Episode #79 – Pivot and Transform Your Small Business

I hate the buzz term Pivot… and lately that’s all you hear… pivot this, or pivot that… yuck.  However, it’s vital to your small business success.  I prefer transform or “roll with it”.  If you don’t watch trends or provide new products and services you will not grow.

Here’s a fun story I learned about yesterday from my dad.  There is a restaurant in our area and it’s named after two people.  I asked if the people were real.  After a long pause, and the equivalent of “duh” the answer was “yes”.  I said, “duh” I’ve only known the current owners.  So he explained the restaurant started as a grocery store, then they started selling prepared food, then went to steak, then they became a steak house, then a supper club, and now have the restaurant and at least 13 charter boats that provide dinner cruises.

Had they not “pivoted” before it was a trendy buzz word, they would still be a grocery store.  How does this apply to your small business?  Be ready.  You can create a 10 year plan, but make sure you’re willing to “roll with it” – watch for trends and be on the look out for alternative ways to service your customers.

Now here’s a funny thing… as you look into the future you need to know what your customers have consistently wanted from you and continue to provide that… for example if you provide fast shipping, free returns, great customer service, etc.  These things will always remain constant.  Figure these things out so don’t “break your model” as you transform.

PS: if you love my post… please give it a “like” (it motivates me!)!

Action Step
1- Create a map of your business services.  What was your start?  What services/products did you sell?  Where are you at now…  Most important, what has remained consistent?
2- Discover your path based on your previous course… where are you heading?  Do you need to adjust?
4– Install our app! (SmallBusinessClubApp.com)

 

Two ways to get more Small Business Tips …
A- Install our Free App (SmallBusinessClubApp.com –Apple or Android )
B- Subscribe to my blog at BigFishIdeas.com

Listen to Episode #79 of the Two Minute Commute audio blog Podcast

 

Episode #78 – Success Takes Visualization

When I was a child, I used to get so frustrated.  The teacher would say “draw a house” and I’d try.  But the thing on the paper never matched the vision in my head.  I was so excited when graphic design programs were invented and I could finally get my visions on paper!  It was a game changer.  It was like I finally had a tool that helped me achieve success.

When you are goal setting and charting your path toward success, use visualization.  When you get a clear picture in your head of what your desired outcome is success can follow.   Be very specific with your visualization.  There is a phrase we all know from computers which is “GIGO” or garbage in/garbage out.  When you visualize, be specific because if you visualize vague you will achieve vague.

The next thing you need are the proper tools.  It’s not enough to have a vision of your success you need the specific plan to keep you on track.  I like using the SMART technique for goal achievement; Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Reward, and Time Bound.  Take a look at the article I wrote on BigFishIdeas.com for more info on the process.

One more hint, don’t just set long term goals.  Goal achievement takes practice.  Set and accomplish a goal each day.  When you get in the habit of the daily “win” your ability to achieve your long term goal becomes possible.

PS: if you love my post, “Like” it!

Action Step
1- Come up with a goal – something you really want to achieve.
2- Visualize your success
3- Develop the plan and attack!  Always keeping that vision in your head.  Every day, visualize the success… it will happen.
4– Install our app! (SmallBusinessClubApp.com)

 

Two ways to get more Small Business Tips …
A- Install our Free App (SmallBusinessClubApp.com –Apple or Android )
B- Subscribe to my blog at BigFishIdeas.com

Listen to Episode #78 of the Two Minute Commute audio blog Podcast

 

Episode #77 – You Be You But Never Compete on Price!

It’s time to set yourself apart in the marketplace, but don’t do it on price!!!

It’s OK to sell the same product or service, in fact, that’s what happens.  Let’s look at this from the consumer side…

I mean when you’re shopping, don’t you find a product and then head to Google and search for it to find the best price.  And that’s great for the business if they can compete on volume.  For most vendors, however, competing on price just sets you in a race to the bottom and out of business.  There’s a lot of pressure to lower prices because customers ask for it, but honestly, in my experience, don’t do it.

You priced something because your time is worth something.  Hopefully, by this point you’ve determined what your time cost is to make something and you’ve factored it into the price.  If you have not, make sure to figure this out!  If you find yourself overwhelmed with no free time and resenting your customers, it’s because you forgot to pay yourself.  It’s fun to look at other companies and see that you can sell something for less than them, but honestly, if that other company has been around a while, they likely know something you don’t.  Use their pricing as your model not your weapon.

If you need another reason why you can’t compete on price… send me three dollars.

That’s right. You reach into your wallet, pick out three dollars and send them to me.

Absurd, right?

Well… if you give someone a discount, that’s exactly what you are doing!  Remember you can’t compete on price because you’re ripping yourself off.  This is reason to avoid the race to the bottom!  People will ask for discounts.  When you give a discount you are actually giving the person money out of your own pocket.  WHAAAAAT?????

You’re a small business owner, you don’t get an hourly wage.  You get paid AFTER you’ve paid the electric bill, rent, inventory, and employees.  Yes, your employees get paid before you!  So what’s left is what you get paid… so if you’re prepared to give that customer a discount, great.  But your employee is not going to work for less, the electric company or your land lord will not give you a discount… therefore, the discount you give comes directly from YOUR POCKET.  What your customer is saying is that “your product is super nice, and I really really want it, but you and your time are worth NOTHING  to me, give me a discount.”

Seriously!  That’s what they are saying.

Do not compete on price.  Compete on value.

There’s a reason everyone in the market is charging a similar price, because that’s what it costs to provide the product or service!   What I encourage is to compete on your Unique Value Proposition!  What is it that you do or create that is unique?  Focus on the thing that only you provide.  Is it a color, shipping style, bundle, after sale service, unboxing, “the next step” – what is it that makes your business unique.  That is what you need to sell!  We just admitted that we all go to Google for price, you need to make your website attractive and trustworthy and you need to sell your story.  Create the Unique Value Proposition so you are the “go to” for the sale!

PS: if you love my post, “Like” it!

Action Step
1- What is your Unique Value Proposition?  Spend some time brainstorming what it is that you already do (or can do) that your competitors do not do… This can be as simple as creating your “3 Point Super Service Policy” and come up with three points.  I’m not kidding… haven’t you taken your car to get serviced with it’s “30 point service inspection”?????
2- Start marketing your Unique Value Proposition!!!
3– Install our app! (SmallBusinessClubApp.com)

 

Two ways to get more Small Business Tips …
A- Install our Free App (SmallBusinessClubApp.com –Apple or Android )
B- Subscribe to my blog at BigFishIdeas.com

Listen to Episode #77 of the Two Minute Commute audio blog Podcast

 

Episode #76 – Think Cake to Solve Business Problems!

What do you have if you’ve got; eggs, flour, sugar, milk, salt, butter?
You’ve got ingredients.

What happens when you dump them in a large bowl and mix together?
You have batter.

Neither produces cake.

It’s only when you take ingredients, follow a recipe and bake it does the magic of a cake take place.

Think of your business in these three similar areas:

1-Ingredients
2-Recipe
3-Action

If something you are doing is not producing results figure out which outcome you’re achieving.  For example, if you have a great product but no one is buying, maybe you are stuck at the ingredients phase.  Think about it.  Products are ingredients until you tell someone how to use them.  Sell the Sizzle.

If you have great products and people understand how to use them but just won’t buy you’re stuck at recipe.  So you’ve got some great batter, but can’t quite find the oven.  Where is the oven?  Do you need testimonals from current customers, or do you need video of the product in action?  Maybe the oven isn’t hot enough, for example people put your item in their cart and ditch because shipping is too high…

I know it seems dorky, but this simple three step process of ingredients, recipe, and action will help you figure out many problems in your business.

Next… try it with social media!

If you do not get engagement and you feel like all you do is post things… you’re stuck in the recipe phase!  You are posting ingredients on Facebook, or Instagram, or Twitter… but they’re just sitting there like a big bowl of batter.  You’ve got to flip your role and be the customer.  As the customer what do you want to read?  When you change your mindset that temperature in the oven will rise and people will engage.

See, it’s a dorky analogy but it makes sense.  Oh, and you can tell my choice of ingredients… if I make a cake, it definitely comes out of a box!  Hahaha

PS: if you love my post, “Like” it!

Action Step
1- Where are you frustrated with your business?  Is it that you think an item should be selling more?  Should you be getting repeat business?  Find your problem
2-Think Cake!  Why isn’t your cake baking… is it the ingredients or the recipe… make adjustments and toss it in the oven!
3– Install our app! (SmallBusinessClubApp.com)

 

Two ways to get more Small Business Tips …
A- Install our Free App (SmallBusinessClubApp.com –Apple or Android )
B- Subscribe to my blog at BigFishIdeas.com

Listen to Episode #76 of the Two Minute Commute audio blog Podcast

 

Episode #75 – Turn Wasted Time into Invested Time with Audio Books

Today’s Business Inspiration: “Time is our most valuable asset, yet we tend to waste it, kill it and spend it rather than invest it.”

Summary: “I don’t have time” is a lame excuse. If you have time to check Facebook you have time to listen to Audiobooks. Start investing your time in your Subject Matter Expert status! Great article on the free App at SmallBusinessClubApp.com

 

Here are two things I’ll never understand.  1) Getting excited over “snow days” (school closings) and 2) answering the question, “What did you do this weekend?” with “nothing”.

Education is the only thing where you say, “I’m so excited we got the day off” or “woo hoo school is letting out 2 hours early” – could you imagine paying for a massage and having it stop 5 minutes early?  “that’s awesome! Wow, glad we got done early” or how about you pay for a concert and they “let out 30 minutes early” – “Super Great, didn’t want to hear the encore” — yet, we pay for education for a full course or full day and we’re excited when we get ripped off and don’t receive the full service.  It makes no sense.

The second thing about answering “nothing” on the past weekend’s activities… How boring!  I’m pretty sure when on your death bed you’ll be wishing for that weekend back.

And that’s my point when we look at today’s inspiration why do we treat time with such irrelevance?  If we substituted gold into saying we’d have, “Gold is our most valuable asset, yet we tend to waste it, kill it, and spend it rather than invest it.”

That seems really silly!

So… going back to this “time” thing…

If you already log your time and activities during the day, take a look and see where you have bottle necks or chunks that you call “down time” – OK, now you’re going to say, “I’m so busy, I have zero downtime”.  Believe me, if you have time to check Instagram or Facebook, you have downtime.  When you identify the areas, what can you do instead?  Here’s an idea, audio books.  You take that 5 minutes and just listen, find a great business or motivation book.  Your time wasting activity now becomes a time investment activity.

I tried this.

While growing up it was “taught” to take a 30 to 45 minute chunk of time and read.  Well, I hate reading and never did this.  Thus the reason I used “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing” as a book report every year until my Junior Year in High School when my English Teacher refused to accept it (smart lady) haha.  About a year ago I discovered audio books, and guess what, I threw out the 45 minute rule.  There’s no rule that you must listen or read a book for a large chunk of time, you can do it in 5 minute “breaks”.  It is such a better use of time!  Here are some of the audio books I’ve listened to… maybe you’ll find something of interest!

Here’s another reason to jump into the habit of audio books, you can listen while you walk, bike, take a bus or even listen in your car (my favorite).  This is about turning “wasted time” into “invested time”.  And guess what… invested time is a perfect way to build your knowledge bank for being a Subject Matter Expert.

Of the four areas:
Experience
Time
Study
Research

It helps in both research and study, you can listen to something enjoy and continue your “knowledge bank” for your Subject Matter Expert Status.

 

PS: “Like” my post if it inspired you!

Action Step
1- Identify the wasted time in your life… look at your calendar for past ideas or start jotting down your time today and tomorrow and see where you have an extra 5 minutes to do something other than read Facebook.
2- Find a audio book and start listening, even if it’s in 5 minute chunks… (here are some of the books on my phone)
3– Install our app! (SmallBusinessClubApp.com)

 

Two ways to get more Small Business Tips …
A- Install our Free App (SmallBusinessClubApp.com –Apple or Android )
B- Subscribe to my blog at BigFishIdeas.com

Listen to Episode #75 of the Two Minute Commute audio blog Podcast

 

Episode #74 Believe in Your Small Business Success Even Before It Happens

 

Today’s Business Inspiration: “Believe and act as if it were impossible to fail”

Summary:  You’ve got to see and believe in your success before it happens. As a small business owner one of the most difficult tasks can be motivating yourself. Check out the motivation article on the free App at SmallBusinessClubApp.com

 

One of my crew members is applying to a prestigious college… I had mentioned that you have to believe you’ll “get in” before you’ll actually “get in”.  She looked at me like I had four heads.  But it’s true!  Visualization is a very powerful tool.

You don’t want to be unrealistic, for example, seeing as how I’ve never played football, it wouldn’t matter how much I visualized myself as the quarterback of the SuperBowl winning football team, it won’t happen because I don’t have the skills and qualifications. However in the case of the crew member, the grades, volunteer work, and honors are all present.  At this point it’s a matter of seeking out the resources to create an outstanding application AND believing in yourself.

As a small business owner you have to believe in your goals and one of the hardest things to do as a small business owner is to stay motivated when things go sideways.  It’s really hard when “life happens” and all of your planning and goal setting get affected. The worst is when you’ve made a plan, determined small goals along the way, then realize it’s three months into the plan and you should be at step 5 and you’re only at step 2, UGHHHHH… that’s deflating!  Often it’s easier to sideline the entire plan just to “keep up” with the day to day stuff.

What I’m encouraging you to do today is to stay motivated.  You need to stay with your goals and plans.  It’s much more powerful to adjust than to stop.  Dust off that old goal and read my article on motivating yourself and let’s get this done!

PS: if you love my post… give it a “like”!

Action Step
1- Identify an “old” goal got sidelined
2- Create your success journey to get it back on track – its time do start working toward that goal!
2.5- HINT:  Install our app! (SmallBusinessClubApp.com)

 

Two ways to get more Small Business Tips …
A- Install our Free App (SmallBusinessClubApp.com –Apple or Android )
B- Subscribe to my blog at BigFishIdeas.com

Listen to Episode #74 of the Two Minute Commute audio blog Podcast

 

#73 Your Small Business Experience Merged with Social Media Makes You Unstoppable

Today’s Business Inspiration: “Examine the past, but don’t live there.”

Summary:  Your Small Business Experience Merged With Social Media Makes You Unstoppable – Small business owners are forgetting how much experience they have! You know your message… you can pay someone to “do the technology”!  Install our free app: SmallBusinessClubApp.com

 

Here’s your small business social media advantage… (and it’s huge)

Experience!!!!!

If you’ve been in business for a while, prior to social media, or if you remember the days of cooking food without a microwave, you have a huge advantage over millennials.  You have experience.  Look at the picture of the computer, if you remember the 5 ½” floppy disc (or disk), you win.  The rotary phone is a little odd since those disappeared long before that computer, however, what today’s business inspiration is saying is: Examine the past but don’t live in it.

What worked for you in the past can work today…  and quite frankly, the marketing techniques that gave you business success before, will work again, they just might look a little different.

You can’t place one ad in an newspaper anymore and be done, however, the general message of the ad is going to work on Craigs List, Facebook, Twitter… you just have different platforms to use, other than that one newspaper.

Let’s see how this works…

Do you remember “long form sales letters”?  They used to arrive in the mail… they we’re talking several pages in length, and they would be sent to hot prospects to give them all the information in carefully crafted language to build interest to take action, but not so much information that their questions were answered…  if you wrote these, dang – you’re going to be happy with this news…

This is the modern day squeeze page!

A squeeze page is where you write compelling information on a one page website.  The website does nothing except sit with your “long form sales letter” and it’s only job is to capture the email address of the person visiting.  There will be no header and no links, just the area for the prospect to enter their email address to get more information about your product… well several areas along the way to submit their email address.  But you get the point.

Always visit the marketing techniques you used in the past because marketing is simply communicating your message. Your message will never stop being delivered, it may just take a different path to get to your prospect. One hint: start by positioning yourself as a subject matter expert.

And remember you can always pay someone to “do the technology”.

PS:  Did this post make you think or go “hey” that’s something I can do … if yes… “Like” it! (thanks)

Action Step
1- Make a list of 5 super marketing activities you’ve ever done… your all time best 5 things.
2- Why did they work?  Really think of the reasons they worked. Who was the audience? How did they get your ad? Now think… where have you seen this technique used today? was it on Facebook, email marketing… how did your great success from 15 years go get morphed into today’s social media marketing… now go do it yourself!
3- Install our app! (SmallBusinessClubApp.com)

 

Two ways to get more Small Business Tips …
A- Install our Free App (SmallBusinessClubApp.com –Apple or Android )
B- Subscribe to my blog at BigFishIdeas.com

Listen to Episode #73 of the Two Minute Commute audio blog Podcast