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Attention!

May I have your attention please?  That’s what we’ll discuss today – how to grab attention.

It’s hard to do with so much competition for ears and eyeballs.

You have to make your message stand out. We saw a blog about a shining example of just this thing.

David Armano, an influential blogger, wrote a post about an e-mail from Darren Barefoot and Julie Szabo. They are the authors of the book, Getting to First Base: A Social Media Marketing Play Book.

Only it wasn’t just your typical e-mail. He not only noticed it … he stopped everything to blog about it! And here we are talking about it. So it worked, even better than they imagined!

So, you ask, what was so special about this e-mail?

Their e-mail was a digital photograph of a handwritten note. We’ll describe it here, but you can see the actual photo on David’s blog. The photo includes a pen in the upper right-hand corner, a decorative stamp in the lower right. It’s all placed on a visually pleasing background. The easy-to-read, cursive text is written with a silver paint marker.

It’s incredibly well-done. It looks like something you’d see on a postcard or a poster.

Let’s talk about what Darren & Julie did right.

#1 – They were original.
They didn’t send an e-mail OR a hand-written note. They sent a PICTURE of a handwritten note. How unique!

#2 – They spoke to David as a friend.
Their letter starts out “Dear David”. The next line compliments him and his site. The tone is friendly and personable.

#3 – They were polite in their request.
They didn’t assume anything. They asked him to check out their book, but didn’t presume that he would like it or even comment on it.

#4 – They provided a customized link.
This was their final special touch – they provided David with his very own special link to their book. How special would that make you feel? It also made it very easy for him to check them out.

They intrigued him, flattered him, and made it easy for him, but they made one mistake that could have blown it all.

They misspelled the word “you’re”. They spelled it “your”.

David said that it didn’t bother him because he was so impressed with everything else. However, to some people it could have been a deal-breaker.

So the lesson is – when you create your stand-out piece, make sure you proof it and proof it again. Get a second set of eyes on it, too!

Do you have an attention-grabbing secret that you’d like to share?
Leave us a Comment!

No one claims authorship of today’s bigg quote, but it’s still a good one.

“The principle mark of genius is not perfection, but originality.”

So don’t worry about coloring inside the lines, just color and make a splash.

Next time, we’ll discuss what we can learn from two country classics about getting in tune with your job! Can you say YEE-HAW?

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

There’s Trouble On The Homefront

Bigg Challenge
Robin e-mailed us because she recently started a home-based business and she’s having trouble with all the distractions.

Her young children need attention, family and friends call her, the neighbor pops in periodically, and she often ends up working on a personal project instead of her business.

She wants to know how to be more productive amidst all the distractions!

Bigg Advice
Congratulations on your start-up, Robin. And don’t feel alone in your situation – a lot of people have trouble adapting to working at home. Here are 3 thoughts to make working at home work:

1st – Designate a workspace just for your business
Create a space that looks and feels like an office. Having a dedicated space puts you in the right frame of mind. Design it with productivity and comfort in mind because you will be spending a lot of time there. It should be more than the kitchen table or a card table in the guest room.

2nd – Establish a schedule
Determine your work times. Sounds like a job, doesn’t it? You’re not limiting your freedom; you’re ensuring your success!

Consider taking the kids to daycare. Isn’t that what you would do if you worked in an office?

You may be trying to keep all of your costs down, during this start-up phase. But you’ll never get out of the start-up phase if you don’t make time for work.

Maybe you decided to work at home so you could spend more time with your kids. Then dedicate a couple of hours during the day to work. Perhaps while the kids take their naps. Then really hunker down after they go to bed for the evening.

Your schedule doesn’t have to be 9 to 5. You can custom design it!  Just stick to it once you’ve established it.

3rd – Communicate the boundaries.
With the adults in your life, this SHOULD be easier. Let them know that you value your time with them, but you need time to build your business. Consider setting regular times for coffee or lunch. Wouldn’t it be nice to get away now and then?

Let them know when you won’t be available – just like if you had a job working in an office! If they call during your work hours, let it go to voice mail. Check to make sure it’s not an emergency; then get back to work. And just because there’s a knock on the door doesn’t mean you have to answer it – unless it’s Publishers Clearing House!

With your kids, it may be trickier. If they’re really young, they won’t understand. Try this – plan some play time with them early in the day. Explain that you have things to do, but if they’re really good, you’ll do something fun with them later.

Thanks for sharing your bigg challenge with us, Robin. We wish you bigg success!

Do you have some tips for working at home? Leave us a Comment!

Our Bigg Quote today is by Paul J. Meyer:

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a
commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.”

Working at home works best when you plan your work and work your plan.

Next time, we’ll discuss how to get attention for your message amidst all the clutter. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

More Bigg Challenges

Should You Count On Your Counter-Offer

Getting The Credit You Deserve

Turn Misfortune Into Fortune: Tips for Starting Over

When A Co-Worker Bad Mouths You

Practice Not Being Perfect  

Recession Progression

Pretend that we could eat as much as you want, of whatever you want, whenever you want, with no consequences. What would a lot of people do?

Probably eat a lot of their favorite foods!

Of course, in the real world, we know that if we do that for any period of time, we’ll have to go on a diet.

That’s what a recession is – the economy going on a diet.

It’s just the business cycle. Things go well. People get over-exuberant. Too much debt. Bad investments. Then a recession gets rid of the excesses. It’s part of the evolutionary process.

So today, we want to discuss how to survive and thrive in a recession.

How to survive a recession

  • Develop a contingency plan.
  • Start by asking yourself, “What if …?”

    What if you get laid off?
    What if you have to work longer hours because other people got laid off?
    What if your time gets cut back?
    What if your benefits get cut?
    What if your business takes a hit?

    You know your situation. Think about the most likely scenarios and develop a plan for them. Then, do what you can now.

    For example, why put off updating your resume until you need it? Do it now! Most people wait until they need it. You’ll be a step ahead.

  • Watch your spending
  • Businesses cut spending to get through a recession. We should take a clue. Try to avoid making long-term commitments. In times of uncertainty, wait until you’re more certain before making major purchases.

  • Don’t panic.
  • Resist the urge to drastically change your retirement plan and other long-term investments. You need to look at the specifics of your situation. However, as a general rule, if you won’t need the money for five or more years, you should probably stay the course. Historically, that’s been the best thing to do.

    If you need the money before that, you may want to deploy another strategy. Check with your financial planner to figure out your best option.

How to thrive in a recession

  • Take advantage of low interest rates.
  • Interest rates tend to go down during a recession. So consider refinancing your mortgage and other debt. Business owners may have prepayment penalties, but it may still make sense. In both cases, you need to analyze your specific situation.

    Let’s assume you refinance. Use what you save each month to build your passive income.

  • Keep investing in yourself
  • Once again, let’s take a clue from businesses. Businesses that thrive, after a recession, are often those that kept on investing, during the recession.

    There are a lot of opportunities once a recession ends. Position yourself to thrive – take a class, attend seminars, and go to conferences. You’ll build skills and make great contacts. One of those contacts may lead to your next bigg opportunity!

  • Look for great deals.
  • Once-in-a-lifetime opportunities may present themselves during a recession. People are often more willing to negotiate. You probably won’t find your great opportunity advertised anywhere.

    So how do you find it? Network, network, network! You’ll most likely be surprised by it, so keep your eyes and ears open. Your accidental discovery will be the result of your active searching!

Our Bigg Quote today is by an unknown author.

“A bend in the road is not the end of the road… unless you fail to make the turn.”

So keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. Be ready for detours so you don’t have to come to a screeching halt!

Next time, we’ll look at the question, “Does it pay to blame others to cover your backside?”

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

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Do Your Customers Trust You?

Recently, the Better Business Bureau released the results their first Trust in Business Index. They found that trust in business is down and cite contributing factors such as:

  • toy recalls
  • the sub-prime mortgage crisis
  • ethical lapses in leadership
  • declining customer service

All of these things affect a company’s reputation. Stephen Covey, in his great book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, talks about “emotional bank accounts”. When we do good things, deposits are made into our emotional bank account; when we do bad things, withdrawals are made.

Trust is built as we make more deposits. Relationships are built on trust. According to BBB, the single biggest factor in earning customer trust is honesty, closely followed by dependability.

Today, we’ll look at three things that you can do to increase your customers’ trust.

  • Under-promise, then over-deliver
  • Unfortunately, we usually see the opposite. In most cases, the intentions are good. However, good intentions don’t build relationships. Good actions do. One of the keys here is to manage expectations to make sure you don’t over commit.

    On the show, George talked about a customer who wanted him to commit to something he didn’t he could do. After much prodding, he told the customer that he could lie to her now, and make her happy. But she would probably be disappointed later.

    Or she could accept what he’s saying, and be happy when he was able to do it. He asked which one she preferred. She understood.

    Tell me now and it’s an explanation. Tell me later and it’s an excuse. Customers accept explanations; nobody likes excuses. Once you have set the proper expectations, you can work to exceed them. That’s where it gets fun!

  • Follow-through
  • This is closely related to the first point, but it’s so important that we thought it deserved to be separate. Say what you’ll do, and then do what you say. We’re all so busy these days; it’s easy to make promises that we don’t keep. Don’t be one of those people! Follow-through.

    Develop a personal system that tracks your promises so you rarely “drop the ball”.

    During the show, George talked a friend who’s in sales. When he called prospects, they often told him to call back some time later. He developed a system to notify him when he should call them back. Then he called them!

    George liked this idea. He started testing sales people by agreeing to a follow-up date. A very small percentage actually did it! If someone won’t live up to their promises before they sell you something, how do you think they’ll do afterwards?

    Follow-through won’t always make you money, but it always builds trust.

  • Address the needs of your customer first, then worry about your needs.
  • On the show, Mary-Lynn talked about her sister, who recently saw some fraudulent activity on her credit card. When she called the credit card company, they tried to sell her another credit card and additional services on her current credit card.

    She explained that she didn’t care about that right now; she was stressed out that someone was using her credit card. The service representative just kept pitching her on other services.

    It’s hard to understand why anyone would design a process that way. If someone comes to you with a need, you won’t get anywhere until that need is addressed.

 

How do you build trust with your customers?
As a customer, what do you wish businesses would do?
Leave us a comment.

 

Going back to the survey, we talked about honesty and dependability, which finished first and second in building trust. In case you’re wondering, here are the next three:

#3 – safe products
#4 – value
#5 – price

There’s one more thing that we found interesting from this survey:

67% of the respondents would rather patronize a small business than a large one.

That’s good news for all you small business owners. You have an edge – consumers trust you more! And now may be a good time to start that business you’ve been dreaming about. Check out 10 Signs That You’re Ready To Quit Your Job And Start A Business.

Our Bigg Quote today comes from Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s.

“If you work just for money, you’ll never make it, but if you love what you’re doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours.”

Remember that your customers will last if they feel like you put them first. Your honesty and dependability leads to their loyalty.

Next time, we’ll talk about the marshmallow test. Can you resist sweet temptations? Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Freedom Or Security – Which Do You Choose?

Let’s start with some definitions of what we’re talking about when we say freedom and security.

When we talk about security here, we’re talking about things like your personal financial security or job security. Freedom means financial freedom and career freedom.

Many experts say that it’s a trade-off – you have to choose one or the other. We want to examine that today.

So here are a few questions –
Given the definitions above, when we say “security”, what do you think?
If you’re like most people, you’re probably thinking things like “a regular paycheck”, “an annual salary increase”, and “no fear of losing my job.”

What do you think when we say “freedom?”
You might say “creative control”, “no money worries”, “set my own schedule”, and “be my own boss.”

Which one is more fun to think about?
Freedom, of course! In fact, most people tend to smile when thinking about freedom. Thinking about security doesn’t yield the same emotions.

If that’s the case, why do we spend so much time worrying about security and so little time planning for freedom?
That’s a good question, isn’t it? Of course, you might say it’s because you have bills to pay and a family to take care of.

What if you could have both freedom and security?
Isn’t that ideal? Before we offer some suggestions on how to make that happen, we want you to think about how secure that job truly is.

Think about two scenarios –
Scenario 1: You’re an employee with an employer.
Think of your employer as your customer. Think of the services you provide to your employer as your business. Now, look carefully at that … isn’t that what a job really is?

How many customers do you have?               One.
What happens if you lose that customer?      You lose all your income.
How secure is that?                                            It’s not.

Scenario 2: You’re self-employed.
Now picture yourself in your own business with five customers. To keep it simple, assume that each of these customers gives you exactly the same amount of business.

What happens if you lose one?                        You only lose 20% of your income.

So which one is more secure?

Ah, but you protest – with your job comes unemployment insurance and/or a contract with severance pay!

That’s true. However it doesn’t change how you will feel when you realize that your job is being eliminated or you’re being let go for any number of reasons. Wouldn’t you rather live a life free from that concern? To do that, you need more than one source of income … you need multiple “customers.”

2 ways to get started having both freedom and security:

#1: Start a business part-time.
Your part-time business may be related to what you already do, or it may not. If it’s related, make sure you’re not violating any company policies.

How do you get started in business? Get a customer! Now, you’ve diversified your income. Then get another … now you’re even better off!

Hopefully, the income from your part-time business grows to exceed your full-time salary. Now you’re free and secure!

#2: Invest aggressively.
You don’t have to start your own business to have the freedom we’re talking about. Start setting aside money each month into your “freedom fund.” Invest it wisely and over time, you’ll see your passive income start to grow.

When your passive income equals your salary from your full-time job, you’re free and secure. If this strategy interests you, check out Getting Aggressively Passive.

Considering a career change?
Subscribe to the FREE Bigg Success Weekly newsletter to help you plan it and inspire you to go for it. Sign up now and get the Bigg Goal-Setters Workbook. It’s FREE, too!

Our Bigg Quote today is by Alan Cohen, the great author.

“It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.”

Don’t let a false sense of security hold you back. Ultimately, true security comes from the freedom you find when you pursue your dreams with passion.

Next time, we’ll answer a question from one of our listeners. She’s doing most of the work, but getting little of the credit. We’ll discuss how to get the credit you deserve.

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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