Today’s blog comes from getting absolutely frustrated with some of the business cards I see. Frustrated, because, I believe that if you want to succeed at your business, you CAN, but you need to change how you’re going about using the tools that can get you business! Do you know what it’s called a business card? Because, the point is, it’s supposed to connect you with BUSINESS! Now, if you think “Heather, duh!” double check your cards. If you really understand that your card is meant to get you business, here are a few things you better double check, and if any of these are YOU, then please, get new cards immediately! This post may seem harsh, but I know you can do better, so it has to be said!
You don’t list your name on your card. Yup, I actually got one of these cards recently, no joke. If you have a business name with your name in it, make sure you put your first and last name separately! Here’s an example. I have a business called Heather’s Handbags. My last name is not Handbag. So, if I don’t put my last name on there, you are going to be pissed! (With good reason.) More importantly, you can’t look me up on social media (if I don’t have my last name on my card, it follows suit that it might not be on my website, or, that my website is under development, and now what do you do?!)
Your email address requires a microscope to see. Seriously, why on earth would you make the most important part of your card so hard to read? How can I do business with you if I cannot read your email address or phone number or website? If you think you will get business from people, you MUST make it easy for them to contact you! If I have to buy magnifying glasses to read your card, it’s going in the garbage.
Your email address is confusing. Many of you use a gmail account for business. (By the way, if you want to be taken seriously, buy a domain name, and use that as your email. A gmail address suggests you have a hobby, not a business.) The other problem with using a gmail (or aol, or outlook…) account is that no doubt, you are duplicating someone else’s email address, and so have to put a number someplace in the email address to distinguish yourself. Guess what numbers you all pick? The number 1 and the number 0. You see where I am headed, right? I am already frustrated that I cannot read your email address because it’s so small, and NOW because it is so small, I cannot figure out whether that is a number or a letter! AAARGH! With the tiny fonts you choose, it becomes impossible to tell whether it’s a “1” or the letter “l”. Is that the number 0, or the letter o? Seriously, stop with the numbers and just get a real email address!
You list all 25 of your businesses. I get it, you are multi-talented and have lots of interests, great! But, the same way I don’t go to a Burger King and expect or trust they have good sushi, your exorbitant menu of services on your card completely confuses everyone you give it to, and makes it impossible to understand which business you excel at. I have worked with countless people to help them tie together all the things they do in a way that potential customers can understand, so I know it can be done with a simple business statement! You must make it easy for us to understand what you do, or your card is going in the garbage.
Like a resume, your card will end up in a stack of other cards on somebody’s desk. (Unless they scan your card, and by the way, a lot of scanners cannot read your small fonts either, so again, what a pity if someone scans your card, then chucks it, only to realize, too late, that your email wasn’t captured, bummer for you! And we would have hired you if only we could have figured out how to reach you!) Make sure you stand out, instead of getting chucked.
Need help figuring out if YOUR card stands up to the garbage test? Book a BullBusting session and find out!
Right now, you are probably walking around unaware of how much crap you are tolerating in your life. By crap, I am talking about things that you actually hate tolerating, but have come to make excuses about, in order to sleepwalk into believing you have to tolerate them. And you wonder why you are sick and tired!
At a recent intensive with my business mentor, we were given a really simple exercise that blew my mind. The instructions were:
- Write down 50 things you are tolerating right now. (e.g. a bad haircut, cracked dishes, a shitty boss, being overweight, clutter….)
- Write down your top business goals
- Figure out what you are tolerating that is holding you back from accomplishing these goals
I went through the exercise, and part way through, realized I was tolerating a full bladder. “Hahahaaaaaaaaaaa,” I thought that was so funny. I didn’t want to leave the room out of fear of missing important information, or being rude. Then I got emotional. I also got up and emptied my bladder. On the way there and back, I realized how often I tolerate a full bladder. I make my biological needs secondary to friends’ conversations because I don’t want to interrupt them. To speakers because I don’t want them to think I’m rude leaving the room. To turbulence because my seatbelt should be fastened…then I thought about other ways I tolerate behavior that makes me feel secondary, unseen, unheard, and BOY did I get mad!
In fact, I was staying at a hotel, and the night before we did this exercise, my neighbors came back after midnight, made TONS of noise, blasted the TV, banged their furniture, and I thought, “They’ll be quiet eventually, I know they will. I don’t want to make them mad by calling security.” Well, the second night, when they repeated their actions, I picked up the damn phone, and called security, and they finally piped down, and it made me realize I don’t actually have to tolerate most of the bullshit I’ve put up with in my life.
Now, this exercise is not easy. Well, actually, it’s fairly easy to make a list of the things you are tolerating. The hard part is doing something to change those tolerations. And, what if some of those tolerations are in your spouse, or your kids? How do you navigate toleration versus compromise, because you can’t compromise your tolerances. You may have to move away from people or places that behave in ways you do not tolerate – you cannot change them, you can only change yourself.
At the very least, I highly recommend you do this exercise to get an idea of what you are tolerating. From that awareness, you can make a plan to change, and those changes will radically impact your life and your business.
How often do you tell someone, “I don’t have enough time?” Or, “I wish I had enough time to….” or “I wish I had more time!” You don’t. Telling someone you don’t have time is full of bull. We all have exactly the same time as everyone else.
What you do have are priorities. I was reminded of our relationship with time on a recent radio interview. A couple of years ago, I enjoyed a FANTASTIC trip to Sedona, Arizona. In fact, it was so good I had absolutely no desire, in that moment, to return to New York. I mentally fantasized about driving off in Arizona, or wherever I wanted, until I was done driving off wherever I had wanted to drive off to. Reluctantly, I drove the car to the airport, and as I returned it, the agent who checked my mileage in the car asked me, “How was your trip?” I replied, “It was so good I don’t feel like leaving.” He said, “You don’t have to. We have your information on file, you can just head back out, and keep the car as long as you like.” I laughed. And then I realized he was right.
As always, I had created my schedule. I had booked the date of my return flight, which was changeable (though would cost me more money.) I had booked my doctor appointment the next day, which was also changeable (though would mean a long wait for another appointment). I had work to do (which could really be done from anywhere.) Though I did not keep the car and ride into the sunset, what I did do is realize that I am in full control of my schedule and my life.
So, remember, you decide what to prioritize – your family, your friends, your clients, your job. You fill your schedule with the activities you choose to fill it with – a job you hate, work you love, sports, trips, etc. You do not HAVE to do your job, unless you choose to keep that job. Every choice you make has an impact, yes. You may not always like that impact. But you still have a choice, and you still fill your time the way you want to fill it.
So, next time you say no because of lack of time, acknowledge that you simply chose to do something else.
You ever hear of a Brita filter? I’ve been using one for years. I’m mostly a happy customer, except for those darn black bits of charcoal, and how dirty the water receptacle seems to get, it’s been fine. When I went to replace my old one recently, I suddenly realized how important a role perception plays in our buying decisions. I was at a Costco and automatically picked up the Brita which included 2 filters, stuck it in my cart, and assumed I would just cart off happily. Instead, I took out my iPhone and started doing some research on whether I was getting a good price.
The price search led me to discover there were a lot of really pretty Brita filters. So, suddenly, I felt like the white one in my cart was not the one I wanted, and wow, how awesome that I could march over to Target and see if they had one of them pretty ones! And, I would be willing to suck up the few dollars difference for getting only one filter, just for the shiny, pretty one I wanted. Hmmmm.
At Target, I was confronted with another problem – multiple brands of water filters. I had really only paid attention to Brita and Pur. They are everywhere.
So, my perception was: since they are everywhere, they must be the best.
Their price point is great, I can find replacement filters easily because they are in the stores I shop in, so I had almost resigned to buy one of the Brita filters, when I, out of curiosity, pulled up an article on my iPhone, intending to compare Brita and Pur. Instead, I was introduced to 3 other brands, and rankings on each! With just a little bit of research, I got thinking about WHY I buy a water filter. Not only might it not really be necessary, but if I were really buying the filter to use as a filter, Brita scored LOWEST on filtering out ALL elements concerned.
My perception changed to: I’m a sucker. I got roped in to pretty colors, and “everywhere-ness” and never even bothered to research whether I was getting what I paid for. Doh!
Through the article, I found out that I could go super high tech and measure each water droplet for crap in my water. (I knew the gimmick would wear off after one or two uses, so said no.) Or, I could get a different brand which, supposedly did more of what I paid for, and was ranked to have better tasting water. So, I went back to Costco and bought a Mavea which came with 6 filters – a year’s supply – so a better deal than the Brita AND so far, I do find the water tastes better (or I’ve been brain-washed to thinking so by that article.)
The other thing I looked at was customer ratings, of course, and a brief idea of how each company replied to complaints. I wanted to be sure that if I had any trouble with the filter, I would also be able to return it or get some help.
So, what are the lessons from this experience for marketing:
- Omnipresence Gets Results. If you want to be a go-to expert or product in your industry, you need to be as everywhere as you can. The more we see of you, the more likely we are to trust you and buy from you.
- Deliver What You Promise. Whatever it is you do or sell, make sure that if someone were to do a write-up about your product or service, it really does what you say it does, and that you deliver the results you promise.
- Ensure Customer Satisfaction. To the best of your ability, if you have unhappy customers or clients, work hard to come to a solution that helps them feel like they got what they wanted, and makes you
Want more marketing tips? Click here!
Hey, it’s high time for a video blog, don’t you think? I recently sponsored a booth at Be The Change, and one of the great lessons was how important it is to stand out. But that lesson carries into everything you do as a business owner, so here is a short video tip on how you can stand out as you market your business!
Having faith and trust in yourself is hard. It’s a lot easier to come up with all the reasons not to believe in yourself. You simply look at everything you haven’t done, why it’s taking you too long to accomplish your goals, make everyone who doesn’t believe in you either, right, and talk yourself out of all your “foolish” ideas because you don’t have time for dreams.
Faith. Trust. Vision. Belief. All of these are hard.
Last week I flew home from Orlando amidst the super rainy, stormy, cloudy weather we’ve been blessed with in the Northeast. As we began our decent into New York, we entered into thick clouds. Normal, ok. Only, they never left. We made our entire way down through the sky looking out at clouds. Just clouds. It felt like we weren’t anywhere, and we were standing still, and it was also a bit claustrophobic. There was no visibility. There was no escaping. There was just the puffiness and wisps of clouds upon clouds. I mused that it was like being in heaven, if they serve nuts and pretzels in heaven. It also at times felt like being in an insane asylum with about 100 other people in my room, minus the straight jackets…It occurred to me in that moment that this was the epitome of trust and faith. I could look out that window, build up my anxiety about what might happen, whether it was even possible to land and get into a panic, or, I could breathe, have faith that the pilot knew what he was doing, and trust that he would land the plane safely. Of course, even if the pilot knew what he was doing, I didn’t know what he was doing. Trust is not easy, but in this case, it allowed me to let go, breathe, and surrender to the possibility that everything would work out fine. Business is the same way – sometimes we have great months, sometimes we don’t. Despite all the planning we do, we might not be able to see everything that’s coming.
Faith. Trust. Vision. Belief. All of these are essential to running a successful business.
Money comes in, and money goes out, like the tide. Clients line up, and clients disappear. People love your work, people hate your work. The only possible constant in your business is you. Don’t be the tide, be the anchor. Trust that while everything around you may be in flux, you don’t have to be. Hold on to the vision of what you want your business to become even when the reality of your business looks totally different. Believe that you can reach and change your destination no matter how far away it seems. Make it normal to ride the tough moments with a deep breath.
So, how do you hold on to faith in your business during stormy moments? Here are a few ideas:
- Breathe. One of the first things we forget to do when we get stressed out is breathe. Well, obviously if we’re alive, we’re breathing, but I’m talking about conscious breathing, where you pay attention and notice your breath.
- Ground yourself. If your business is spiraling, you can often find the root of the roller-coaster swirling within yourself. The way to stop your business from feeling out of control is to first find a solid place to stand within yourself.
- Let go of the past. Whatever hasn’t been working is already done. You can’t change it, so stop beating yourself up, and accept it.
- Learn from experience. Now that you’re done feeling bad about things, you can plug into what the experience has taught you and brainstorm ideas to do things differently.
- Plan the future. Now you can draw a new path to the future you want, and have the insight to know that if you can survive once, you can do it all over again.
- Make a list. If you’re having a “famine” month after several “feast” months – it’s likely that you have simply moved your focus. Write down the activities you did the 3 months before the “feast” months, and then write down the activities you did the 3 months before a “famine” month. You will likely find that when you are in feast mode, you neglect your client outreach and marketing work because you focus, instead, on fulfilling client obligations. Make a point to ALWAYS find a way to do client outreach and marketing, no matter how meaty your month is.
Faith. Trust. Vision. Belief. All of these depend on you.