Category Archives: Grow Your Business

In search of the minimum viable audience.

by Seth Godin

Of course everyone wants to reach the maximum audience. To be seen by millions, to maximize return on investment, to have a huge impact.

And so we fall all over ourselves to dumb it down, average it out, pleasing everyone and anyone.

You can see the problem.

When you seek to engage with everyone, you rarely delight anyone. And if you’re not the irreplaceable, essential, one-of-a-kind changemaker, you never get a chance to engage with the market.

The solution is simple but counterintuitive: Stake out the smallest market you can imagine. The smallest market that can sustain you, the smallest market you can adequately serve. This goes against everything you learned in capitalism school, but in fact, it’s the simplest way to matter.

Continue reading on Seth’s Blog

Sometimes, old school marketing really works.

Direct mail has faded dramatically as a way to reach out to new customers. That said, you can stand out in the recipient’s mail box if you keep things simple and do it right. Here’s an example of a postcard that might work for you, and it can be really cost effective.

Post card example

If you want to give it a try, go for a 5 1/2 inch by 8 1/2 inch format with a dramatic color on one side. You can use a photo to grab people’s attention but the right “grab line” will do a better job.


A little help from Ken Sethney, volunteer business mentor at Kitsap SCORE and former marketing coach for the CEOs of mid-size companies. 

How big do you really want to grow your business?

by Kelly Deis of SoundPoint Consulting

Should you grow your business? It is a simple question with an assumed answer. The answer, of course, is YES! But, I am not sure it is quite so simple.

Before you invest your hard-earned money and time, think about what you want to accomplish and why. Then, carefully consider your options.

Decide to Grow

We have all heard horror stories of businesses that over-extended, only to lose it all. If your expansion strategy is not well conceived or executed, it could be a costly misadventure, both in terms of money and focus on the existing business.

If your business is well-established, has a loyal customer base, is reasonably protected from the competition, profitable and affords you the lifestyle you have sought (both in terms of discretionary income and time) then think hard before you take on an expansion strategy. Understand your goals – both financial and personal, before moving forward.  Continue reading

When you’re in business, it’s always Day 1.

leadershipI read with interest how Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, described his philosophy around “Day 1.”When asked what Day 2 looked like he described it as “Day 2 is stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death. And that’s why it is always Day 1.”

Personally, I love this approach. I mentioned it recently to a group of entrepreneurs in the Emerging Leaders class here in Seattle and it seemed to fit in perfectly with what they are working on. They have all been in business for 3 or more years and are now creating new strategic growth plans for their businesses of the future. In order to do this without all the “constraints” that experience and beliefs dictate are “true,” we have to look at it as Day 1, and then consider – what will you do differently?

Think of it like Groundhog Day. You get to keep doing it over and over again but with a different template, different knowledge, and a different environment. If you were recreating your business, what would Day 1 look like now? Who’s to say you can’t give it a try?  Continue reading

It’s time you learned about the art of referrals.

You have a business, but are people talking about it?

man holding card referralsWord-of-mouth is just as relevant today as it has ever been. When a business asks you to talk about how great they are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and so on, that’sword-of-mouth. When you provide good content that others can share, that is also word of mouth. Today, potential customers are more likely to pay attention to people they know and a large general following (e.g., Yelp) than if they see the same commentary in a company advertisement.

In fact, they’ll pay much more attention. The Word of Mouth Marketing Association published some research a couple years ago that found “the value of a word of mouth impression is from five to 100+ times more valuable than a paid media impression.”

You don’t have to spend all day convincing people to spread the word about your new business on social media.

Continue reading

Are you a military Veteran and thinking about owning your own business?

Here are some tools that will make things a little easier.

The Veteran Entrepreneur Portal (VEP) is designed to save you time! BusinessUSA makes it easier for small businesses to access Federal services, regardless of its source. VA OSDBU quickly connects Veteran entrepreneurs to relevant ‘best-practices’ and information. Collectively, VEP offers direct access to the resources necessary to guide every step of entrepreneurship.

Start a Business

Start a Business
This interactive tool connects you to the right resources specific to your small business objective. Navigate through relevant topics to access information on starting a business.
Learn how to start a business »

Access Financing

Access Financing
Use this customized wizard to identify financing resources to support the start-up, development, or growth of your small business.
Learn about financial resources »

Grow Your Business

Grow Your Business
Find out how to successfully expand your small business. Explore dedicated subjects with valuable information and resources to help you grow your company.
Learn how to grow your business »

Find Opportunities

Find Opportunities
Become familiar with Federal government contracting programs. Answer a few quick questions in this wizard to find Federal opportunities that align with your small business.
Find Federal government contracting programs » Continue reading