Friday, October 29, 2010

How self-centered are you?

The reality is that as humans, we are fundamentally self-centered.

So it is of no surprise that when it comes to any business situation, we have to remind ourselves "it's not about me."

In all of these business situations we need to turn the spotlight off of ourselves and onto the person in front of us:

1. Networking
2. Getting along with your boss
3. Influencing your team
4. Customer service
5. Getting someone to help you

Keep this in mind and you are bound to have better success dealing with others around you.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Want to lead others....ask questions!

So many managers have a difficult time moving from being a manager to becoming a leader. It's no surprise that this is probably one of the hardest transitions.

Do it yourself doesn't work any more.

Telling has a way of demoralizing instead of inspiring.

Having all the answers is bound to trip you up, too.

It's true: The skills that made you successful at one point in your career are not going to be the ones you need to rely on the higher up you go.

Becoming a leader often requires us to unlearn a lot that drove success early on. You need to unravel, unwind and take a chill pill if you want to be a successful leader that others want to follow.

Start by stepping out more and doing less. Change your telling into asking more questions that are driven my curiosity and guidance. Learn to rely on others for the answers you need.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Are you building business credibility?

The Internet continues to impact all aspects of our lives.

From how we do research, to how we shop, how we connect with friends and family...and now to how we build and extend our business credibility.

Entrepreneurs have been the trendsetters of applying these technological advances into business, especially when it comes to the social networking component. However, Corporate America is not far behind as it moves diligently and methodically to understand the pros and cons of this medium. It does beg the question: how does a corporate brand entity interact with people on a one-to-one basis? For consumer products, its easy to understand how Old Spice was able to manifest its brand personality into a character that came alive in social networking. Not so easily done when it comes to corporate messaging.

Unless that corporate messaging has an expertise or single idea it wants to stand for: such as leadership, green sustainability, education, etc. Then, I believe that social networking is the place to seed and develop this message.

But what about the corporate employee? How are you developing your business credentials outside of the four walls of your corporate office?

After all, I think we are entering the era of the free agent. A free agent has a single idea describing their brand and they develop and expand that expertise through the advances of technology. And it doesn't matter whether you are in a corporation or you own your own business. This is an important concept in today's business world because we are at the height of the information age. And you, are the creator of information. No longer do we solely seek out information via the traditional mediums of TV, newspapers, and radio. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and the multitude of Blogs are the new mediums and you are the media. You must be the brand and be the expert in your field.

Social networking is the place for developing and establishing expertise, because it facilitates a one-on-one dialogue. It is an excellent branding tool. But in order for it to build your business credibility and to work for you, or any organization, you have to have that single idea that describes your brand.

How are your building your business credibility?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Ready to throw in the towel? Don't.

In my work with entrepreneurs, and as an entrepreneur myself, I see the temptation to throw in the towel time and time again.

The cycle is a bit like this:
1. We get energized about an idea, an opportunity, or a project.
2. We start to put energy behind it. We start talking about it, marketing it, submitting a proposal, etc.
3. Then the receptivity we get back isn't quite what we wanted.
4. We take this feedback and start to feel disillusioned, discouraged and our energy wanes.
5. We are tempted to "throw in the towel" by either abandoning the idea, changing course, or cancelling the effort.

This happened to me just recently. I was hosting an event that I almost cancelled 2weeks before because I had very few registrations at first, but I pushed through and eventually had a very successful event with great attendance. I learned a great lesson: just when you think you need to quit, it's exactly when you shouldn't, especially if you believe in your idea and what you are doing. I have been surprised many times when I didn't throw in the towel to see that my idea did in fact "pull through." It is as if, I was being "tested" to see how much I believed in my idea.

I don't think I am alone in this. Even the great entrepreneurs that break through and grow substantial businesses go through this time and time again. You just have to read "Delivering Happiness" by Tony Hsieh to see this. They push through because regardless of the receptivity or the temporary set-backs they believe in their idea.

So next time you are about to "throw in the towel," think again. This may be a great time to recommit to your great idea.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Why your Internet Marketing may not be working

The Internet has made it easier for people to "be out there" and to market themselves more readily.

In some ways it is easier because for many that are promoting themselves and their business on the Internet, it feels like no one is really out there listening. So they may push harder than they normally would.

However, the Internet is simultaneously a medium where no one is listening and yet everyone is listening.

While on one hand, the Internet facilitates and encourages self-promotion, it also is a medium that can easily allow people to tip the scale from appropriate self-promotion into obnoxious self-obsession.

This new business reality that we are living in, makes it even more critical for you to follow the basics of marketing to make your Internet marketing work for your business.

Know your target
The Internet is a place that allows for pin-pointed targeting. Use it to pin-point instead of blasting. The more you can refine your message specific to your target, the better impact you will get. Finding the few that love your service is better than thousands that couldn't care less. Reassess frequently; your target's needs are bound to change.

Stop pushing, encourage pulling
Effective brands create pathways that allow followers to experience the brand. Allow your followers to opt-in and to ask for more. Don't push your message to those that don't want it. Encourage opt-in and opt-out. Reassess frequently; what's important to your followers can change over time.

Offer Value
If you aren't offering solutions based on what is important to your target, you need to go back and do your homework. Your brand's value is not determined by you, but by your target. Make sure you are relevant and are providing value to what they need. Reassess frequently; problems and solutions change all of the time.

Don't have a marketing plan? Click here for a solution worth considering.