Archives for April 2008

Join Me In Vancouver, BC (Where I Live!)

It’s not often I get a chance to get out and get to seminars. With 3 kids, a cat, and a husband this Small Business Mom is working hard getting kids to and from school along with all of my business responsibilities. But I have got to take the opportunity when it hits my own hometown!

I’ve been to many Small Business Meetings at the different malls that I had stores in and I can tell you that they were all quite boring. Give me ideas, strategies, and things I can use NOW to develop my business. Not a marketing manager talking quietly all about the mall of the hour and all of it’s greatness.

That’s why when I saw that the Speed Money Seminar is coming here to Vancouver, I just knew that I would have to attend. It’s an opportunity for me to get together again with fellow internet business owners AND an exciting format to unwind, sit, and see what I can apply to my own business.

Here’s a recent picture of my last get together with fellow business owners Diana Walker & Alice Seba. We had a lovely lunch at Earls about 2 weeks ago.

Earls

I also love the networking and getting to know others who are running an online business. I met Armand Morin in Atlanta Georgia a couple of years ago at another seminar which was fun. When I spoke with Armand he had some great ideas for me that were painfully obvious to me of things that I’ve tossed around and never acted on up to that point.

Here’s who will be speaking:

Speakers

So I’m looking forward to seeing Armand again along with the other speakers, and my good friends Alice & Diana. I’ll also be at the VIP Dinner on Friday night along with Diana, I know Alice said she can’t make it.

So won’t you come and join us?

Speed Money Seminar

DATE: The seminar will be held on May 8th – 10th, 2008 in Vancouver, BC Canada.

It will be an information packed 3 days full of solid advice on taking you from ideas to income in just the 3 days.

I know I know, it says “Speed Money Seminar” almost sounds like “get rich quick” But with the line up of speakers I know it will be proven strategies that work.

I’m also looking forward to meeting Dr. Andrew Jones because he’s from one of the best places on earth, Nelson, BC. And it’s really neat to see someone close by doing exceptionally well on the internet.

Side Note:
Before I started my retail business, I worked for PCA International and I used to travel to Nelson and stay at the old Hotel there. It is one of the most beautiful places ever!

Anyhow, I’m really looking forward to my time at the Seminar, it gives me time away from the computer and brings forth great ideas I can implement to my business right away.

Now a nice surprise for you!

If you want to join me at the seminar you can do so by purchasing with your coupon code and get 50% off the ticket price.

COUPON: All you have to do is email me at smallbusinessbranding @ gmail.com and I’ll send you back your code right away so you can claim the 50% off.

SIGN UP: You can sign up and join us at the seminar here.

I look forward to joining up once again with my online business friends, and hope to see you there as well.

Targeting a Niche: How Obvious Do You Have To Be?

After a great conversation with a coaching client this week I have been thinking about how different businesses target a niche and I’d like to tap the great pool of branding knowledge here for some input.

Sometimes a business goes for the obvious approach.

In the Virtual Assistant industry there are providers who have niched themselves to a particular group of potential clients by declaring the niche in their name. (Internet Marketers VA, Writer Support VA, New Media VA) It’s clear to anyone who sees their business card or visits their website that they are niche focused. Their choice of name attracta their desired niche while at the same time discouraging others which is exactly what they want.

Why do they want to turn some potential clients away?

They know they are more likely to secure a long term relationship and a premium pay rate with clients who needs their specialized experience and skills.

My client who is in the financial advice field wants to know if she should move in that direction or not. She has been getting great word of mouth referrals for clients in the medical field, should she somehow create a brand for her business around that clientèle?

Unlike the VAs mentioned above who have specialized skills for specific markets, the services provided to these clients are really no different than those provided to others but she has definitely spotted trends in the financial challenges medical providers face.

Is that enough to declare a specialty? Should she adopt a brand that targets medical professionals?

Would it be her ticket to really setting herself apart from others or should she stay with her current non-niched brand and let the referrals come as they may?

What questions would you ask to clarify things and what advice would you give?

How To Make Compliance Branding Work For You.

No matter what industry you are in, there are regulations in place to make your company comply with preset standards of practice. These standards are known as compliances. Some are set in place by government agencies and the others are professional compliances both internal and external. Government compliances in many cases deal with health, safety and security to name a few. Business owners have mixed emotions about compliances. In most cases, compliances are viewed with distain for many reasons over and above the expense of it.

Ed Roach

What should be recognized as important is the effect on your brand your compliances have. If your corporate brand values are based on values such as integrity and due diligence, being compliant is very important to you. By complying you reduce the risk associated with running your operation. Deficiencies in the implementation of compliances can lead to unfortunate outcomes that essentially take a sucker-punch to your brand. No business can afford to run rough shod over their compliance obligations. Safety compliances protect your brand from being exposed due to employee injuries. These high profile events draw undesired attention to your company. Any adverse news makes your company look sloppy and insensitive.

Your brand is everything to do with your reputation. Not only is being compliant of importance to the health and welfare of your company but also by extension to your corporate brand as well. Industry compliances are more specific in nature. They typically associate themselves with standards of the type of business you are in. Architects for instance must adhere to compliances that allow them to promote themselves as architects. These industry compliances set the bar high for entry into the industry and protect the public in their quest for your services. Following these compliances assures the public of professional standards of practice. Detering from professional compliances sets your brand up to take the fall. Failure to live up to your compliances and accepting deficiencies exposes your company – and thus your brand. Any loss in professional designation will ultimately cost you money. Your brand loses its expert status in the eyes of your customer.

A third and often neglected area of compliance is the self-administered compliance. These are compliances that you have personally put into place to react to a cultural shift in your industry or to raise the bar from within. Self-administered compliances are very real opportunities. Corporate standards put in place within a company do so to provide an assurance on the level of quality of operation and service within the company. Self-administered compliances are a perfect opportunity to develop a more effective model of operation.

Now that we have looked at the 3 main types of compliances and recognizing their importance to the running of your company and their positive impact on your brand, now we must be assured that they are being implemented effectively. It is one thing to recognize a compliance need, it is another entirely that the compliance is being administered properly. There must be processes put in place to be sure that those rules and regulations are being followed and understood by all stake holders in the company. Any negligence in the implementation of compliances weakens the compliance leaving your brand exposed by association. Your marketing efforts often position your company in it’s best light. You simply can not afford sloppy compliance practices. It has a negative effect on moral and leadership within the corporation.

Once you have determined that all compliances are in place and that they are being adhered to according to processes developed to that end, it is important now to market compliances to your advantage. Being compliant on multiple levels can become the basis of a strategy of differentiation. Compliance icons can be used to shout this message out to your target audience. Stepping up as a leader in your category, not only raises the bar but puts barriers in place that impedes the forward movement of your competition. In order to match or beat you they have to invest considerable effort and expense to catch up and surpass you. Being the leader allows you certain bragging rights that gives your customers maximum confidence in dealing with you.

This confidence equates to a stronger brand relationship.

Writing Reviews Reinforces Your Personal Brand Online

If you are looking to position yourself as a thought leader in your field, one of the opportunities that many people forget to use is that of becoming a central resource for their clients and potential clients.

By keeping up to date with the leading edge thinking in your area from books to research, or even events that you attend, your clients will soon come to realize that you know your area of expertise.

In addition, writing reviews of those books or reports with your perspective is also a valuable resource, and increasingly you can do this online at your website, business blog or even sites such as Amazon.com. This also reinforces your personal brand online and reviews you write will be found in the search engines

A relatively new service is available online called Loudervoice dedicated to reviews.

You can register for a free account at Loudervoice and you can post your reviews directly on the site or from your own business blog, from your mobile phone or from micro blogging sites such as Twitter.

So the next time you read a book or report, attend an event or programme related to your field of expertise, consider consolidating your views, add your perspective and then write up and post the review on the web for the benefit of your own clients and to attract more clients and customers.

What is your lack of planning costing you?

I can list off a bunch of adages about planning. And as I do, you’re going to nod and agree. After all, it makes good sense.

Measure

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

“Measure twice, cut once.”

“A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.”

“It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.”

While you are nodding at the wisdom, ponder this: why don’t you have a marketing plan? Don’t look at me like I’m crazy. And don’t try to count the “to do” list or the “if I had more time, I would…” ticker in your head.

95+% of you do not have a written marketing plan. Does that mean your business will fail? Probably not. But it does mean you’ll:

  • Spend more money
  • Reach fewer of the right people
  • Be swayed by persuasive sales people rather than staying the course
  • Be less efficient
  • Grow your business more slowly, it at all

Think of it this way. If I told you I was going to pay you to drive to Salt Lake City and that your compensation was going to be based on how quickly you could get there, would you use a map or would you wing it?

Same thinking applies to marketing plans. Could you be successful without one? Sure. But it’s going to cost you more and take you longer. So why not just use the map?

After all, isn’t running a business like a journey? You have finite resources and you’re trying to get as far as you can while using them as wisely as possible. A plan gives you a leg up on 95% of the businesses out there. Why wouldn’t you take advantage of that sort of competitive advantage?

If you don’t have a written marketing plan — answer this for me and for you. What is your substitute for having the map that will conserve your resources and extend your reach?

20 Questions To THE Perfect Customer!

Ed Roach

We in business have tendency to want to leave no stone unturned when it comes to generating income. Are you targeting your efforts to reach your best target audience? Are you aware of just who this audience is? A good exercise would be to identify this person. To perform this task you have to build a demographic profile. Remember – the profile is of the person that you make the most money from. Once identified, you will want to locate more like them.

Here are some questions to ask yourselve regarding your most profitable demographic profile:

1. Are they male or female?
2. How old would they be?
3. What income level?
4. Are they philanthropic?
5. Are they married?
6. Do they have kids? (if so, what age are the kids?)
7. Are they community minded?
8. Union or non-union?
9. Are they American or not?
10. Republican or Democrat?
11. What vehicle do they drive?
12. Visible minority?
13. Aggressive or passive?
14. Introvert or extrovert?
15. Do they read the local newspaper? 
16. Are they joiners?
17. Are they handy around the house?
18. Do they own a single family dwelling? or a condo?
19. Are they a sports fan or culture fan or both?
20. How much money do they spend with us?

Answering these questions will give to a solid base to determine your perfect customer. Using census data or a market research source, identify more of this demographic profile within your community. If you charted the outcome on a map, you will typically see clustering of locations. This is because similar demographic groups tend to live close to one another. Market to these target locations. This will save printing and distribution costs by avoiding areas not identified as a target group. Now you not only know your perfect customer but where they live too.

Where Focus Will Get You

On this, my first post here at Small Business Branding, I am going to talk some serious smack about our fearless leader, Vera Raposo.

Ok, that’s a fib.

I’m actually going to brag on her so much it will make her mother blush 😉

I met Vera almost four years ago through our mutual friend, Alice Seba. Vera jumped on board as one of the first members of our mentoring website, Mom Masterminds. She was a serial small business entrepreneur with a taste for something new. She took to internet marketing like a duck to water and pursued every learning opportunity she could lay her hands on. It has been a pleasure to watch her take what she learned, apply it to a topic of personal interest and turn it all into one of the most focused internet businesses I have ever seen develop from scratch.

Notice how I put the emphasis on ‘focused‘?

I have a professional passion in business and that is to see the people in my target market creating focused businesses. I want to convince everyone listening to my podcast and reading my blog posts that choosing one target market to become totally focused on is paramount to their success.

It pleases me to no end that Vera can serve as a ‘poster child’ for this focused business message!

Take a look at what she’s done.

  • She chose a topic: Scrapbooking.
  • She chose a message: You can make money with your Scrapbooking hobby.
  • She served up free quality information: ScrapVenture.com
  • She served up love for her topic and community: ScrappersTalkRadio.com
  • She served up entry level paid resources: ScrapVentureReports.com
  • She served up a specialized membership site: ScrapVenturePro.com
  • She served up premium coaching: ScrapVentureCoaching.com
  • She served up an income stream: ScrapVentureAffiliates.com

Without looking to the right or to the left, with unwavering focus, Vera has embraced a target market and become what I call a ‘Master Translator’ of internet marketing knowledge, breaking it down into the language and applications that fit her market perfectly.

Hey Kelly, if Vera’s a ‘focused business poster child’ what do you think
about her taking on Small Business Branding? This is completely outside
of her original target market isn’t it
?’

Awe… you know me so well already 🙂

Yes, Vera’s new venture flies in the face of everything I teach about a focused business. She’s taken on an entirely different target market after all. But, as much as it may shock you – I’m in full support of Vera’s choice and I’ll be glad to explain why.

You see… Vera is special. She is one of the few who has not just given lip service to the ideas of using technology, automation and outsourcing. She has built a firm foundation and a scalable system. She has developed a reliable support structure that enables her to not only manage, but grow her existing business without having to have her hands on every activity.

Because of this, she had reached a point where she can pursue another area of passion.

If she were still in the building stage; if she were still trying to keep her fingers in every pot – I’d be calling a ‘focus foul’ at the top of my lungs! But, I’m not. Rather, I’m pleased as punch about her amazing progress and can’t wait to see where this leg of her Entrepreneurial Road Trip takes her.

I’d like to invite you to come on over to Work at Home Moms Talk Radio this week and listen to my feature interview with Vera. We talk all about her ‘Road Trip’. You’ll gain some valuable insights, get to know Vera better and find ideas to help you on the road to where you’re going.

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