Keep It Simple

Especially With Your Money

Among the many things that I’ve learned since becoming a mentor of The Business Wealth Club Birmingham, it’s the importance and power of keeping things simple. That is, when we are able to break down seemingly complex issues and powerful business concepts into digestible, understandable chunks of information.

One of the most common challenges for many businesses (small and large) is the matter of the clear, confident and comfortable understanding of “money matters” such as cash flow.

“Cash is or oil in your business engine. Without it, your business will seize up and die.”

This a quote from Paul Avins and another clear example of how, in this instance, cash flow can be boiled down to clear and powerful metaphors that business people understand. That’s what we do at The Business Wealth Club.

Recently, The Guardian newspaper (the online edition), published one of my articles on the subject of cash flow. In the article. I explain how establishing and maintaining cash flow can also be broken down into three core principles (yes, another tetrahedron)

We have always based our Cashflow management on the following:

  • Relationships
  • Systems
  • Processes that are bound by trust backed up by paper (written agreements made while relationships are good).

To read the rest of this article go to www.bit.ly/i2iguardian

Authentic Automation for Social Media

How to write and engage in a meaningful, timely way (with less stress)

There are many who would say that “Authentic” and “Automation” could not be used together when referring to social media messaging.

There is a delicate balance and a fine line between convenience and connection.

I know this because I’ve walked the line and fell on many occasions.  Now I have a solution that is working for me and could be the lifesaver for many others who are where I have been.  Maybe you’re in a place where you recognise that social media is important and also realise that there are only so many hours in a day to do the other essential activities required to run a successful business.

What I’m saying is that many business men and businesswomen REALLY don’t have the time to devote to social media to get the results that they want.

This is the reason why many business people have opted to automate some of their messaging.

The downside of automating or outsourcing your social media messaging  is that you may spend more time broadcasting in a social, relationship based environments than they do listening and engaging.

Social media is meant to be “social”. This means having a healthy balance between broadcasting and listening/engaging.

But how?

If you’d like to know

  • What to write
  • When to broadcast
  • How to do it in an authentic way that has benefits to your time and your business, then read on.

There IS a way to automate specific types of messages and still retain a high level of authenticity. It’s called V3E and stands for Values, Vision, Views and Events.

This strategy also allows more time to listen and engage, therefore, putting the “social” back in your social media.

This video provides a high-level of my V3E strategy and was delivered to a few members of The Business Wealth Club in Birmingham.

Watch and enjoy

V3E at The BWC

The second step to fill your personal ATM

Trust leads to revenue. Trust takes Time.

OK, so I think I’ve got your attention.  Well, in fact, if you’re reading this you’ve already proven the validity of the next step the principles of ATM.

How many times have you sat at your computer with the intention of doing one thing and found yourself doing something else? It happens to a lot of people, in fact, companies like Facebook, LinkedIn, Google and the like BANK on the fact that you will do just that.

It seems that we’ve moved into a new age of communication.  There was a time when we were in the information age, when we were hungry for access to information and the new ‘information superhighway’ (as the internet was called back then) was the place were everyone wanted to get a fast track to the fast lane.  As the old saying goes

“Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.”

Now, as my coach Scott Smith has noted, we’re in the age of ‘information overload’.  If you think about it, we’ve taken a very distinct change from getting information on everything to only wanting information on what we want, when we want it and in clear, distilled, limited to 140 characters, up to the second information.

I say all of that to say this….

Once you have the attention of your potential client, customer or partner you want to create a way for them to spend time with you.  This can be in the form of the written, spoken or presented word.  In my V3E strategy, I stress the importance of shaping your message so that it is aligned with your values and vision for yourself and your partners.  Regardless, the way to build trust and relationship is to create and master ways to spent time with the people you want to work with.   Ideally, you should have a product staircase or product matrix that you can clearly map out the pathway for your customers.  The product staircase is a way to let your customers take steady steps from product to product as they learn more about you, trust you, and decide if YOU are the one to solve their problem e.g.

Attention:  0 – 10 seconds

  • Your headlines
  • Your Logo
  • Your tagline

Time:  10 seconds – 30 minutes

(in order of typical duration)

  • Your tweets
  • Your audio blog (audioboo)
  • Your podcast
  • Your Facebook or LinkedIn messages
  • Your blog
  • Your videos
  • Your webinars

These are just a few examples and ideas that are progressively longer and longer and provide an opportunity for people to hear what you have to say, the value you have to offer and learn to trust you.  And what is a clear indication that they find value in what you have to offer? Well, that’s for the last step

Puzzle me this, puzzle me that….

Take a look at your favourite brand or product and consider the path that you took from first giving them your attention and then your time.  Consider the other pathways that they have created to allow you and other customers to spend time with them.

Do you have a product staircase or matrix? If you do, then what do you have in place to ensure that the steps are easy and comfortable transitions based upon the services that you offer.  If you don’t, then consider checking out the product staircase strategy at www.thebusinesswealthclub.co.uk to visit your nearest club (if you are in the UK).

The staircase is the structure, V3E shapes the content. The next step is the step that keeps you in business.

Make Your Business Into Your Personal ATM

If you want cash from your business, fill your ATM

After 25 years in business, both as an employee and being self-employed, I’ve picked up a few things along the way.  One of them is being VERY aware of the fact that

Cash is King.  Without cashflow, your business is dead.

This begs the question “How do I keep the cash flowing?”  There are a number of models, theories, strategies and techniques that are publicised and taught in various forums.  There is, however, a simple set of principles that – from my observation and experience – that they all rest upon.

Attention, Time & Money

Whether you are looking at your marketing strategy, sales pipeline or communication policy – Attention, Time and Money (ATM) principles apply.

Over the coming weeks, I’ll send a little time on each of these elements.

Attention

The DNA of ‘Attention’ as it relates to the ATM Principles

  • Duration of time:  0 – 10 seconds
  • Typical Modalities:  Visual, Audio
  • Products & Tools:  Logos, Advertisements, Signage

If you live an a city of any decent size in one of the Western nations, chances are that you are exposed to over  3,000 ‘brand impressions’ per day.  That’s based upon one study that I read and I suspect that if you live in a city like New York, London and the like, then it’s a lot higher.

Think about it…. from the logo on the packaging of your breakfast and the badge on your car (or other mode of transport) to the ads on your mobile apps or on TV – there are thousands of organisations vying for your attention.

As a consumer you are getting more and more discerning about which brands or messages get your attention.  In fact, marketeers are getting more and more sophisticated about doing it. Now technology is used to create communicate messages deep into your unconscious mind so that when the next message in the series (i.e. campaign) is sent, it will have a familiar ‘feel’ to it.

There are very clever, very well paid people who study semiotics and advise organisations how to communicate in powerful ways just using shape, form and colour and do to so in a fraction of a second.

Your brain is constantly filtering out things that are not of interest to you in order to let things through that you told it are important.  No wonder women are tired after a day of shopping.  It’s not just the walking and carrying of bags, it’s also that they have been making complex decisions between wants and needs / logic and intuition while the powerful messages are bubbling up to the surface of their minds.

I say all that to say this….

Really, when you step back and look at it, you don’t want to give your attention to everything.  It would be overwhelming. You’d be stuck at a place of inaction because your TIME would be taken up with the collective ATTENTION items.

The purpose of the Attention Principle is that it allows your brain to be aware of something and then assess whether or not you will

  1. give further attention and, therefore, time to it
  2. store it or
  3. ignore it

Getting customer’s attention is getting more and more difficult, but it is the mandatory first step before they will give you their time or their money.

Puzzle me this, puzzle me that….

What message are you conveying in the first ten seconds of ‘experiencing’ you or your brand? Does it reflect your values? Is it compelling? Does it invite others to spend time with you?

Maybe it’s time to pay a little attention to the first impression that you make when you first ask for or gain the attention of your audience, potential customers, partners or employees.

Whether it’s your logo, your office or even your appearance. Gaining attention is the first step and the crucial first qualifier before we will spend time with anyone or anything.

No More Cold Calls.

SME’s & SoloPreneurs – Turning “Cold Calls” into “Warm Conversations

Have you ever received a phone call from a salesperson that you did not invite to call you or show interest in their product?  The call could have been at home or at work but there’s one thing about a phone call that is received at any time that you weren’t sitting there waiting for the call;  the  a phone call is an interruption.

Based upon the fact there you’re usually not sitting by the phone waiting for it to ring –  and for the purpose of this blog –  I’m going to make a broad, sweeping statement, primarily for illustration.  That  statement is:

“All phone calls are interruptions.”

I’m not the first person to say this, the first person I heard say this was Tony Robbins during his “Time of Your Life” program. And when you think about it……that is SO true. I mean, really, whether it’s a cold call from a salesperson or a call from your mom, a phone call is usually an interruption and a distraction from something.

The real question is “how you will handle the interruption?” And behind that, is “what is the basis for how you will handle the interruption?”

Let’s imagine that you were doing some housework and, while we’re at it, let’s imagine you kind of enjoy doing housework (I know this may be a stretch for some people, but bear with me.) As you are doing the housework the phone rings……   (Brriiiing, Briiiiinnnnnng)

Scenario 1

You have the standard set of choices:

  • A) ignore the call and let it go to voicemail.
  • B) let it go to voicemail and screen the call to see if it’s important.
  • C) answer the call and stop what you’re doing
  • D) answer the call but tell them that you will return the call or to call you back at a specific time that is more convenient.

Let’s say that it is someone near and dear to you that is on the phone. Because of your relationship with them you choose letter [Insert your choice here]

Whatever the choice, normally you will feel fine with it and the person on the other end would be fine with it because you respect each other’s time and know that you have time to achieve the outcome when it is mutually beneficial. No rush, no pressure, no problem.

All of these choices will depend upon the relationship that you have with the person who’s calling. The relationship has been built over time and you have specific values, views, ambitions, genetics or at least something in common with that person. The key here is the depth, breadth and importance of RELATIONSHIP.

Scenario 2

The call is from a company that you

  • do not know,
  • are not expecting a call from them and
  • you did not express an interest in their products or services (to expect a call).

You still have the same choices but there is a different feel to this situation. For some (and may I say this particularly applies to the high number of polite, British people who wouldn’t dare say “NOT INTERESTED” and then hang up) there can be a sense of fear that they may get trapped into buying something. Or, possibly, that they will end up on the phone for longer than they would want to be away from the activity that they were doing – all the while feeling pressured into doing something that they had not planned on doing.

This is a cold call. What’s missing here is depth or breadth of relationship. And as you may not have expressed any interest in the product or service

“the call has no importance and becomes more than interruption it becomes an annoyance.”

And who wants to start a relationship with someone that is an annoyance?

I say all that to say this….

With the advent and growth of social media, users are giving enough information about themselves (for free) to the social media platforms to allow more targeted marketing than ever before. As such,  it seems a bit’ old hat’ to call people who have neither shown interest in the product or service or that are unaware of your particular organisation.

“There are plenty of ways to find that common ground to establish some depth or breadth of relationship with a potential customer before making direct/one-to-one contact.”

In fact, there are ways to make the relevance and importance of the call greater than that of a cold call for next to nothing per lead – if you know how.

The way to do this is to use some of the features built into the advertising choices on social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn. This will allow you to do a “bullets not bombs” campaign that could save you hundreds and make you thousands (depending upon your budget, product or service).

I will discuss some of these strategies in a future blog as space does not allow at this time.

Puzzle me this, puzzle me that….

Are you aware that you can advertise on Google for free? Granted, there are techniques that you can use that will make it more effective and it should be part of a marketing campaign/strategy, but Google will fund your first exploration of their advertising platform.

If that seems a little too technical then I would suggest that you attend one of the many free workshops that are available online, in person or in books/magazines.

If even that seems a little bit too much like’ hard work’ then you can always seek out an expert in this area who would be happy to do it for you, at a price.

The techniques and strategies that are used to transform cold calls to warm conversations are actually part of the curriculum within The Business Wealth Club (an organisation in the UK and USA). I endorse this organisation as they provide its Members with the strategies, skills and support to not only understand how this all works but to also use it in a way that grows their business.

For more information please visit www.thebusinesswealthclub.com and request a voucher to visit a local club. The voucher, worth £99 is only available from the club mentors, members or head office (just so that you know). Tell them “Marcellus sent me

Your MMMMarketing Strategy (4M’s)

Start with a Strategy

I’m sure by now that you see ads, read messages, read blogs, or even have been to a talk or seminar about social media. It seems to me that everybody is talking about the tools and forgetting to focus on the fundamental strategy and the message.

In this blog let’s discuss the broad marketing strategy.

At The Business Wealth Club we have been delivering a more clear and credible message about the use of social media. In some cases it’s less about the tool you use and more about the message sending. In a recent workshop delivered in Birmingham and in Croydon, we shared a few acronyms that are useful and powerful tools that you can use to build a robust marketing strategy.

The 4M’s of marketing;

  1. Market – you need to know your market
  2. Message – you need to have a clear set of statements
  3. Media – based on the previous  two M’s you need to select the correct media channel to reach your market with your message
  4. Method – unless you are a marketing expert you could choose a method that will build trust and flow to the market (community)

As members of The business wealth club, Birmingham will know (because I am the mentor of that club) I have a saying,

“the answer very rarely the answer you need”

The fact is that the real answer you need as a business leader lies in the result of the journey that is made when you know how to effectively and efficiently implement a strategy to get the answer. That’s why The Business Wealth Club is such a powerful community that gets results consistently for its members.

That’s why I love being a part of this community. This is and endorsement of this particular community because I know that it works.  For more information go to  http://www.thebusinesswealthclub.co.uk/birmingham

Soc. Med. Messages You CAN Automate, Credibly

The Delicate Balance In Automating Your Social Media Message

I recall my University professor telling us

“Repetition Makes Reputation”

I’m sure by now that you see ads, read messages, read blogs, or even have been to a talk or seminar about social media. It seems to me that everybody is talking about the tools and forgetting to focus on the fundamental strategy and the message.

In this blog let’s discuss broad marketing messages that can be automated

WARNING: If you plan to apply this approach, you should read the previous blog related to the 4M’s of marketing. Better yet you should attend the next meeting of your nearest branch of The Business Wealth Club. At the club you will learn how to distinguish which channels should or should not have automated messages and which communities are more accepting of this approach. An ineffective application of this strategy could result in you damaging your online reputation.

At  recent workshops delivered at The Business Wealth Clubs in Birmingham and Croydon, we shared a few acronyms that are useful and powerful tools that you can use to build a robust marketing strategy.

V3E – Automated messages

  • Values – what are the values that drive you as a person and your organisation
  • Vision – what is the vision that have for yourself and your business
  • Views – what is your opinion on issues and events that impact you, your community and your customers
  • Events – what events have you attended and what did they do for you. What events are you hosting or attending that would be of interest to other members of your community or marketplace

As members of The Business Wealth Club, Birmingham will know (because I am the mentor of that club) I have a saying,

“the answer very rarely the answer”

The fact is that the real answer typically has more power and beneficial impact as a result of the journey that is made when you know how to effectively and efficiently implement a strategy to get the answer. That’s why The Business Wealth Club is such a powerful community that gets results consistently for its members.

For more information visit your nearest business wealth club to see how and why this community continues to get the results that we get. http:www.thebusinesswealthclub.co.uk/Birmingham