Too Busy to Plan?

I just read this amazing article from INC.com: http://www.inc.com/eileen-p-gunn/how-to-make-time-for-longterm-planning.html

This will be a short blog post, as I just want to share a couple AWESOME lines from this article:

But when I know I have a blog to post, a partnership proposal to write, and broken links that need fixing on my homepage, how do I put those things aside to spend the morning mapping out where I want to be in two years? That seems wildly unproductive. 

It always seems that way, doesn’t it? But running a business without planning is like saying “I am going to keep driving, even though I don’t know where I am going!”

But then, when I take an evening out to attend a class or panel discussion, the session itself is almost beside the point. While I do come away with useful tips for boosting my search engine results or converting Facebook fans to website users, the real value is setting aside an hour to do nothing but think about my business.

All I can say is, if you have never had this feeling before, then take the time to spend an hour thinking about just your business. The influx of energy will power you through the next several WEEKS of work. If you have had that feeling you know what I mean.

The first is that being busy is not the same as being productive. 

The most classic crime of small business. ENough said.

Please enjoy this article and take the time out to PLAN and work ON your business a little, instead of just ON it!

 

 

 

 

 

Booked Solid Review

I just finished the great book Booked Solid by Michael Port. Usually, when a book’s cover promised outrageous things like “how to get more clients than you can handle, even if you hate marketing and selling!” I think, riiiiiggght. You, of all people, have the magic snake oil that allows you get something for nothing. Sure.

 

While this book isn’t going to be the answer to all your prayers, I was VERY impressed with how Michael walks you through the process of creating a cohesive marketing campaign. It is done in a simple, step by step format so that even people who, yes, hate marketing, can get it done. It does not tell you that it will be easy, or that you wont have to work at it. But at least with his systems you can make sure that your work is focused and effective. I have distilled down the beginning part into an outline (that I am actually keeping as a reference for myself.

 

Why People Buy What You Are Selling

  1. Identify your target market
  2. Understand the urgent needs and compelling desires of your market
  3. Determine the Number One Biggest result your clients get
  4. Demonstrate the benefits of your investable opportunities

 

Develop a Personal Brand

  1. Your who and do whatstatement
    1. Who it is that you help and what you do for them
    2. Your why you do itstatement
      1. Why you get up in the morning to do the work that you do
      2. Your tagline
        1. One sentence description based on why you do it

 

Sales Cycle

Stage One

Get them to do something: go to a website, call a number, or fill out a form

Stage Two

Demonstrate your knowledge or solutions free of charge: Tip sheet, special report, or white paper, or e-book.

Stage Three

Build rapport and continue adding value with follow-up communications.

Offer a low barrier to entry product (e.g. low cost and low risk to customer) : e-book, manual, guidebook, seminar.

Stage Four

Over-deliver on the low barrier to entry product to make client more receptive to next offer

“Invite” them to the next level product, a medium-lever barrier to entry product

Stage Five

Build additional rapport with personal attention, invitations, and additional value until they believe that your services are right for them, without you having to sell those services.

Move clients to the highest-priced product

 

Always Have Something to Invite People to Offer

We need to create an online community. It would allow small business owners to connect and share their problems and solutions. It would also provide a library of resources for small business owners. The theme of this group should be something like: Business owners who want to take their business to the next level”.

 

Five Steps to Developing an Information Product

  1. Choose the role you are planning
    1. Expert: Here is what I’ve done and is my theory on why it works
    2. Interviewer: Compile information from other experts
    3. Researcher: Go out and gather data and then analyze it
    4. Repurposer: Use and modify existing content for another purpose
    5. Choose your product framework
      1. Problem/Solution: State a problem then offer the solution
      2. Numerical: Create a series of keys or lessons
      3. Modular: A product with two sets of framework, main and chronological
      4. Compare/Contrast: Showcase multiple scenarios and compare them
      5. Reference: Create a product that be used as a reference source
      6. Choose a title that sells
        1. Suspense: The Secret Life of…
        2. Tell a Story: The Path of Successful Entrepreneurs
        3. Address a Pain: Top 10 Fears Every Leader Has
        4. Attention Grabber: Caught! Six Deadly Mistakes
        5. Solutions: Seven Keys to GTD
        6. Emotional Connection: What XYZ Tragedy Taught Me About Life
        7. Build your table of contents
          1. Easy to present
          2. Organize information
          3. Should give readers a clear understanding of the information
          4. Create your content
            1. Create two to five key points per section (based on table of contents)
            2. Do a data dump first, then tweak

 

Three-Step Product Launch

  1. Pre-Launch
    1. Warm-Up the audience

i.      Press Releases

ii.      Excerpts from the product in another form (video, audio, writing)

iii.      Stimulate discussion and then release details of the upcoming product

  1. Pre-Launch Checklist

i.      Software to database and manage buyer’s information

ii.      Shopping cart and merchant account

iii.      Sales page

iv.      Launch blog

v.      Delivery method for product

  1. Launch
    1. Determine the perception of your launch
    2. Always remember that you are how you market
    3. Add testimonials as they become available
    4. Post-Launch
      1. Potentially add an additional offering to re-ignite sales
      2. Decide to continue the offering or close it down

 

This gives you a taste of how systematic his system is and easy to understand. Now, this only covers the first one-thrid of the book. The rest of the book is designed around the seven self-promotion strategies that you can use to get the information you created above into the world.

 

Out of respect for Mr. Port, I am NOT including my outline of those, because I want you to go buy the book. It is a really great read, and contains LOTS of useful information for just about anybody.