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Archive for October, 2009

Six Pixels of Separation Book

October 21, 2009 Leave a comment

I’ve just started listening to the Audio Book ‘Six Pixels of Separation’ by Mitch Joel.

The following YouTube video is great advice for any business considering using any of the social media platforms available today. It’s not about asking “what are we doing with Twitter or Facebook?”, it’s more important to ask “WHY should we be using Twitter or Facebook?”.

The same logic can be applied to anything in the online realm, especially where small businesses are involved. I’ve seen countless small businesses ask the question “how can we become number one on Google?”, without considering what they’d actually gain if they achieved this goal. In other words they’re coming at this the wrong way around.

The Failed Entrepreneur suggests that his fellow entrepreneurs’ show patience rather than simply doing ‘something’ with Twitter, Facebook, MySpace or LinkedIn. Better to do the right thing, in the right timeframe with the right understanding.

The paperback version of the book isn’t out yet, but can be pre-ordered on Amazon.

Six Pixels of Separation

Categories: Books, Social Media

Marketing – one size doesn’t fit all

October 20, 2009 Leave a comment

One of the reasons for the failure of my business was my inability to adapt. I’d spent so long learning and understanding the marketing strategies and principles for large organisations, but I quickly found out adopting corporate style marketing to small business simply didn’t work.

Marketing is not a one sizes fits all discipline.

The marketing strategies taught on business and marketing courses throughout the World are by and large non-transferable to the realm of smaller business. You can take and adapt the best practices from the largest organisation, but marketing a small business, especially of the ‘one man band’ variety demands a different approach to marketing.

There are three risks for small businesses who attempt to follow the marketing textbooks too closely:

  1. It doesn’t work.
  2. It wastes time.
  3. It wastes money

In the current economic climate most small businesses cannot afford the luxury of spending heavily on marketing activity. There is of course an argument for them to be doing precisely that. If most of their competitors are cutting back, they stand to gain considerable share of voice if they have the courage and finances to follow through on this. However for many businesses this approach is risky and simply not viable. Now is the time for frugal and savvy marketing tactics.

Ultimately though in my experience many small businesses fail because they simply have no idea of how to effectively market and sell their products and services. They may be the best plumber in the world, but if they can’t communicate that fact effectively they are destined for relative obscurity and in many cases financial ruin.

My own business failed because I insisted on applying the marketing techniques I learned in the corporate world. Small businesses must find the right blend of sales and marketing techniques to survive and thrive. They need to experiment, expect failure along the way and learn as they go. Above all though, small businesses need to invest time and energy in learning new marketing techniques and developing the critical sales skills they need to grow.

Categories: Sales and Marketing

Bill Cosby and social networking

October 19, 2009 Leave a comment

Even the mighty Bill Cosby is using social networking to promote his latest project. A “socially conscious hip-hop group” apparently. But judging by the video, I don’t think he really gets it yet.

Might be worth following ‘Mr. Huxtable’ on Twitter. @billcosby

Categories: Uncategorized

October 16, 2009 Leave a comment
Categories: Uncategorized

It’s all about sales

October 15, 2009 Leave a comment

I’ve been involved in sales most of my adult life. Initially I was supporting media sales teams, before eventually becoming a newspaper sales rep myself. I enjoyed sales and was quite good at it.

The biggest business and indeed life mistake I ever made was investing in an online business directory franchise. I ended up losing a lot of money and developing an intense hatred for the concept of franchising.

What alarmed me most of all though was meeting other franchisees who had also taken the plunge to invest in this ‘opportunity’. The alarm was caused by a common sentiment. So many of them were scared of selling. Many of them; in fact I’d go as far to say the majority of them, had never sold in their life. They thought the proposition on offer would ‘sell itself’. All they’d have to do was open the window and orders would miraculously fly through, sprinkling pixie dust en-route.

So many of these ‘entrepreneurs’ failed spectacularly because the fear of being ‘in sales’ and their inability to move beyond their own restrictive comfort boundary crippled them. They had failed before they had even begun. I feel sorry for them and myself for following for the sale’s hype.

The point is this; any entrepreneur needs to be a good sales man. Whatever line your in, the ability to sell is critical. Many people use the phrase ‘he’s a born salesman’, which translated basically means ‘he’s a bit of an arsehole’. That’s possibly harsh, but I have met a lot of salesmen, I’ve been a salesman and yes at times I was indeed an arsehole.

There are undoubtedly natural salesmen, but like any skill, I genuinely believe the ability to sell can be learned.

In fact if I could have my way Higher / A-Level Selling would be an option in our schools and degrees at university covering sales would be the norm.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that if you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, don’t think you can do so without the ability to sell. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a big fat liar!

Categories: Selling

Internet Marketing Failure

There are many huge mistakes made when it comes to the marketing of any business online. The biggest mistake I made and the mistake I think most small businesses and entrepreneurs make is that they put all their focus on being found.

Don’t get me wrong being found online is very important, however turning that visitor into a lead and ultimately a customer is far more important. Too many websites fail to deliver the content that their visitors were hoping to find. Some sites fall into the ‘design failure’ camp, while others look polished enough, but peel away the layers and in many cases it will be a case of style over substance.

The substance we’re talking about is copy. Good copy. Copy that is supported by a clear call to action. A call to action can range from ‘Buy Now’ to ‘Subscribe to our free newsletter’. The action should always be something that takes your relationship with your website visitor to the next level.

So many businesses fall into the trap of simply being found. They spend significant sums on Google Adwords campaigns and SEO experts, but even if this activity is successful, they still ultimately fail as they have no real hope of converting the visitor into a customer.

My view is simple –   content is key, but conversion is king.

Michael Dell advice for entrepreneurs

The key thing I’ve taken from this video is that in tough economic times entrepreneurs should be seeking out new opportunities and experimenting with new ideas and concepts.  I look back on my own experience as an entrepreneur and realise that I retreated too easily. I had some great ideas but didn’t follow through on them.

I was basically paralysed and adopted a ‘sitting it out’ approach. Too many good ideas were left on the shelf. Without doubt this was one of my biggest failings as an entrepreneur.

Categories: Famous Entrepreneur's