“Not Interested”

No one likes getting random solicitations from telemarketing companies trying to sell them crap they already have or don’t need.  And yet, they keep calling and keep calling and calling.  Don’t you ever wonder why? Yes, some companies sell your information to others and that’s how they have your contact information.  Other times, we give it to them without even really knowing.  How?  Simple — via our website.  Actually, our domain names.  These telemarketing companies aren’t combing through hundreds and thousands of websites themselves.  They don’t have to.  Every time someone registers a domain name — actually buys it — they exchange their information, obviously for payment reasons, in order to reserve and own it.  Think of as digital real estate.  By registering a domain name, these marketing companies know who owns the domain site (us), where we’re located, our email address, our phone and whatever we were required to give up in order to buy the domain.  And because most of us don’t want to spend more than we have to, we don’t opted in to have that information hidden.  In other words, we don’t spend the extra bucks to make it harder for unwanted solicitations.  Thus, we get slammed with all kinds of nonsense from fast speaking salespeople trying to make a commission.  No beef with that, everyone’s gotta earn a living, but not at our expense and on our business line.

To better handle solicitations and to keep them from calling back, wise up:

  • Never just hang up.  Without a verbal indication from you stating to be removed from the list, they’ll recycle you back into their system and call at a later date.
  • You must say “Take me off your list” for them to take you off their list.
  • Some telemarketing companies will actually keep you on their list for awhile only to call you in a month or so and try again.  A certified letter from you to their physical business might be necessary to cease ALL calls.
  • Never say “not interested”.  You’ll just be recycled back into their system to be called at another time.
  • If your employees are answering on your behalf, instruct them to never identify your gender.  A lot of the times, these marketers have no clue who they’re calling, they just want to speak to the owner.  Identifying your gender gives them a little ammunition for when they call back later.  Trust me, if they can’t reach the owner the first time and they haven’t been told to remove the number off their list, they’ll call back later.
  • Any time it sounds like a marketer and they’re unwilling to identify themselves and where they’re calling from until they speak to the owner, immediately tell them to remove you from their list. (Do you see the running theme here?)  Cut them right off at the knees.
  • Never tell them you have someone else working for you or looking into what they’re offering.  They’ve been trained for rebuttals and that opens up an opportunity to further their quest.
  • “No, thank you” is the same as saying “Not interested”.  You’ll just be recycled back into their system to be called later.

If you find that you’re getting too many calls for solicitations and you don’t have time for all this bull**** , spend the extra bucks on having your information blocked when you buy a domain.  Stop opting in for the ‘more information’ box unless you want and can to commit to an action.  And any time you do conduct business with a third party, whether it’s electronically, over the phone or in person, ask them if they sell their clients’ information to other third parties and to be removed from that system.

Our time is precious, our fuses are short and we have businesses to run.

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“Gigs”

If you’re a service based business provider (B2B), you already know how challenging it is to find new clients.  Even harder if you’re relying on them finding you.  Forget about your website, forget about your online and offline marketing tactics, standing out in the sea of all others, is the equivalent to being the needle in the hay stack.  So then, how in the world are you suppose to find clients if your business’ site doesn’t rank on Google’s top 10 or your clients don’t know who you are?

You find THEM!

One of the most simplest tactics that may turn some heads or raised a few eyebrows is browsing a site that is infamous for scandal and scam: Craig’s List.  I know, I know — but bear with me here.  Although Craig’s List is sketchy and has been known to make the headlines in a very bad way, it is also a good source to find leads — depending on what kinds of services you offer.

Under the  “Gigs” tab on the Craig’s List home site, there are a handful of categories that fall under the types of gigs people are looking for help with.  Being realistic here, you have to cast your net wide and often.  You are not the only person who is scanning to see what’s available, so the more often you frequent this section, the more likely you’re gonna to stumble on a few worthwhile chases.  Also, be aware that some people already have a dollar amount in mind what they’re willing to pay for what they need.  You can negotiate if you feel the task is worth more or you  can take what’s offered.  Up to you.  In other cases, you’ll be able to set your own prices.  Depends on the agreement.

Avoid, as with any other posting, any listing that sounds like a scam, that gives you very few details or has a link that directs you to a more sketchy site.   The goal is to reap clients from an unlikely source, not be taken by some con artist.

Craig’s List is not for everybody.  Maybe the thought of doing of business from someone on Craig’s List disturbs the holy hell out of you — that’s completely understandable.  It does take some time to feel comfortable navigating those waters.  You may want to try Freelancer.com, People for Hire or Fiverr.com.  Those sites are much more reliable, but work is harder to find because much more people are competing.  If you want to see results and change things up a bit, you’re going to have to step outside your comfort zone.  And Craig’s List does border outside the green zone.  You know what they say, “In order to gain something you never have, you have to do something you never done.”

Just sayin’.

Media Kit It

Every business, no matter how small, large, the employee size, industry type or location should create for itself a media kit.  If you don’t know what a media kit is, think of it as a business’ résumé — it highlights the accomplishments, the goals and the journey of the business.  It tells the brief story of the company’s creation to its present standing.  Media kits have commonly been associate with publications such as magazines, journals, newspapers and books, but no longer.  If you operate a business, you need a media kit as part of your marketing package.

When writing a media kit, focus on three (3) primary elements: (1) What is your business and what is it about, (2) Who do you serve; who is your target audience and how does your company serve/help them and (3) the cold hard facts and figures about your company.

What is your business about — is a service based business, product based, B2B?  What industry is the company in, what niche; how much technology is infused — simply put, what does your business do and for you?

Who do you serve — who are the people your company caters to and makes it products/services for and why?  This, you gotta know.  This you should’ve known starting the business.  And when writing about who the company serves, look further past the demographics and into the lifestyle of your customer/ client.

The cold hard facts — This is the most straightforward aspect of the media kit.  It deals is measurements, reach, dollar signs, because it’ll be mostly made up of figures.  And these figures should as accurate as possible.  If you have a following (such as social media) include how people, if you have a newsletter include the subscribers.  Always include sales figures that play in your favor.

Utilize every glitter and sparkle that makes your company stand out and stand up against your competitors.  Remember, this is your business’ résumé.  Make it work.

Social Media Isn’t Your Problem

Social media isn’t your problem.  You think it’s your problem, but it really isn’t.  If someone sat you down and showed you how to set of a few platforms, upload videos and photos, schedule posts, ask for likes and comments, and return the favor, you could do it.  It is much simpler than what business owners imagine it to be.  Granted, it does require a little finesse, above average writing skills and time –obviously — but, social media isn’t your problem.  Knowing how to engage with social media… that’s your problem.

Be honest, how many of us thought that just setting up a Twitter account and a Facebook account was going to be enough for our business?  We thought if we had one or two pictures, the business contact info and a little somethin’-somethin’ about the business, people would visit and magically all on their own, convert themselves from visitors to customers.  How well did that work out for us?

First off, “enough” is the word we never want to use in business.  Businesses that are doing just enough are going out of business.  So, let’s unwrap our heads around this idea of “enough”.  Secondly, treat social media like a person.  A person who we are conversing with — well, in person.  Aside from the spam bots, there are people out there behind those profiles, likes and comments.  Talk to them as if they were sitting right across the way.  Social media and online marketing are such a staple in conversations for businesses that I feel like I’m beating a dead horse when I bring it up.  But so many business owners — home kitchen chefs, garage engineers, bathroom mixers, attic artists, and back yard scientists — are not even giving their ideas and businesses a chance because they’re failing to use social media the right way.

LinkedIn — Don’t just accept or extend an invitation to connect.  Communicate.  Yeah, we may have over 500 connections, but if you don’t message, endorse or share worthwhile information, then those 500 plus connections are meaningless.

Google + — Yeah, many of us have added someone or something to a circle, but what does that mean?   What makes that circle and those group of people special or relevant?  Get personal and personalize.  Not everyone wants the same thing even if it’s from the same company.

Twitter — Just about everyone and their mama has a Twitter account.  But it sucks when people start un-following us and we have no idea why.  Maybe you’re not conversing enough or at all!  Twitter is all about the conversation.  So get to talking.  Ask questions, answer questions, search what your customers are looking for and share — again — useful info.

Facebook — The Godfather of social media, right?  If that’s case, then this is the social media we should be crafty with.  Visually.  If we don’t know exactly what to share on Facebook, log on into our personal account and see what our friends are sharing and reading.  Then see what their friends are sharing and reading.  We’ll find memes, photos and videos dominate Facebook.  So, get visual but remain informative.

Social media isn’t the problem, it’s all about how well we use it for our business.  If you took the time to build the business, take time to market the business.

February Save The Dates

Check out these February events for those in the Greater Los Angeles area.  No matter what business you’re thinking about going into, or if you’ve already started your own company, there are events here for all levels of business owners and entrepreneurs,

 

  • February 4th – Taking Your Grant Writing Research Skills to The Next Level Event organized by eCivis, Inc. from 9am – 4pm PST.  Event cost is $299 for the early bird fee, $349 for general admission.
  • February 5th FREE Self-Publishing Workshop located at 1246 Glendon Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90024 (Westwood Library Branch) from 6-8pm PST hosted by the Toastmasters District One Speakers Bureau Workshop Committe, for more info, visit http://bit.ly/1fOqo6d
  • February 6thFREE Website Building Tools Class hosted by the Valley Economic Development Center from 6-8pm PST located at 5121 Van Nuys Blvd., 3rd Floor Van Nuys, CA 91403; from more information or to register, email hassali@vedc.org
  • February 6th – 8th – How To Sell To Women FREE Virtual Training Event hosted by Lisa Sasevich; to register http://bit.ly/1eHENio
  • February 7th – Women 2.0 Founder Friday, located at the Regus 3415 South Sepulveda, suite 1100 Los Angeles, CA 90034 from 6:30 to 9pm PST.  General admission starts at $22.09.  Visit http://bit.ly/1er4gjT for more information and to register
  • February 8thFREE Marketing and Promotions Event organized by the Business Entrepreneurship Club.  Event will take place the LA Mission College located at 13356 Elridge Ave, Los Angeles 91342 from 10am – 12pm PST.  Contact Dr. Norris Dorsey at  818.402.5050 and/or register at http://bit.ly/ML8CIQ
  • February 10th  — FREE Start Up Dos & Don’ts/ Business Plan class from 6-8pm PST hosted by the Valley Economic Development Center located at 5121 Van Nuys Blvd., 3rd Floor Van Nuys, CA 91403; from more information or to register, email hassali@vedc.org
  • February 10th – California Small Business Development Center is offering a How to Write a Business Plan Class for $40, hosted by Santa Monica College. Event takes place from 9am to 1pm PST on the campus.  To register, visit http://bit.ly/1fzdI51
  • February 19th – 2014 – 2015 Annual Economic Forecast and Industry Outlook hosted by the LA County Economic Development Corporation from 7 -10:30pm PST at the L.A. Hotel Downtown located at 333 Figueroa St, Los Angeles 90071; general admission is $155 if purchased by Feb. 14th.  Register at http://bit.ly/1acMC3E
  • February 26th – March 1st –  Black Enterpise Women of Power Summit hosted by State Farm held at the Boca Raton Resort & Club in Boca Raton, Florida.  Deadline to register for general admission is February 7th at $1395.  After February 7th, tickets to the event go up to $1695.  For more information visit, http://bit.ly/1ildZsN

(additional events may be added)

 

 

Use The Science Of Persuasion As A Marketing Tool

 

 

I love videos like these.   Something about having a well informed animated video is much more interesting than listening to someone yak on and on.  I can admit, I still watch car-toons from time to time.  School House Rock was the best with it’s ‘I’m just an ordinary bill’ — although it no longer airs.  More importantly, the video shares wonderful knowledge about persuasion in relation to getting people to buy one’s product or services.  And I know many of us have seen, if not had,  one of these experiences  — such as receiving mints at the end of our meal at a restaurant — only to learn they’re a unique approach to marketing via persuasion.  Persuasion is marketing, essentially.  The goal is to get our target market to buy and prefer to buy whatever it is we are offering or selling over our competitors because we are either well-established, we’re a favorable company to do business with, we offer better deals and giveaways and/ or we have well-known positive reputationmar.

Which principle of persuasion would work best for your business?

{video credit: influenceatwork and  www.insideinfluence.com}

Event: Los Angeles Speed Coaching

What: Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream Speed Coaching Event

 

When: Tuesday, August 21, 2013

 

Time: 5:30-8:30 PM

Food & drink provided!

 

Where: LA Mart

1933 S. Broadway

Los Angeles, CA 90007

 

 

 

 

Since 2008, Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream program has been providing business owners in the food, beverage and hospitality industry with the essential ingredients to start, strengthen and grow their small businesses.

 

To learn more about Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream visitwww.samueladams.com/btad

 

 

 

 

 

                

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Learn the essential ingredients to get started, build on your success, and grow!

 

Last chance to sign-up for the August 21st Speed Coaching event in LA where you will have the opportunity to:
Learn about

  • Marketing & PR
  • E-Commerce
  • Packaging
  • Food Sourcing
  • Sales and Distribution
  • Accounting and Financing…and more!
  • Network and connect with fellow entrepreneurs
  • Contact local organizations that support small business
  • Have a FREE business consultation with VEDC to learn how to access critical capital

 

 

 

 

Just come prepared with product and packaging samples andspecific questions that we can help answerVEDC will also be on hand to discuss how you can access capital for your food, beverage, or hospitality business.

 

 

 

{All information and images are credited to the VDEC}