Archive for the 'Blog' Category

Collect -> Expose -> Spread

These were the three words I jotted down in forming the basis of a new strategy.

Sounds super simple and relatively easy to execute.

The problem is whilst easy to understand the devils in the details.

What are we collecting? How do we collect? What do we expose? What’s the story? How do we get it to spread? What mechanisms are there?….

You can use a simple phrase to sell something.  Inevitably though you need to back it up with the execution of the details – and that is exactly where people tend to fall down.

Remember the details.

January 28th, 2010

Dodgy Marketing, it always bites you in the butt

You know the kind – an absolutely awesome deal – $50 off*.

*Conditions Apply.

You then read those conditions and the original deal doesn’t seem so great any more.

A Sideswipe reader shares the same story:

Dodgy marketing. The YMCA Auckland have a billboard promoting ‘eight weeks for $80 gym membership’, says a reader. “But in the terms and conditions you are required to sign up for a year ($21 a week) and then you’ll receive the extra eight weeks for $80.”

Please stop.  You’re wasting your time and money only to get a kickback when people find out your trick.  Honestly – no one is going to follow you up and go wow that’s a generous offer.

Offers/Specials/Discounts should be exactly what they say, shenanigans like this only betray all the other great work the brand does. Stop it. Now.

January 26th, 2010

Going out on your own: Pursuing the Passion 38, 39 & 40

#38: Read
Read as much as you can (i suggest local library as FREE!) but buying books also works, second hand books just as good as the real thing.

#39: Read some more
Read blogs on all facets of business, cashflow, finances, marketing, delivery, there is an infinite amount of free advice out there, filter the best ones and listen.

#40: Rewire your brain
Take yourself into exact opposites, try a new sport, a new hobby, read a case study on a different industry. Exploring them will help you understand your own business better.

January 24th, 2010

We need heroes! (yup I'm calling you Superman)

Given the increasing clutter in the online world there is huge focus on filters – YouTube shows you the most popular videos, Amazon recommends products for you, Twitter shows trending topics.

All to help you engage to avoid being overwhelmed.

That’s all good and great but people still thirst for that human interaction.  We need some heroes!

Someone that spearheads a topic, grabs it and really drives the market.

They become the reference point, the thought leader, a position that maybe couldn’t have existing until the internet allowed you to be the best in the world at it.

We are here now.  What causes do you champion? What are you passionate about? Chances are you’re a superman (or woman!) that someone needs.  Now.

Photo Credit: Xurble
January 21st, 2010

Freelancers are here to stay

Daily Finance does a bit of a post how the state of play has changed in the last two years: Freelance Nation: Why Permanent Jobs may not come back.

In Micro Businesses I mention that we are finally seeing the shift towards Charles Handy idea of the Doughnut Organisation.

This just reinforces it somewhat.  The shakedown has forced organisations to restructure how they run and it makes sense for them to acquire Freelancers to fill the gaps.  On the flipside Freelancers get greater control, pick their projects and keeps them on their toes.  A win/win.

It is sad that it has come about the way it has (through deep cuts during the recession) but I do think it’s for the best.

The future is in micro (even atomic) businesses…

January 20th, 2010

Superstitions Matter

Superstition (via Wikipedia) is a credulous belief or notion, not based on reason, knowledge, or experience.

They’re easy to slate off, discard or ignore… especially when they’re not your own.

That’s the thing we all have them, you can either decide to accept or try and change them.

Neither position is right or wrong.

The wrong position is to ignore their existence at all.

January 19th, 2010

Push based Marketing

In typical fashion during a wine tour over the weekend I quietly quizzed the operators on their marketing strategies.

I was amazed to find not many knew of WineVaultTv or WineLibraryTV.

That aside the predominant strategy for young brands was push based. That is their focus was on getting distribution then hoping for sales.

(Big picture is then to convert sales into repeat customers etc etc)

Whilst this clearly does work – it’s a tiresome journey that erodes profits in the early days (with sales garnered through retail promotions).

A much much smarter strategy would be to focus on pull based marketing, that is making your wine so dam attractive that consumers are demanding it. Then the distribution is calling them! Who has the power then?

I’m not saying the former doesn’t work… it’s just weak.

January 18th, 2010

Recession Busting Business Tactics for 2010

So we had a bit of a bumpy road in 2009, here’s 25 recession busting tactics to help you break through in 2010.

  1. Start a side business. In addition to your job look at supplementing your income by starting a hobby business that can add a few dollars here or there.
  2. Create a job! Maybe hire the next door neighbour to do your lawns, or someone to do your cleaning. If you have some spare cash, why not improve your life a little and help out your community.
  3. Invest locally! Sure leaving money in the bank is fine and dandy but it’s not helping out as much as it could be. Use a portion of it to invest in local business – maybe even form a micro loan club to help support local entrepreneurs.
  4. Volunteer. Volunteers contribute hugely to the nation as a whole and have taken a heavy hit in the last 18 months. Get back on the bandwagon and support a local charity; lend a hand, have some fun, it’ll probably be the most rewarding experience you can have.
  5. Educate! You know something – share it with the world or teach it to others.
  6. Connect. Business is all driven by connections, actively take stock of your connections and see where you can make some introductions that could stimulate business or potential partnerships.
  7. Seek for global business opportunities and pair them with local business.
  8. Unleash the online world to your business. Whether it’s creating attention, developing business or engaging with customers digital engagement is here to stay.
  9. Grow your business, chop it up, reinvent it make it much more streamlined. Look at squeezing efficiencies out of it to maximise profitability.
  10. Get not one but several mentors. Leverage others experience to avoid pitfalls.
  11. Mentor someone else. Lend a hand to people that can use your skills.
  12. Actively outsource & automate the parts of your business that need it. We all know we need to develop the systems & processes that empower the growth of our business. What better time to do it (on the cusp of a recovery).
  13. Write & share with the world your experiences. Start a blog (like #5 Educate) unlock your knowledge for others benefits. You never know what may happen or who will read it.
  14. Invest in yourself, learn some new skills, take an extra course. Identify skill gaps you have and how to fill them.
  15. Take time off! Time to rest/rejuvenate is just as important as the doing.
  16. Increase productivity with online tools. Read David Allens Getting Things Done – implement this in your personal and business worlds. Better productivity helps everyone.
  17. Set aside review & reflection time (blogging is a great way to do this).
  18. Read books. Books are the best investment, they give you some downtime AND present you with new ideas that can dramatically change your business. All $20! #Best investment.
  19. Explore franchising or partnerships. How can you strategically expand your companies reach with little capital outlay.
  20. Test the waters. Now’s the time to try out those new products and services that have been sitting in the closet. Give them a try.
  21. Invest in Adwords. Capture motivated leads in an automated fashion – hard to beat.
  22. Networking – get yourself out there active in the market place. When things get busy you want to the guy (or gal) they call straight away.
  23. Map out your reach into market, how do you market your company? What does that look like? And how can you improve it?
  24. Buy an iPhone. Why? It will pretty much allow you to make your business mobile instantly. Whatever you want chances are it can do it OR someone can develop it for you.
  25. Telecommute. Work from home one day a week and encourage your staff to do so as well. This lowers costs, can boost morale and productivity.

It’s the compounding effect of small changes that break the biggest barriers so pick one, knock it, pick another.  Go for it!

(Add your own in the comments below).

January 14th, 2010

The Clever Guy

Admit it we’ve all been the clever guy.

You know the one that always comes up with remarkable out there ideas to a problem.

“We can do it better!”

When just as often there is no real need to reinvent the wheel, a simple solution is best.

But don’t ever quell that guy for it’s their nudges that breakthroughs come about.

(And that’s when the wheel really gets redefined!)

January 13th, 2010

A twist on the 12 Hour Startup: The $100 Business

I had the opportunity to finally meet Chris Guillebeau in person last night.

(He wrote a testimonial for The Best Ideas are Free).

Nevertheless I thought it was long overdue a mention of his post on the $100 Business Case – definitely worth a read, bookmark and subscription to his blog.

As Chris points out (and the 12 Hour Startup does) it’s all about just taking that first step, giving it a shot, then following your feet.

January 12th, 2010

The Commodity Trap

Has your product become a commodity?

Such that anyone anywhere can offer an identical (or near enough) product such that your customers don’t know the difference.

You may not think so but think again.

You’d be surprised.

You could be closer to a commodity than you initially thought….

January 12th, 2010

Welcome to 2010 – Year of Opportunity

I’ve had a great start to the year, some time off in Auckland and back home in Queenstown.  It’s been (and still is a beautiful summer).  Here’s a shot from our picnic we had yesterday in St Heliers.

Picnic at St Heliers lookout

2009 was a year of turmoil (good & bad) but significant change.  2010 marks the year (and decade) to capitalise on these opportunities and I see many people already doing that.  I’ve had a bit of a discussion on the two main trends I see this year in Marketing – watch my first radio show of the year below:

Update: (working youtube link)


I wish you all the best, you can look forward to my second book later this year (taking time off next month to wrap it up), title still in progress.  Also some changes to the blog, international speaking (I might need your help there!) and a few other surprises.  To a remarkable year!


January 10th, 2010

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