Category Archives: Experience

The art of handling “bad” news

 Oh No!

When you get bad news what do you do?  Do you look for the downside or for the upside?  It is very difficult to look for the upside in things when you lose a client, lose revenue or lose a strategic partner.  Sometimes there is no upside – at least not one that is very apparent.

I believe everything happens for a reason – even in business.

  • Sometimes a client leaves to make room for a new client or clients that you may not even know are coming down the pipeline
  • Sometimes you lose revenue from one source to gain it back thorough another
  • Sometimes you lose revenue to prompt you to cut expenses
  • Sometimes you lose a strategic partner because they were not as strategic as you thought they were
  • Sometimes things fail because you were simply supposed to do something different

No matter which role in my life: small business owner; wife; mother; volunteer or friend I try to receive “bad” news by looking for the upside or the lesson behind the turn of events.  It has been my experience that many times there is a lesson I am supposed to learn through the “bad” experiences.  I seem to learn the hard way – sometimes I have to get knocked upside the head to realize I need to make a change.

Is your head hard too?
How do you handle “bad” news in business?

-KK

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What’s so great about EOK?

One of the great things about Entrepreneurs of Knoxville (EOK) is that it’s about building each other up and helping one another in our business efforts. It is a unique business organization. I am new to EOK and I already see so many benefits. Here is my list.

  1. EOK is truly collaborative – members are willing to help other entrepreneurs by sharing their expertise on a certain topic [If everyone contributes then everyone benefits]
  2. EOK provides practical information – much of the information shared can immediately apply to your business
  3. EOK brainstorms with you – in the crowd sourcing hour you can bring an idea or a business challenge and have a group of experienced professionals help solve the issue or point you in the right direction
  4. EOK is a practice run for funding – looking to pitch your idea to investors? During the pitching hour EOK can provide you with practical information from those with experience in securing funding for small business. [Not only can you get practical information but you can practice your pitch to investors in a friendly, collaborative environment]
  5. EOK is a great publication tool – you can publish content on EOK through blog posts, forums and more. [this is an excellent way to potentially get more visits to your own blog]
  6. EOK can generate business – EOK is not a lead generation organization, however, that is a natural progression that may occur from being involved and contributing to EOK
  7. EOK is free – the only investment required is your time. As with anything you get out of it what you put into it. [While it may be free for members (on purpose) there are certain expenses incurred. Donations are accepted]
  8. EOK is non-profit – this helps keep membership costs at zero. [please see number 7]

What other benefits have you received from being an EOK member? I’d love to hear them!

~KK

Twitter: @EoKtown | Other places where EOK lives…


I Am Not Good At…

There are many things I am NOT good at.

 

Imagine our world if everyone were completely up front about what they do well and what they do not do well. Then, imagine what the world would be like if we lined up our passions with the gifts and talents God gave us.  We could change the world!

I wrote my first guest blog post today and talked about this very thing. It is amazing to me how many people pretend to be good at something when they know they are not.  It takes more confidence to say “I do not do that well” then it does to say “yes, I can do that,” when you know you really can’t.

There are a couple of things in which I am really gifted.  There are a few more things I am “ok” at doing and there are thousands of things I am not good at – period.  I am very grateful to be at the place in my life and career where I can recognize this – at least most of the time.  [No matter seasoned we are I think we all have moments where we experience delusions of grandeur.]

So, I will continue to serve my clients by doing the things I do well and leave the rest to other experienced professionals.

I would love to hear about what you do well (and what you don’t do well too)…

-KK


Thursday Threads

The Gratitude List

I often make gratitude lists.  Especially if I have a bad attitude or things are not “going my way”.  Gratitude lists help me focus on the important things in my life and gain perspective. The priority items on my gratitude list include God, my husband, my kids, my home and my dogs.

But wait, there’s more…

More Things I am Thankful for:

  1. Grace – without it I am not sure where I’d be
  2. Perspective – it keeps me from overreacting
  3. Age – there are certain ages I DO NOT want to be again
  4. Experience (even the “bad” ones) – every experience has brought me to the place I am in my life and career
    1. I Like it here
  5. Failures – they teach me about me and about what not to do again
  6. Difficult people – they also teach me about me and give me opportunities to practice tolerance
  7. Speed limits – without them I would really drive too fast

Full of gratitude…

-KK


That “One Thing”

If you asked 100 seasoned marketing professionals what they want the next generation of marketing professionals to know you will probably get 100 answers. Sure, there will be some relatively universal answers but everyone has that “one thing” they learned and want to pass on. In this season of my career that “one thing” would be to discover your client’s passion for their business.

I frequently mention passion in this blog.  For me it is most definitely a key element. Without passion we would not have many of the items we have today that enhance our lives and the lives of those around us. Without someone’s passion we would not have things like prosthetic limbs for those who need them, special schools for the blind or deaf or even everyday things like a vacuum cleaner.  At one time someone had a passion to build these things.

There are many businesses that just seem to be “going through the motions”. For companies such as this a good marketing plan may not be able to solve all the problems but perhaps it could reignite the passion that started the business in the first place.

So new marketers – discover your client’s passion.  It will make your strategies and campaigns much more successful.

If you are a seasoned marketing professional what is your “one thing” you would pass on to the next generation?

Passionate about making a contribution…

-KK


Listening or Spouting Solutions

Not every marketing coach or firm is a good fit for every client.  As a small business owner it is important to look for a marketing professional who has marketing experience.   More importantly, however, is to find a competent professional with whom you have “synergy”.  An overused word, yes, but an effective description nonetheless.

If you cannot get “on the same page” with your marketing team (internal or external) chances are you will not have an effective marketing strategy in the end.

A key element in the planning and execution of an effective marketing strategy or campaign is communication.  If your marketing coach cannot communicate well with you then how will they communicate well with your audience?

Ask yourself these questions to see if you and your marketing coach are on the same page:

  1. Is he or she asking questions about your business? (this is basic stuff)
  2. Is he or she asking what your passions are? Are you asked about what drives you to do what you do?
  3. Is he or she actually listening to your answers or just spouting off “solutions” before understanding the entire picture of your organization?
  4. Is he or she communicating with you during the process (during building of the strategy or during campaigns)?
  5. Add your questions here…

There are many more questions that can be added to the list. The point is that your campaigns can be wildly successful if you have a marketing coach who understands you and your company and keeps the lines of communication flowing in both directions.

Looking for synergy…

-KK


Integrity Matters

There have been many lessons learned throughout each season of my career. While each season has taught me different things some have been universal.  One of the most important values I learned is that integrity matters.  You can be successful in business and maintain your integrity.

Merriam-Webster defines integrity as:

  1. firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : incorruptibility
  2. an unimpaired condition : soundness
  3. the quality or state of being complete or undivided : completeness

This definition provides the key elements needed to maintain integrity in business:

Incorruptibility – don’t sell out.  Stay true to your company’s values. If you are an employee and your values do not line up with your employer’s then find a new employer.  I once quit a job without having another one because I could not support the unethical actions of my employer for even one more day. If you are a business owner make sure your company is conducting business in a way that you could tell your mother or your pastor about.

Soundness – make sure you think through the plans for your organization.  Buildings must be sound for the structure to maintain integrity. So it goes with your business. If your planning (and execution) is not sound your company could crumble when trouble hits. I would rather build my foundation on the rock instead of the sand.

Completeness – follow through.  If you make a commitment: follow through. If you are working on a project: see it through to completion. If you accept an order for a client: fulfill the order.  Sometimes plans, processes, etc. can go awry: adjust your plan, communicate with your customers and stakeholders and see it through to completion.

My personal definition of integrity is doing what you say you are going to do. What’s your definition of integrity?

Driven to stay in integrity,

-KK


Search Marketing – Don’t Go in the Water Alone

A key element in the success of a search marketing campaign is the investment of time.  It takes time to set a campaign up properly.  This included researching and selecting the right keywords, setting the budget limitations correctly and writing ad copy to maximize your Click Through Rate (CTR).   Once your campaign is set up then you need to continually make the necessary campaign adjustments to receive the best return.

The typical small business executive does not always have the time to focus on learning the “to-dos” and “not to dos” of search marketing on their own.  Trial and error can be expensive and time consuming at the very least.  

Navigating the waters of paid search without experience is sort of like playing with sharks in the middle of the ocean while wearing a children’s flotation device.  It is not recommended. 

For the tech-savvy entrepreneur there are countless sources where you can read about how to successfully implement a search marketing campaign.  If you fall into this category I would suggest you at least get a little coaching from someone with experience to avoid costly mistakes. The investment of a few hours for an initial campaign set up or a campaign review could save you countless hours and many dollars.

For the small business executive who does not have experience or time or the inclination to figure it out on their own look for someone who has solid expertise (and who can provide references) to manage your campaign from start to finish.  Most marketing agencies will offer this service as well many independent contractors.

The Google Certification Program is an excellent credential for one to have.  There are many talented people without this credential but it does add extra peace of mind that the person truly understands search marketing.  I am in the process of getting mine so stay tuned for the announcement.

Happy Searching!

~KK


Welcome!

Many times bloggers have a dream of what their blog will be about, who will read it what they plan to say.  Sometimes they are right and sometimes their blogs morph into something unexpected. My goal is to help small to medium-sized business with marketing and business related challenges. If you are a marketing and business guru/expert/kingpin then this blog is probably not for you (you could teach me a thing or two :)).

I do have some experience to share. Deep experience in marketing, ecommerce, special events, software and in start-ups (specific experience in why some don’t work). I help small to medium-sized business with marketing and business related challenges.  My goal is that you will find something useful here to grow and improve your business.

As of today, July 28, 2010 I am still in the process of building this site.  The saying “if you build it, they will come” is a fallacy.  You have to direct people to “it” because there is so many other things vying for your readers’ attention.  If you happen to stumble upon my site before I complete it please help me start spreading the word and visit frequently.  Of course if you wish to send me hundreds of readers before I have started marketing it then by all means – go ahead! 🙂

Thanks for the support.

~KK


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