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I remember the dream that led to my very first business so vividly. It’s like it was just a few months ago. 20 years ago I hadvery little computer and Internet skills. I was 32 years old, my oldest son was just 8 years old, my babies were 1 and I was pregnant with my little guy. YES. I was pregnant with my youngest son when I first built my online business. Crazy! I know!
My marketing training was all self-taught and consisted of ‘studying’ how other website owners made their online storefront inviting, easy to go through and an enjoyable experience. I’d take note of colors, words that were used and not used, what was on the right and what was on the left of the page. How bold, red and yellow highlights were used or not used. Photos told a story, as we didn’t have video yet to bring you into our online storefront. So captions and headlines were very important, even more so than they are now!
I had just a few items when we started out:
– Kitchen mixers that were $249-999
– Blenders priced at $329-799
– Grainmills marketed for $219-449
– Mixer attachments
– Baking items that were very exclusive at the time and hard to find: vital gluten, dough enhancers, high-end yeast and more
– A few select cookbooks I’d never be without
My slogan was simple: “If it’s not in my kitchen, you won’t find it in my store.”
I did all the hard work of researching vendors, testing products and people trusted my recommendation. What I had that big online chains did not was a personal vested interest in each product, I was a stay at home mom who really used each item, and I was dealing with a lot of the same issues my customers were; budget, wanting high end items on one income in our home, etc.
My newsletter was professional but very personal. You felt as if you were in my kitchen, having a slice of my fresh, warm, home-made bread and coffee with me as you read along. YOU, my customer, we’re like family, and I took your purchase very seriously. It was our honor to win your business.
All of my companies have been built and run like this. I never studied a bunch of business trainers courses or strategies, I always obsessed and studied the PAYING CUSTOMERS, and the stores they bought from. I wonder if this is why I didn’t get confused by methods, best practices and strategies because I didn’t even know such things existed! I was only focusing on how to serve well and earn the sale. As a matter of fact, when I did start studying a lot of people’s marketing trainings two things happened that were very confusing:
– I doubted my own success, even though by that time I’d made millions of dollars and had built 3 successful businesses that did more than $12 million in sales combined
– I got confused by so-called best practices and best ways of doing business. Because I never joined the ‘How To Build A Business’ culture, not knowing most of these things was the best thing and it is what separates me from the people who were constantly trying and searching for a ‘step by step’ plan.
What can you learn from this? Well, first of all, that it’s more important to know your customers and the stores they currently shop at than it is any best practice. Secondly, and most importantly, it’s important to spend a lot of time where your customers are and not comparing several business trainers systems. The bottom line is this: knowing what your customers want, what they’re already buying, how to be like the places they already shop at but in your own unique way will make you more money than memorizing the AIDA copywriting plan or the Golden Thread strategy for your sales page.
People buy products.
People are loyal to people.
People love brands that make them feel good.
People will do anything to feel like they belong.
Serving the person first is the biggest lesson in closing the sale.
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Where Should Most Of Your Activity Be In Your Business Online?
By: Sandi Krakowski
Starting a business can be challenging and exciting all in one, and for good measure, let’s throw in a little bit of overwhelming on the side.
Life itself has taught me many lessons that have helped me to create the results in business we have today. For example- learning to pace myself was something I learned in my bodybuilding career of my 20’s. No matter how badly I wanted to be powerful and ripped, I had to do the work. To beat my body in the gym seven days per week without rest actually would make me tiny, loose and flabby! Dense, striated, strong muscles are the sum results of consistently pressing past my fatigue into muscle failure combined with appropriate rest and recovery. Constant muscle fatigue is no way to live, in the same way constantly working on your business is not the way to be successful.
Motherhood taught me that right when I think I’ve got things all figured out and mastered, the game can change when you least expect it. Babies get sick, jobs relocate, change of plays happen, layoffs, new children enter the scene, crisis with relatives and oh my goodness, learning to have The Gumby Anointing was the way to survival of the fittest! (Surely you know who Gumby is, right? Just think “Mom Version Gumby”. )
Cooking has taught me that sometimes your biggest flops will actually end up being your biggest successes if you’re willing to give it a ‘try’ and get some feedback. It also taught me that no matter how creative you think you want to get- there will always be some ingredients that were NEVER meant to be combined. EVER.
A very important lesson I’ve learned through my 20+ years of working online is that when all is said and done, there are typically only a few select activities that absolutely MUST be done on a daily basis to keep things moving ahead. It is also critical to know that putting these activities off, outsourcing them to incompetent people and frankly, thinking you’ll get to a place of success that you no longer need to do them is a big impoverished delusion.
So… what activities should you, the business owner, never neglect, put aside or outsource?
The first and most critical activity to always be doing is marketing.
The biggest break thru that most business owners I meet need is to come to grips with the fact that they must redirect themselves from being the marketer for their business to the investor and marketer OF their business. Marketing your business is much different than being a solo-employee of your own company.
Marketing should be 80-90% of all that you do. Most of your activities should start and end with marketing. What I typically see is more than 50% of the people who are marketing only 10% of their time. Even though they work A LOT of hours in their business (and stare at their computer!) sadly, many are simply not doing the amount of marketing that a successful business demands.
WHERE Most Small Business Owners WASTE Their Time And Rob Their Business:
Creating- This is someone who is constantly creating. Many are actually addicted to the creating phase. Just like the love and excitement we feel with a new baby or even a brand new puppy, many wanna be business owners love the creating process just as much. To be real honest, just like when babies start to get sick, grow up, puppies start to soil the house, this is the kind of person who will change business models, seek something else creative or even just give up. Over and over again from one excitement to the other they go. Rarely does even 20% of their creating ever become a product or service that is marketed for a profit.
Planning-The amount of people who have numerous ‘Maps” and “Business Plans’ in the glovebox of their business vehicle is startling! With a false security of having it all together, getting all their ‘ducts in a row’ and having everything all lined up, they are deceived into thinking this secures them a successful business. Many have a map from Expert #1 who doesn’t even understand pricing and map from Guru #2 who is an affiliate junkie but doesn’t know a thing about information publishing. Then they have the map their sister wrote them in a night of brainstorming (although she’s never even built a business). Maps, maps and more plans and maps! This is the person who seeks a guidepost more than a takeoff. Sadly, very few ever put ‘gas in the car’ or even pull out of the driveway of their desired business dream! Their plans make them feel super smart and somewhat secure but year after year they are still struggling financially.
Masterminding- This is one of my personal pain points when it comes to leading people in business. The amount of people I see who are part of a group and a mastermind but never getting anywhere is somewhat of a mystery to me. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not against masterminding! I RUN one of the most sought after masterminds in the small business community, but I do it VERY differently than most do. My clients get RESULTS, as well. But most masterminds are simply not helpful or profitable! What seems to be an outbreak worse than the swine flu is people who are a part of a group, alliance, society or mastermind that is run by people who have never made any money in business. Most aren’t making any money and are addicted to creating and planning and critiquing to feel like they are doing something in business! Here’s the key– the groups that are FREE and very low cost are always worthless!! Any online group in Facebook that offers FREE reviews, critiques, hot seats, masterminding and brainstorming- BEWARE- this is a sign that no one is really working or making money. They are coming up with a ton of ideas but at the end of the day NO ONE IS MARKETING a growing business! INVEST into a mastermind that is worth your time! We invite you to ours!
Please don’t think I’m angry or upset, truth be told I feel like a Momma who is watching children go astray! Some of the decisions I see people make are absolutely heart breaking to watch! And while I wish I could prevent the foolish decision making. (Like someone who doubles their income and then thinks they no longer need any coaching or training)…..
That’s not my job. It’s not your job either.
People need the freedom to do what they want to do. Even sabotage themselves and fail if that is what they want to do. I’ve seen some of my most successful clients get full of themselves and go backwards because they thought they didn’t need to be around successful people anymore. It’s not my job to stop them. I pray and let them go.
Your focus needs to be on where you are at. A key component in any business is in knowing WHAT business we are in and then…… be about your business. PERIOD.
My friends, the way we pay down our debt, make more money, create jobs for others and increase the economy of not just our own life, but the lives around us, is to do a few key things- daily, monthly, yearly. Over and over again.
Marketing your product or service 80-90% of the time is your key focus on the pathway to success.
There’s no way around it. You need to be marketing! This doesn’t mean that all we ever write about is our product or our service. We don’t blast people on our Facebook walls with mention of our cosmetics, weight loss, greeting cards and natural facelifts every single day, over and over again, and in every single blog post, over and over again. The key to marketing successfully 90% of the time is not rooted in sell, sell, sell, sell!
DO NOT OVERLOOK These Key Steps To Growing Your Business AND Your Bank Account:
Some marketing platforms that we use in our company to get our products and services into the marketplace-
and a few more we haven’t even mentioned.
Pick five to start out with.
It takes time to grow a business, but the last time I checked, it takes time to grow a great healthy body. It takes time to grow a great family and relationships. It takes time to get your finances in health. Bottom line is most just won’t do the work. Most won’t eat right to heal their body, most won’t forgive bitterness and offenses and start to live in freedom. Most won’t do the uncomfortable and unpopular things and will continue to stay the same, day after day.
YOU are not most. You are a Champion.
You press forward between the gap that exists separating the life you live now and the unlived life you’re pressing to.
YOU are not a quitter. You are not a victim, in a delusion or believing a lie. YOU are created for more and you are doing more. You, my dear friends, through thick and thin, through your own personal hell some of you, are A Real Change in the earth.
It’s an honor to work with you! Now get to work! 🙂
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