Thursday, January 29, 2009

Marketing your business in a slow economy.

"Plan marketplace disruptions that favor your business"
was an article in today’s daily Herald by Jim Kendall

I found it very interesting. In the article he writes:

"Adam Hartung suggests that your business should be the one that shifts the marketplace in a manner that takes competitors by surprise and puts them on the defensive. He goes on to talk about being willing to change. When you focus on execution you become obsessed with price.

"Then soon the difference between you and everyone else is merely price! Change your base and change the competition."

My comments are -- Do what others are not doing. Make yourself different, not the same. Distance yourself from the pack.

Hartung also says what I have been saying for years: "Get obsessive about the competition. Analyze the competition."

Read the rest of the article.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Intro to Web 2.0, Backlinks - Part 2

You have to speak the jargon of the Web to succeed in this battle ground. And, this is a giant war, a war for sales. It will get worse as the economy shrinks! Consumer confidence hit a new low as reported this morning.

And, people do NOT play fair. There are smoke screens and diversionary tactics, super highways and dead ends, gurus and scam artists. This is a playground where acronyms abound. HTML, FTP, RSS, PDF, JPG, MOV, etc., etc., etc.

You have to learn by doing. You have to walk the walk and talk the talk. But before you can Run, Run, Run you must crawl, crawl, crawl.

Building backlinks to your site improves your visitor traffic. More visitor traffic should increase you SALES. If you are selling something they want.

Forget about the past, this is a new day with a new market. Building backlinks is but one way to build your success. Use the free tools Web 2.0 offers you.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Web2.0 My Understand Thus Far, Part I

Web2.0 is social networking. And social networking can be, and is being, used for business, point blank. You can use Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, TBD, etc., to only socialize. You can share events, play games, meet old and new friends, post photos, etc., and waste a lot of time. You can post videos on YouTube for humor, shock, information, etc.

Or you can use these, and other Web2.0 avenues, to get people to visit your Website. And most of these avenues are FREE advertising and demand only sweat equity. Some are better than others. The point is if you want to generate sales through social networking, you can. If you get more people to visit, more people will purchase. Increase traffic, increase sales. Point blank, end of story.

The old rule of thumb in retailing was you either have traffic or you build traffic. In either case you pay for it. One option was to rent in a mall or street location where there was a lot of traffic, and a lot of rent. Or to start in a low traffic (i.e. home based, garage, industrial park, etc.) and spend money on advertising for traffic.

That day is passé.

Some of you spent a lot of time, money, and energy at last week’s Party Planning Showcase in a Northwest Chicago Suburb. Judy and I strolled the show talking with our friends. We asked ourselves “why continue?” five years ago and could not find a reason to. We found the reason.

Glance at the Web statistics I provided you free, or request another or a new one. It compares your recent Website activities and search engine rankings with those of A-BnC Parties and More, Inc. Visitor hits on Judy’s sites, including have DOUBLED on a daily basis from December, 2008 to January, 2009. Sales have also increased over last year’s comparisons. Sorry, I will not divulge by how much.

The invitation is still there, join the Facebook (Home Based or Small Businesses on the Web) discussion. The information is Free. Or should I charge for it? Will it be more valuable if you pay for it? Judy’s new V-P and national sales manager asked: “Why is it so cheap?”

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Building a Web Business – Part 2 – Dealing With Sales 101

See the preceding blog article for the first in this series.

As a salesman I love to hear a “yes, I’ll take it”. I am an actor on a stage, and a sale is my applause. I am not afraid to hear “no thanks,” for I know I cannot please everyone. But maybes drive me up the wall! I define “maybes” as any stall tactic. Mostly it comes from people who cannot make a decision. And, I have heard most of them…call me back in a week, check with us later, we’re not ready, it’s not in our budget now (well then when?), we’ll call you when we are ready, don’t call us – we’ll call you. I hear nothing lately that is very original.

People who are not courteous also upset me. Mostly, they do not return phone calls, or in this day and age, emails. Or they use caller ID to screen their calls. I guess am old fashioned, I long for the days when chivalry ruled. But I am mature enough to (mostly) not get angry. I only get angry with people and customers who pull this “shtick” even though I have known them or been servicing them for years. Or, if they blatantly lie to me. That is why I generally do not sell to friends and people I know.

To all of you out there I say: “Attention people! Attention! We salespeople are people to!” You think we like to have our feelings hurt? (I still do not know how can you hurt feelings? As I used to say to my daughter…where are they? Can I fix them for you?) I know it may be hard to tell us to our face, or even call us, but at least drop me an email and tell me I did not make the cut! I will understand and I forgive you, in advance! It’s NOT personal, I hope! If it is, please tell me so I can Fix it!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

If an Elephant and a Dog can become Friends, Why Can't We Be Friends?

If you cannot believe that an 8,700 pound Asian elephant named Tarra and a dog named Bella could become friends, click on this link. The story was on CBS' Sunday Morning last Sunday, January 4, 2009. I have been talking about it ever since! Here's the full transcript.

Building a Web Business – Part 1 - Foundation

I am a salesperson who doesn’t sell, that is I do not “hard” sell. I never even knew how to ask for an order until it was shoved in my face. That is until someone came running down the street after me, shouting, come back, we want to buy!

Over the past 27 years I have been steadily successful in an industry I knew nothing about when I entered into it. That was despite the fact I had used the industry’s services in a retail business for years. I was a part owner of that retail business as well.

After the first day of training I came back home and said to my wife: “What have I gotten myself into? I am lost!” At that time I held (and still do) a BS degree in economics and an MBA! The company’s product (and services) was in an applied technical field. My educational background included three years of college engineering studies, advanced mathematics, and I worked for three summers drafting for the Cook County (Illinois) Highways Department. The company had an advance training platform, including video tape training and evaluation.

Despite the adversities and being desperate for a steady income, I became a salesman who learned. I studied my company’s products and services and looked at them from a customer’s point of view. I looked for my customer’s needs and I told stories. I looked for applications within my products and services to solve prospect’s needs. Then I offered my prospects a solution. Sometimes those solutions included services from competing companies!

Personal comment: My momma didn’t raise a fool! I would rather get a large piece of the pie rather than no pie!

Finally, I let them make an adult decision. By being frank I developed a following based on trust. When I made a promise to do something for a prospect or a customer, it happened.

To be continued...

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Internet's 100 Oldest Dot-Com Domains

Here's an interesting story that brought a nostalgic tear to my eye. The main thrust is a list of the oldest 100 .com Websites. However, it was the the memories of my involvement with the Web in the mid to late 1980's that was endearing. I first read this story from December this morning. Its author is JR Raphael and it starts out...

The Internet's been around in some form for decades. It wasn't until the mid-80s, though, that the Web as we know it started coming together -- and those precious dot-com domains started getting snatched up.

As we finish out the tech-centric year of 2008, we thought we'd take a look back at the Internet's oldest commercial Web sites -- the ones registered back when chatting about "the Net" was as socially acceptable as wearing Jedi garb into a crowded nightclub. So grab your light sabers, dear friends -- we're boarding the Millennium Falcon and heading back to a virtual galaxy far, far away

Click on the title to read the rest of the story.