October 31, 2013
Whether you’re a business owner like me, an independent consultant or you’re responsible for a company’s bottom line – our jobs are really hard. We have a ton of responsibility. We work really long hours – and even when we’re not working, we’re thinking about it. And for those of us who are business owners, on top of all that, we have no security net; no regular pay check, no vacation days, no sick leave, no 401k…. nothing. Yes, it’s really f****ing hard!
And lately, things have been especially difficult. The whole country seems to be in a funk – and who can blame us? With health care reform confusion, government shut-downs and a congress that acts like a bunch of spoiled 4 year olds, who feels secure? No one is spending, and we’re all feeling it.
Despite all this economic and political turmoil, as the entrepreneurial go-getters we are, we tend to blame ourselves when things get tough. And I’m going to share a secret with you – I’m no different. My critical demons sit on my shoulder and taunt: “You’re not doing enough; you need to be selling more, speaking more, writing more, emailing more, networking more…More. More. More”. Honestly, it’s exhausting.
We work extremely hard for every customer and every sale. We know the big wins don’t come every day. In fact, they can be few and far between. So when I got an email this morning from a contact I made last week, that can potentially lead to some business, asking ME when we can meet (instead of me having to chase him down), I took a moment to recognize the victory – and I celebrated. I got up from my chair, voiced a victorious “YES!!!” (Even though only my dog Capone was here to hear it), and I even did a little happy dance. I won! It was small, but it was an accomplishment! This contact saw something in me – and Fortune Marketing Company – that made him want to follow up with me– I didn’t have to chase him down and beg him to meet with me – that’s HUGE! Yet all-too-often we miss these. We take them for granted, we move on too quickly. We forget to stop and recognize it for what it is – an accomplishment - a shimmer of hope amid a sea of let-downs and disappointments!!! A WIN!!!
As small business owners the big wins can be few and far between. We’re not going to land every new contract, nail every presentation, or reach all of our sales goals. So it’s absolutely crucial that we celebrate even the smallest accomplishments. If we don’t get in the practice of recognizing and celebrating the little victories, it’s too easy to get down on ourselves and feel like we’re not accomplishing anything while we’re waiting for that next big win.
So if you need a win – here are 5 things you can celebrate:
- You didn’t give up today. It was hard, but you kept on going! Give yourself a pat on the back!
- You didn’t let a client down today. Despite all your stresses and struggles, your clients are happy! Congratulations on a job well done!
- A new colleague / strategic partner asked to meet with you (because he/she obviously admires and/or respects you). Wow, that’s awesome!
- You did something that took you out of your comfort zone because you knew it would be good for business. Way to go, you brave soldier you!
- You did something kind for someone else today. You’re busy and stressed, but you still took the time to volunteer, make an introduction, or give someone a compliment. You rock! Celebrate it!
What are some of the small victories you celebrate? Please share them with us, so we can all recognize our own accomplishments. After all, being a business owner is F***ing hard and we could all use more reasons to celebrate!
September 5, 2013
You’re a successful business owner by any measure. You’ve been in business more than a few years and at one point you had the business you wanted. You hired a staff, your sales pipeline was full, and the phone was ringing off the hook. Maybe you even felt you had too much to handle at times, but you were excited about expanding.
Marketing didn’t even feel like marketing back then: you joined a few professional organizations and networking groups, bought a yellow pages ad, did some print advertising and the business just flowed. You didn’t need no stinking so-called ‘experts’; you did it all – and were pretty damn good at it too!
But then everything changed. The pipeline was empty and you practically had to beg, borrow, and steal to get work.
Marketing was easy when there was an abundance of work for well established companies with great reputations for quality and service like yours. But then, almost overnight, the game changed.
Not only did money dry up and consumers start spending less, they also became more educated; savvier. While the economy took a dive, technology –especially social media – started to take on a life of its own. Consumers realized that they have choices. They began arming themselves with the power of knowledge – creating online communities, business reviews, and forums.
Consumers started using their voices. Maybe it came out of the frustration and helplessness of government bailouts and unfair tax breaks for the giants – but we all heard it. They banded together and demanded more and we small business owners didn’t know how to react. Traditional marketing had changed and left us asking ourselves:
- What do you mean no one reads the newspaper anymore?
- But.. but… I always had a yellow pages ad!
- Why isn’t a 10% of coupon enough?
- What the heck do you want from me???
Denial is Not a River in Egypt!
Wrapped in our old tattered binky of denial, many of us clung on for dear life trying to survive in the new economy, and instead of turning to experts we:
- Asked for marketing and business advice from our hair dresser, our son’s baseball coach, and our dentist.
- Relied on the people who sell us marketing tools (advertising, yellow pages ads, etc) for our business’s strategic direction.
- And, eventually, many of us just gave up and quit marketing all together.
And then we realized, in a flash of blinding inspiration, “My customers got smarter and started relying on each other with all their Yelping and there Twittering and their Face Booking… Hmmm. Maybe I should re-think my ‘bury-my-head-in-the-sand strategy and get some real help!”
As an entrepreneur, it is really hard to ask for help: we should be able to do it all ourselves, right?
As an entrepreneur, we have certain strengths; one of them needs to be knowing when it’s time to ask for help! No company got big, no business owner became a millionaire by doing it all on their own. Successful businesses get help – lots of it! Even Bill Gates had Paul Allen!!! You simply can NOT do it alone!
I am an Entrepreneur, Hear me ROAR!
Asking for help is NOT a weakness; it’s a sign of strength. STOP doing the things you aren’t good at or trained to do and hire people who are! Hire the accountant and STOP wasting hours trying to figure out QuickBooks. Hire that office manager and STOP getting caught up in the day-to-day operations of your business. And of course, hire a Marketing Consultant and STOP guessing and wasting money on stuff that doesn’t work. Hire Pros to guide your business in the direction you want it to go! It’s time, you know it is!
So where are you in your business? Have you hired experts and if so, what has your experience been? How has the decision impacted your business? And if you haven’t yet, what’s holding you back? Please share your experiences with us!
And by the way, if you decide to hire a Marketing Consultant, we happen to know one!
By the way, if you liked this post, I’d really appreciate your Retweet!!! Thank you.
November 15, 2012
Just a little over 3 years ago I lost the best job I ever had. I was making great money, liked the company and the people I worked with (mostly), and even the commute wasn’t bad. But then the Great Recession hit and tough decisions had to be made. I was in the 3rd and final round of layoffs.
I’m not one of those people who always knew I’d be a business owner: I didn’t have the most successful lemonade stand on the block, nor did I find clever ways to outsource my babysitting jobs to younger cheaper labor. Nope, from the age of 12 with my first paper route I always worked for someone else and thought that was just the way it was supposed to be.
Well, getting laid off got me thinking– why NOT start my own business? (Actually I started thinking about it a couple years before I got laid off – but I never thought I’d actually do it ) I had years very valuable and diverse marketing and sales experience, I understood the needs of growing businesses, and although I liked the jobs I’d had, I was never truly satisfied sitting in a cubicle or out selling other people’s stuff that honestly, I was never fully, 100% enthusiastic about. So, thanks to the Great Recession, I had the opportunity to take the plunge- and I’ve never looked back.
I love being my own boss. It has opened up a whole new world to me, in so many different ways, that I could write a book about it (oh wait, I am!). It has given me the excuse and the flexibility to do the things I’ve always wanted to do; give back to my community, volunteer my time…..oh yeah, and take a 3 week trip to Europe!
For me building a business has meant getting out into the community and meeting people, networking, getting involved, offering my expertise, experience, and skills whenever I can to causes and charities I care deeply about (click here to see a list of those in our newsletter ). And for me, this has been the most rewarding part of being a business owner.
Here are 5 Ways Fortune Marketing Company gives back to the community and you can to!
- Raise Money for a non –profit: Non profits are ALWAYS looking for ways to raise money. Devote a day or a week or a month to your favorite charity and donate a portion of sales, or ask customers to make a donation (rounding up a check is a really easy way to do this) and match it!
- Give your company the afternoon off to do volunteer work – Ok, not only is this great for the community, but it’s great team-building for your company. Let your employees decide what cause to support and give them a couple of hours off to go help out – maybe it’s painting a building, or doing landscaping, or cleaning up a park, or stuffing envelopes, or waving signs for a car wash! You can choose a different one each year, or agree as a company to support a specific one .
- Donate to silent auctions- Do a local search of events in your area and you’ll find tons of events by non-profits trying to raise money. Call them and ask if you can donate auction items or even raffle items.
- Do a food, toy, or coat drive – These are very popular around the holidays, but hungry people need food all year round and children’s organizations need supplies all year round. Most people and companies think of giving back around the holidays, find ways to support them during the off-season too when they aren’t getting as many donations!
- Get on a Board of Directors – Talk about rewarding! I am able to offer my marketing skills and expertise to help with the strategic planning and direction of my favorite nonprofit, helping them raise more money now – and well into the future! What skills, experience, or expertise do you have to offer? Find a board that could benefit from those and apply!
And I almost hate to bring it up, but I am a Marketer after all and would be doing you – my loyal readers – a disservice if I didn’t mention this: don’t forget the press releases!!! Although promotion is not our main motivation for giving back, it doesn’t hurt you – or the charity you are helping – to get a little publicity.
These are just a few ways to give back. There are countless others. What cause do you care deeply about? How do you give back? Please tell us by leaving your comments below.
If you aren’t sure how to get started, contact a local charity and find out how you and your company can help.