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.
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.
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
I 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
You have a business, but are people talking about it?
Word-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.
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
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 »
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
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 »
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
by Mary Marshall, CEO Coach
Change before you have to – Jack Welch
Change inside an organization is the one constant you can count on. If change doesn’t happen, growth slows and eventually, obsolescence takes over. Few like it, most complain about it and just wish we would stop tinkering with things and let it be, but as leaders, we can’t. However, changing things for change sake is never a good strategy and usually leads to chaos, as does poorly managed change.
So how do you do it well? Just to be clear, it’s hard. Start with the premise that it will take work and won’t be a breeze and you’re already a few steps ahead. Another assumption you need to make is that change is a constant. The minute you change something, no matter how well thought out, an unintended consequence will show up. The theory of constraints says that the minute you fix (change) one thing, you cause something else in the flow to break or need work. It’s a never-ending process and for most entrepreneurs, it’s half the fun. For employees, not so much. Continue reading