blind men and the elephant? Each one of them touched a different part of the animal and conjured up a description of it that was wildly different from the others’, based on their personal experience. Stay with me…. I have had an experience like this with my business recently. Instead of being blind, though, it’s more like I was up-close-and-personal with my section of the elephant. All I could see clearly was the bit right in front of me. In my desire to really get a good look at where I am and where I’m going, I tried stepping back a bit, but really only got a wider view of the broadside of the elephant, though. I needed to back WAAAAAAAY up to really see it as an elephant….er, as my business. I am fortunate. I just got back from almost two weeks’ worth of vacation on a lovely tropical island. Lots of beach time, lots of “spare room” for my mind to unwind, and little to no “screen time” to distract me (THAT was nice!). It took most of the vacation for my mind, at all levels, to unwind and back-off enough to not only see the elephant, but discern if this was the elephant I wanted and have been working for / toward for years. This is humbling, and an eye-opener… One consideration I confronted was “What do I consider success?” This is a tougher-than-you’d-think question. It is beyond revenue, recognition, client-lists, board and committee memberships, or mission statements. It is “What am I about?” and “Why do I do this…..really?” This requires me to go deeper into my reason for being. If I truly believe the importance of mindfulness and the present moment, this must be reflected by my business. As a consultant (which holds for any small business owner…), I really AM my business. So, again, what am I about? […]

By | May 22nd, 2017|Categories: Awareness, Meaning, Small Business, Strategy, Vision|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

3 Things You Tell Yourself to Keep Your Business Off of Facebook

No Facebook A few years ago I wrote an article providing “Three Reasons Why Your Business Shouldn’t Be On Facebook.” With the acceleration and change that has taken place online in the intervening period, I feel this needs updating and a slightly different point of view, so here are 3 Things You Tell Yourself to Keep Your Business Off of Facebook: “Facebook is nothing but fake news, selfies, pictures of food (and cats…) and vile comments about politics, religion and the like. I don’t need that!” – Why are there Facebook Business pages? Why are over 65 Million businesses on Facebook? Why do over 85% of all US companies over 100 employees use Facebook? Businesses are driving awareness, building credibility, selling products and services, getting referrals and recommendations, delivering customer service, and engaging in a meaningful and valuable way with their audiences. Since Facebook users are human beings, and these people are holistic (that is, not living in pretend silos of personal / professional), they may have opened Facebook to check on a friend or to keep up with a favorite cause, but they are also a potential customer for your business at the same time. With the right strategy, aligned with your business and marketing plans, you can deliver a digital experience on your Facebook page that will boost your business…even without fake news or cat photos! […]

Strategy: Is Your Goal a Place or a Direction?

Strategy You started out putting together something that you could call a Business Plan, right? If you had some help, or needed one to present to the bank or some investors, it was probably pretty detailed and held most everything you hoped to accomplish and how you would get there, all in one hefty document. Then you launched your business, and got down to the day-to-day of keeping things going and growing. The months and years flew by. Some products and services took off, and others flopped. You made adjustments, and kept at it. You marketed to your select audience the best you knew how, taking advantage of every free or low-cost method you could find so you could keep costs down. Your strategy, such as it was, was “Keep Things Going!” It worked for awhile… Now it’s been several months or probably years. You’re working like crazy, but the return has slowed. Even if you’re getting new customers, you’re not getting as many return customers. Your products and services have changed a bit (or a lot..), but not much of the other pieces of the business framework has. You’re still not as profitable as you need to be to REALLY be making a living. You keep looking for things you can alter a bit or tweak to squeeze out more, but you’re running out of options. […]

By | May 8th, 2017|Categories: Change, Decision-making, Goal-setting, Strategy|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

THE BEST OF APRIL – Facebook for Business, Reviews, and Where to Spend

Facebook Post Ideas 17 Killer Facebook Post Ideas For Small Business Owners A lot of the time, you feel lucky just to post something, let alone change things up. This article by Kim Garst will give you 17 ideas to make your posts more interesting, compelling and fun! […]

Personas Are NOT the Audience!

Personas I read an exceptional article by Mitch Joel recently entitled “The Audience (formerly known as the Audience)”. In it he writes about how perceptions and standard audience research (that leads to the creation of personas or avatars for marketing purposes…) are actually quite flawed. The challenge to fixing this or working through it, is in the ways they are flawed. Here’s a scenario: You are developing a new product for your client base that is aimed at stay-at-home moms. Immediately, a persona of the stay-at-home mom is put together in your mind’s eye… Female early 30s – early 40s Spouse / Partner works out of the home, 9-5. Wears casual / workout clothing for comfort and ease of care (the kids are ALWAYS spilling things…) Drinks a LOT of coffee Perpetually exhausted with too much to do Drives a “family” vehicle (mini-van / SUV) that is full of child-related stuff Gets together with friends regularly (with children) to chat and commiserate. Do you see this stay-at-home mom persona in your mind’s eye?  […]

Reviews: Don’t ignore them! It’s Your Reputation…

How do YOU manage your reputation? I got the chance to speak to a large group of business leaders this week about online reviews and how to work with them. This is an area that continues to be of concern to businesses, and has gained particular focus in the past few weeks with the troubles that United Airlines has had. First there was the eviction of a couple of young women from an airplane for wearing leggings (read more about this incident here). Without going deep into company policy regarding employee’s and their dependents using the United “pass rider” benefit, it is a bit vague and worth reviewing at the company policy level. The company took serious public relations heat for this. Even more infamous was the recent incident where a paying passenger was forcibly evicted from a flight, apparently chosen at random, to make room for 4 United employees who needed the seats to get to an assignment elsewhere. The video that was shot by another passenger on the plane shows this person being forced by airport security, in a most physical and brutal way, from his seat and off the plane. To say that United Airlines has taken a HUGE hit to its reputation as a result is an understatement (a 5% stock drop amounting to more than $600,000,000, although by the opening bell the next day it had regained almost all the value, and news outlets and social media piling on them has been very visible). How the company communications progressed in the aftermath didn’t help their public case much either (read more about the “Apologies Timeline” in this New York Times article). United now says that certain policies have been altered and others are under review to keep this from happening again. The changes will need to demonstrable and highly visible before they can begin to rebuild the trust deficit they’ve experienced. […]