Who Are You?

Transparency on the internet is becoming more and more important, if I can’t put a face to your company’s name the chances are I don’t trust you.  It’s not difficult to write a little blurb about yourself and why you started the company in the first place, so why don’t you do it?  To me it looks like your hiding something, you don’t want me to see who is behind this new company and therefore I don’t trust you.

Websites can be built within hours so how do I know this isn’t just another larger companies subsidiary entering the market?  If you’re just a new company, great, tell me about yourself, tell me who works for you, tell me what they’re good at.  The people working for you should be an asset, showcase what their strengths are.  The more talent I see working for you the better chance you have to garner my business.

Gone are the days of phantom companies on the internet, we want to see who’s behind all your good ideas.  Finally, if you don’t want to disclose who works for you because it might hurt your brand maybe they shouldn’t be working for you in the first place.

The Digital Billboard Formula

Have you noticed an increasing trend in your city with these digital billboards?  Animation on an illuminated sign offering state of the art advertising, sounds like the future doesn’t it?  Hardly.  If you haven’t noticed, these signs are popping up all over the place, a friend and I counted off the top of our heads how many there are in Regina, sixteen. (to see them all click here) sixteen billboards all claiming to offer thousands of “views” per day depending on the location.

With the city being saturated with these digital boards paired with the difficulty to measure their effectiveness, paying clients to fill the spots are becoming sparse.  So who’s advertising on these boards?  The surrounding businesses.  Count the next time you’re at a red light how many ads show up that are for business in the vicinity of the sign.  It’s astounding.

So if the sign owners aren’t making the money and it’s still not a good medium for your company to buy time on, who wins?  Obviously the sign manufacturer’s stock is rising.

Now I would hate to complain about this phenomenon without offering a solution.  If you still want one of these signs we put together the perfect formula.  If you’re going to buy one ensure you put it up in the area with the most businesses around.  Find the part of your city that is saturated with businesses and put up a digital board, that way you will ensure getting the most out of the sign.

For more information on why I don’t like this as a medium read Martin Lindstrom’s Buy-ology.

Fight Club for Business

BreakyWe have all heard about “the breakfast of champions”, Wheaties for most, but for some like my friend @rayderge prefer a Redbull and a cigarette.  Regardless it is difficult to pin point what a breakfast “of” champions would consist of so I say try a breakfast with champions. (I couldn’t call this post “Breakfast with Champions” because in my opinion I think it is far too cliche and has probably has been done before, Fight Club for Business, now that sounds much better)

Where you live there are many budding young businesses and business people out there doing the same old week in and week out.  So focused on the business they forget what is going on in the community and the businesses around them.  In today’s market collaboration is so prevalent it is amazing that this kind of thing has not spread more, but like they say “Fight Club wasn’t built in a day”.

I propose to you to start a breakfast Fight Club for Business.  Once a week get together for breakfast and talk about what matters to your company.  It doesn’t all have to be serious but it’ll give you a chance to understand what other businesses around your city are doing.  All right, this isn’t Toastmasters or Kinsmen club, this is different and there some rules so listen up:

Rule 1.  Don’t talk about Fight Club for Business unless the person you wish to talk to can benefit from what you are about to tell them.

Rule 2.  To join the Fight Club for Business you must sign up for a presentation on your own company.

Rule 3.  Presentations must not be completely serious and should be around the 10 minute range

Rule 4.  If you are caught stealing ideas or trying to sell too much or if you’re just flat out annoying, the group reserves the right to kick you out.

It will be interesting to see this come to fruition and I’ll be sure to update on the one we’re starting in Regina.  Please let me know if you have done this before or any feedback on the idea, I would love to hear from you.

Apologizing Too Much

When you patronize restaurant, hotel, or another service industry and they make a mistake, they apologize.  We all do it, it’s polite, you’re supposed to, and usually you get a good response when you apologize.  But what happens when you apologize too much?  Any service manual will say apologize three times over to make it right but is that excessive?

When you over apologize to me you make me feel as if you made a larger mistake than it seems.  At restaurants if my server continues to apologize to me it makes me think that they really did mess up.  Instead of sincerely owning up to the mistake and trying to make it up to me with exceptional service you keep dwelling on it. Unfortunately now you have put into my mind that it is a much bigger mistake than it really is.

Stop apologizing, I know you messed up, we all do it but please don’t over apologize you’re making yourself look worse than you actually are.  If someone can’t forgive you for a small mistake after one apology then they don’t deserve you apologizing the fourth and fifth time over, save your breath.

Your Ego on a Billboard

I want to get exposure for my company, I want my market to know who we are and what we do.  I don’t know how to do that so I do what history tells me, I buy a billboard.  I know who my market is but I don’t exactly know how to get to them, again, a billboard seems to be the way to go.  I’m relatively new to the market so now the billboard is looking even more enticing.  “I’ll do it I say!”, the billboard goes up.

I understand that the target market can not be my entire city but hey, I want to get my name out there.  My company is a luxury brand, I know that only 10% of the city can actually afford my product but it makes me feel empowered that my billboard is up there.  I am satisfied.  Really?

Other than an ego boost what has that billboard done?  Sure some people will have seen it on their daily drive but does that amount to sales?  With over three thousand marketing influences daily did you see my billboard and better yet did you remember it?  I don’t think so, but it looks great doesn’t it?

If your product isn’t intended for the masses, why are you telling them about it?

Rule Number 36

In Alan M Weber’s Rules of Thumb: 52 Truths for Winning at Business Without Losing Your Self, rule number 36 is: Managing your emotional flow is more critical than managing your cash flow. I had to write about this because I see and meet with entrepreneurs all the time that do a poor job of managing their emotions.  Cash was king until I understood what an entrepreneur goes through, and if an entrepreneur really made cash king they would not succeed.

As a small business owner you must focus on your goal, your vision of where the company is going.  If you don’t do everything in your power to get there (and that may be going into a pile of debt) you may never achieve your goal.  There are a thousand and one things an entrepreneur needs to manage but without keeping your emotions in check everything else falls apart.

Tips on keeping your emotions in check:

  1. Hire a coach or get a mentor and talk about it
  2. Identify your emotional triggers and be aware when you may be susceptible to an outburst
  3. Ensure you have some “you” time in a day (Workout, play a sport, get a hobby) do something that will make your mind relax where you won’t think about work
  4. Have fun at work, it’s the easiest way to put yourself and those around you in a great mood

Finally I believe Van Wilder said it best; “Worrying is like rocking in a rocking chair, sure it gives you something to do for a while but it doesn’t get you anywhere”.