Wednesday Words

To Go Where Your VisionPoints, a few inspiration points for you and your business.

I don’t look to jump over 7-foot bars: I look around for 1-foot bars that I can step over.
—Warren Buffett

If you’re a person with no time for nonsense like Mr. Buffet, then perhaps you’re wondering why he sees the short, easy hops and you don’t. Try these ten to get some forward traction for your future-multimillion-dollar business:

1. Think dollars. Mr. Buffet would approve: Almost any business can find a way to do this—you may be making clients money, saving them money, saving them time or increasing efficiency (figure out how much and how that translates to money), giving them a cheap pleasure (“we’re as relaxing as Disneyland but only four miles from home”… how does that affect their wallet), bringing them more customers, making customers stay longer at their place of business, making a product that lasts longer… you get the idea. Customers appreciate you most when they know how you affect their wallet.

2. Think fears. What are your customers afraid of? Are they afraid of something that might happen if they do work with you? Are they afraid of something that might happen if they don’t work with you? Brainstorm ways to discuss those fears head-on.

3. Ask a kid. For their honesty, for their perspective, and for their lack of adherence to rules. Spend two minutes asking a kid who wanders in with Mom or Dad their opinion of your place of business once every couple of weeks and you will get a mass of fresh ideas, both intentional and unintentional.

4. Rearrange the furniture. Two easy and opposite fixes: Are customers running in and out of your place too quickly? Create (subtle) barriers that help them meander a bit. (This is why the pharmacy is at the back of your local drugstore—it’s not hard to get to, but you have to wander by other things you might need before you get there.) Are customers confused, looking around, walking out without anything? Make the buying sequence logical, by arranging your place of business to answer their questions. Make it easy to find the answers. (Psst… you can do this at your website, as well.)

5. Eat lunch with an advisor or a colleague whose clients intersect with yours in some way—your accountant, your lawyer, your carpet installer, your favorite restaurateur? (Think creatively about your own situation.) Ask about their business, their problems, and even how they’re weathering “the economy.” Don’t talk about you. They’ll ask. Easiest bar of all to walk over (you have to eat!), and when repeated frequently, it gives great results.

6. Look at your business card. Does it have all the ways of getting in touch with you on it? Is it inviting enough that some folks might do just that? Send *two* out in all your future (business) correspondence. Of course those folks already have your card—the idea is to encourage them to give these two away. It’s been observed that people may not get the hint if you send one, but when you send two, the point of the cards is obvious without your having to say a word. Note to all you card hoarders: They’re cheap advertising. Get them out of your hands and into other people’s.

7. Clean the bathroom. Yep. Even if you have a service that normally does it, take the 1/2 hour and do it yourself. You just aren’t noticing things your customer is noticing, I guarantee it. After today, you will.

8. Set a goal. Maybe you’ve got a zillion, maybe you don’t believe in ‘em. Today, set just one. A one-week goal, a thing you will do every day for a week that will increase your business in X way (traffic, incoming calls, sales, reservations…) and by Y amount. Do it every day, and check those results. The big goals are sometimes too big and your daily lists are usually not measurable. Everybody can stick with a goal for a week. If you like how it works, do it again next week.

9. Be contrary. If your business is primarily web-based, make a few local calls today, or walk in to a few offices, just to introduce yourself. If you’re mainly local, write a few emails to folks you know through the web who might be candidates for your product or service. Keep focusing on your Ideal Customer profile, and expand your idea of where the best fish are biting.

10. Make the ask. Chris Brogan said it wonderfully this week. Click over to Make the Ask and get inspired to step over the last, one-foot bar.


Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson