Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

Having the right people on the team is the key to winning.

Having the right people on the team is the key to winning.

In 1985, the Big East conference in the NCAA featured the best teams in the country.  Georgetown was the favorite to win the college basketball championship.  They lost to the lowest seeded team in the tournament of 64 college basketball programs.

 

How could this happen?  Georgetown seemed to have the better players.  What went wrong?  Nothing!  Villanova, a small Pennsylvania college had the perfect players for their program to defeat the mighty Hoyas.

 

Small business owners need to take a page out of the Villanova book.  They sometimes cry about the big companies dominating the world of business.  Use the Wildcats strategy of just getting the right people on your team.  Don’t worry about your competition.  Play your best game with your players!

 

March Madness: From Basketball to Business

March Madness

From Basketball to Business

Striving for Greatness!  The Best of the Best.

March Madness is a compilation of the best college basketball teams in the world.  Some teams are looking to play Cinderella and win their first championship ever.  Other teams expect to be in the championship every year.  These teams prepare, perform and propel to greatness.

Some businesses are ok with the occasional championship win.  These same companies struggle to stay in business because they cannot generate constant cash flow.  They don’t prepare, perform and propel to greatness.

Prepare:  Great teams prepare by practicing behaviors of greatness!  Basketball teams that practice teamwork on offense and defense a habit typically win multiple championships.  Companies that develop a team with a habit of focusing on the customer as a rule generate constant cash flow because the customer knows what to expect at all times.

 

Perform:  The best college basketball teams perform without thinking about what they are doing.  The preparation has created a culture of winning and an expectation of teamwork.  No one wants to be the person who lets the team down.  Small businesses need to create this type of culture to have employees perform without thinking.

 

Propel:  Achieving true greatness requires a lot of sacrifice and hard work.  Don’t get me wrong every college team makes sacrifices and they work hard.  The perennial champions take it to another level.  They seem to be a step faster than their competition.  This is what business owners need to strive for when competing in business.

Are you ok with your company being one of the best?  Or, are you striving for greatness to be the best of the best?

The Wooden Effect

The Wooden EffectIt’s about your character!

Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation. Your character is what you really are while your reputation is merely what others think you are.

John Wooden, Hall of Fame College Basketball Coaching Legend

 

John Wooden is considered the best college basketball coach ever.  It’s hard to dispute his record of ten NCAA national championships in a 12-year period, including seven in a row.  No other coach has done this.

 

Wooden stated that he developed a character (brand) for the UCLA Bruins that players had to respect, follow and defend.

 

Imagine if a small business had this type of success.  The best brands in the world develop a character (brand) for their business that people respect, follow and defend.

 

In order to imitate this success small business owners must start with three basic steps.

 

  1. Understand who you are. The UCLA Bruins clearly understood who they were in college basketball.  Coach John Wooden ensured that they played basketball displaying the characteristics of the Bruin brand.  Small businesses should not compromise their character.  But first they need to know what that character is.
  2. Who are you serving? The Bruins knew that they were there to help the college to be successful, not only in sports, but overall.  Wooden demanded that his players represented the UCLA brand with pride, dignity and respect.  Many of his players went on to be great professionals in the NBA.  The college is still benefitting from the great tradition developed by Wooden’s teams.  If small business owners can understand their purpose, then they will undoubtedly achieve long term success.
  3. Know your market. Los Angeles is a high profile city with great expectations.  Wooden knew that he needed to prepare his players and his coaches for these extreme circumstances.  Small business owners ignore the market conditions because they fail to do research.  If you understand the environment for your business, you will know how to prepare your company on how to deal with them.

 

Small business owners need to develop a solid character for their company.  Success is all how you build great character, not a reputation.

 

 

Measuring Marketing Results

Is it science or a guessing game?

In my 30 plus years in marketing I have always heard from non-marketers that it’s hard to measure marketing efforts. In my experience, you cannot begin without setting the expectation for success.

Measuring marketing efforts is extremely easy if your company developed goals and milestones for what a successful campaign looks like. Branding can be measured by setting standards for your company’s culture. It IS a science!

  1. Set a vision for your company that focuses on solving a problem in the market.
  2. Develop a mission that makes your vision a reality with a clear direction.
  3. Create a company culture that brings your vision and mission to the people.

The way that you measure your marketing goals is to align them with your business goals. For example: If you are trying to impact one million customers then your marketing efforts must be aligned to reach at least ten times that amount to get the desired result.

To learn more about measuring your marketing efforts join YOUR Marketing Mentor, Shaundell Newsome inside the Sumnu Solutions Zone!

5 Low Cost Marketing Strategies!

Small businesses do not have a lot of cash.  This is why they typically avoid marketing.  That’s a HUGE MISTAKE!  Managing marketing expenses is the SMART WAY to go.

 

START WITH STRATEGY.  The way to save money is to plan to save money.  What do I mean?  If you are going on a road trip and you understand how to take the most efficient route, then you will save time and money.  Efficiency in marketing saves you time and money.  Developing a strategy keeps on the right course to connect with the right customer who will buy the right product or service.

 

DEVELOP AD/Flier TEMPLATES.  I always inform my clients to create several ad/flier templates for various occasions.  Why?  You will constantly receive requests to place ads in publications, on websites and in souvenir booklets.  If you create the ad template in advance, then you will save money by not having to rush later.  Your ad template will instantly become a Return On Investment!

 

Use Social Media WISELY!  Social media is the wild card for most small businesses.  But, they struggle with how to utilize it effectively.    First, you should determine which platform works best for your company.  Then, you should put together a social media strategy that makes sense and connects with your target audience.  Finally, you can use a small ad budget to increase exposure to a global audience on social media.  On some platforms you can be more targeted for a special interest audience.

 

DIRECT MAIL is still a good option based on how you position your database.   For example, a child care should consider utilizing direct mail to send parents Easter postcards, summer safety tips, birthday cards and holiday gifts.  This would create loyalty throughout the year to its customer base.  It’s very strategic.  And it won’t cost a lot of money.

 

Internet Marketing, including e-blasts, newsletters and videos are very affordable to create.  However, once again, it goes back to a strategy and schedule.  If you use the marketing strategy to create a schedule, then you will save time by doing tasks in advance.  This will also save your company money.  E-blasts can be used for prospective and current customers.  Newsletters are great for establishing relationships within the community through stories and pertinent information.  Videos allow the company to ad personality to its brand visually.

 

The bottom line is the bottom line.  Keeping costs low is a mindset.  Marketing dollars are saved by creating efficiencies, working a strategy and utilizing tools effectively.

 

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Although Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was not talking about entrepreneurship when he made this statement I believe it applies appropriately to the world of the small business owner.  We have to accept failure to experience success.

 

Optimism is probably the greatest asset and the greatest liability to small business dreamers.  We want to keep everything positive to produce energy to our company.  But we must also take the time to learn from the negative challenges to our business.  Don’t’ get too high and don’t get too low.  Keep the faith and learn lessons.  But never lose hope.  Have you ever felt like losing hope with your business?

Small Business Wins lead to Big Brand Victory!

Small business success is all about small wins.  And small business owners need to have the patience to celebrate those victories in a timely manner.  In this day and age of instant gratification, our small companies suffer immensely.  The internet has caused the perception of “going viral” and inflated the myth of an overnight success.  When the truth of the matter is that several small wins make one big splash in business.

 

Happy & Loyal Customers.  When customers are happy your business is easy to run.  If you can simply train your customers to use your product or service effectively then your business will start to run itself.  Take the franchise approach to building your business.  Anyone can run it without you.  Remember that the brands that create loyal customers typically outlive their founders.  Apple, McDonald’s and many other brand live long beyond the lifespan of their founding fathers.

Community Support.  The community engagement for small businesses helps create a synergy where everyone wants to work together for a bigger cause.  If a small business becomes engrained in a community, the people will recommend customers to support the brand.  When you get the community involved as a stakeholder in your business, they feel responsible for the success or failure of your company.

 

Employee Excitement!  When employees show excitement, the customers and the community gets excited about the small business.  The owner of the company is not the most important person in the business.  The employees carry more weight than they can imagine.  When they are showing the passion for the business, everyone wants to join in.  Look at Disney.  They encourage their employees to enjoy the work that they do on a daily basis.  This attitude permeates through the community and to its customers of all ages.  Small businesses can consider this a small victory.

 

The challenge with small wins is that it takes time to build relationship with loyal customers, a community and employees.  And it takes a commitment to maintain those principles.  However, it has been proven by the best brands in the world that this is the method of success.  Small wins lead to big victory in business.

5 Signs your Marketing is failing!

There are many signs that your marketing is failing.  But let’s have a little fun with this one.

 

When CASH FLOW has come to a screeching halt you know that your marketing is not working.  Marketing is like fuel to the gas tank of your business.  If you don’t fill up your marketing tank you will get stuck on the side of the road.  Invest in your marketing fuel to get the right results.

 

 

If you start thinking more about TRYING TO SELL your products and services instead of providing value to the customer, then you know that your marketing is failing.  Convincing customers that they need your service is being too pushy.  You need to keep talking about the benefits to the customer.  Let them make the decision.

 

When you are FISHING for ideas and solutions then it’s a direct sign that your marketing is not working properly.  The customer will always tell you if you are putting your bait in the right pond.  If they are not biting you either have the wrong bait or you are in the wrong region for the fish that you are trying to catch.

 

CONFUSED CUSTOMERS are a good sign that your marketing message is not on point.  If you keep sending messages that are not clear to your customer, then they will show you in the numbers.  If customers come to you understanding your brand, then you will send them down the right street.   They will keep coming back and making more purchases.  Point them in one direction; The right one!

 

 

When customers ARE NOT coming into your store or buying your service then your marketing is not working.  You may be telling customers to not come into your shop, website or company because you have not made them feel welcome.  You have to show your customers the love from the beginning.

Using the right tool in the right way

 You can use a hammer in several different ways. A hammer is a tool that is typically utilized with a nail to secure another item to a separate item.  Some people are not very good with hammering nails.  Other people might use a hammer as a weapon to hurt someone.  In other cases, people might use a hammer to crack open nuts to eat.  The bottom line is the user decides how to use the hammer.

 

Marketing is similar to that hammer.  A good marketing and communications tool can secure sustainable revenues for your company.  If you nail the target market then your results are unbelievable.  If you use the wrong tool the results can be disastrous.

 

The problem with using the wrong marketing tool is the waste of time and money.  When business owners feel that reading a “self-help” book or a documentary gives them sound marketing advice they go down a slippery slope fast.  The next statement is “Marketing does not work.”

 

Marketing is a process that only works if you use the right tool for the right situation.  What tools are you using?

  • Shaundell Newsome, Your Personal Marketing MentorSumnu Solutions Zone

The business card is BIG!

The business card is BIG

In 1982 I was intimately introduced to the world of printing as an apprentice in high school.  The texture, type, and design of a business card really told a story about the company that presented it.  Every company battled to create the best business card in the world.  In today’s world of technology that can be lost in the big bag of communications tools.

I am really surprised when I attend a networking event and someone says “Google me.”  Wow!  I am going right to my office and look this person up.  They don’t have a business card.  That’s the most important introduction tool for a business owner.  The first thing that a person does is feel the card and flip it over.  Believe it or not, they are recording an impression about you and your business.

What does a flimsy card say about your company?  What impact can a misspelled word do to your image?  How does an unreadable card affect the receiver’s impression?  Give it some thought.

 

Shaundell NewsomeMarketing Mentor, Sumnu Solutions Zone