Category Archives for Marketing Strategist Townsville

Sins are only errors mashed with …

Bucky Fuller said:   “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

I have spent decades fighting existing reality.  I am sure you have too.  What do I mean?

How long have you been “doing battle” with things already in existence?  Like storing too much fat on your belly or butt?  Or having a bank balance that is too small?  Or my sales are too low…

In past posts I have spoken about “choosing to struggle” – and in simple terms this is explained by my learning to swim process.  When I swam I tensed every muscle, I strained every nerve and concentrated on every part of my body.  Naturally I was exhausted after about 15 seconds, and then tended to gasp and sink.

Relax Dammit!

After a few decades of struggle I concluded that something was wrong with my process.  The answer was not to try harder or for longer.  It was the opposite.  I experimented with doing nothing but ‘relaxing’ and the water.  Just lay there, being calm.  Not try at all.  I could have used a modelling strategy – you know – had lessons?  But no.  I was addicted to “figuring things out” – a strategy which still both rewards  and punishes me.

After some floating – I found that I could make movements without tensing every muscle.  Eventually that led me to realising that the key to swimming is reducing resistance in the water.  Splashing is waste.  And now I can swim and remain relaxed and move well through the water.  So – it was when I stopped doing the things that did not work or help that I benefitted.  I made the old model obsolete.

The process was to discover the process and then strategically evolve it for a clear purpose.  And to enjoy the experiences as much as you can.  Does that sound like your business?  Your health?  Or are you “working” to retain the resistance and no-purpose tension?  And yes – it is like an onion (tastes great when properly cooked!)

Do we “break” habits?

No.  We either replace them or disconnect them.

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James.

Recommended Reading – Leadsology – For Every Business Owner

Get This Marketing and Business Growth Book for $0.99 On Kindle

Solar Power Townsville

How To Avoid Making Dumb Mistakes When Choosing Your Solar Power System and Who To Install It For You…

Education has the greatest leverage.  Investment in learning is the most efficient way to change our lives and the world (for the better).

People choosing to invest in solar panels, inverters, storage and so on have a few fundamental things to understand before they can make a prudent decision.  Because of the nature of the industry, you cannot always rely on the commission based sales people.

When purchasing anything – there are basically two groups.  Those who believe they ARE ready to buy, and those who are GETTING READY.  Sometimes those who believe they are ready – are just kidding themselves and would benefit from more of the actions that the GETTING READY crew take.

We will go into the significance of this for all business owners in a later post – because it can be the basis of making your entire marketing program 5 to 10 times more effective.  In a nutshell:

“If you attempt to use NOW READY tactics on people who are only GETTING READY your conversion rate will be dismal.”

The example of this solar power company (who I recommend personally as being the most knowledgeable for the info you need, and trustworthy in terms of the value they deliver with solar power systems and storage) is that they know that it is different strokes for different levels of readiness.  I love their course – it made my transition from GETTING READY to NOW READY short and enjoyable.

Solar Power Townsville – Advisory, Supply & Installation

Do NOT Agree To ANY New Marketing Until You Read This…

Attention Ambitious Townsville Business Owners

Stop Wasting Your Money On Getting New Leads Until You Read These Instructions…

Are you ready?  Ok.

First we are going to simplify exactly what you are doing.  There are two components to your marketing:

  1. Strategic  – which is the content of your message.  What you say and how you say it.  It includes the concepts you focus on, the images and words to communicate those concepts, and the “tone” with which it is delivered.
  2. Tactical – this kind of marketing is to do with the execution of the strategy.   Eg placing ads, websites, going to tradeshows, scripts.

When I ask Townsville business owners about their marketing plan – the answer is always about tactical marketing – “doing” websites, sending mail or email, running radio ads, all that stuff.  (often depending on which media sales rep visited).

Here is your first COMMANDMENT:  Master Strategic Marketing FIRST!

What you say in your marketing and how you say it – is usually far more important than the medium where you say it.   And when your campaign BOMBS – there is a tendency to blame the tactical part of the plan eg media (radio, press, web, FB) rather than the strategy behind the marketing piece.

Once you get your marketing strategy planning skills out of the storage cupboard that is way down the back, past the perilous swamp, over the scary swinging rope bridge behind the door with the “Beware of the Leopard” sign – your business revenue will rocket.

There are some fundamentals that EVERY business can use to fire up a scramjet on their profits.

Profit Scramjet

Courtesy Uni Qld

I was going to fully describe exactly what you need to know in detail, but I decided that unless you give this your full attention, and be fully committed to finding out how to stop wasting at least 90% of your marketing budget (if you even have one calculated) – you are just wasting your time.  Go to Facebook and look at cats if that is what you are doing now.  Don’t pretend you are “working” – unless you fully intend to apply this business revolution creating knowledge.  Is that fair?

What I am going to give you here is a summary of points to get your brain out of neutral and into “turbo-profit mode”.

  1.  All prospects want the same things.  To feel confident their money has been well spent – and that their decision was a good one.  They want the best DEAL, not the best price.  The Best Deal in terms of overall value.  They don’t want to feel like they made a bad decision.
  2. Your marketing strategy has to know what is important to your prospects, then educate them as to what “best deal” means for them.  Then show quantifiable evidence that you provide the best deal in terms of price and value.
  3. Communicate this in a way they pay attention to, believe in, and then take action on.  Then the prospect gets what they really want from you – complete confidence they have the best value deal possible and have made the best decision possible.

Your marketing errors:

  1.  Using your marketing to spread your self-serving jargon that is just a sneaky way to say “buy from me because I want you to give me your money.  Give it to me, not my competitor.”

That is why people are so jaded with marketing, and resist it.  Prospective buyers want and need to be educated so they can feel confident when making their purchase decision, and rarely do they receive this education.

The good news is that the first marketers to deliver this WINS very profitable customers.

When Your Marketing Is Done Wrong…

The end result is predictable – you start to feel INTENSE pricing pressure from your prospects and leads – and you usually have to cave, drop your prices, destroy your margins and make much less money.  You get to spend more time at work.  Yay…

2.  If you are competing on price – it is your own fault.  It means your lack of marketing strategy has given your prospects no other criteria to separate you from your competition.  You have not educated, or guided with knowledge or info.

(Luckily I know how to fix this. I have a step-by-step system that will innovate and then strategically market your business.  You become the obvious choice for your prospects to smile and say YES to.)

3.  Even if you provide Super, Duper, Hooper-level service that unmatched in your market, and your customers smile widely every time they think of you – THAT DOES NOT MATTER TO YOUR PROSPECTS IF:

A.  They do not know you exist as an option or

B.  If they do see your marketing and advertising – your ability to market your business is so inept – that THEIR perception is that you are no different, no better, no worse than your competitors.

I believe that over 9 out of 10 businesses are in this “inept” marketers category created by the tidal wave of ignorance of the fundamentals.  Dan Kennedy shares the idea of “Do the opposite” based on this statistic.  If 90% of the operators in YOUR marketplace are ignorantly inept marketing – then just by NOT doing what they do you are in a better lane on the business highway.

If you can learn the process to make your marking strategic – you get to create a pipeline that delivers eager, qualified prospects into your funnel.

More Bad News…

Right now is the time to change your marketing thinking – the internet has made your marketing ignorance even worse.  Everyone is focusing on wasting their time and money going nuts for online marketing.  Splashing money around on adwords and social marketing?

And this makes decent sense because prospects these days usually begin their buying process by researching online.

And thousands of Townsville businesses are “investing” to get leads from Adwords or FB to come to their websites.  And when they get to these sites – they see the same rubbish marketing they used to see in brochures before the interweb existed.  “Service, Quality, Price”,  “Commercial, Industrial, Domestic”.  And your new lead just goes back to the Google Search and picks the next choice…  (This is called “bounce rate” – it is people who visit and then just bounce away.  Google knows your bounce rate – and charges you more per click if it is high.)  So you lose the lead, AND pay more.

And if you even look at your bounce rate – it is likely you look at tactical ways to get more “qualified” visitors.  Rather than notice it is your low converting “Lame” website that is the real problem.

The internet for most is simply another medium to stuff up their marketing with bland messages.  If you are going to fix your website – the only way to do fix your strategic messaging that we spoke about above.

That is enough for today, but with one last little drill to tighten your thinking.

If you now take your website, and the website of your closest competitor – and you changed the business names on the pages – would a new prospect know who was who?

Note:  I have an educational program that you can use become a strategic marketer and learn how to rake in the gigantic piles of cash that you used to dream about…

 

Townsville Radio Adverts

Gun-to-your-head Marketing Decisions

So You Need Some More Leads in Your Business…

And then the nice looking sales rep from the local radio station “drops in”.  They have an “incredible” deal on a 12 month package – that seems “perfect for your business” according to the rep.

Townsville Radio Adverts

It is only $2,000 per month, and has spots on the most popular shows.  So – how do you decide what to do?

Firstly – it is evident that your “marketing plan” needs some attention.  Because you think you need more leads, and because you think it is fate that a wandering sales rep has a “nice” package.  If your marketing plan was in place you would already know what works best for your business – and do more of that.

Secondly – selection of marketing tactics based on “rep visit” is very high risk.  Your choice of what choice will depend to a great deal on your own marketing education, and in some cases “mis-education”.

Most of what is taught to business owners is simply wrong, and will not predictably work well.

To illustrate this – let’s pretend you have a budget of $2,000 per month to “grow your business”…

And with  that money you MUST get great results or a nasty man will come with a giant Bowie knife and chops bits off you.  (ie – you HAVE to make it work!)

From that perspective – will you review everything you have been told about getting new business?  You can “gamble” to one degree or another.

Me – I like to minimise the risk of any marketing not paying for itself.  I know that the probability of different tactics working – varies immensely.

So – I would consider that getting a 10% increase in my average sale value (the total of sales divided by the number of sales events) has the same impact on my bottom line as 10% increase in the number of customers.

Or that if I can get my current customers to come back to my business just 10% more often – that has the same impact as well.

I might even consider that many people come to my business, get a price or quote, and then buy from somewhere else.  If I can increase that “conversion rate” – it also helps with my sales.

The point is – each of the three tactics just mentioned are much more predictable ways to increase your profits – if you already have customers.  And you can do it (in many cases) for free!

Some finer tactics include contacting your old customers and “resurrecting” them with a great offer and a good reason for them to return.  (I call them Zombies – and just contacting them will often bring them back to life.)

Lead Generation Has Many Components To Master

I know about 130 different ways to increase your sales and profits off the top of my head.  But the category which requires the most clear thinking, creative writing of emotional copy, and precision in scheduling and testing – is lead generation!

With a gun to my head – I would look to other strategies first.

And at the same time – I would begin to create and test lead generation activities to discover what works – and I would know because I would ensure it was measurable.

With $2,000 per month available – you could do radio.  Or you could put that cash in to a referral system.  Eg Refer a person to my business this month to go into the draw for “something”.  Perhaps $1,000 cash?  An accommodation deal that costs you $500 that is valued at $2500?    Or simply buy 2 cars with your $24,000 and use them to get your current customers to buy more…

Or any number of different approaches.

And how do you know which approach is best for your business?  Well – it depends…

This post was just to get it into your head that you have many different choices available, and they all have different probabilities of success.   STOP doing your marketing based on what rep walks into your business.  Get a marketing plan so you know all your marketing events for the coming year.

Or contact me for a Marketing Audit.   It may be the difference between you getting really rich from your business, or not.

James

 

Marketing Townsville

[Bites] James Hooper’s Bite Size Marketing Tips #9 – Oh The Places You’ll Go..

Welcome again….  One of my own quotes that I like to repeat too often is
“As soon as you move, you are in a different place.”

To me it means the simple action of taking a metaphorical or actual step – a single step – changes my view.

And with every change of view comes a whole new world.

It seems humans are at their best when moving forward.  When standing still we have no momentum, no power.  Think how much easier it is to change direction slightly once you are moving – just swerve a bit!

Dr. Seuss wrote: “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”   I add that:  ” Learning is moving, and moving is great.  Taking action on your learnings is when you best create.”

You don’t “get it” until you do it…. Knowing how to touch-type is not the same as touch-typing…

This weeks Bite is one of my favourites and most powerful tools.  I believe most it to be the most potent “framework” for strategically growing any business (or career)

Hierarchy of (Dynamic) Value.
(Created by a seriously clever man called Marshall Thurber.)

Here is how it works.

In a market where there are:
1.  Fully informed buyers (now almost every where because of the internet) and
2.  Alternative sources of supply –

then the only defense against competing solely on price is to have UNIQUE value (and constantly improving).  This means there is NO alternative source of supply.  ie the value you bring must be unique – because in a fully informed market and with alternative sources of supply – unless you are unique – you will end up competing on price alone.

According to Thurber there are different levels of value.

From the lowest level:

Commodity – where the only difference is price.  This will give you the lowest possible margins and most competition.  No loyalty.  Eg coffee beans – grind them and make your own.
Product – better than commodity.  Eg a phone or a cup of coffee.  Margins better than commodity, but not much.  Hard to defend.
Service – same as product – and these two levels (product and service) are merging – eg phone with a phone plan.  eg coffee made for you at a standard coffee shop.  Products and Services are MERGING to create “offers”.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++++Minimum Target+++
Experience – by definition – every “experience” is UNIQUE.  Selling the experience rather than a product/service or commodity means protection from competing on price.  eg Starbucks sell the experience – not the coffee.  Disney sells the experiences – not the rides.  And we pay much more for it.  (How can you make your business into an “experience”?)
Transformational Experience – Can charge even more if you can “transform” them.  Eg lose 20kg.  Get hair.  Become attractive to women/men.  Become a ‘different/better’ person in some way.
Predictably Transformational Experience – Can charge even more because you can guarantee it – risk reversal.

Your goal is for your businesses to ALWAYS move to at least the “Experience” level.  Not only that – it is DYNAMIC – people will copy your and the internet makes information flow faster and faster – so your value creation must keep changing and improving…As soon as we are not unique – we are subject to price pressure.

This is a heavy duty model – and I will revisit it in the future.  Right now make a list of what you do that your competitors do not.  And then make a list of what you could possibly do….  I promise it is worth it.

Cheers
James

Ps – your list does not have to overpowering.  Plumbers who give chocolates, balloons on signs, specific guarantees (eg quotes to you within 3 days), different colours (pink cement trucks!), loyalty programs, smile!, get details and send birthday gifts, newsletter (seriously) – and make it “human”.

Most “competition” is vanilla flavoured beige sameness.  If you cannot create a difference that increases value (???), then make it a cosmetic one.

Pps – if this makes sense – forward it to a friend…

 

Marketing Townsville

Need more leads? Copywriting is the art of converting words to sales. What did Gene Schwartz do?

Just changing a few words can change the power of your marketing by 10 or even 20 times.  Starting with great material can save years of split testing.  Read what Gene Schwartz – one of the best of historic copywriters ever – gives as his procedure.

“I Write With My Ears”

by Gene Schwartz

Townsville marketing

Copywriting is the simplest of all possible jobs. It consists solely of turning items into ads, of making the physical verbal, of constructing an emotional holograph of the product so convincing that people will part with their good money to share it.

To produce copy, therefore, is not really to write it into being, but to listen it into being. In other words, to be a semi-passive conduit between the producer of the item, and its needer. Between the man who makes it do what it does, and the other man — somewhere out there — who needs what it does.

The first step, therefore — the essential step — in turning an item into an ad, is turning yourself into a listener.

You listen two ways: first with your ears, and then with your eyes. You hear everything you can about the product, and then you read everything you can about the product.

The thing that astounds me, when I read most ads, or work with writers, is that they really haven’t bothered to listen deeply enough. This is most obvious in book copy, where you can check the ad against the text. But it also stands out quite clearly in product advertising, where you can check the ad against the way the product works for you.

Lazy ears produce bad ads. Here’s what I’ve discovered about sharpening mine:

1. Sit down with the owner of the product — the man who’s hiring you — and pump hell out of him. Put on a tape recorder and have him talk for 3 or 4 hours. Ask him where the product came from, what it does, what are its problems and how he’s tried to cure them, why it’s better than its competitors, who likes it, who doesn’t like it, what proof he’s got that it works, what strange uses have people got out of it, what funny stories has he accumulated in regard to its manufacture or use, what problems was he trying to solve when he created it, how would he improve it if he had unlimited money, what causes most of his refunds, who works for him to help him make it, how it is made, how does he keep up the quality, who writes him what about it, etc.

2. Talk to his customers. Do it in person or on paper. See if they agree with him. If they don’t, find out why.

3. Listen to his competitors. They often tell you more about the opportunities they’re missing in their ads, than the opportunities they’re seeing and therefore seizing. Let them write a possible head or two for you, out of the body copy of their ads.

4. Then put all the material down, in one big pile, and underline it. Start blending it together like you’d make a cake. Give it, first, priority (your head and sub-heads); and then, order (the body claims). And then type it up — preferably adding little of yourself except as selector and condenser.

Want examples? Well, Joe Cossman spoke my most successful fishing lure head “SWIMS UNDER ITS OWN POWER” — I just put it on paper for him.

Harry Lorayne blurted out my longest-lived book head: “GIVE ME 15 MINUTES AND I’LL GIVE YOU A PUSH-BUTTON MEMORY.” Again, I just put it on paper.

Martin Edelston dreamily pronounced my best-known newsletter head: “READ 300 BUSINESS MAGAZINES IN 30 MINUTES.” I just picked it out of a 17-page transcript a day later.

And Bill Bartman came up with “FLOATS FAT RIGHT OUT OF YOUR BODY”… Dave Ross with “INSTANT LEARNING” … Clem Martin with “WORLD’s FIRST EFFORTLESS EXERCISER.”

You see? People constantly ask me why I haven’t burned myself out by now… how I can write three or four fresh ads each week without going crazy.

The answer is simple: I don’t write them. I listen them. And you can too.

Change Your Story and Drop Your Fears


Did you ever get into the rut where you and “your story” were completely different?

Where you were living a story, that you felt disconnected to – but could not stop acting as your story “demanded”?

Napoleon Hill taught about the concept of ‘accurate thinking’.   About our human habit of getting caught up in the story, and then the stories about stories.

Deming taught about the pointlessness of trying to change an outcome or results directly. “What was the process??!”

And then thus move focus to making changes in the processes that created the undesired results.

It is too late to change what already is.

We can alter how we give meaning to what is – but if your belly is layered with extra fat, or your bank balance looking too skinny – your goal can be to alter how it will be in the future.  Or it can be to play with your stories so you “feel better about it”.   And the stories with their inbuilt excuses, blaming, shaming and guilt – are attractive.

Because they allow us to retain our fear, the fear that protects us.

I watched a movies last weekend by Will Smith. “After Earth”.  In it he tells us that fear is completely imaginary.  That we create it in our minds – and we allow it.  That imagined story then makes our bodies produce physical changes – including pheromones (scents).

In the movie, an alien monster has been introduced that can only find you by smelling your fear pheromones. It then kills you.

In the midst of a battle with the monster, as he is about to die, Smith’s character becomes calm, still, centred, and accepting.  His fear dries up, he becomes invisible to the monster, and slays it.

During the film he explains that fear and danger are different. Danger WILL kill you. Fear is only an idea.

If fear was only imagined for you, as you accepted that, would you become more free now to take small action steps that were previously impossible for you?

And each step would be further evidence to prove to you that fear was only imaginary and could be dissolved?

Like when you were a kid, and there was a scary noise from under your bed?

We can lie there, frozen in fear. Or we can lean over and look under the bed to discover there is no monster, or if there is one – it is more afraid of us than we of it.

Are you living your life frozen in fear?

Lester Levinson suggested to me the idea of “trying things on for size”. Like a sweater – just try in on.  See if you like it.  You can always take it off again.

He was talking about testing a method that allowed me to realize that thoughts and feelings are NOT part of me, any more than a sweater is.

They are things that can simply be “dropped” or “let go”.

Any thought or feeling or emotion can be let go.  Including a freezing level fear.  Accept that fear and danger are different. Allow yourself to feel the fear fully, and realize that feeling is the worst that fear can do to you.  Not so bad really?

And once you feel it fully, and now know that it did not hurt you – you can just drop it. Like your old sweater into a charity bin.

Let it go.

And once you drop any fear – notice that your fears about other “scary” things you have created stories about to protect, has been weakened.  Shine your torch under your bed and the fear will disappear – but only if you eat the fear and have a look!

Perhaps fear is a bit like Pavlova. Looks impressive, but as soon as you bite it – it dissolves in your mouth leaving a sweet taste.

Have a groovy week
James

Ps When I was in Russia, they frequently used a saying that stuck with me: “The Devil does not like to be watched.”  In this moment, I can see that one face of the devil is “fear”.  When I set it apart from me, to move from being fear (I am afraid) to only having feelings of fear – I am watching the Devil – and he returns my power.

The Woody Allen Mashed With Julius Caesar Success Plan

A nice short Sunday Post for today – “Just Turn Up Wherever You Are.”

Townsville - Julius Caesar Business Plan

Woody Allen – who made some vaguely interesting and successful films last century apparently said “Eighty percent of success is showing up.”

There are some interesting histories to this “eighty percent” idea – including the overly quoted Pareto Principle.   The concept is pretty simple on the surface – and includes “(Approximately) 80% of your success comes from a small percentage of your actions (eg 20%)”

Stay with here while I do some interesting maths – but it will make sense at the end.

If we just accept for now that 20% of our time produces 80% of our success – let’s 20/80 those numbers, and we get 20% of 20% gives 4%  and 80% of 80% gives 64%.  This results in 4% giving 64%.  So 4% of your actions give you 64% of your success.

We can repeat the maths and we see that approx 1% of actions gives 51% of success.  Now, without getting hung up on the calculations – focus on the principle that a small proportion of our total actions produces a majority of the outcome.

Before we get to Julius Caesar – consider what you do at the start of EVERY day.  You either consider your purpose, goals, and actions for the day – or you do not.  Right now – Give yourself a score out of 10 for how well you do this at the beginning of each work day.

I am now going to suggest there is specifically meaningful use for Woody Allen’s “showing up”.  What if “showing up” means becoming present, remembering then committing to the purpose of why you are there (today) and what is important to act on (today).  The degree to which we know why we are there, and doing the important things is our score on “showing up”.

Showing up does NOT include working hard reactively to what happens to you in the day.  It is not about just being excellent as react.  It IS about RESPONDING to what happens in your day – after filtering it through your purpose for being there.

Now mash in Julius Caesar “I came, I saw, I conquered.”  

The Big J showed up.  He knew why he was there – something to do with world domination and addiction to power…

He saw – he considered the environment – and then he applied massive, consistent, focused action (conquered).  Not just every now and then – but every day  – probably even hourly.  He would have been immersed in his purpose to such a degree there was absolutely NO DOUBT what meant to be.

Review NOW your score out of 10 for “showing up” at your business, job or role.  How does your score compare to Julius Caesar?  Would your daily power change if your “invoked” JC during your preparation for your day?  Is it likely that more of the vital 1% or 4% or 20% that give you the majority of your success would get done?

You could even imagine that instead of a little angel on your shoulder guiding you to do the right thing – you had an angel who was invoking Julius Caesar and making your constantly consider why you were there, and where your most powerful leverage actually is?  If you had “no choice” but to focus your attention on your purpose constantly – or a little angel with a Roman short sword would stab you in the ear – how much would your effective productivity multiply?

The best part of this is that you can even get 4% of your working time focused – it will make a vast difference to your bottom line results.  It may simply mean that you move from “doing things right” to “doing the right things right”.

Choose to have a prolific week!  If you are going to invest your time in your business (or profession or life) – it actually takes LESS work to make it ROCK.  It is hard work struggling.   It is draining.  It is not fun.  So change and decide to get legendary – or if it feels better to you – decide to “not be in a sucky place” anymore.

Cheers

James Hooper

 

 

 

The 13th Virtue of Benjamin Franklin – For ALL Business Owners

Ben Franklin Explains How ONE Simple Change In How We Communicate Can Multiply Our Ability To Work With Others…

This was written in 1784 as part of Franklin’s Autobiography.  This is the thirteenth “Virtue” – and is the one that immediately reared and bit me on the nose.  I considered myself a pretty “smart” fellow – and for several decades believed that just being consistently “right” was sufficient to work with people.

You know – once I explained clearly and comprehensively in a friendly and forthright manner exactly how others were wrong and I was right – they would rationally just agree with me and we could move forward together…

Ha – yeah right!  Epic fail!

Now I have moved to a place (most of the time) where I fully accept that all the beliefs I have now have a very real probability of being abandoned by me within a decade.  By this I mean that within 10 years I will be able to look back and consider things I believe are correct right now – to be not correct.

I know this is true – because I can look back 10 years right now – and know that what I believed back then is NOT what I believe to be true now.  This allows me to have less resistance to change, and means I no longer need to DEFEND my beliefs when a person raises a contrary one.  Instead I can explore this new possibility knowing that I can adopt it if it proves viable.

But read now how Ben Franklin applied a related concept to further himself back in the 18th Century.  From “The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin”.

page 42

But it so happened that my intention of writing and publishing this comment was never fulfilled. I did, indeed, from time to time, put down short hints of the sentiments, reasonings, etc., to be made use of in it, some of which I have still by me: But the necessary close Attention to private Business in the earlier part of Life, and public Business since, have occasioned my postponing it. For it being connected in my Mind with a great and extensive Project that require the whole man to execute, and which an unforeseen Secession of Employs prevented my attending to, it has hitherto remain’d unfinish’d.

In this piece it was my design to explain and enforce this doctrine, that vicious actions are not hurtful because they are forbidden, but forbidden because they are hurtful, the nature of man alone considered; that it was, therefore, every one’s interest to be virtuous who wished to be happy even in this world; and I should, from this circumstance (there being always in the world a number of rich merchants, nobility, states, and princes, who have need of honest instruments for the management of their affairs, and such being so rare), have endeavored to convince young persons that no qualities were so likely to make a poor man’s fortune as those of probity and integrity.

My list of virtues continued at first but twelve; but a Quaker friend having kindly informed me that I was generally thought proud, that my pride showed itself frequently in conversation, that I was not content with being in the right when discussing any point, but was overbearing and rather insolent, of which he convinced me by mentioning several instances, I determined endeavoring to cure myself, if I could, of this vice or folly among the rest, and I added Humility to my list, giving an extensive meaning to the word.

I cannot boast of much success in acquiring the reality of this virtue, but I had a good deal with regard to the appearance of it.

I made it a rule to forbear all direct contradiction to the sentiments of others, and all positive assertion of my own.

I even forbid myself, agreeably to the old laws of our Junto, the use of every word or expression in the language that imported a fixed opinion, such as certainly, undoubtedly, etc., and I adopted, instead of them, I conceive, I apprehend, or I imagine a thing to be so or so, or it so appears to me at present.

When another asserted something that I thought an error, I denied myself the pleasure of contradicting him abruptly and of showing immediately some absurdity in his proposition; and in answering, I began by observing that in certain cases or circumstances his opinion would be right, but in the present case there appeared or seemed to me some difference, etc. I soon found the advantage of this charge in my manner; the conversations I engaged in went on more pleasantly.

The modest way in which I proposed my opinions procured them a readier reception and less contradiction; I had less mortification when I was found to be in the wrong, and I more easily prevailed with other to give up their mistakes and join with me when I happened to be in the right.

And this mode, which I at first put on with some violence to natural inclination, became at length so easy, and so habitual to me, that perhaps for these fifty years past no one has ever heard a dogmatical expression escape me. And to this habit (after my character of integrity) I think it principally owing that I had early so much weight with my fellow-citizens when I proposed new institutions, or alterations in the old, and so much influence in public councils when I became a member; for I was but a bad speaker, never eloquent, subject to much hesitation in my choice of words, hardly correct in language, and yet I generally carried my points.

In reality, there is, perhaps, no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive, and will every now and then peep out and show itself; you will see it, perhaps, often in this history; for, even if I could conceive that I had completely overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility.

Yeah Baby!!  This is a simple rule that cannot fail to improve how we interact with others.  Thanks Ben Franklin…

 

Is It Groundhog Day in Your Business and Life?

Get More Out of Your Business – Or Get Out of Your Business?

It seems that there is a quaint ritual involving some odd animal in the USA that determines if it spring yet – and it was the trigger for the movie “Ground Hog Day” with Bill Murray.  (It is usually around February 2nd)

The was funny, but with a message for business owners.  It centres on the idea of what you could do if you were able to relive the same day – over and over – and recall the mistakes/errors/what worked from the previous versions of the day.  And in the movie – this leads our hero to his “perfect day”.

In the normal course of my day, I meet people who have built themselves a similar “loop”, except that they somehow manage to “forget” the errors/mistakes/lessons/what worked from the previous day.  These business owners just get up – and go again.  And again.  And again.

Over the last 40 years I have attended hundreds of “trainings”, “development courses”, “workshops” and such.  And the very best of them have one thing in common.  Just one thing that makes them transformative rather than just another training course.

And it is this “one thing” that is the key to the movie “Groundhog Day”, as well as moving your business to the better place.  This “one thing” reminds me of another movie – “City Slickers”, where the Jack Palance tough cowboy character “Curly” explains to us the secret of life is “One thing, just one thing…”  And then dies without tell us what it was!

Well – here is the secret to the difference in a workshop, seminar or just one day working in your business.

It is simple.  There is more strategic value in the debriefing after an “exercise/job/activity/work day” than there is in the activity.  This means that after a training activity – which ideally is designed for things to go wrong – the MOST IMPORTANT step is to stop, review and consider – What did I just learn?  How will this impact on how I do things in the future?  What might those changes in the way that I/We do things cause to happen in your life?

There is a saying: If you are in a rut – stop digging!

 Anther variation is  “If your horse is dead – dismount.”   The key to avoiding a Groundhog Business and a Groundhog Life is stop regularly, pull your head up out of  the hole you are digging, look around and consider what you have just learned, and how that affects how you will do things next.

What if you and I went out into the world and asked a thousand people “After considering what you learned in your business in 2012, what are you going to do differently, stop doing, do more of or less of – in your business in 2013?”

Some would actually have a great list, a plan to change things for the better based on what they learned about business and about themselves.  Fewer would have that list written down clearly with some action steps with deadlines.  And a tiny proportion will have added that secret ingredient that will release them from Groundhog Syndrome.  (That is where you take a photocopy of your business (or life) for a year, and then just repeat that every year.  Year after year.)

And the secret ingredient?  Stop digging, put your head up high (eg Helicopeter view) where you can look both forward and backward so you can see what you have done and where you have been, plus where you are currently heading compared to where you want to be heading.  And the turbocharger for the secret ingredient?

Turbocharger is the regularity and ritual that you do your review process in.  If you do a review just once per year – you get ONE chance per year to adapt, adjust, change course, speed up, slow down.  If you do it quarterly – you get 4 goes at adjusting your course.  Monthly – is 12 adjustments.

What happens to the amount of time, energy and money that is wasted the longer we travel along the wrong road or in the wrong direction for us?  What happens to the waste when we increase the frequency of checking we are still on course – and make corrections?

I have found that when I (and my clients) have a daily ritual (made into a form) – that requires us to stop, debrief, review, then plan and allocate focus to the most important things – then “Change Miracles” happen.  This is a DAILY form.

When this form is completed daily for long enough – it crushes your “Groundhog Programs and Habits”.    Because as you become the high-powered person who stops, considers lessons, reviews what is important and ideal, then determines the actions and schedules for the next day – it means that you have stood up, taken hold of the rudder of your life and started to steer.

Business Coaching Townsville

Look Up and Live…

And once you begin to steer your life, you are no longer a victim of the tides, the winds or the sharp, barnacled rocks of life.

You get to show leadership – for yourself, your business and your life.  And we can only do this when we look up, around, consider, review and then actively STEER.  Steering means taking actions to stay on course.  This means making changes.   If you are heading for rocks, or around in circles (Groundhogs!) – it might be time to pull your head out of your rut and take ownership of your own ship.

Cheers

James

Ps if you would like a copy of my Daily Planning Form – contact me.

Pps I will be watching Groundhog Day again on Groundhog Day.  Approximately February 2nd

Are You “Illiterate” In Your Business Model?

Alvin Toffler  said “Tomorrow’s illiterate will not be the man who can’t read; he will be the man who has not learned how to learn.”   He drew this from the full quote by Herbert Gerjuoy who said:

“The new education must teach the individual how to classify and reclassify information, how to evaluate its veracity, how to change categories when necessary, how to move from the concrete to the abstract and back, how to look at problems from a new direction — how to teach himself. Tomorrow’s illiterate will not be the man who can’t read; he will be the man who has not learned how to learn.”  

 Toffler synthesized further to say:

“The illiterates of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write

but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn”

You have been operating in your business in more or less the same way since you began, right?

I am now going to say that  – Unless “your business way” has a built in “unlearn and relearn” pattern to it – then many of your tactical actions are at best sub-optimised and at worst irrelevant.

Your core strategies may be still valid, or they may have been weakened by the structural changes that have accelerated massively in the last 100 years.  The most obvious of these changes has been the internet.  Information is now available on almost every product, and every supplier – with feedback from almost every client or customer online and instant.

This means a relatively new role called “online reputation management” will be very common in the short term.  A year ago – almost no one had heard of it.  I predict that within 12 months from now – even in provincial cities like Townsville – it will be a commonly used term in business circles.

If you don’t ‘get it’ yet – have a look at this Google search for ‘new cars townsville’.  http://goo.gl/xpFlM    Notice that Google now values and publishes reviews about these car dealers.  From looking at this single page of search engine results – it is clear that these businesses have not yet heard of  “reputation management”, or done the maths about how much even a single review from an unhappy customer is going to cost them.

We might even suggest that these large and successful businesses at this stage are in denial.  They do not have the basics in place to get the best value out of their web presences.  An example of this is that many do not even have not even claimed their Google Plus Business Pages – which may be the place on the web where they are most easily found by prospective customers.  (Thanks to Google Plus/Local Places – which used to be the maps that appeared in a Google search page.)    If I am considering buying a new car – I am likely going to read the “reviews” that appear in front of me.  Will I be put off a brand or a dealer when I read how the dealership “ripped off” or gave bad service?  As a human – yes.

If there is a mix of good and bad reviews, but each bad review has a reasonable response from the dealer – it may increase my probability of using that dealer.

This example of a structural change (the internet) has many ramifications.  One is that as your potential customers now have almost perfect access to comparative information – then unless you build an uniqueness into your offerings – you will be increasingly treated as a commodity provider – which means you will be selling on price alone.  And that is a tough place to live.

Another ramification is that protection of your integrity is vital.  If you slip up, or a member of your team makes a dubious decision – it WILL become public knowledge – just about forever.  The way that we now must deal with conflicts with customers is to consider them as a marketing cost to fix.  It is far, far cheaper to give a refund (or whatever it takes) than to attempt to clean up stream of bad reviews, blogs, comments and bad feeling on the internet.  It is expensive and time consuming to “manage” (which means minimise/hide)  black marks on your internet presence.  If you plan to stay in business – then deal carefully with potential conflicts with your customers.

Cheers

James Hooper

Townsville Business Enthusiast

Study your business


Profit Ninja Needs a Nanna Nap

Boring?  Not written in the rules..

There is no rule that things that are useful in business need to be boring.  Profit creation can be fun – in fact is more likely if there is some fun.

For example – when I talk about really interesting things like the scheduling of marketing activities or the creation of the plan – unless I am careful I can feel my own eyes glazing over.

Watch this simple animated video below to learn from the “Profit Ninja”.  The lesson is simple – and hearing it from a drawing with no arms is a bonus.

Enjoy.  Oh – and do subscribe to the Bites.

 

Townsville Business Builder and Coach James Hooper

 

 

Be sure to join the Townsville Marketing Bites Newsletter for more learning, profit and fun…

Marketing Bite Sample 1

This is a sample of the Marketing Bite Newsletter.  The formatting is a bit messed up – but you can see past that, right?

[Bites] James Hooper’s Bite Size Marketing Tips #9 – Bathtubs with holes in…

Yellow Pages – RIP?   From Goliath to little (yellow) duckling….

A happy man with a big hat delivered my  2012 Townsville Yellow Pages yesterday.
I saw him – and asked if I could have a second copy.  No worries.  He did not ask why – and would not care that I use the second copy as a booster seat.
And I use the first copy for…  well I only really use it to compare the number of ad pages to previous years.
Other than that it sits on the shelf, in case I cannot find what I want on the internet.  In the last 12 months – I have referred to it for information before buying a product or service – well – zero times.
In the “olden days” I would keep a copy in each car – for the maps. Now I have an iPhone.  And my prediction is that my children will never use the Yellow Page book in their lives?
The Yellow Pages Score?

2007/8  932 pages of ads (excluding YP ads at the back)
2010/11 904 pages
2011/12 804 pages
2012/13 717 pages  ( and Smaller Book!!!)
And when you consider that Yellow Pages have been filling more and more of the books with their own ads each year – maybe they are “hoping” it will increase their sales?
So why do I often still recommend some clients have a YP Advert?

See if you can work it out.
In an example – let’s say that the average lifetime value of a good client is (say) $3000.  Maybe this a hairdresser with average sale $100, 10 times per year for 3 years.  We wont count value of referred people from this good client – just to keep the maths simple.
Now – because you know when you get a new lead (and a new client) – and you capture their details for your database (because you know that when you sell your business – that is the most valuable bit for most businesses).
And you record which of your marketing tools created the lead.  You might get a table that looks like:
Flyer #1 20 leads  with cost per lead (CPL) $75 (eg cost you $1500)
TV Offer 10 leads with CPL $100 (cost $1000)
Direct Mail to Your Accountants Clients 50 leads with CPL $5 (cost $250)
Yellow Pages 50 leads with CPL $150 (cost $7500)
Newspaper Advert 1 lead with CPL $2000.  (Cost $2000)

For simplicity – let’s pretend you have the same conversion rate for all of these leads (eg 50%).  So the cost per customer becomes double the CPL. (Except the newspaper advert)
Now – which of these activities would you repeat?  Which ones would you stop?
I know that you are very smart.  You subscribe to my newsletters right?  So you probably are thinking that you want more information before answering – right?
Maybe you’d like to know what percentage of leads from each source was able to be booked for the next appointment?
Because YOU know that the first appointment is best designed to get them to come to the next appointment – right?  So you have a special offer for first time visitors – right?  And some kind of tool (eg a loyalty program/newsletter/membership) that is introduced at the 2nd visit, right?
And it might be interesting to know how much on average each source spent on their first visit?
The interesting thing is that 99% of small businesses do not even collect the first level of statistics.  eg how many leads did each marketing activity bring in?   Umm.. Gee.  Dunno.  Ok – so what about your last 20 new customers?   Um…
Ok – so what is the purpose of your business again?

And the owner may waffle a bit about delivering value, caring, sharing, following your passion, yada, yada, yada.  I just pick my nose and wait for their light bulb to go on.
Soon I just give up and offer a nice generic purpose so they get the idea.
Like:   The purpose of your business might be to attract, convert, retain, maximize and multiply the value for and of the clients it services.
Too hard?  Ok –  how about “The purpose of your business is to take money to the bank, reliably, predictably and with the biggest wheelbarrow available?”
“Oh – I get it!”  They start to get the idea.  Your business does not care what you do.  It only cares that you take enough money to the bank for it to be “healthy”.
Same as the bank does not care how hard you worked for each dollar you deposit.  Not even a little bit.
So – if we borrow from my genius statement above, and your marketing decisions are based on the goal of measurably attracting, converting and retaining A-Grade clients – then what do we do with the Yellow Pages? And the other lead sources?
Well – I might talk about it in the next newsletter – but it is obvious.  And here is a more interesting question.
If you were going to buy a business, would you pay more for one that has a clear recorded history of where its new leads come from and what they cost on average?  Probably.
And obviously you would pay more for a business that has a database that has a systematic marketing process attached to it to retain and maximize the value of the people on it?  You would have to pay more for it because it would be making a lot more money than one that did not do that.  Right?
Here is the ‘Bite’.

Imagine you have had your business for 12 years.
And the “Stupid Pratt” Inspectors come and knock on your business door.
Will they ask you how hard you work for each dollar you bank?  Or whether you give a great haircut?  Or how grateful you think your customers are?
Nope.  To avoid being labelled a “Silly Pratt” – (imagine compulsory embarrassing hat and perhaps a stick you have to carry with a large toy rabbit squeeky toy glued to it.) you will need to SHOW (not just talk about) that:
As a minimum:
1.  You know the source and cost of most of your new leads
2.  You have collected the names and contacts of your clients, and have made systematically contacted them so as to: A. Retain them as customers and B.  Increase their value to you.
Have a great day
James.
Ps – getting new leads is nice and can be fun.  BUT – what happens to the level of your bath water when you have the plug out and try to fill it?

Townsville Yellow Pages Issue Dates 2012 – And YP Bad News Video

Townsville Yellow Pages Issue Date For 2012 is  “April 12th”.

That is when I understand they will begin delivering here in Townsville.

To find this out I had to call their 132378 number – as it was not clear on the webpage.  It was interesting listening to the messages that preceded me talking to my “Customer Care Associate in Melbourne (not overseas?) “.  It seems that all the cover letters sent out with Proofs for Adelaide and Melbourne were incorrect – but the proofs were correct.  I guess there must have been enough confused/annoyed business owners calling them to warrant a message.

Townsville Businesses – Start Measuring Your Incoming Leads Now…

Anyway back in Townsville – if you are strategically still using the Yellow Pages [Discussed in other posts that it can still be a great investment] then you have about 6 weeks to measure your lead sources “Before” the book comes out.

Why?  Because if you are undisciplined in this regard – and do not know the source/number/conversion rates of your leads – how are you going to decide what marketing is working. or not?  And when the Yellow Pages reps start buzzing around wanting to lock you in for the next YP – how will you know what to do?

Globally, printed YP results are being smashed by local internet marketing.  For the price a largish yellow pages advert – you can do an awful lot of good things with websites, social media, direct mail, and so on.  Or – if you have all that planned and sorted – depending on the results of your lead source measuring after April – just put the money into your wallet?

Notice the Newsletter/Bite Size Marketing Tips sign up in the right column – join and discover a huge raft of things you can do to immediately make your business more profitable/valuable – and it comes in little, bite-size lessons.

The video below just made me laugh – because I remember a lot of business names designed just for Yellow Pages.

Have a groovy day

James Hooper

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Townsville Business Coaching and Mentor Programs

Royal Weddings, Vacuums and Reason Why Advertising

Weddings, Parties, Coronations?

I had to chuckle a little at the spin coming from the press over the latest Newspoll showing there is a drop in support for moving Australia to a Republic.

In case you have been living in a box with not TV, internet, radio or other media – there is a royal wedding coming this weekend.  As bizarre as it sounds – the Australian population, in general, loves some solid “Pomp and ceremony”.  The romance of the bride [Princess to be] “Ohhh – doesn’t she look beautiful..”  And the handsome prince – who will be in some fancy uniform or other – the choice of which will be explained in detail – will be stuff of legend.

How to fill newspaper columns?

In the middle of such “royal wedding-o-phile” prattle, the Australian newspaper commissioned a poll to determine support for an Australian Republic.  Despite the numbers in support of a republic being down – they still outnumber those against it.  [41 to 39%].   With the time of the poll,  I suspect that the Australian was both having a little fun – and also generating some text to fill its columns.

A decrease in support for moving away from a republic is going to be affected by a Royal Wedding – but the more serious effect I think comes from an apparent “leadership vacuum” at the top level of Australian politics.    If the poll also asked “Who would you like to see as the first Australian President if we were to become a Republic on New Years Day 2012?”

How would you feel about our current PM or opposition leader having the post?

There is saying that “nature abhors a vacuum“.  In this case, the vacuum at the pointy end of Australian politics (plus a nice wedding) may be starting to make the British Royal Family look less abysmal.  So why are they the “Royal Family” again?  Wasn’t the dynasty founded on the leadership/power grabbing abilities of one ancestor of the current team?

Is it raining “Princes”?

I foresee that the inertia has held the current British Royals  in place will be functional for some time yet.   The power of the Royal PR department – is immense.  What are the odds that something big is in the wind?  Earlier this year we had a Prince “touring” the Qld floods – looking stoic – meeting with the suffering ‘commoners’.  He also visited NZ  to “help” with their earthquake.   Now a wedding!

John Howard is reported as stating that there will be no movement to an Australian Republic while lovely Queen Lizzie is on the throne.   A pompous wedding would be an powerful way to position the “Commonwealth” for a new King in the medium term.  Wow – a wedding,  and then an even bigger event to gong the new King.  [Do we get a new Queen as well?]

Eyes will become misty at the sheer romance, grandeur and wonderment of it all – especially with the Brits.  Union Jacks will cover the cities, and emotive sing-alongs will burst verdantly from the throng.  The Poms would have little resistance – and little choice as there does not appear to be an organized “Republican movement” there.  [Umm would that be ‘Treason”]

And here in Australia – there will be a solid effect.  Just the wedding will dominate TV, internet and all other media.  I have not seen the ‘momentos’ appear on the market here yet.  And the feeling of  Australian “ownership” of the British Royals will grow.

How did the Royals go last weekend?

It is just like your favourite football team.  After a long period of average play and results – you might ask – how did the Cowboys (or Magpies or whatever) go last weekend?  But as soon their  quality improves, we “join” with them and ask “How did “we” go last weekend?”.

The Royals are about to “lift their game” so that “we” adopt them again.  So that we make them “our” royals again.

And this matter to how we do business in Australia?  Not really.  The rules of business will remain constant, and successful business owners will continue to simply work within whatever framework exists to build their success.

As for marketing – the coming Royal Wedding [and the likely UnQueening and then the Coronation] are great events to have as a “reason why” you are having your own event for your business.

Events are great for business..

In fact – to celebrate the joining of whichever Prince it is with his lovely Sheila – I am giving away Three (3)  90 Minute Business Success Building Sessions to Townsville business owners who want blunt “second opinions” on their businesses.

If I was a white goods shop – I might have a competition where everyone who buys something over $xxx goes in the draw for a really cool 3D TV so you watch the wedding…

What can you do in your business to “piggy-back” on this event?  And on other events?  Have you got a list of all the ‘events’ – everything from Mother’s Day to Cheese Week.   AND – you can borrow from current events if there is no decent event to ride on.  All you need it do is decide to do more marketing.

The “marketing rule” to follow is to ALWAYS have a reason for a sale or promotion.  Even if it is lame.  And obviously you have done the maths on having a ‘Sale” using the Price Effects Spreadsheet BEFORE you start the process.  Even if the “reason why” is “we ordered too much stock” or “My thickie manager (who is now hoping that you come in for this sale so that he gets to keep his job) ordered the wrong products and the manufacturer does not want them back.”

Cheers

James Hooper

Ps – please feel free to nominate in the comments below anyone you think might be a great Aussie Prezzident.

Royal Wedding

Art by Georgia

Business Predictions That Melt Old Ways of Operating

How fast will your business IT operations change in the next 2 years?

About 30 years ago I was told about the “Innovation Life Cycle”.  It was at Uni in a Marketing lecture, and the lecturer zoomed past it like a dragonfly passing a hungry frog.   Today as I look at the predictions made by Gartner for the changes coming in the next 24 months about our business IT – I think it might be time to adjust the shape of the curve.

Business Predictions Curve

Source: Wikipedia

You will have noticed or read about or simply experienced the rate of change of our technology – particularly in business communications lately.  “Smart” phones, GPS devices, Local Marketing Devices, Netbooks, iPads, those Google barcode thingies, and lots of other stuff that “older” people have mostly ignored.

Business owners are now at a crossroad where they must either:

  1. Join in, and become part of the early adoption – to avoid being left in the dust in the “new world”
  2. Continue to do as they have done, relying on traditional ways and tools for getting things done, in the belief that the changes in technology will not affect them greatly.

The decision to be made is really whether the changes are of a “structural” nature – or not.  A structural change was the internal combustion engine leading to cars/trucks/other which was a structural change for transportation.  Do you see many businesses using horses and carts?

Another examples was the fax machine.  When it arrived it was amazing technology – and it altered the way we delivered printed word.   Followed by email.  Email now means that the sales of fax machines will be looking a bit dismal on a sales chart – and in a short time they will be like record players or video recorders [can you still buy them?]

Let’s have a look at some of the predictions from Gartner about IT.  Be sure to real all the way to the end – or skip to the last one – I think it is vital for most business owners right now.

by 2012, 20% of businesses will own no IT assets.  Huh?  Yep – one in five businesses will be operating “virtually”.  Hardware will be owned by 3rd parties.

by 2012, India based IT service companies will have over 20% of cloud services. If you don’t know what that is – Google it – which of course reflects the absence in the world now of dictionaries and encyclopedias.

–  by 2012 – Facebook is the hub for social network integration and web socialization.   Ummm.  Gartner is saying that pretty much all social media will need to be FB ‘interoperable’ or will disappear.  If you are now ‘using’ Facebook consider where you are in the Innovation Cycle.   Yesterday I needed a haircut.  I have a new provider – and had not yet put their details into my smart phone [actually – it is now pretty dumb and I need to upgrade].  I was near my PC, so I googled the hairdresser.  Because her website is not terribly well optimized, her Facebook Page appeared above it in the results, so I went there.  But there was no phone number on her FB page…  Darn it.  If I had been using my phone to google the number – it would have been extra annoying – because right now phone service providers are giving free access to Social Media sites like Facebook.  Now – this means that visiting FB does not use up my allowed bandwidth – which is an advantage when you only get a set amount each month.  If you do not understand what I just wrote – anytime in the next week or so would a good time to pull your head out of the 20 year old sand it is stuck in.  Or just plan not to be in business for very long.

By 2014 – most IT business cases will include a cost for carbon. It seems that virtual servers produce less carbon than having your own on your premises.  One answer this is to just make more money so you don’t notice this extra little tax.  Or raise your prices to cover it.  Remember though, that someone with a virtual IT system already has a lower IT cost, and is also not paying for the extra carbon.  So unless you are differentiated and not competing only on price – then you will become increasingly “screwed”.

By 2015 – Gartner’s team suggests that internet marketing will be “regulated” because of the increasing spam and clutter in the marketing channels, and that businesses that rely only on the internet for marketing will be hurt.  While I agree that having more than one marketing channel is prudent at any time – I think the regulation suggestion is bollocks.  I believe it will the changing technologies matching the innovation curve that will “regulate” internet marketing – as it has done for the last 10 years.

– By 2014 – over 3 billion people worldwide will be able to buy using mobile or internet technology. Gartner predicts 6.5 billion mobile connections by 2014.

By 2013 – mobile phones will outnumber PCs as the most used web access device worldwide. Holy moly.  Seriously?  Yep.   They predict that the number of PCs in use in the world in 2013 will be about 1.8 billion.  The combined use of smartphones and brower-equipped phones will be 1.82 billion – and continue to expand.

Is your website optimised for phone browsing?  This one is – but in light of the weight of numbers here – I will list checking it is ideal for mobile this week.  [Click the link at the bottom of this page or Click Here to see what a mobile optimised site looks like.]  I have a free WordPress plugin on this site – which does the switching – another example of a structural change in motion – previously I would have needed web designer to build one for me.

Be sure to subscribe so you don’t when Part 2 of this theme.  Use one of the annoying red buttons.

Have a safe and regenerative Easter,

James Hooper

Business Coach (With a sprinkle of Techno Maven this week!)

Townsville Yellow Pages Shrinks by 11%

Townsville Yellow Pages

After my last posts about Sensis Yellow Pages Print Edition, one of the first things I did when the new books arrived this week was to look at the page number on the final advert in the new book – and compared it to last years.

Last year the Townsville Yellow Pages had 905 advertising pages.   This new book has only 805.  A decrease of 11%.

Print Yellow Pages - Going, Going...

Beginning of the end for Print Yellow Pages?

This might be an interesting exercise to do with the Yellow Pages for our major cities as they are rolled out this year.  I am expecting even more dramatic size reductions in the bigger books [or multi-books].  I am also looking forward to having a far more flexible relationship with YP reps in the future as they are repositioned to be in the same boat as other publishing reps – as their dominance of local search marketing fades.

The new monster on the block is obviously what is called “local internet search” which is presided over by Google.  Late last year Google altered the way it sorted and displayed search results to include a majority of  “local” results for the person doing the search.  This is just like in the brutal movies where the assassin twists the knife in the victims chest to sever the vital arteries before removing it, which ensures the death of the unfortunate “stabee”.

Once that change happened in Google last year, a bunch of maps (called Places listings) for local businesses appeared on the first page of results for any search term that Google thought looked like a “geographic” search.   This was the completion of the assassination of printed local search – ie the Yellow Pages books.

You can pay Google to appear in the “Adwords” advertisements that appear on every Google search results page – but to get on the first page of the “Places” listings – which is where the gold is – you need to talk with someone who knows about “Local Search Optimisation”.   This is a person who has studied and tested and learned what Google likes enough to reward you with a high position in Places for your keywords.

In fact – you need a geeky dweeb guy/gal (sort of like me – but maybe even more attractive?) even to figure what your “keywords” are.  They are the terms that your prospective customer might enter into the Google search box.

Once you know your best search terms to optimise for – you then must develop a multi-pronged strategy to reach the top.  This includes but is not limited to the way you complete the “places form” for your business, the on page optimisation of your main website (the one you list in your Places Listing), the “off-page optimising” of your main website (including all the backlinks to your main site from other sites and Social Media sites (Yes – you do need them), the design and wording of the specific videos on your Youtube Channels and the amount of views they get, and a variety of other tactics including doing unusual pagan dances in the moonlight and being mentally prepared for Google to delist your Places listing for no obvious reason, and then take months to review it.

In other words – you can do the basics yourself – but as time passes you will need to outsource this role or recruit someone to keep your presence alive for your keywords and to develop more keywords that bring your business.  It simply takes too much time to learn it all then apply it for yourself.

The cost of this will be offset over time as the investment required in Yellow Pages adverts reduces as their market power fades.

You should also get used to the new paradigm where “being on the web” no longer means you have “a website”.  It means you may have a dozen sites, plus social media sites, plus video channels at different carriers, plus stuff that is not completely obvious yet.  You will become familiar with terms like RSS feeds and “pinging”.  You will see a wave of sites designed for “smart phones” with technologies that can do things like offer you a MacDonald’s Deal as you drive anywhere near a MacDonald’s store.

Just thought I would give you the good news…

I believe that the sheer dynamism of the local search marketing is brilliantly exciting.  There has never been a time of more rapid change in marketing and the technology of communication.  It is those who embrace the changes and carve out their own local areas that will thrive.  This includes the crossover from web into SMS (text) marketing – which is brilliant for those willing to think about “tribe building” rather than “flogging stuff”.  If you are not applying SMS marketing in your business – you are in for a shock in the coming 18 months.

Regards to all

James Hooper

Business Coach Townsville

Copyright James Hooper – All Rights Reserved

Townsville Business Builder Letter Jan 2011

 

The James Hooper Business Builders Letter

Townsville – January 2011
January 18th 2011

The Source of Business Power
Welcome to 2011.  It has been a while since you heard from me as I have been absorbed in “testing”.

I love testing.  And it is a key part of our business success.  The insight for me is that it is the application of the lessons drawn from the tests that make the dough.

Over the last 20 or so years I have collected and tested a vast range of tools for business.  Once tested I have added them to my “toolbox”.  Then, as needed with my coaching clients I simply draw out the tools as needed, and help my clients apply them.

Not Knowing Enough Tactics Is Not Why People Go Broke (or fail to achieve)..

Recently it occurred to me that most people don’t go out of business as a result of not knowing enough ways to increase their business.  More often it is it is because they don’t apply (any) of the ones they already know – or they only apply them for a short time before jumping to the next “tactic”.

Are you wasting your power?

Doing absolutely nothing and trying to do absolutely everything – can have the same result.  And the second way is probably more exhausting.  Exhausting because you are always seeking and learning NEW and better tactics.  This is extra work. Then when you find the NEW tactic – there is the pain and time involved in learning the software or “doing” the training.

Then – after you get it work (or not) – time to discover the next tactic – leaving the tactic just learned to rust in the corner.

So- What is the antidote?

Well – you could go into any decent bookstore (or Amazon) – and surround yourself with a thousand books and continue with your exhausting “seeking” work.  Read, study, learn – consider, test.  Read some more, forget what the first guy said.  And repeat….

Or..

You are allowed to simply STOP.

4 Words of Power

Napoleon Hill told me once (in The Law of Success in 16 Lessons) that power is “organized knowledge intelligently applied”.  Just 4 words.

The second last word hid from me for a while.  How do you know if you are applying your organized knowledge ‘intelligently’?

Smack in the head?

The answer came to me like a sharp smack in the part of the head that just loves to “do” stuff and “get on with it”.  Are you ready for just 5 words that will alter your business and life strategies?

The answer is that ‘intelligently’ means “takes you toward your ideal”.  Again – “it takes you toward your ideal – whatever your ideal is.”

The Most Common Reason for Mediocrity

I believe the single most common reason that business owners do not fly past all goals is that they simply have not stopped and decided what “ideal” looks like for their business, how they get things done, and their personal life.

Or – put another way – most entrepreneurs have not achieved their major goals in life because they simply are not clear on what those goals [ideals] are.

Once you have listed your ideals – the power question is “Why have you not already got this?”.

The answers are the obstacles – the reasons you cannot get your goals right now.  We can now take these obstacles and what we must make happen and DEFINE them.

Then just convert the defined obstacles into OBJECTIVES.  Once you have listed your objectives – you then have a clear path to your IDEAL.

More Work AND Less Success?

If we do not define our ideals FIRST – we end up with a huge list of tasks that may take us somewhere – but probably not to our ideal.  And it will be hard to keep our motivations strong.  Knowing why we are doing things is the source of our continued power.

This is what I think Hill was talking about with “intelligently”.   It can be applied to all levels of goals.

Without choosing the ‘ideal’ outcome – we cannot apply specific effective strategies to overcome the appearance of that outcome – which means we use “generic” strategies and just “hope” that they magically give us our (secret) goals.

Shotgun or Minefield Without a Map?

Or we “shotgun” our generic strategies – doing massive amounts of action (‘work’) – most of which is not taking us to our goals – but some of it just might.

Summary of this long rant:

1.  If you want success, then  make yourself DECIDE what your ideal (in any area) looks like.   Write it down clearly.

2.  Ask yourself why you do not already have it, and what needs to be overcome to get it.  Write this all down.

3.  Convert these into objectives, stated positively.

There are more steps – but that is for the next letter.  Just doing these will change your life in minutes.

Final Questions:

Choosing not to define your ideals in each area of life that is important to you – is choosing to give up your power.

And when you look back on your life – will you have weaved a beautiful tapestry of precise achievement and fulfillment that defines what is most important to you?

Or will it be a grey, bland and mediocre effort where you played tunelessly because you refused to choose the notes that were best for you?

The New “Yellow Pages” for Lead Generation

If you have not being paying attention – you may not have noticed that in December Google changed the page format it uses to give search results.

Google is Massacring YP Searches…

In a nutshell – Google will now try and decide if you are wanting LOCAL search results.  Eg – if you put a geographical identifier into the search term – eg “Townsville” – Google will give you results that list businesses who are listed in their Google Places system for most of the first page.

You Must Get To Page One of Google For Each of Your Search Terms…

As over 96% of people NEVER go to the second page of Google results – every business looking for leads from the web needs to have a Places listing – and to have it optimised so that it appears on the first page of Places for each of the key search terms that a potential new customer might Google.

Add to this change the fact that uptake of smart phones and the spreading habit of “Googling” before reaching for the Yellow Pages – it means that the paper YP are increasingly only useful for doorstops and chair boosters for kids.  [This does not mean to stop using them – yet.  Well constructed YP campaigns are still VERY profitable.]

It just means that you have to get your Google Places “intelligently” optimised. Email me (james@seminar.com.au) if you would like me to have a quick look for you.


Current Testing Projects

 

Right now I am testing the power of Youtube Channel construction for use in local internet marketing.  Early results are showing that correct use of Youtube can greatly assist in dominating the first page of Google and other search engines for both Local and Global search terms.

At this point video results rank more highly on US local searches than on Australian local searches.  But this is changing.

If you do not have a video component to your marketing plan – you are missing some easy business.

Thinking Question


Which has the greater effect on your net profit:
1.  10% increase in the average number of customers
2.  10% increase in the average number of transactions for each client per year
3.  10% increase in your average margin
Answer next newsletter.

Systems

You cannot create a system without first knowing the purpose or goal of the system.
How many of your procedures, systems, or manuals do not clearly state what the system is supposed to produce?
Hey – does that mean that your business cannot be systematic unless you have clear and stated outcomes for what you mean it to produce for you?
Should you automate your most productive activities first?

Techno-Tip Use flowcharts to describe your systems and processes.  Use a tool like Gliffy.com to get shorten your learning curve.


Sales Development

If your sales process involves someone answering your phone after you have generated a new lead – it is likely your conversion rate is lower than it could be.
Spend $20k on your Yellow Page adverts to make the phone ring.  Then do no training or monitoring for the people who answer the phones?   Is that you?
Do you have a phone script so that everyone answers your phone the same way?   Have you ever had your phone answering “mystery shopped”?  Or simply recorded?
Does your team put people on hold without permission for a long time?
Even just over that last couple of weeks I have called businesses ready to buy – and have been put off by the ‘receptionist’.   You know the kind – where they make it seem that you are ‘bothering’ them?
Tip: At the completion of a phone call – plan to hang up AFTER your prospect or client.  Then they do not get the “hanging up in your ear click” or even “throwing the receiver onto cradle crunch”.  Both of these lessen the experience and cost nothing.
Thanks for reading.  Over the next few months the format of this newsletter will evolve.  Please feel free to forward it intact.
Have a wickedly abundant day

James Hooper
Direct Line 07 4721 0525

 

James’s Reviewed Products

Every month I watch and study hundreds of hours of video on the web.  From technical to motivational to training to inspirational to sometimes just interesting.

I now use Enounce (Click Here) to speed up the video up to 3 times normal.  ie I listen to it at high speed – and I change the speed to the best for the speaker.  It means I can get at least double the content in the same time.  I also have (once) slowed it down to be able to complete a complex programming task.

It has a free trial.  I recommend it without reservation.  Click Here.

 

More Articles & Tips at
www.seminar.com.au

 

The Happy Grinch That Used Gift Money To Restore Sight?

Well – it is Christmas time again.  There are Business Christmas parties on two or three times a week.  Business owners are pouring largesse for their clients – dinners, parties, gifts.

Yet I am not.  I think it is sort of nuts to only show gratitude or to work on building solid relationships in a great big burst at Christmas time.  Why not do it all year?  Or at least at times when people are not in a “Partied Out” State?

Parties are great things.

A few years ago as I was about to purchase restaurant vouchers for my clients – which was my “usual” gift around Christmas time – it occurred to me that there might be a better use for the money.  My clients obviously enjoyed receiving a gift – and it always nice to know that you are appreciated.  The amount I was investing was becoming a tidy sum – if not a princely one.

Then I received a card from a friend who instead of giving me a gift had instead given a chicken to a village in Kenya or Eritrea  or somewhere…  A chicken is a livestock investment.  It is real, and increases the wealth of a village considerably over time.

I discovered that not only can you donate chickens, but also equipment – like water sterilization systems.  If you are child in poverty – and someone in business in a distant land gives up handing out “overeating” vouchers to his wonderful clients so that you can get have safe water to drink – it that a really, really good thing?

Or if you are a parent and the only water you have for your children is smelly, dangerous and dirty – and you know it that is dangerous – but you have no choice – how do you feel?

And then World Vision turns up in a Land Rover and begins to set up the water treatment plant?

So for the last few years I’ve  been privileged to bundle the “Christmas Party Funds” and create a little positive ripple for some less fortunate people.  This year I was caught up in the emotion of having a loved one lose more and more of their sight.

And I discovered that $25 can give someone their sight back.   That is about the price of a good entrée.    Throw in a main meal, a bottle of wine, some coffees and you paid almost enough to have  something like this happen:

Click Here and Read The Article And if it strikes you as a good idea – then consider your Christmas Party Investment – or the “upgrade” you pay extra for when you fly – or any other time you pull out your credit card – and decide which has more value for you.

Have a safe and happy Christmas

James Hooper

Business Coach Townsville