Sep 17 2016

MARKETING’S MAGNIFICENT SEVEN…….

IN SEVEN WORDS, WHO ARE YOU?

 

mirror-image

If you can’t answer that question for your SELF and

for the business you own or operate or represent,

odds are no one else can answer it either…

and it’s a good bet that things are

probably going nowhere fast!

 

Think about this:

With very rare exception, every great branding line, theme line, identification line, logo line, jingle line, motto, slogan,

and email “Subject” . . . is 7 words or less.

seven-cartoonThis is not to suggest that websites and online articles should be short. Remember, that just because you have great graphics to offer or viral- bound videos or Earth-shattering embedded links included doesn’t mean you can expect sales or even attention.

 

On the Internet,

content-king

Graphics may serve to attract attention, and maybe even stimulate desire, but words are what sell. Words bring about action. Words deliver satisfaction. Words alone can answer the only “radio station WII-FM question” every consumer has with every purchase:

 

wiifm

 

Successful exceptions to the 7-words-or-less identity formula are few and far between, and are usually the product of creative and manage- ment teams that work days on end —often weeks or months. The right words do not come easy, especially for those branding lines that succeed at breaking the 7-words rule of thumb.

 

Examples that come to mind are often created with intentional violation of limited word memorability by going way over the top (like the purposefully-long catchiness of ACE Hardware advertising phraseology and rhythm) . . . or by segueing a 7-words-or-less message directly into a memorable piece of music (like Farmers Insurance: “We are Farmers… dum, da, dum, dum, dum, dum, dum, dum”). Yes, and sometimes one small extra word will cut it: “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.”

 

But REALITY? Reality is that “7 words or less almost always work best” . . . which is why the challenge attached to coming up with those words is so daunting. It’s not a matter of going into a closet with an armload of junkfood, and emerging a couple of hours later with the “genius” one-liner.

question-mark

The kinds of 7-words-or-less combinations that work magic (“Do it!”, “I’m lovin’ it!”, “America runs on Dunkin’”, “Should I stay or should I go?”, “It’s in you!”, “Thank heaven for 7/11”,  “We’ll leave the light on for you”— Add your own!) are most often born only after weeks or months of studying the products, services, markets involved, and even then creating an innovative little twist on the most provocative way to represent the message.

 

Consider that it’s long been the ad agency absolute rule for successful drive-by billboards to max out at 7 words because more than 7 cannot typically be read and absorbed at parkway speed. The same is true for email subject lines. Here, by the way, in case you missed it, is a “Clear Channel” billboard with no words OR graphics… just their name on the “provider plate” at the bottom:

empty-billboard

 

Most ideal, of course, is:

A)  to have 7-words include the brand or company name (but it needs to be a natural fit; forcing it defeats the purpose), and/or

B) to use a (good taste) double entendre whenever possible, and

C) to, of course, rhyme when the occasion permits.

The trick is to make it all flow in a natural way… especially in the use of humor! When anything seems or feels forced, it defeats the purpose… and will usually backfire.

 

Here’s an assignment you can do, and grade yourself on: Carry a piece of paper with the first 7 words you can think of that describe your SELF and the first 7 words you can think of that best describe your business. Look at it every day for a week and as you do, edit it, change and substitute words. Keep at it even after you think you have an “Aha!”

 

(BUT BEFORE YOU KISS YOURSELF IN THE MIRROR BECAUSE YOU HAVE JUST PRODUCED BRILLIANCE, and just for curiosity, how do your two sets of words compare?)

 

baby-in-mirror

 

[Hint: You’ll wish you had done this pen to paper and kept each scribbled out version along the way. That scenario learning curve far surpasses electronic notepad use.]

 

MUCH more about all this in quick take-home thoughts that span decades of successful branding experiences can be found –no obligation, no tracking cookies, no arm-bending, no strings attached, no bombardment of followup emails, no deals— just good free input stuff at http://www.halalpiar.com/todays-branding-tip/

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Make today a GREAT day for someone!

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!”    [Thomas Jefferson]

Hal@Businessworks.US         931.854.0474

Guidance to 500+ Successful Business Startups

Creating Record-Sales for Clients Since 1981!

Open  Minds  Open  Doors

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals and God bless you!

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Make A Grandparent Happy Today!

GET Hal Alpiar’s short story, “DIRT FLOOR VISIT” in the great book from Nightengale Press: THE ART OF GRANDPARENTING Amazon ($19.95–with a few for under $9– or $9.99 Kindle OR order special (signed by Hal)  $22.45 total check only (includes s&h), payable & mail to: TheWriterWorks.com, LLC, 370 South Lowe Avenue, Suite A-148, Cookeville, TN 38501. Include continental US ship-to address.

 

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Jan 05 2015

340,666 minutes left in 2015!

Published by under Uncategorized

In 1 week, you’ll have 340,666 minutes left in 2015!

What will you do with

                             

your time this year?

 

upsidedown clock

 FACT: As of Jan. 10th, you will have already spent 14,400 minutes of this new year that you’ll never get back! QUESTION: On a scale of 1-10 (10=best), how would you rate your 2015 accomplishments so far?  ONE MORE QUESTION: What will you do with the remaining 340,666 minutes (511,000 minutes minus 1/3 for sleep) in 2015?

~~~~~~~

                                         

Can the last question really be answered? Of course not. How could you possibly know what situations and circumstances will impact your intentions? So maybe intentions are not such a great thing. We’ve heard, after all, that they pave the road to hell, hmmm. And they’re kind of like expectations, right? And expectations breed disappointment, yes?

So where does all this quibbling over semantics actually leave us? Hopefully . . . (aw, wait a minute, isn’t “hopefully” like an intention and expectation combined?). Well then, is this an end to planning as we know it? Do we throw the goals out with the posts? (A little pun there for football fans.) Do we stop having objectives to pursue?

Planning is essential, but it is not a trigger for compulsive pursuit at all costs. Why is this important to consider NOW? Because:

Entrepreneurs are business junkies.

 How do we know that strict, rigid planning fails? Because planning (i.e, goal setting) has been long proven to be successful only if the process of goal setting adheres firmly to specific criteria, and one of these is flexibility. The less flexible, the more stress. The more stress the greater the odds for failure.

There is something to be said for the thrust and direction of many, if not most, entrepreneurially-spirited engines . . . something that is most succinctly put as “living for the moment.” Entrepreneurs instinctively seek immediate gratification and are more focused on the “here and now” present moment than those in other careers.

It’s that old thing grandpa used to say about not putting off ’til tomorrow what you can do today. Entrepreneurs have a powerful need for a quick fix when things start to flounder or deteriorate, or when last week’s “high” begins to wear off. Sound familiar? It’s true.  Look around. Ask around.

Small business owners and operators have mostly learned the hard way –through trial and error and intuitive “street smarts”– that ongoing quick-fix actions are the only ones that get results, and keep businesses moving forward when the tide is changing or the current is a backwash.

But swimming upstream for any period of time can be exhausting to say the least, so the idea of taking immediate corrective/adjustment action needs, in reality, to be tapered only with the commitment to take only reasonable risks in the process, and to always imagine the worst case scenario before proceeding.

Try repetitively asking yourself the following question all during any crisis or critical period, hourly if need be:

 

“Is what I’m doing right this very minute

leading me to where I want to go?”

 

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Hal@Businessworks.US     931.854.0474

Open Minds Open Doors

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Jun 03 2012

BRANDING REASSESSMENTS

Powerwash Your

                                     

Business Deck!

 

Now’s as good a time as any to clear out the cobwebs, mold, and dead bugs. Get your powerwasher out, hook up the hose and start waving that magic wand! But, aaah, you’re a free-swinging entrepreneur and all of a sudden the reality hits that to make a powerwasher work requires methodical and determined action–not exactly your modus operandi, eh?

But taking a methodical approach to cleaning is really the only way to make things clean, whether it’s a room, a carpet, the shower, or your business enterprise. Start by taking a hard look at the messages your business is communicating. Are you saying what you truly want the rest of the world to associate with you and your products/ services/ name/ reputation?

I’ll address human resources, operations, finances and other entrepreneurial concerns in subsequent posts, but first and foremost, small business owners must always be reassessing their brand and theme line. These are the most important tools a business has, and neither can remain stagnant. Change is what today’s business world is all about.

The horizon is constantly moving.

 

Targets, objectives, and goals used to be stationary, but no more. You need to be checking up on yourself at least once a month because what you were aiming for twenty or thirty days ago could be long gone by now. Don’t think you’re immune. It’s not just computers and smart phones running rampant . . . it’s people’s attitudes. TEST where you’re going.

Your customers and prospects THINK differently today (and faster!) than they did a year ago, a month ago, a week ago. The pace of life is more frantic. The business of building a business is more hectic. The messages your business is sending out can be obsolete before you even get them printed or onto Twitter. How will you know? Diligence and your powerwasher!

Force yourself to add quick-fix reviews of your branding efforts to your monthly lineup of checklist tasks. Put it right next to assessing your cash flow. If it’s time for a change, consider professional marketing writer input. Sometimes the fix is as quick and simple as changing just a word or two. Other times, a whole new strategy is needed. Professionals do both daily.

Struggle with revisions and updates yourself if you like, but you may want to ask yourself if you might be more productive focused on sales or operations or investor funding? Oh, and outsiders bring fresh perspectives to your table.

What’s important is your vigilance.

                                               

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Hal@Businessworks.US    302.933.0116

Open  Minds  Open  Doors

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Nov 14 2011

BIZ ALPHABET SERIES…”U”

Welcome to the world’s first SMALL BIZ Alphabet Series of blog posts!

“U”…UNIQUENESS

 

You already know that you’re different, or you’d be watching TV right now. Isn’t that so? People who enjoy being the same, work for big organizations where they can get lost in the waves instead of having  to make them, and they don’t surf blog posts about being unique because even though they are, they don’t believe they are.

You, on the other hand, are unique and know it. At various times in your life, you’ve been called weird, odd, a know-it-all, an opportunist, a hustler, a misfit, a trouble-maker, an instigator, an oddball, and one who marches to his or her own drum. You’re an entrepreneur. You own and/or run a business. You live for your idea to succeed. 

Now, what about your business? Do you think your business must be unique too? Odds are it’s not. In fact, the more unique your products or services are, the less likely your business is to survive. Investors and lenders like substantial, tangible businesses run by people with substantial, tangible, directly-related experience.

Customers are gun-shy about trying new products and services. They are also deathly afraid of buying technology that will be obsolete before they finish making payments. What does that leave? Pizza? Chickens? Cardboard? Dishwasher maintenance contracts? Delivery services?  Toothpaste? Cemetery Recycling?

Ah, so the trick isn’t necessarily (or even often) having a unique business. What then? Isn’t it more like being able to use your personal and instinctive uniqueness to design or develop or produce a unique perspective of what you have to sell? A competitive advantage? A single differential? Maybe. Maybe it’s just something that seems unique. 

It’s true, isn’t it, that uniqueness can be created with the stroke of a pen or keypad? Nike’s SWOOSH for example? And how about the 1, 2, and 3-word brandings that stick in our minds… the ones that sell?

  • 1-word example:  UNcola (for 7-Up when Coke and Pepsi were under the dark caffeine drink health destruction PR axe)
  • 2-word example:  “Got Milk?” (hard to top that message)
  • 3-word example:  “I’m Lovin’ It!” (even if you hate burgers and fries!)

In other words, BRANDING is what is responsible (my guess: 99% of the time) for UNIQUENESS. What we perceive, remember, is what we believe. Stated another way: Perceptions are facts! Does this imply that anything cute, different, or smashing, will create uniqueness which will create sales. Not a chance. Only substance succeeds.

BRANDING, then is about using unique ways to paint a picture of a business that delivers substance. And not unlike the old Marshall Mcluhan enlightenment that “The medium is the message,” could it also be that “Uniqueness is the message”? So it’s HOW we market that’s more important than what it is that we actually take to market?

Well, if these thoughts are even only partly correct, YOU have a distinct advantage in being able to present your business venture and offerings as unique, because you already are to start with. (We established that in the first sentence of this post.) And that which is unique rarely breeds that which is routine. Ask any spotted owl. 

 

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Open  Minds  Open Doors

Many thanks for your visit and God Bless You.

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Nov 03 2011

BIZ ALPHABET SERIES…”N”

Welcome to the world’s first SMALL BIZ Alphabet Series of blog posts!

“N”…NAME,

                            

NEARSIGHTEDNESS,

                             

NEGOTIATIONS,

                          

AND NEIGHBORSHIP

 

                                        

Well, there you go. Stumped for the first time about which topic to focus on, so if it’s okay with you, we’ll explore a little of each, and hope to hit on a button or two that piques your interest.

                                  

Q.  

What’s in a name? 

A. 

For an entrepreneur, practically everything that’s needed to get off on the right foot because the name explains the business… or practically nothing because the name is so whimsical or ill-thought-out that it takes an army of interpreters to clarify what the new venture is all about. Word differences make a difference.
 
I’m not discounting exceptions. I mean, who knew that some genius would come up with “Nike” and turn it into a household name? But the issue goes much deeper than the one in probably a trillion (good number these days, eh?) names that say nothing about the product or service and that succeeds in spite of itself.
 
The strength or weakness of a business name in communicating the nature of the business, and hopefully the unique strength of it as well, speaks volumes about the innovative business savvy and creative spirit of the founder. And in many cases, this impression translates directly into sales.

                                 

RECOMMENDATION: When you think you’ve come up with the world’s greatest business, product, or service name, odds are it’s not. Bite the bullet: go to an expert in creative marketing and branding. Pay what you’ll likely think is an obscene amount and let that person or team tweak your creation or come up with a better one. Then test it!

                                               

Q. 

Nearsightedness? What’s that all about? 

A.

Looking at things too closely. Attention to detail is one thing, analyzing issues to death is quite another. It’s what paralyzes government agencies and mega-corporations and prevents risk-taking which prevents growth opportunities and discourages innovation.
 
This (business nearsightedness) is an especially destructive path when it takes attention away from the present to delve into the mysterious and unchangeable “who-did-what-to-whom” past. Dwelling on what’s over and done wastes time, energy and money. Worrying about the future which hasn’t yet come (and may never) is just as bad.

                                

RECOMMENDATION: If you can’t see what’s going on right in front of your face every hour of your workday, get your eyes examined. If new or upgraded glasses don’t help, get your head examined. Choosing for your mind to drift too often or too far into the history books or the Twilight Zone doesn’t serve to get the job at hand done, or done right.

                                                    

Q.

Negotiations? Every situation is different, sooo?

A.

Yes, every situation is indeed different. And there’s never any telling what to expect from someone on the other side of the desk or table. So, Rule One, is get up from behind the desk and sit without furniture barriers between you (clipboards work wonders in these settings). With a table, sit on the same side.
 
If you’re in someone else’s territory, simply ask if the person(s) would mind sitting away from desk interruptions, and be able to use the couch or the chairs with nothing between them or a small table (or a restaurant, or golf course). The trick is to not get yourself locked into a physical setting that puts you on edge or at a disadvantage.

                                          

 RECOMMENDATION: Be yourself. If someone “buys” you when you’re trying to be someone you’re not, you will be expected to deliver what the someone you’re not is imagined to be capable of. Think on that one for a minute.

                                     

Q.

What’s “Neighborship”? Sounds unbusinesslike, like something from Mr. Rogers or Sesame Street.

A.

One answer is that both Mr. Rogers and Sesame Street have taught millions of people better entrepreneur lessons than Harvard Graduate School of Business has ever even come close to, but that we tend to forget a lot of the values communicated in our younger days. The best answer is to click here for a dedicated link to the subject.

                                       

RECOMMENDATION: Tune in here tomorrow for “O” — Happy Trails!

                                                                              
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Hal@Businessworks.US   302.933.0116

Open  Minds  Open  Doors

Many thanks for your visit and God Bless You.

 Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Oct 13 2011

BIZ ALPHABET SERIES…”B”

Welcome to the world’s first

BIZ ALPHABET SERIES of blog posts

 

“B”…BRANDING

 

 Besides that you’ll find tips galore by clicking here or on the “BRANDING” tab at the top of this blog’s homepage, here are some seldom discussed points you may want to review that can put a new light on the subject. Here you go:

~~~~~~~

 

BRANDING is rarely thought of by many business owners and, it seems, by most of the general public, as being what it really is. Branding is a composite of all things related to a business product, service, or idea (or a cause or individual), and those who represent these saleables. All things? All things.

If you’re a business owner, manager, operator, partner, investor, or entrepreneur, YOU are the brand as much as any product, service, idea or platform you offer.

Simply stated, your actions, inactions, initiatives, attitude, behavior, beliefs, decisions, appearances –the WAYS you treat others every day– are as integrally woven into the fabric of your brand as your logo, theme, slogan, color scheme, marketing message, and “packaging.”

Like it or not — as head honcho, you have created or are carrying forward a specific parental posture that is constantly being evaluated and looked to for setting examples, offering advice, citing experience, expressing empathy, and fostering every conceivable aspect of effective leadership.

The problem is that you probably never counted on having to be both mother and father to assistants, associates, work teams, employees, consultants, partners . . . and carry your personal life family role along with you in your travels.

So how can you bring your maternal or paternal (or both) leadership role up to snuff when you really don’t care about nurturing other people’s idiosyncrasies? Well, here;s the bad news: The responsibility comes with the territory.

You cannot run any business bigger than a one-man-band with any measure of sustained success without exercising both passion (for what you represent) and compassion (for those you’re in contact with each day).

Does this mean you need to be a shrink, therapist, counselor? No, but you do need to be the parent because the business is your baby!

No one else (other than perhaps a spouse who shares the same values as you) can ever do the same justice to your enterprise that you can. No one else can sell your business message as effectively as you. No one else (other than –again– a spouse, and of course any investors) really cares about your bottom line.

It’s your job to be the leader and show people the way to feel empowered and rewarded for doing quality work on your behalf. You must bridge the gap. You must lead by example. People will rally to your mission and vision when you pull instead of push, when you show sincerity and honesty in all your dealings.

 Others are always watching what you do,

and listening to what you say,

measuring your integrity.

                                                 

“All the world’s a stage,” said Shakespeare. Your spotlights are on and your curtain is up. Make the most of your business debut and all of your curtain-calls, along with every opportunity to polish your act. Have a great run!

                                        

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Hal@Businessworks.US    302.933.0116

Open  Minds  Open  Doors

Many thanks for your visit and God Bless You.

 Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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May 16 2011

GETTING ENOUGH?

Short, provocative,

                                                  

word-crafted questions

                        

with double meanings

                            

that make you smile

                                                

 are what sell best! BUT

                             

they’re not waiting

                                        

to jump out

                      

of your closet!

 

 

At the risk of looking like one of those idiotic email FWDs written by “anonymous,” here are some inspiring examples of great double-entendre marketing theme line questions. . .

  • GETTING ENOUGH? (Delaware Sleep Disorder Centers)

  • GOT MILK? (Who doesn’t remember the white moustaches?) 

  • WHERE’S THE BEEF? (Years later, we still laugh at that one!) 

  • ARE YOU BREATHING? (Stress management exercise for businesspeople and healthcare professionals)

  • CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW? (Verizon has us still saying this with every static crackle)

  • IS IT IN YOU? (Yup, Gatorade) 

  • MOUSE GOT YOUR WRIST? (Safe-Zone Stop-wrist-pain brace for computer operators)

Add your own favorites: ____________________________________

Yes, fun stuff, and hopefully inspiring. That’s the good news. The bad news is that these short sweet nothings, these provocative, punchy few words of flair do not fall from the sky.

Neither do they get dreamed up by in-house staff people who write coherent emails, business reports and plans, even news releases, church bulletins, or local fundraising flyers (or well-intentioned poetry-writing relatives with Fine Arts degrees who want to save you money).

Great headlines that slam out great short questions are the product of many years of studying and understanding consumer psychology, consumer behavior, emotional buying triggers, and professional advertising and marketing writing. That kind of expertise costs money.

It’s your call! Not every business owner or entrepreneur wants to sell products or services by identifying them and/or the brand name with a custom-created household expression. But if you do, you can’t cut corners. Top-notch sales messages sell. The exceptional ones can literally bury the competition.

Each of the examples cited above took at least a month (and probably longer) of intensive focus and concentration.

Contrary to auto dealership mentality, words that sell are not seat-of-the-pants, knee-jerk, last-minute compositions. Even with a professional marketing writer, substantial time is required to experience a process of what I call “total immersion.”

A record-sales campaign I once produced for Great Western Wine and Champagne came only after a three-month process of picking grapes, working in the winery, giving tourists tours, cleaning the vats (a time-limit situation to avoid passing out from the fumes!), and learning about processing equipment and the aging process..

I met with the glass bottle manufacturers, the cork people, the wire and foil wrapper makers, the label makers, the glue makers; I worked on the loading dock, in the front office, and out in the field with the sales reps; learning the history of wine and how the master winemakers grafted vines together to create varietals.

Don’t believe anyone who tells you she or he can write you sales-winning words without becoming thoroughly engaged with every level of your business. It doesn’t happen, even for a 2, 3, 4, or 5-word theme question or 7-word branding line.

Award-winning author/journalist Malcolm Gladwell is the epitome of this thinking. To write about John Kennedy, Jr’s piloting death plunge into the ocean at Nantucket, he hired a pilot to fly him to the same spot and dive. When you’re seeking big-time copy, find someone with big-time experience who’s willing and anxious to dive!

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Hal@Businessworks.US

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson]

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals. God Bless You.

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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May 11 2011

Are you a leading leader or lazy lecturer?

Being smart enough to

                                                   

practice what you preach,

                            

separates leaders

                         

from lecturers.

                        

                                              

Lectures are discourses packaged for delivery to “career students,” government employees, and sheep.

                                             

None of these needy creatures care about whether a lecturer has lived up to the spirit and letter of the lecture focus, or has actually practiced delivering her or his lecture to a match-up audience in order to gather advance feedback for adjustment purposes. Lecturers rarely indulge in studying themselves or their audiences.

So practice –for the purposes of this post– means doing what you ask or tell others to do, but it also means trying out and rehearsing your presentation of what you plan to say. How else can you make sure it communicates clearly to those you seek to communicate with? Simple enough, yes? But, aha! It’s rarely done, except by leading leaders.

If you’re not in a business emergency or an emergency business, slow down what you have to say long enough to think through what you have to say before you speak, before you hit “Send,” before you release or publish it. . . in person, on the phone, in emails and text messages . . . in meetings, presentations, and marketing.

                                                                                 

Regardless of the nature of your business, are you certain your words, and vocal or written tone of voice are effectively communicating the ideas and points you want to convey? Have you tried, tested, and rehearsed the important messages in ways that encourage and generate meaningful and honest feedback? Are you sure?

You know all that stuff about first impressions, active listening, and soliciting effective feedback, but are you doing it? Have you set yourself up to be approachable? Great writers get great readers to review and edit their drafts.

Smart entrepreneurs and business owners often clear subject matter they want to transmit or present with their lawyers, accountants, advisors and consultants, investors, partners and referrers, but fail miserably to get representatives of their target audiences to tune in, understand, and respond productively to their spiels.

If you fail to get direct and primary feedback from your sales team and key customers, for example, on a new marketing direction or branding program or revenue stream, you are likely to fail with it.

It really doesn’t take much to advance-check your facts on Bing or Google.

It doesn’t take much time either to advance-check the opinions and perceptions of those you seek to impact.

The medium is (still) the message — at least half the message anyway.

Professionally-run focus groups and interviews are hard to beat for first-hand qualitative input.

                                           

HOW you come across cannot be a random hit-or-miss event when it’s an investor, bank loan, partnership, major customer account, or key employee you seek to influence. Reassurance comes from asking and adjusting, asking and adjusting, and asking and adjusting.

__________________________

“Yeah, but I’m better when I wing it!”

                                                

Don’t kid yourself. That’s an excuse to not do the hard work of preparation. You may think you’re a great spontaneous presenter, but you should know that others can tell when you’re winging it!

— —————————-
                                                                           

On top of all this rationale, the icing on the cake, is the intangible but striking value of engaging others in your process. By soliciting others’ opinions and judgments, you are motivating, encouraging, and rewarding those you draw from. You set them apart by sharing a special level of trust with them.

Think about the feelings of importance, responsibility, and confidence you feel when others ask for your input. Leading leaders lead by inspiring enthusiasm, innovation, and entrepreneurial thinking. They motivate others to achieve. Practicing what you preach motivates others to achieve.  

                                   

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Hal@Businessworks.US or 302.933.0116

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson] 

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals. God Bless You.

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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May 09 2011

Creative? Risk Being Unliked.

As a writer, designer, teacher, 

                                            

artist, architect, landscaper,

                                                

jewelry-maker, stylist or stage

                                                      

performer, if you’re not

                                  

risking . . . you’re not

                           

being honest!

                                                                                                                    

With special thanks to author Mary DeMuth for the three great words: “Risk being unliked” which were featured in her article, “A Smart Approach to MEMOIR” in the June 2011 issue of The WRITER.

                                                                                 

Those of us who create for a living, who own, operate, or manage creative businesses understand immediately what the “Risk being unliked” message is all about. And does it apply to professional selling too? Absolutely.

Whether we create with computers or paint brushes; with crafts supplies, hair, or music; with classrooms or pen and paper, or with the ways we communicate our sales messages, we must –as Ms. DeMuth so aptly puts it– “Tell the truth as you understand it. If you’re a writer,” she says, “you have a moral obligation to do this.”

I propose that truth-telling applies to all businesses, even the least creative.

                                                                  

When your focus, your branding, your website, your messages, your employees, and most importantly YOU are all about telling the truth as you understand it, you are setting yourself up to cultivate strengthened long-term high-trust relationships. Those who unlike you for it are not those you want to deal with anyway.

Honesty is (still) the best policy!

                                                        

I’m not suggesting any limitations here. What’s the best way to express this idea to people who earn their keep with their creative talents? Could there be any greater and more meaningful statement than the following six words from Shakespeare?:

To thine own self be true.

                                                    

When you believe heart and soul that the line, the dimension, the color, the musical note, the arrangement, the word choice, the emphasis is what your gut, your intuitive experience, says it needs to be, go with it and don’t waste time worrying about winning a popularity contest. People will judge your authenticity, not your masks or apologies.

For ALL business pursuits, not fibbing to or misleading customers, employees, associates, partners, referrers, investors, professional advisors,  lenders, and the various communities you serve is just one chapter of your build-a-better-business book. Leadership transparency is another. Honoring commitments is yet a third. 

Delivering exactly what you say you’re going to deliver –and more– exactly when you say you’re going to deliver it is the standard by which others will continuously measure your business performance.

                                                                                    

There’s risk involved in all of this, but as with the mark of true entrepreneurship, the risk is always a reasonable one. We’re not talking about harnessing creative spirit here. In fact, if anything, the suggestion is to set it free, and to recognize that the results produced by an honest free spirit outperform those born of smoke and mirrors.

Don’t throw the tending to details, business conduct, and tight-fisted money management out with the baby’s bathwater simply for the sake of being more expressive in the products, services, and ideas you create. But do stop cowering away from being straight-ahead with your work and with all those you come into contact with every day.

Your behavior is of course your choice. Where do you think your reputation comes from?                                            

                                                                                       

# # #

                                                   

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Hal@Businessworks.US or 302.933.0116

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson] 

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals. God Bless You.

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

2 responses so far

Apr 21 2011

FACE STUCK?

Businesses, like people, get

                                     

their faces locked in to 

                                     

negative expressions  

                                      

 

You think those who are considering a purchase of your goods or services are not paying attention to how the “package” of your business facade is wrapped? You think it doesn’t matter?

You think” the face of your business” has no power of suggestion? If you’re engaged in professional selling (who isn’t?), do you think no one notices your facial expressions? (You do of course know they’re contagious?)

Try this one.

I’m going to give you a single word that sums up my total customer experience at a business I visited recently. It was something that the receptionist did.

And you will likely do the exact same thing the minute you read this word, which should –all by itself– be a  clear enough demonstration that every business “face” communicates.

My guess is that odds are within one minute, you’ll be hooked.

You will prove to yourself that the power of suggestion is far from imaginary. Are you ready? Okay:

Read the following word and think about it for five seconds

Ready?

Here it is: YAWN 

Think about the word now for five seconds.

Well? If you didn’t yawn yourself, did you at least feel that queasy little tremor in the corners of your jaw where upper and lower teeth come together?

No? Well, maybe you just woke up, or just took some amphetamines or someone just put some ice down your back.

How about this word?: SMILE

                                                              

Who is “the face” of YOUR business? 

Does that person pass along smiles or stretch and yawn most of the day? (And, no, this is not intended as a corrective action seminar for air traffic controllers . . . who, by the way, it’s worth noting, get paid $160,000 a year to NOT sleep on the job; it’s stressful and requires special skills? So what! What about truck-driving and mothering!)

Similarly, a health food store clerk or medical clinic is hardly well represented by even the most smiling individual if she or he looks like a walking billboard for some local tattoo and body-piercing parlor. The face of the business is locked in a negative expression.

Credibility registers in the eyes of the beholder in less than ten seconds. There are no second first impressions.

So you get the WHO part of this, what about the WHAT part? What is “the face” of your business? I know of a physician’s office with an absolutely filthy-beyond-belief office front door. You need antiseptic wipes just to touch the handle. One pint of paint and a teaspoon of metal polish would do the job. It’s been that way for many years.

It probably goes without saying that this doctor is not considered the town’s gift to healthcare, and has been struggling financially for probably as long as the door has been hinged. The face of the business is locked in a negative expression.

If you’re in construction or landscaping and pull up to a prospective customer in a disgusting truck full of muck, don’t think your slightly lower estimate will land you work. The truck tells people that you’re a slob. People don’t hire slobs. The face of the business is locked in a negative expression.

Computer techies who can only communicate with their thumbs and say little more on the phone (if they answer it at all) than  “Uh” and “Huh?” OR who rattle out stuff about SEO and Mashables and Tweets to another business owner who doesn’t want to know how to make a clock when she asks what time it is, will not get hired. 

In this case —on the phone or on the screen– the face of the business is locked in a negative expression.

                                                              

You have the key. It’s in your head. It’s called consciousness. Open minds open doors! 

 

# # #

                                                         

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Hal@Businessworks.US or 302.933.0116

 “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson]
Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals. God Bless You.

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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