An Observation on Success

As a salesperson, life can be an endless stream of unreturned calls, emails, and reach-outs. Sometimes cold-calls result in sales; sometimes they don’t. 

 This week, we reached out to 25 potential customers for our company—sometimes to brands that needed OBVIOUS help, and sometimes to brands that look amazing—have an incredible brand, look, messaging, and have what appears to be all the strategic “t’s” crossed and the “i’s” dotted.

 Guess what? The brands that look amazing actually take time to respond – even if it’s with a “no—but thanks for reaching out.” Another weird anomaly about that – they were all from Montana. Maybe just Montanans know how to communicate as well as set up a solid business strategy?

 Seriously, though…something can be learned from this.

 Don’t allow your brand to become a brand of non-communication and non-excellence. It may feel like no big deal to not respond to a potential customer or vendor because they are too small or you don’t need them—but we think it equals DEMISE.

Good Luck and Have Fun!

Doing Nothing and Waiting for Things to "Get Better" Never Works

I was recently reminded through a tendinitis injury that whether its business, relationships or a physical pain, in spite of even professional advice to “wait it out”, it’s actually better to actively solve a problem.

Sometimes, as business people, we find our industry or corporation in a recessed, low-sales state. It could be due to changes in culture, a lack of marketing, a surge in competition or even being in a place where we felt like we were comfortable and had a grip on our market. No matter the cause of the recession or pain, sitting back and waiting for the culture, the political climate, or the “chatter” to change NEVER improves the situation.

We’ve seen great businesses owned by great friends die on the vine because they waited for the market to get better rather than getting better at tackling the market with a new business strategy.

Don’t sit by and wait for change. Bring change to your business! 

Good Luck and Have Fun!

The Customer - Delivering Outstanding Customer Service

Is the customer always right? No! Should you treat them as if they were? Yes!

If you interact with people, you have had to “listen to”, “talk to”, “deal with”, “settle down”, “manage” a customer that has experienced less than appropriate service – from their point of view!  As far as we know, there is no universal standard or even a regional or local area standard for customer service.  Assuming this is true, customer service is a personal experience, experienced by the customer, and every experience is unique.

Often people, management for instance, attempt to establish a criterion for customer service in their workplace – things like everyone is to be served their order at a fast food facility within 2 minutes, etc.  The problem is, this is only one small portion of the customer’s experience – what about the ambiance, the noise level, the cleanliness of the facility, the taste of the food, was the server happy or sad, etc.  The point is that serving a customer and making them feel good about their experience, good enough to get referrals, get positive posts on the internet, taking their friends to the establishment, etc. is a very complex task, and there is only one way to make sure that it can happen.

Everyone has to treat every single customer as if they were the most important person in the world making sure that their experience, in these days of generally poor to barely satisfactory customer service, is unique to them, focused exclusively on them and that every nuance of their experience is above their expectation.  Impossible to do, NO; hard to do, YES and most importantly it takes a mindset and core belief in your body and soul that they are the most important person to you in the world right at that time – no more complicated and no more difficult than that!

Enjoy, take care of your customer – the most important person in the world – just for a little bit!!

Good Luck and Have Fun!

Burnt Out? Overworked? Understaffed? Consider Outsourcing.

by Mike and Leaha

Do you ever think about outsourcing some business functions? Do you really know what outsourcing is? You’ve probably already outsourced some business activities but don’t think about it as outsourcing.  

Most small to medium size businesses outsource some very specific business functions because frankly, they cannot afford to hire an employee for part-time specific business activities like public relations, accounting, product warehousing, marketing, sales, etc.  If they could hire an employee, they would often have the employee spread their skills across many functions to justify the expenditure.  Consequently, the employee could be doing marketing, customer service, and purchasing—in a less than optimal manner, instead of using experts at a competitive price and getting what is most needed for the business!  

We see outsourcing as a way to receive high-value, specific business functions from experts. Most people/businesses that provide outsourced business functions are experts in their fields. They don’t try to do something that they are not expert in, and because they are experts and provide services to more than one business at a time, can simply offer exactly what you need much more cheaply than hiring internal staff.

Consider this the next time that you have a business problem to solve and are on a tight budget. Also keep in mind that hiring an expert, for just the services you need, allows you to better learn what your business requires for this role so that when your business grows large enough, you are prepared to hire your own expert!

Good Luck and Have Fun!

How NOT to Take a Product to Market

by Leaha and Mike

1.    BE UNDERFUNDED

Market your product without spending money. Try really hard to organically get messaging out…all the while wondering why a competitor’s product is kicking your butt just because their marketing budget is 5x or 10x or 20x larger than yours.

2.    SKIP THE MARKETING PLAN

Market planning is a total waste of time. It’s much easier, and way more fun, to just run around and try lots of stuff in a variety of markets. It will be exciting, and you’ll gain a lot of knowledge for your next venture.

3.    PICK A CROWDED MARKET

Hey – if there’s lots of products there, it must be a hot market, right? 

4.    BRING A “ME-TOO” PRODUCT TO MARKET

Investing in product development can be costly. It’s much easier to find something that people are already buying and duplicate it.

5.    CREATE YOUR LOGOS, BYLINES, AND GRAPHICS YOURSELF

Better yet, get your brother-in-law who can spell marketing and has an Apple computer to do it!  Alternatively, find an offshore marketing agency that has no US presence do it because they are cheap.

6.    IGNORE YOUR AUDIENCE AND THEIR OPINIONS

Skip surveys on their buying habits. No one cares what strangers think anyhow. I mean you made the product and your family likes it so it must be good, right?

7.    WASTE MONEY ON STUPID STUFF

Like localized sponsorships and a flashy neon sign for your building. The concept of a national brand really doesn’t matter. What matters is what your friends and family think when they see your company logo around town.

8.    IGNORE DISTRIBUTION CHANNELS

Assume the stuff will sell on its own.  All you need to do is put it on your website and people will buy.  Distributers cost money, and point-of-sale displays and co-op advertising are a waste of money.

9.    DO NOT HIRE A MARKETING PROFESSIONAL

What fun is it to hire someone who actually knows what should be done and can help do it?


 Seriously – the opposite of ALL of these points will be a home run for your brand. We do want to emphasize the real killer for successful product launching and marketing strategy execution that you should pay attention to the most...

DON’T BE UNDERFUNDED

and

DON’T TRY TO DO IT YOURSELF UNLESS YOU ARE A MARKETING PROFESSIONAL

Good Luck and Have Fun!