Is the effort of trying to come up with Content driving you crazy? Re-purpose it!

As an entrepreneur are you spending valuable time trying to create content for your newsletters, blog, social media, etc.?   Every expert on ‘web marketing’ extols the virtues of creating original content to be infused into social media, blogs and websites to generate top of mind awareness and drive business to your website. Is this causing you anxiety or are you just avoiding it?

 STOP and REPURPOSE!

 Repurposing is used to convert your message in the various formats of communication. In this case, use your unique idea and infuse it in all of your messaging: newsletter, website/blog, social media, ads and events. Not only will your message be seen by more people, it will become a natural identifier to your company when repetitively read in all of your marketing.

 Spend the time to answer the following 2 questions: 

  1. What makes you different or unique in your industry? If you were the “Specialist” or Guru in your industry, what could you teach?
  2. What stories can you tell that will highlight that uniqueness?

If the message is authentic then the ideas will flow rather than racking your brain to come up with interesting content. At least once a month – perhaps weekly – think of one story, funny anecdote, interesting link or timely statistic that you can send out to your sphere. If you are in a particularly creative mode, keep a list of ideas saved as you brainstorm. Now, write your current idea in 1-2 paragraphs. Then Repurpose it!

 Spread it throughout your marketing touch points. Be authentic and you will bring your community closer, fuel the referral business and create new content. A win-win situation!  

As Virtual COO’s for the past 3 years we have seen this system work; it’s been proven. If you are unsure of how to start, give us a call for a free assessment of your current systems. We are the Virtual COO’s for entrepreneurs who know when it’s time to bring in the team.

Dollars and Sense

 

Financial Analysis may sound like a daunting task to some people, especially if the subjects have never really been explained to them in a common sense way.  I had an opportunity to teach a Finance student of mine what I like to call Common Sense Financial Analysis in 20 hours, and within that 20 hours, I’m confident he learned more than in four years at our prestigious local University.

Essentially we reviewed the three critical financial statements, the components of each, why those components were important, when a company reported, to whom they reported to, and essentially, what information you could get out of the numbers you were given.   Sure there are a million ratios and terms to make things sound fancy (like the beloved weighted average cost of capital) but common sense is where you start, and ironically, once you understand basics, the rest comes relatively easy.

 

Boiled down Financial Analysis:

 

An Income Statement tells you whether or not a company (through selling its goods or services) is making money or not.  Extended analysis will shed light on revenue trends, expense management, margins, consistency etc, but essentially it’s called a Profit and Loss statement because that’s exactly what it tells you:  during a period of time, did this company experience a profit or a loss.

 

Balance Sheet tells you at any given point in time, what a company owns, what it owes, and the difference, which is what it’s worth.    If your house was on a balance sheet, what you own (your asset) is worth say $100k.  What you owe (your liability) is $80k, and what you own (your equity) is $20k.  What you own, less what you owe, is what you are worth.   Assets- Liabilities = Equity.  Or on a balance sheet Assets = Liabilities + Equity.   They must equal so the sheet balances, hence the name.   Extended ratios from the balance sheet will tell you if a company is too leveraged (borrowing more than they should), has a good cash cycle (A/R and A/P analysis), Liquidity (can they pay their short term bills) and insights into ownership structures (is the company financed through stock, borrowing, owners capital etc).

 

Our third statement, a Cash Flow Statement essentially tells you, again over a period of time, what inflows (sources) of cash you had over that time, and what outflows (uses) of cash you had.  The interesting thing about a cash flow statement is it is created by the change of the balance sheet from one period to the next.  So, changes in what you own (buying or selling) would be uses or sources of cash.  Changes in what you owe (borrowing or paying off) would also be sources or uses of cash.  Changes in equity (selling stock, buying stock, and investing capital for example) are also sources and uses of cash.

 

As you can see, this is not rocket science, but you would be amazed at the number of financial and non financial people that can’t make these simple connections to their work and businesses.  The really cool thing about business financial statements is that they can be applied at a personal level as well.  You can calculate your personal ‘profit or loss’ for a given year, your personal net worth on your balance sheet, and your personal cash flow statement (changes in your balance sheet) over time.

 

Not understanding your financials is like driving with your eyes closed.  Sure you may be able to make it down the street, but I wouldn’t recommend the highway.


 

 

 

 

The Fortune is in the Follow Up…

Have you ever heard this before?  People do business with people they know, like and trust.  But how do you get people to the point of trust where they buy your product or service?

There are many strategies that you can use to build a follow up system. But you will only achieve the results you want if you use it consistently.  We believe in a systematic “touch” plan based on what comes naturally to you and the flow of your business.

When you meet a new contact add them to your database. That starts the process. We believe that the most effective method of building  a relationship is to design a campaign that has 8 touches in 12 weeks (8×12).  Although we call it a campaign, it is a well thought out set of communications you send to your new contact. It always includes an introductory email which is followed by a combination of phone calls,  newsletters,  face book posts, offers, events or a post card.

After the campaign is over, if the contact has not asked to be removed from your database, they are moved  into a 24+ touch program (2 times a month).  For most of our clients that includes a monthly newsletter and another touch such as an offer or an event.  Add all your clients to this 24+ touch program so that you never lose contact with them.

Sales industry statistics show that 80% of sales are made on the 5th to 12th contact!  Is your business using a follow up system to reach your contacts consistently?  Do they ever receive a 5th touch?  Review your follow-up. If done correctly it is the least expensive way to attract new clients and insure repeat business.

Call us for a 30 minute FREE assessment of your systems.  We’ll do a quick check on your current processes and advise you on what we would do to increase your flow of clients.

The Secret to the “Secret”

Are you looking for talent for your company, or another “ideal” client to serve? Or perhaps an investor for your new project? How do you find them? Where do you look?

While you might think it sounds too simple, trust me when I say that all you have to do is ask for what you need…and it will show up in abundance.

However in order to make this work there is one essential thing you must know, and then another that you must do. It is the “secret” to getting things done and it has been done this way for as long as human beings have existed.

First you must be a part of a group. You must know people and they must know you.  Seth Godin calls this your tribe, in his book by the same name. Your tribe is made up of the people who have come to know you, like you and trust you.  They are friends, past clients, business associates and members of your community. The one thing they all have in common is a relationship with you. They joined this “elite” status because of something you did that was beneficial or meaningful to them.

Second you must communicate with your tribe. They must hear from you on a consistent basis, and what you say must mean something to them. Learning to connect with others in a compelling way will deepen your relationship and then…

Once you’ve established your tribe and communicate with them regularly with heartfelt messages, they become an incredible source of connection for everything you need;
Referrals, resources, talent, opportunities.

I know this from personal experience. I met my business partner Tina this way. And recently we worked with two of our clients to create a “missing person” letter which we sent to their tribe. And voila – the universe responded with the best talent they’ve ever hired.

So build your tribe, put a system in place and communicate with it regularly. Ask for what you need, and watch your venture grow!

The Art and Science of Marketing

Communicating with your target market is an art. It is also a science. The art comes into play because you must be authentic. Anything short of that is a waste of time and money. The science is about the systems you use to deliver your messages, your offers, and your value proposition.

So first is the art. How do you express who are you and what makes you special? Why do people do business with you? Recently we developed a newsletter for one of our clients in the auto body business. Finding content that would interest his clientele was a challenge. People come to an auto body shop under dire and distressing circumstances, and hopefully not too often. Telling them about paints and processes didn’t seem compelling.

After a couple of weeks we realized the owner  had a passion about auto safety. Keep in mind if cars don’t get banged up he won’t have a business. Yet, he cares about safety and knows a lot about it! We positioned his newsletter around the theme “Safety Matters” and his clients love it. 

Second is the science. How do you communicate with your clients? Is it once in a while, just when you think of it? Or, is it done consistently and purposefully? The owner of the auto body business said his previous attempts to market created “orphans”. These  were gimmicky ideas that were quickly abandoned when they didn’t work.  

Now, with our help, he has the systems in place and is communicating valuable information and offers that his customers want and need. And, he’s doing it on a regular, consistent basis. His tribe is growing. His vision and enthusiasm for the growth of his business is being unleashed.

What we have learned  is that successful businesses have a database, they  add people to it regularly, and they communicate with it on a scheduled basis. They have systems in place to manage the costs and track the effectiveness of their marketing. When this becomes as natural to you as delivering your service, your business will grow and you will be able to expand your vision.

So make sure that your messages capture who you are. Tell your story often and with authenticity. Speak from the heart!  Avoid  canned material. Your customers are too busy to be bothered by impersonal and uncaring messages. Show them you care, that you listen to them, and that you are in business to serve them. You will build clients for life.  You will be mastering the art and the science of marketing.

Is Your Social Media Interrupting Your Social Life?

Imagine organizing your social networking accounts in one simple email.

About 6 months ago I received a link to a free service called NutshellMail.  So I gave it a try.  Nutshell packages all your social media updates from your Personal FaceBook page, your fan page, your twitter account, your linkedin account and even your Youtube account into one email.  You even tell NutshellMail when it’s convenient for the email to be sent to you.  You can filter each one of the accounts,so you only recieve the updates that you want.

Laurie and I have been using it ever since and found this to be a big time saver.  If you have any questions, email me at tina@freeenterprisewarriors.com.

Hey, I’m Not a Customer Number!

I’m having a strong negative reaction to the phrases “customer list” or “database”. After all I am a person. I don’t want to be a number on someone’s list.

However, the reality is that we have the tools, techniques and systems to communicate with an ever growing community of people we know. It is tempting to assume that if we add them to our list, we will advance our cause.

But that is proving to be antiquated thinking. Interrupting people with annoying canned newsletters and ads for things they don’t want or need is NOT creating a bond.

So here’s the age old secret to growing your enterprise; Increase the number of people who know you, like you and trust you. It’s that simple! Think of it like planting seeds. Plant an ever increasing number of them and watch them sprout into people who do business with you and refer others to you. Well, it may not be a secret but it is age old wisdom.

And while this sounds like an organic process, it isn’t. That would be like planting seeds in the ground and forgetting to water them. No, we need systems to insure that our crops grow.

At My Ops Zone we understand how to grow great relationships from the ground up. We put systems in place that are both high-touch and high-tech. 

High-touch is achieved by a process which reveals just who you are and what you stand for. High-tech is how we get more people to know about you so that they can decide. They will either like you better or leave you but either way it is important, because you are building what Seth Godin refers to as “your tribe”.

That takes me full circle. Yes, you do have a list- a client list. And when you communicate consistently with those people you build relationships. When you start revealing who you are and what you stand for, you connect with people on a level that builds trust. And the fastest way to get things done is through trust.