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Articles filed in: Marketing

20 Quotes To Read Before Starting A Business

I’ve got a confession to make, it’s not pretty so I’m going to just spit it out. I haven’t read any fiction for the past two years. My bookcases are jammed with business, marketing, personal development and some travel books. So I thought it might be fun to put all that inspiration to good use and share some of my favourite nuggets with you.

1. “Stop trying to find the formula that will instantly make your idea into a winner. Instead of being scientists the best marketers are artists. They realise that whatever is being sold is being purchased because it creates and emotional want, not because it fills a simple need.”
—Seth Godin

2. “Business is not about money. It’s about making dreams come true for others and for yourself.”
—Derek Sivers

3. “By building respect and inspiring love business can move the world.”
—Kevin Roberts

4. “The goal of business then should not be to simply sell to anyone who wants what you have, but rather to find people who believe what you believe.”
—Simon Sinek

5. “Given the chance people will buy from people who care.”
—Paco Underhill.

6. “Leaders do stuff that matters.”
—Tom Peters

7. “The most powerful narcotic in the world is the promise of belonging.”
—Kalle Lasn

8. “Don’t use language to sound like someone who knows what they’re talking about; know what you’re talking about and use language to get it said.”
—Mark Tredinnick & Geoff Whyte

9. “One must understand what people are thinking, feeling and believing in order to enchant them.”
—Guy Kawasaki

10. “The greatest competitor you’ll ever come up against is self doubt.”
—John McGrath

11. “Good is the enemy of great.”
—Jim Collins

12. “Values are meaningless without stories to bring them to life and engage us on a personal level.”
—Annette Simmons

13. “Do what you love in the service of people who love what you do.”
—Steve Farber

14. “Too many people never connect with their true talents and therefore don’t know what they are capable of achieving.”
—Ken Robinson

15. “We are still in the position of waking up and having a choice. Do I make the world better today somehow, or do I not bother?”
—Tom Hanks

16. “We relish news of our heroes forgetting that we are extraordinary to somebody too.”
—Helen Hayes

17. “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
—Albert Einstein

18. “The person who knows how will always have a job. But the person who knows why will be his boss.”
—Carl C. Wood

19. “The market for something to believe in is infinite.”
—Hugh MacLeod

20. “You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.”
—Richard Branson

What quotes inspire you and your work?

Image by Jacob Earl.

You Don’t Have A Marketing Problem

There’s something you’ve convinced yourself of that just simply isn’t true. Like many people I work with, you are working incredibly hard to produce beautiful, life changing products and services, that are not getting the attention they deserve and you can’t understand why your message isn’t reaching the people it needs to. So you’ve convinced yourself you’ve got a marketing problem. It’s time to get really clear on this.

You don’t have a marketing problem and it’s highly likely that if you’re here reading this post, you don’t have a product problem either. What you do have is a storytelling problem.

If you are marketing a fabulous product, an innovative application or a life changing coaching program that isn’t selling, then your brand story isn’t connecting your audience to the idea.

People don’t know why they should be interested in your stuff.
Your job is to give them the reason, it’s that simple.

Look at Instagram, it’s just a photo sharing app, right? Wrong. Instagram enables anyone (with an iPhone), to make their life and photos look more spectacular than they really are. For free! It allows users to seamlessly create something beautiful, share it in 60 seconds and get instant feedback, love and adoration from their own audience. Instagram founders Kevin and Mike don’t tell the story, they give the users a reason to share it with their friends. The story is baked into the interface.

You do have a compelling story to tell, maybe you’re just not doing it yet. You don’t need to throw the baby out with the bathwater… really you don’t! Sometimes it’s a simple as changing a single word or a line of your copy. It’s that subtle. Perhaps it’s knowing what does one person says to another to recommend your idea? The reason people will fall in love with you is already there you just need to work out how to dust it down a little.

Image by 1Sock.

Stop Waiting For Google

You’ve probably heard marketing gurus talking about ‘warm traffic’ and ‘cold traffic’. They’ll tell you that you need plenty of ‘cold traffic’, in order to improve your chances of staying in business. They will argue the case for buying traffic so that you can sell more of your ‘standard vanilla whatevers’.

Is that really how you want to build your business? Obsessing over this is stopping you growing your business in a way that’s right for you.

Are you waiting for Google to pick you? Or paying them to pick you perhaps? More than 2 million Google searches are performed every minute and yes, over time you might make a tiny dent in the backlink universe. Then what?

Will you be engaging the kind of clients you want to work with? The kind of clients you would kill for don’t judge you by the amount of backlink muscle you flex. They don’t find you this way either.

Google can’t optimise the best of you. It can’t optimise what makes you and your work unique. And most important of all, Google can’t really optimise for what the non-average, exceptional, client wants to invest in.

Google can’t optimise your purpose, your heart or your soul, your art or judgement, your professionalism and enthusiasm

Google is terrible at defining your talent and your edge, your clarity of vision or communication skills.

Google SEO will rarely demonstrate your work ethic and dedication, your inspiration or your ability to solve problems and overcome obstacles.

Google can’t tell clients who will be the icing on their cake, or the best in their world. Only you can do that.

It might be an idea to stop competing for average and just concentrate on being great

I just sent out a beautiful workbook to my newsletter subscribers today, because I appreciate them being here. I’m building my business by creating value for others, shining a light on what they do and making lasting connections with my audience.

Are you still waiting for Google?

Image by Kachina Daze.

20 Things You Need To Do More Than Google Plus

Any occurrence requiring undivided attention will be accompanied by a compelling distraction ~ Robert Bloch

There is a shiny new toy in the social networking sand box and you can’t wait to get stuck into it. It’s only natural to want a piece of the action, to see what the 10 million early adopters of Google Plus are raving about and to understand how circling is better than adding. Why? Because following is easier than leading and belonging is magnetic to the human condition.

Being in the Google Plus loop might be fun, it may even become a useful tool to leverage in your business down the track. But tools are just tactics. Tactics can become distractions and tactics alone don’t build your business, or make your idea a success.

You need to act on your own great ideas before you get distracted by someone else’s

So what could you do instead of getting distracted by Google Plus, (unless you’re Robert Scoble)?
Here’s a start, feel free to add your own:

1. Schedule time in the day to do uninterrupted work that supports your goals.
2. Start a blog. If you have one write a guest post.
3. Write a digital guide and give it away for free.
4. Notice things in the real world that aren’t working and think about ways to fix them.
5. Read books from start to finish.
6. Map out your objectives for the next year.
7. Start implementing strategies that will support them.
8. Design a product.
9. Build a twelve month launch calendar.
10. Look for unfulfilled worldviews and think about how to fulfil them.
11. Give a talk.
12. Write a newsletter and earn the right to connect with your audience.
13. Plan ways to make a difference, not just to be popular.
14. Skype a mentor.
15. Call a client.
16. Spend 30 minutes doing one thing without interruption.
17. Start a movement.
18. Take a day off.
19. Spend time offline, with people who matter to you.
20. Go outside, walk on the beach, by the river, or in the park.

*Full disclosure. Yes I do have a Google Plus account by kind invitation from a friend. So far I’ve added my profile picture.*

Image by rikulu.

Forgetting The Facts

We all know that love affairs don’t begin with facts

Ric Bixter was given a college assignment; to take something boring, that you could buy for less than a couple of dollars and repackage it to make it more interesting and valuable. So Ric set out to tell a different story about elastic bands. One that had little to do with the facts.

Your customers will sometimes need to know the facts about what you’re selling. How many sessions? What’s the fuel consumption? Does is come with a guarantee? But that’s not always where your story has to start. Take a look around you at all the marketing messages you see working. The products and services people fall in love with aren’t just about the facts or specs. They are about the story and things people care about.

Your job is to communicate more than the facts

This doesn’t mean telling a story that isn’t true. It means getting people to take a second look and giving them a reason to fall in love with what you do. We all know that love affairs don’t begin with facts. If you want to make people believe your true story, then you need to ask yourself one simple question.

How is this adding to my customer’s worldview?

Take a look at how perfectly Ric told a new story about elastic bands, with colour, typography, nuance and humour.

How could you do this in your business? What story can you tell? How can you make your idea matter to the people who need to hear from you?

And if you’re looking to add a great storyteller to your design team in London next year, give Ric a shout @fellbridge. He’s sure to be snapped up!

Images and package design by Ric Bixter.

What Is An Idea Worth?

“A single idea, the sudden flash of a thought, may be worth a million dollars.” Robert Collier

If you’re here and reading this article you probably make your living, (or want to) by selling your art. You market your creative genius and your ideas. So what do you think one of your ideas is worth?

How much value do you think you add to the client who has spent $30,000 remodelling her kitchen but has no clue what colour to paint the walls? What should be the price tag for your coaching service that finally gets a client unstuck and gives him the clarity he needs to move forward. Do you know the true worth of a website design that draws her visitors in and makes them click?

Your clients are not paying for a sixty minute interaction with you or for a chunk of your day.
They are paying for two things:

1. The accrued value of your knowledge, experience and creative genius built over a lifetime.
2. The recurring benefit that even a single idea could make to their business, home, life or future.

Working with you and experiencing your genius means entertaining in the perfect room or having the momentum to move forward. It means being one step further to building the perfect business or getting clear on what’s really important. And a thousand other things that matter more than you realise.

So never underestimate what your one idea might be worth.

Image By Xurxo Martinez.b

Ruby Slippers

Every single idea becomes what you can communicate.

Dorothy’s ruby slippers were magical. They sparkled, they shone and everyone including the wicked witches with all her power coveted them without knowing exactly how they worked and why.

Naturally you want to explain to everyone how to tap their heels together three times. But maybe all the world wants for now is your ruby slippers.

You set out to give people proof about the features and benefits of a great product or service when you want them to understand why they ‘need’ your particular something. And yes, results matter. In the end even the ruby slippers would have been worthless if they hadn’t been able to get Dorothy back to Kansas.

Sometimes though it’s okay to sell the sparkle first and the heel tapping later.

Ideas don’t necessarily fail because they are bad but they often succeed when you work out how to put the magic back into them.

Which businesses are doing this best right now? How could you put the magic back into your business story?

Image by Dennis Sylvester Hurd.

The Goodbye Window

“Sure we need thrills, spills and big gestures, but we also need closeness, trust and intimacy.” Kevin Roberts. Lovemarks

It might sound like a bit of a cliche but the small things really do matter, in business as well as in life. Children teach us that every day. We might think that they care about grand gestures, like holidays to Disney World and an Xbox on Christmas day. And yes, while these things might seem fabulous in the moment the stuff that really impacts on kids happens out of the corner of your eye. Tiny little things that seem insignificant which are the real highlights of their everyday.

Nigel Marsh tells a story about the day he took off work to drop his son Harry to kindy for the first time. Job done Nigel headed to the local cafe. After his first coffee he met a neighbour who remarked how cute it was that Harry always waited for his mum at the ‘goodbye window’ to wave and blow kisses. In a panic Nigel dashed back to school to find Harry, perched on top of his bag, tears streaming down his face still waiting at the ‘goodbye window’.

Your customers care about the little things too. Things that they sometimes can’t even articulate. They care that you notice, that you understand them, that they matter.

They want to be reminded that they are the reason you exist.

Making people fall in love with your products and services is about paying attention to the little things. The things that other businesses forget. The tiny things that matter most. Like ‘goodbye windows’.

Image by Maskingtaped.

Your Customer Is The Hero

“Everyone is necessarily the hero of his own life story.” John Barth

I know your products are beautiful. I also read on the packaging that your juice is packed full of vitamins. And anyone with an eye can see that your designs are amazing.

Knowing all of the facts about how great you are and how well made your stuff is will never be what makes your customer reach for their wallet.

“The challenge you face is that people don’t care about you. They care about themselves, which is pretty natural.” Seth Godin

The only way to persuade people to care about you is to show that you care about them first. Make them the hero of your story. This doesn’t mean starting again from scratch or making up a pile of stuff about your brand or business. You’ve already got the product, the great cause, the proof and the results. Now all you need to do is tell the story from a different angle. Their angle.

Succeed by showing people how to dream bigger and live better. Help them to care more, enable them to do great things and inspire them to be the hero of their story.

Image by Ashley Rose.

How To Make An Idea Worth Spreading

“The only people in the world who can change things are those who can sell ideas.” – Lois Wyse

Your new product, the non-profit you want to get off the ground, a life changing coaching program or that innovative design are worth spreading not because you say so but because other people believe they are too. The thing is you will never convince people to buy into your idea unless you believe in it too.

Do you really believe in the value and power of your own idea? Do you want to solve people’s problems, provide answers, suggest solutions and deliver some good old fashioned joy?

Do you believe that anyone (including you) not just the gurus, billionaire entrepreneurs or thought leaders at TED has the power to change something with an idea?

Can you communicate it to your audience with such conviction and passion (like Nigel Marsh did), that you make it and idea worth doing?

“I have always lived my life by thriving on opportunity and adventure. Some of the best ideas come out of the blue, and you have to keep an open mind to see their virtue.” Richard Branson

What couldn’t you do if you believed in your ideas as much as Richard Branson believes in his?

Image by Frederic Poirot.