Asking for Help: It’s Harder Than It Sounds!

September 6, 2010

marketing help small businessHow’s business? Not so great? Still trudging along doing the day-to-day and not getting where you need to go? You’re not alone. 

When’s the last time you asked for help? I don’t mean asking someone to get the ringing phone or pick up a gallon of milk at Raley’s for you. I mean sticking-your-neck-out-admitting-you–don’t-have-all-the-answers H-E-L-P.

Asking for help isn’t easy for me. For some reason, I’ve always felt I should have all the answers and be able to solve all my problems myself. I was reminded this week – on 3 different levels – that I can’t do this alone- whatever “this” is; whether it’s getting in shape, making a major life change, or building a business.  The fact is – this stuff is hard!  How can we possibly have all the answers and keep ourselves motivated and see things objectively and keep a fresh perspective and get all of our work done?!? WE CAN’T!!!

Luckily, my help has been kind of just landing in my lap. I won some free sessions with a personal trainer at my gym – that got me started on a new workout regime and out of my rut. My old business coach called me one day just to say hi and she too got me started on a new regime and out of my rut. But what if the help hadn’t just plopped in my lap? Where would I be? How can I learn to recognize when I need help? How do I then admit it and reach out for it? 

I decided to go ahead and post this because I know I’m not alone.   I’m curious how many other small business owners need help sometimes but forget to ask for it? The fact is, it’s so easy to get stuck and not even realize it. So,  I’m calling out to all business owners and asking for your help :-) – what do you do to stay unstuck? How do you recognize when you need help?  

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Quiz: What Takes More Planning – a Wedding or a Business?

August 2, 2010

Your daughter announces she’s engaged. What’s the first thing you do? Plan the wedding. There are wedding venues to visit, flowers to order and cakes to taste… 

You’ve just booked your next vacation. What do you do? You start planning what you’ll wear, what you’ll pack, where you’ll go, what you’ll see…

You’re a small business owner. You’re out of leads. Business is slow. You need more revenue. What do you do? Start planning? (Or turn to your marketing plan for direction?). Nope.  If you’re like many business owners, you panic. Like a sailor overboard you latch on to the first advertising salesperson who walks into your business like a life preserver and spend hundreds or thousands on advertising. Thinking, “This one will be different”. The ads hit. You wait. The phones don’t ring. And you wonder why. Just more proof that marketing doesn’t work.

The problem is: there’s no cohesive, well thought out strategy. No plan. It would be like waiting until the day before your daughter’s wedding to order flowers, book a caterer and find a venue. Instead of getting the flowers your daughter would love, a caterer that serves the type of food the bride and groom like,  and a venue that reflects the taste and values of the family, you’d end up settling for whatever is left and then wondering why your daughter didn’t have that fairy tale wedding she always dreamed of.

Here is what a marketing plan will help you with.

1.       Uncover your Core Marketing Message.  Answers the question:  “Who are you and what are you going to do for me?”

2.       Discover how you’re different.  Answers:  “Why should I choose you over the other 50 companies that do what you do?”

3.       Who buys what you sell and why. Potential Customer???:  “I hate widgets and I’ll never buy your widgets, why are you wasting your money advertising to me?”

4.       Where the heck do we find them? Potential Customer:Hey, over here!!!! Hello….  I’m your best prospect. I love widgets, I need widgets, I’ve made the decision to buy widgets and I have tons of money to buy widgets. But I don’t know about your widgets because you spend all your money advertising to the guy who hates widgets.”

5.       And, what prompts them to buy? Potential Customer: “10% Off? Ha, that’s not worth my drive all the way across town. I’ll just wait. “

Don’t know where to start? Well, you can check out the free report on the home page of this site. Or call us to schedule your FREE marketing audit!

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Small Business: 7 Signs it Might be Time to ask for Help

February 21, 2010

  1. Whatever you’ve been doing isn’t working. Newspaper ads, yellow pages, direct mail, magazines, and networking. You’re doing it all, yet you still don’t have all the business you want or need and your pipeline is empty. Maybe it’s time to get some outside help.

    Photo Credit BigStockPhoto.com

  2. You want to take responsibility for the growth of your company. You know you’re capable of anything when you have the tools and the resources. Sure, you can most likely grow your small business you just don’t know where to begin.  Hiring a marketing specialist to guide you will help you take responsibility for the growth of your company.  
  3. You need accountability. You’ve read a few marketing books, attended seminars, and maybe even had some coaching in the past. You know the basics of marketing you just haven’t committed the time and energy into creating a cohesive system to make it work. You know you need help: someone who can give you direction and hold you accountable.  Having someone to gently nudge you, someone to answer to will force you to do the things you know need to be done to take your business to the next level.
  4. You want objective feedback. Your friends and colleagues have been great for stroking your ego. But you know all your ideas aren’t that great. If they were, you’d be a millionaire. You need someone who is going to be objective. Someone who will constructively lead you in the right direction and offer a fresh perspective to your ideas. This objectivity will nudge you out of your rut and point out the areas you can improve upon; in all aspects of your business.
  5. You don’t have time to do all the marketing research and reading on your own. You are an expert in your industry. You can’t possibly be a marketing expert too; you don’t have time to master the things you need to take your business to the next level. You value your time and know it’s better spent on other aspects of your business where you can reap a higher return.
  6. You don’t have a marketing plan. You’ve been doing your marketing kind of haphazardly. Doing a little here and there with no cohesive plan or strategy in place. It’s not working. You know that in order to make it work there has to be some consistency and process behind it. A marketing coach can help you develop a system for your marketing – and stick to it.  
  7. You don’t have $10,000 – $50,000 to hire a consultant. Yes, it would be nice to hire someone to do it all for you, but you don’t have that kind of money lying around. You can hire a coach for considerably less and still get a lot of the benefits you get with a consultant.  Besides, you’re the DIY type anyway.

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