I was reading a book the other day. I was in a hurry to get my reading done for the day so I could check it off my list and move to the next item. The topic of the chapter really knocked me on the head – especially with my hurried attitude! It reminded me about the importance of having margin in our lives.
If we fill every waking moment with activity and spend less time with our families and time just “being still” we will burn out quickly. Margin is important to maintain a healthy balance. Without it we will get tired and possibly lose motivation to keep our passions going in our business and other areas of our life.
It was a great reminder for me and thought it might be for you too.
Just a thought…
“Find something you love to do, and you’ll never work a day in your life”
– Harvey MacKay
- I get to learn something new every day
- I am blessed to work with a variety of talented, dedicated and passionate people
- I am blessed to be able to “fill in some gaps” where small business owners need it
- I am blessed to take my 20+ years experience and help entrepreneurs
- I am blessed to have passion for what I do and I love doing it!
Tell me what you do and why you love doing it!
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.
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]
EOK provides practical information – much of the information shared can immediately apply to your business
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
- 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]
- 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]
- 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
- 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]
- 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!
Twitter: @EoKtown | Other places where EOK lives…
Are you getting their attention?
If you are a small business owner you have a story to tell. It may be difficult for you to see because you are living out your story every day. Marketing is about telling your story – the story of your product and your company.
Effectively telling your company story can communicate many things:
- Your passion for your business
- What drives you to do what you do
- Why you are different
- The core values of your business
- The quality or dedication of your employees
- How your company has helped your clients
- The benefits of your product/service
Anyone can give information on the features / benefits of their product or where it is sold or what it looks like. This information is not “news” and is rarely given a second thought.
Communicating your passion will get people’s attention.
What else will telling your story communicate? You fill in the rest of the list.
Coaching with Passion,
Happy New Year!
May your New Year be filled with…
- Passion for your work
- Passion for your clients
- And a passion for life and family
- Effective communication between your team and your clients
- Effective communication between you and your team
- And effective communication in all you relationships
Now is a great time to reflect on all that we accomplished or missed the mark on in our business over the last year. It is important for all businesses to take inventory. This is more than just counting the number of widgets we have left – it should include taking an inventory of how well we served our clients/customers and how well we served our employees.
As a small business owner how well did you serve your employees? Did you empower them to do their job effectively? Do you they see your passion for the business? Do you all work well together as a team?
How about your client’s? Do they feel like they matter to your organization? Do they feel like you listen to what they need and then provide it?
If your answer to these questions is a resounding yes! then celebrate and do more of the same in 2011. If your answers are and it stings a little then perhaps the New Year should ring in some changes.
Food for thought…
I got 20 of my friends to buy from you and told 20 more about your company…
Every small business owner would love to hear words like this. A key element to increasing brand awareness is through word of mouth (WOM). An excellent way to perpetuate word of mouth from a ground-up effort is through brand ambassadors or brand advocates.
What is that, you ask? A brand ambassador is a person is very knowledgeable about the brand, promotes it regularly and publicly in a positive way. Many large corporations hire brand ambassadors to promote their products or brand. This however is not what I am talking about. Small business owners are not going to hire brand ambassadors, nor should they.
You have brand ambassadors among your customers, clients and staff. Whether your company sells consumer products or services (B2C) or to other companies (B2B) you may already have natural brand ambassadors. You are looking for people who are already passionate about your product.
Where do I look? Potential brand ambassadors could be:
- The person who buys from you every week
- That person who can’t stop talking about how good your customer service is
- That person who has sent you three clients in the last month
- That person who was significantly impacted by your product or service
These are your brand ambassadors. They are already loyal to your brand. The challenge is finding ways to help them use their voice to convey their passion for your brand.
Here are some ideas of how to motivate them to talk about their passion for your brand. Obviously not every tactic will work for your company but hopefully this will get the creative juices flowing.
- Give them free product for themselves
- Give them free product to share with their friends
- Send them several branded t-shirts or other promotional items
- Create a customer input panel on a specific topic
- This will allow your most loyal customers to be part of the company
- Print them brand advocate business cards they can hand out to their friends – inlcude a special discount available only through your ambassadors
- Allow a select few to be guest bloggers on your corporate blog
Successful small business owners recognize win/win relationships. Creating a formal or informal brand ambassador program can help to significantly increase brand awareness. As always if you need help in creating a brand ambassador program contact your marketing coach for help.
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)…
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…