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Get a Brand Over – Part 3

brandoverToday, we continue our discussion with John Tantillo, The Marketing Doctor. John is a behavioral research psychologist with over twenty years of marketing experience. He is the President of the Marketing Department of America and regularly appears on Fox News and Fox Business News. Last time, we discussed the difference between a makeover and a brand-over. Let’s get back to the conversation …

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marylynnLet’s talk about social media strategy. Say you’re a small business owner. You don’t necessarily want to get on Facebook and have a Fan Page with only ten people. Would it be better to just be yourself on Facebook and tell people about your day, rather than setting up a Fan Page for your business?

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johnYeah. I would say to first get accustomed to it. As a matter of fact, my Facebook Fan Page for the Marketing Doctor just started last week and I’ve been on Facebook for a year or two. I preferred my personal page where I described what I liked and disliked, linked to my blogs and things like that. You just have to take the first steps. Like anything else in life, once you overcome the inertia, magical things happen.

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georgeWe met you online, John. We met you through another good friend, Jim Bouchard, who we also met online. It’s amazing how powerful these tools are in placing every individual, every small business, close to par with large businesses.

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johnYou could say that again! A small business is much more nimble to change. It’s the difference between a forty-foot sailboat and a multi-ton carrier trying to change course. If I could talk a little bit to the contact with Jim Bouchard, it was very serendipitous. I met his wife Alex on Facebook. She asked me to look at her husband’s web site and critique it. So I did, which was unique according to Alex. From that, Jim wrote back and thanked me. The point is that I didn’t think I was going to meet Jim through Alex. It was nothing like that. I was trying to assist. Through that assist, we’re here today. We never would have met if it weren’t for social media. It’s like going to a cocktail party but not leaving the house!

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Thanks John so much for sharing your wisdom with us.

We recommend that you get to know John better by checking out his site. He blogs, consults, speaks and offers great marketing tips for free in his online classroom.

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Thank you for reading our post today. Please join us next time when we’ll discuss making money multiply magically. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00475-090409.mp3

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10 Danger Signs for Business – Part 1

danger We’ve heard that diagnosing a medical condition early greatly increases the chances of successful treatment. The same is true for our businesses – we want to spot the minor issues so they don’t become major problems.

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Cash to a business is like blood to our bodies. It has to continue flowing or we won’t survive. As a small business owner, the bottom line is that you can’t run out of cash. So you have to know how to diagnose and treat the source of the ailment before it spreads. With that in mind, here are ten signs that your business may be heading for trouble:

#1 – Lost market share

Your sales may be growing, but your share of the market may be falling. Are they up because you’ve increased prices? Is the growth of your sales keeping pace with the growth of the markets you serve?

Market share is precious – among other things, it provides leverage to raise prices as your costs increase. As competitors enter your market, you have to work even harder to maintain (and hopefully increase) your share.

#2 – Declining customer counts

Your sales may be holding steady, but fewer and fewer people are making purchases. Your remaining customers are spending more, possibly because of price increases. There’s nothing wrong with that, but you have to find a way to attract new customers because a certain amount of customer attrition is natural.

We don’t want our customers to leave because they’re unhappy. But you can’t make everyone happy all the time so even that will happen. We’ll also have customers move away, pass away, grow out of our product or service, and the like.

#3 – Low repeat and referral business

Many businesses actually lose money to get a customer for the first-time. If they break-even, they’re very happy. It’s the follow-up purchases that make a difference to our bottom line.

A healthy percentage of repeat and referral business also shows that your product or service is still meeting the needs of a core base of people. And these people are the ones who will refer other people to you, which is much less expensive than depending totally on advertising to grow your business.

#4 – Declining sales

Right now, a lot of businesses are experiencing this. It may have nothing to do with you – it may be your industry that is experiencing trouble. So you have to ask yourself … is this a long-term trend or is it cyclical? That’s the first thing you have to determine.

Next, ask yourself, will my industry recover? Some industries were facing challenges even before this recession. It’s only accelerating the long-term trend. Other industries will do just fine coming out of it. You have to know which one applies to you.

Once you’re satisfied that your industry will survive, you have to look at your own business. A lot of shake-out is happening even in healthy industries. Isolate whether it’s a problem with your business or the industry as a whole to know your best strategy.

#5 – Disproportionate sales to a small group of customers

Picture this extreme situation – all of your sales come from one customer. You’re totally at the mercy of that customer. It’s like being an employee without the safeguards that go with employment!

Generally speaking, if more than ten percent of your sales are to one customer, you may face trouble at some point. Five percent is even better. Bigg customers are great. But serving a bigg number of customers leads to bigg success.

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Thank you for reading our post today. Join us next time when we talk about five more early warning signs of trouble ahead in your business. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00348-031109.mp3

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Marketing in Tough Times: Part 2

marketing2 Today on The Bigg Success Show, we continue our conversation with John Jantsch, the Duct Tape Marketer. Last time, John talked about the importance of getting closer to customers and strategic partnerships to build business. Let’s get back to the conversation …

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georgeJohn, one of the businesses I used to own was a plumbing company. In that business, I learned that many times there are ways to work with competitors – especially if they aren’t direct competition. Even within an industry, people may have specialties and you may find people that you can partner with that are better at something than you are.

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johnThe way to really look at that is, “How can you become more valuable to your customer?” Look at it that way as opposed to, “Who can I go to who will refer business me to me?” That’s the mistake that a lot of people make. They reach out to people and say, “Hey, why don’t you send me some business?” And even though they may be capable of doing so, what’s the motivation in that? If the motivation can be, “How can I help you grow your business? How can I provide more value to my customers?” Building a strong network around everything that your customers might need, with you being the go-to person to recommend other people to them, is a great marketing and business strategy. Your customers will become much more loyal if they can see you as somebody who cares about their success as opposed to somebody who is just there to sell them something.

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marylynnIt’s all about being real – now more than ever. Going back to what’s been going on in 2008, some of the big guys have fallen and so has trust. People want to feel like they can rely on you.

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johnRight. In fact, my book starts out with my definition of marketing for the small business: finding someone who has a need and getting them to know, like, and trust you. That’s the real business that every small business is in. Well, frankly any business, but certainly the small business who can’t “buy” know, like and trust. If you keep that as the focus, it becomes the filter for every decision that you make that has a customer impact in your business.

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georgeIt seems to me, John, that you’re saying we need to focus on the relationships and not so much on the revenue. The revenue will come.

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johnI certainly believe that. I’m the first to acknowledge that sometimes you have to put food on the table. There is a lot of pressure to actually make the sale. But long-term, the companies that will survive this economic storm will focus on adding value, differentiating, and building a brand that can be trusted. In some cases, these companies won’t experience any downturn and may even find it to be an opportunity. Because people who haven’t been doing things right – not treating people very well, not doing good work, but the phone keeps ringing because people need stuff done – will be the first to go. If you’re in there doing things right in good times and bad, a shakeout in your industry may be an opportunity.

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We’re so grateful that you took time to read our post today. Join us next time when we wrap up our conversation with John. You’ll hear about the one thing you have to embrace to keep your business from being left behind. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00309-011509.mp3

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Marketing in Tough Times: Part 1

marketing1 Today on The Bigg Success Show, we begin a discussion with John Jantsch. John is the author of the great book, Duct Tape Marketing – The World’s Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide. Forbes chose his Duct Tape Marketing blog as one of their favorites and Harvard features it on their marketing site. He also writes a monthly column and does a podcast for Entrepreneur magazine.

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marylynn
That’s a long intro and it’s not even everything!

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john
That’s good … we wouldn’t want to bore people right off the bat!

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marylynnJohn, I have to tell you. You’re the guy we wanted to come to because with everything going on with the economy, small businesses are struggling right now. A lot of the money that they might have had for advertising and marketing just isn’t there right now. So we want to talk with you about how to promote yourself on a shoestring budget.

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johnA lot of small business owners have done that. The headlines are that the Dow is down. Big companies are cutting back all kinds of jobs. The newspaper industry is in turmoil because of losing advertisers. But the typical small business owner is not putting out hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising. In many cases, they have gotten to where they’ve gotten because they worked on a shoestring anyway. I wrote a column this week for a publication and talked about the natural competitive advantages of small business. I think that we can have this tendency to get in this “the sky is falling” mode and quite frankly, my experience at least is, that it’s not falling on the small business owner. The small business owner is now finding that the market momentum, sheer momentum, is perhaps not carrying them and that they have to get better at doing some of the things that maybe they should have been doing anyway. But my current soap box right now is to say, “Hey, everything is okay. Let’s just buckle in and do some things right.” So that was my long-winded intro to answer your question. Right now is the best time ever to get closer to your customer.

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george
So what are some customer-building strategies that don’t require spending a lot of money?

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johnYour customer, whether it’s a business or an individual, is feeling some of this economic pressure as well. This is a great time to huddle up and say, “What more can we be doing with you, for you? How can we get together and help each other?” Strategic partnerships have always been a great way to go for folks who are strapped for making the phone ring. Go out and find other people that have your ideal customer in mind. Find ways to co-brand some of your marketing materials, put workshops on together, or maybe just literally pass out each other’s materials. One of the greatest partnerships I ever put together was a plumbing contractor. They were going into people’s house every day. So we said to them, “Let’s find an electrical contractor, a roofing contractor, and three or four other people who treat their customers the way you like. Why don’t you all start going in and recommending each other?” You know how that happens – once you develop trust with a customer, they’ll ask you for every resource you can give them! So doing things like that – things people should be doing, good times and bad. It really does put the spotlight on them now if you haven’t been doing them.

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Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success.
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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Thanks for reading today’s post. Next time, we’ll continue our conversation with John. He discusses ways to add value for customer loyalty. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00308-011409.mp3

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(Image in today's post by duchessa)

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