How to Do Better Next Year! (pt.1)

Balloon (aircraft)
Balloon (aircraft) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A man is flying in a hot air balloon and realizes he is lost. He reduces height and spots a man down below. He lowers the balloon further and shouts: “Excuse me, can you tell me where I am?”

The man below says: “Yes, you’re in a hot air balloon, hovering 30 feet above this field.”

“You must be an engineer” says the balloonist.

“I am” replies the man. “How did you know?”

“Well,” says the balloonist, “everything you have told me is technically correct, but it’s no use to anyone.”

The man below says “you must be in management.”

“I am” replies the balloonist, “but how did you know?”

“Well,” says the man, “you don’t know where you are, or where you’re going, but you expect me to be able to help. You’re in the same position you were before we met, but now it’s my fault.” Read Quote of Jason Heinrichs’s answer to Jokes: What are some of the most profound jokes ever? on Quora

Does the joke resonate? If the two worked together, the end result might be more positive.

Marketing

I explain marketing to many small business owners and non-profit organizations in my presentations and conversations with clients.  What I have noticed is that a lack of time and understanding for marketing may stem in the denial of a necessary collaborative effort.

You can silo out non-customer oriented positions, but anyone that may “touch” a customer must work together to be the most effective and deliver the most positive ROI.

Can you just delegate every role?

  • Salespeople should understand the goals of marketing and follow the company mission.
  • Owners/Management must train sales to optimize customer satisfaction.
  • Marketing needs sales and management feedback to determine marketing effectiveness.
  • Sales should provide customer feedback to owner/management and marketing
  • Owners/Management should provide product and sales input to marketing to promote consistency in messaging both on the floor and in marketing.

In other words, silo-ing will always lead to failure of some kind.

How to improve your success rate?

As for any small business or organization, a perceived lack of time is a primary factor inhibiting productivity and growth. I have 3 suggestions for using modern technology to facilitate success. See my next post for the suggestions…

A Thanksgiving message: Thankful for my Clients and for Modern Technology

Update: I posted this in 2012, and the sentiment remains the same, EXCEPT that Whitfield Consulting is now SMB Smart Marketing! When I registered for an LLC, the name Whitfield Consulting was not available. I am grateful that this bump in the road caused me to rethink my brand and give it a fresh feel. I hope you enjoy the following Gratitude blog…

It has been an amazing journey of personal and business growth for me these last few years.

I remember in 3rd grade (many years ago!), reading a short story by Isaac Asimov set in the future. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the title. But I do remember a drawing of school age children sitting at the kitchen table in front of a computer monitor taking school lessons.

I remember so clearly looking at that picture, and hoping I live long enough for that scene to become a reality. You must realize that at that time, IBM’s computers filled entire rooms, there were no cell phones, no answering machines, no video games, color TV was just emerging, and central air conditioning was a modern convenience. The concept of the story seemed so, so far away.

And now, here I sit, at MY laptop, dual monitors, running a small business with clients from all over this great country from my home office! Arizona, Pennsylvania, Texas, California, North Carolina, Kansas, Arkansas, Illinois, Georgia, New York, ….

How did they find me here in Atlanta? Through that “magic” internet… on LinkedIn discussions, Facebook interactions, Twitter tweetchats, Quora discussions, Google+ hangouts, professional listings on various websites and affiliations, my email newsletter, and of course, personal and client referrals.

I had a colleague in disbelief when I told him I had never personally met some of my clients – that all our engagement was through the internet or phone contact. He couldn’t understand how anyone would hire me without meeting me in person!

I tried to explain they HAD personally met me – in a way!! I am more personally exposed on the internet than I ever have been to anyone in my lifetime. Details of my entire career and public interactions are all over the internet accessible by anyone at anytime.

So, back to my point: not only am I thankful for my clients, past, present, and future, but also for modern technology. Here I sit in my home office in Roswell, Georgia (Metro Altanta, GA) communicating with the world. Not only did I live long enough to see Isaac Asimov’s story, but I am living it.

It is such a pleasure getting to know so many entrepreneurs in so many different types of small businesses. They each have their own way of approaching business, but they all have such passion for their individual businesses and it rubs off on me – very inspiring. And for that I am grateful to you all.

I also have had the pleasure of acquiring new colleagues through social media. Professionals I have never met personally, but who check in on me and my progress as I check in on them. We share ideas, ask each other questions and offer moral support.

And of course, if it weren’t for my family and friends supporting me, I couldn’t have done it at all. I thank them and love them all.

So that is my message of thanks to everyone for this Thanksgiving day. I wish only the best for you and yours today. It is a great pleasure to be a part of your lives and your successes!

Sincerely,
Hania

Sure there’s risk in Social Media, but it’s more risky without it.

http://www.gapingvoidart.com/delusional-p-73.html

(For sale on gapingvoidart.com)

Wikipedia: An entrepreneur is an owner or manager of a business enterprise who makes money through risk and/or initiative.

A good friend (and entrepreneur) I had not seen in a while was asking about my consultancy. I was pleased to share that I am doing well. But what I found myself sharing more excitedly was the fact that I have clients all over the U.S.A.

He asked how could they hire me without meeting me? I told him, no, I have not met one of them – at least not in person – just Email, Skype and mobile contact – exclusively.

He was amazed that people would hire someone across the country they had never met. I proceeded to explain that it was the power of social media and the internet that made this possible. I told him that an online presence allows for someone online across the country to be just as credible and accessible as someone in your backyard.

Don’t know ya, but love ya!

He still didn’t understand how anyone could hire someone and work with them without person to person exchange – much less refer me without having met me!

I told him that people can trust who I am better because of my online presence.

I explained that when I became a social media consultant, I decided I was going to walk the talk. Therefore, I exclusively use my online presence to build my business. As a result, I am an open book – just Google me and you’ll see. Google loves content and social media participation provides content! My participation in social media allows any prospect to sample my work, get a sense of my work ethics, my personality, my portfolio, and more by checking me out online.

When you think about it, you can learn more about a person today (who has an online presence) than you can by that initial face-to-face we have relied on in the past to decide on doing business with someone.

I did build it and they did come, but remember – it’s all about participation and engagement.  So, how do you build a reputation, online business presence and prove credibility like others and I have?

  • Twitter – not just posting, but responding to others’ posts.
  • Facebook – not just updating on your wall, but cruising the Home Feed and liking, commenting, and sharing others’ updates, offering advice and help.
  • LinkedIn – completing your profile, becoming an Open Networker and making connections, joining groups, responding to others’ updates and group questions, contributing content and tips.
  • Pinterest – not just pinning, but re-pinning, commenting, exploring and liking others’ pins
  • Constant Contact – regularly sending newsletters that provide hints and tips that not only help clients, but also boost credibility (btw, would love for you to subscribe to mine)
  • Quora – respond to professional discussion questions and contribute content
  • WordPress– you’re looking at it.
  • and more… but these are where I live.

Continue reading Sure there’s risk in Social Media, but it’s more risky without it.

What Would Don Draper Do with Social Media?

If you are active in Social Media, don’t try to deny it – you ARE in marketing.

The show Mad Men is our current cultural reference for the origins of today’s marketing. And although traditional marketing can’t match the power of today’s social media and its reach, the philosophies behind traditional marketing are always relevant, no matter what the medium.

So sit back and learn from these quotes of the character of the #1 SOB in 1960’s marketing – Don Draper. Nobody liked him but he knew what the hell he was doing. (Think Steve Jobs.)

1. Don Draper: Advertising is based on one thing: happiness.

Nobody wants to read posts that are depressing or disturbing. And they don’t RT or share them either. There’s a reason. Inspire. Teach. Motivate. Make followers happy.

2.  Don Draper: I don’t care if you work ten seconds if you bring me something I like.

You could spend all month working on content strategy, but if people won’t like reading it, you’ve failed. If it inspired you, and more importantly, it would inspire your followers, then don’t over-analyze it; post it.

3.  Don Draper: You want some respect? Go out there and get it for yourself.

If all of your posts are links to someone else’s material and quotes from the greats, what is setting you apart from everyone else?

4. Don Draper: [Reading aloud from a piece of paper] “The man is shamed by being openly ridiculed and rejected; it requires an audience.”
Pete Campbell: What is that, fortune cookie?
Don Draper: It’s from that book you were all supposed to read.
Pete Campbell: Oh.

Do your research. If you are going to post with authority, know what the hell you are talking about. Don’t show your ass by not keeping up with what your followers already know.

Social Media participants show their asses more often than you might think. This occurs all too often in discussion questions such as those posted on LinkedIn or Quora. If you’re paying attention to what others post, you’ll notice the redundancy. I do.

5.  Peggy Olson: Sex sells.
Don Draper: Says who? Just so you know, the people who talk that way think that monkeys can do this. They take all this monkey crap and just stick it in a briefcase completely unaware that their success depends on something more than their shoeshine. 

If you want to be provocative in your posts, make it make sense. Make it have relevance. Don’t use it just for cheap attention.

YOU are the product. You – FEELING something. That’s what sells. Not them. Not sex.

Social Media has the unique aspect of requiring you to reveal yourself as a person. Whether you are a company, a sole proprietor, or just you personally. This is why Social Media is more popular than traditional media. People like to connect – and connection occurs via emotions, feelings, personal nature. Take if from another (real-life) marketing guru, Simon Sinek, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

6. Don Draper: Every woman wants choices, but in the end, none wants to be one of a hundred in a box.

Post like you are talking directly to your individual followers. That’s golden. Followers want to feel recognized for their (perceived) uniqueness. No one wants to feel their interests are generic. Read about Chris Brogan’s Unfollow experiment to understand more.

7. Don Draper: And there are so many real problems in the world.

Don’t post crap just to be able to post. Don’t waste your followers time. Make it real. Make it worthwhile. Make it stick.

8. Don Draper: People tell you who they are, but we ignore it – because we want them to be who we want them to be.

If you are working too hard trying to make your followers into your wannabes, they’ll see right through it and leave you or ignore you. They’ll know you aren’t listening to them and that will turn them right off.

9. Don Draper: When a man walks into a room, he brings his whole life with him. He has a million reasons for being anywhere, just ask him. If you listen, he’ll tell you how he got there. How he forgot where he was going, and that he woke up. If you listen, he’ll tell you about the time he thought he was an angel or dreamt of being perfect. 

And finally, give a damn about your followers. Quit being the posting narcissist. People who take the time to create a Social Media account are putting themselves out there. They are human beings, like Willie Loman, and “attention must be paid.”

When is the last time you clicked on a followers page or profile? Their Twitter bio, their Facebook info tab, their LinkedIn profile? Do you take the time to learn who your followers are?

– If not, you’re slinging your posts like a slingshot at no particular target…

*Image http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Don_Draper_Wiki.jpg