The Benefits of Virtual Offices for Start Ups

The Benefits of Virtual Offices for Start Ups

By Guest Writer: Nick Lewis

Many start ups, particularly one or two person businesses, simply lack the capital for a dedicated premises at first. Beyond that, when the work can be done at home, such as for primarily online businesses, the extra expenditure just doesn’t make sense.

But there are certain advantages that come with having a premises. The happy compromise is a virtual office.

Legitimacy

The primary benefit to having a virtual office is the legitimacy that comes with it. It allows you to have a dedicated business address outside of a clearly residential area, and without people finding out where you live (more on that later), as well as a dedicated landline that doesn’t double up as your home telephone number.

More than that, simply add in a virtual receptionist and the appearance of professionalism is yours for a fraction of the cost of renting a real premises and hiring a full time receptionist.

Anonymity

A real difficulty for many start ups is that their business premises doubles up as a home. This means that many are unwilling to give out their home address and phone number because, rightly, they don’t want members of the public, or worse, disgruntled customers, to come knocking on their family’s door.

However, a fixed line phone number and a genuine, physical address, are essential parts of establishing legitimacy and trust. A virtual office allows you to take advantage of that without giving away your home details.

Efficiency

Virtual office services can also help increase efficiency. Every small business experiences the problems that come with having very little capital for staff at the beginning. It means that job roles have to be doubled up, including customer service – someone has to answer the phone, causing a major distraction to their primary job role.

Virtual office services like virtual receptionists and telephone answering services can take that distraction away so you can concentrate on your core business and deal with enquiries and the like at a time that better suits you.

Although you still have to call everyone back, if all your messages have been collected by someone else (without the off-putting effect of voicemail) then you (or whoever’s job it is) can deal with them all at once.

And because such virtual receptionists or telephone service agents are shared by a number of businesses, this comes at a fraction of the cost of hiring someone to do it full-time, particularly when there may not be enough calls to make a dedicated receptionist worthwhile.

About the Author: Nick Lewis is writing for CS Notepad, Brighton based telephone answering service, virtual office and virtual receptionist firm – www.csnotepad.co.uk

Make Money Bringing An Offline Product Online

How would you like to make money by bringing an offline product online? If you at least know how to navigate your way through the internet, you will find a lot of people who can make use of your ability and time.

Notice that some businesses, though they may have a good and potentially saleable product, do not seem to know how to make really good sales. They limit themselves to traditional methods which would probably earn them some decent revenue, but it does not fully maximize the marketability of their product.

They find themselves a good spot in a mall where foot traffic is heaviest, display their wares on glass shelves alongside a long row of other products and sit it out through the day. Yes, it may be hard to believe but there are still those who do not take advantage of what the internet can do for their businesses. If you tap into this sector of businesses, they can be an excellent potential source of income.

Lack of motivation or knowledge are probably the main factors that keep them from exploring other avenues of selling, particularly on the internet. These business owners will most likely be receptive if you offer to take their offline product online yourself. Your role is to open their eyes to the vast potential market on the internet and convince them to make you their sales agent online.

You need to identify first which products among the many will most likely sell well on the Web. Almost anything of value can be sold on the internet but to really make money taking an offline product online, choose your products well. Think unique, one-of-a-kind or hard-to-find products which are of good quality.

If you go for common items such as bags, jackets and apparel, go for unique styles and designs. Personalized items too can attract a lot of views from online shoppers. Do your research. Surf through the internet for the most common items sold online but take a step further and take note of what is not yet being sold online and start from there.

If you seriously consider making money taking an offline product online, take time to really shop around.  Go to trade fairs and bazaars where you see products that are not normally found in malls and department stores. Visit specialty shops and look for unique, hard-to-find but usable merchandise. As you go around, take note of how these stores market their products and check if they are already present online.

Build up your list of potential products to sell and eliminate as you go along. Trim it down to the most unique, beautiful and possibly most saleable items. It is best to start with a few items first to see how well it goes.

Do a simple market study before offering to sell a product.

This study must show the target customers, market size and the market demand for such a product.

The data must help convince the supplier that selling online is a good move or that it is what they need to do to give their sales a boost. Your positive opinion or gut feel about a product is a good input but it will not suffice when negotiating with its suppliers. Focus the discussion on the additional revenue that an online presence can bring them.

Discuss how the selling arrangement will be handled. Be open to suggestions. The best scheme to make money taking an offline product online is to sell on a commission basis. This is convenient and most importantly, almost risk-free for both parties.

You can take the profile and pictures of the products, display and promote them in your website and get a commission for every sale you make. Orders are taken through your website and you in turn, process the purchase directly with your supplier.

Some suppliers may offer you to sell on a consignment basis or supply you with items that can be returned if unsold after a fixed period. Such an arrangement is convenient and cuts down on the shipping costs since you do not need to transact and ship each and every time you receive an order.  However, keeping and maintaining the goods on consignment will definitely require more of your time.

Choose the selling arrangement that best suits you.

As in any other business, diligence, passion and creativity are required to make money taking an offline product online. Remember that with the ease of searching and shopping online compared to actual mall-shopping, competition can be tougher. So always begin by choosing a product well and you will definitely be on your way to earning big bucks.

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Sharon McCarley is a freelance writer & researcher for the popular “Teach Me How To Make Money” blog. For more creative ideas and ways to make money, whether you’re looking to earn money online or offline, or to get in touch with Sharon, check out www.TeachMeHowToMakeMoney.com now.
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For Increased Efficiency At Work, Try Organizing Your Office Following These Tips

Whether it is your home office or your office at work, having an organized space will increase efficiency and decrease stress. There are a few pointers that will help make this seemingly daunting task for some much simpler.

Start with your desk. Depending on the type of work you do, generally the only necessary things for this space are a computer, phone, pad of paper and some writing utensils that can be stored in a cup. Everything else can be tucked away in a drawer, or organized in some type of architectural casework. When tucking things away, think about where each item is placed logically. For example, put all miscellaneous office supplies, like staples, paper clips, etc, in one place. Then, put printer paper and extra ink in one place, and so on. This will make your life much easier. A clutter free desk is much less stressful.

With the digital world that we live in, there is no real reason to keep many paper documents. If you are concerned about your computer crashing, there are external hard drives that can be purchased that are used to back up important documents. If that type of file protection is still not enough for you, try using two of these devices, or some type of cloud service. Any important documents can be scanned and saved on your computer, thus eliminating the need for an abundance of paper files. For paperwork or magazines that are important enough to you that keeping physical copies is necessary, make a special place for these in a cupboard. Organize them by industry such as automotive or restaurant if relevant, or maybe by function, such as financial documents and blank forms. Color coding could also work in this scenario.

When you have your office organized and clutter-free, maintaining a to-do list of everything you are currently working on may further increase efficiency. Rank them in order of importance and tackle the tasks one at a time. As each task is completed, put away anything you were using that is no longer needed in order to keep your office space organized.

An overly cluttered and disorganized work environment is not conducive to productivity. Invest a little time and effort into making a system of organization that works for you. Following these simple guidelines will make this task easier. In the long run, you will be less stressed, able to find what you need quicker and will be more efficient with completing tasks.

Small Business? You Need A Virtual Office

A virtual office service can help you maintain a sense of office professionalism while reducing costs and increasing efficiency. From providing receptionist services, to personal assistant services, A virtual office service can help you complete a range of administrative tasks. A virtual office service is hassle-free solution to the management of potentially time-consuming daily office tasks.

They will answer any incoming phone calls, screen them and then patch the calls through to the appropriate associate in your office. We are confident that we offer one of the most professional and cost-effective telephone answering services in the United Kingdom.

Even if you have multiple offices, or are consistently changing locations, your costumers can call into one unchanging number and A virtual office service will patch them through to the appropriate office. This is great for companies with employees who are always on the go, or for work-at-home professionals. A single A virtual office service number provides a sense of dependableness and consistency that your costumers will greatly appreciate.

In addition to telephone answering services (acting as a virtual receptionist) A virtual office service can supply you with a virtual office address to maintain anonymity or to help maintain a work-at-home business. Instead of picking up mail at this address, A virtual office service can forward your mail to any location or even hold your mail for a period of time.

Do you have a busy manager that needs professional, cost-effective help with daily administrative tasks such as appointment making, schedule maintenance, and more? A virtual office service’s personal assistant service can help you complete large office tasks as well as help you organize your busy work life. Most importantly, A virtual office service is always there for you when you need it.

Call now to speak with one of our experts about the services that will suit you best. We are confident that once you use A virtual office service you will never look elsewhere for your personal assistant and telephone answering needs. Contact us now and A virtual office service can create a personalized package designed to meet your specific needs and give you an estimate of the costs. Call now to see how you can benefit from A virtual office service telephone answering services and other office services. We even offer a 14-day free trial and will give you 10% off your first free months of using the service as a way of thinking you for giving us a try.

Whether you work for a large business, or are just thinking about starting one, A virtual office service can help your business grow and succeed by maintaining efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Contact us now to start making your daily office tasks a breeze. Get back into the business of doing what you love without worrying about all the logistics. A virtual office service can provide many of the behind-the-scenes services that support effective businesses. Our costumers constantly thank us for making their business lives much easier and cutting overhead costs. Give us a try now!

I-Support-business.co.uk provides telephone answering services and other wide range of services are perfectly suited for start-up companies; small businesses and can even help make large businesses more efficient.

List And Relationship Building

Ah YES! One of the most controversial statements in the internet marketing world revolves around this “THE MONEY IS IN THE LIST”. However did you know that the money is only in the list if that list is RESPONSIVE!

It’s what we call relationship building my friends. Building or establishing an online base of customers/consumers is no different than building a customer base of people offline.

http://www.freetoberich.com/5iphon

Let me put it this way. If you own a shop and have about 10 customers that always come in and you always ask them how they are, find out how you can help, give an honest opinion about the merchandise and products that you are selling, send them email or text messages when new stock or special offers arise, and so on and so forth.

Will not those 10 customers be inclined to keep buying from you? They become basically your friends and begin to open up to you more and even give you feedback on your services and products without you even asking because it reaches a point and time where they feel that the shop is almost like theirs. You get where am going with this?

On the other hand you could  have a situation where you have about 2000 customers and when each and every single one of them come into the shop you look at them with the attitude of “You buy or you get out, it’s that simple!”. Tell me. How many of those customers would keep coming back to the shop? They know the shop, at present they are customers BUT for how long?

You probably are thinking what I’m thinking. They will go first chance that they get, because honestly we are all people and human beings and want to be treated with courtesy and respect.

Now when it comes to building an online list it’s the same thing you have to build a relationship with them. 1st of all you have to have a list of course.

Now list building can be a lot of stress and hassle but imagine….what if you could get people to build your list for you at the same time get paid for doing it??

Would this not be something that would be of interest to you? There are many many ways to building a list and one way that I have found that builds me a list the fastest is by getting others to build a list for me.

Do not have time to write all about it now as that is another topic on its own and could get me writing a whole journal but if you want to find out more on the most powerful and most effective way that people are using to build their list in the world of internet marketing today I suggest you visit the link below.

http://www.freetoberich.com/5iphon

As always thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to read my short little article. I do hope that you really enjoyed it.

Business Building Tip: Collect Success Stories

If you’ve been in business for any time at all, you have some success stories. You have some people that have had some really good results from working with you, no matter what it is that you do.

You have had some really great accomplishments in your business by working with people. So what I’d encourage you to do is to make a list – create a file of those success stories – people that have had a really good result or really good outcome from working with you.

If they are life changing results, then of course definitely use those kinds of stories. But you can also have really impactful success stories that aren’t world changing type of things.

Maybe nobody got fit with you and went out and ran a marathon. Maybe they just got fit and were living a healthier, more energetic and inspired life.

It doesn’t have to be mountain top, peak of the mountain success story.

It doesn’t have to be those gold medal moments type of a thing.

So make a list of those type of success stories, whether they are big, whether they are small and keep those handy – not only for you to keep you motivated and inspired about what you are doing.

But to be able to use those to talk to other people about what kind of results people have gotten from working with you.

And we’re not looking for only the results, but what is really powerful are the results of those results.

Maybe you’re a weight loss coach, and you worked with someone and you had really good results and maybe she ended up losing 35 pounds in two and a half months or something like that.

And you were really excited about that. And of course she was really excited about that!

And she is living a healthier, more energetic, more inspired life, and she is just feeling healthier and fitter. She doesn’t see herself as an overweight person anymore; she doesn’t even see herself as a formerly overweight person anymore.

Her whole identity has changed to the point where she feels like she is a healthy and fit individual and that’s her new identity – that’s her persona!

Well that’s the results and that’s great.

But what are the results of those results?

Maybe she was feeling so great and so inspired and feeling so good about herself, and her self confidence had risen to the point where she got inspired to go take a salsa dancing class.

She took the salsa class and of course she was good at it and it was fun, but …

She ended up meeting the love of her life type of a thing, so they ended up getting married two weeks ago.

Now that’s a success story!

But not only with the results of what happened, but incorporating the results of those results.

Now that’s what you want to keep in mind when you are thinking of your success stories, not only what are the results.

But what are the results of those results?

And you want good, high impact stories.

Start saving those up, start collecting those.

Make it a great week,

T

Defining Your Business Niche and Target Market

I have mentioned before that in order to create a successful business it is EXTREMELY important that you take the time to define your business niche and to identify a specific target market. If you do not specialize and aim the efforts of your business towards a specific group of individuals, then you will have a very difficult time appealing to anyone at all.

A “niche” is basically a specific area or activity that someone is particularly good at or knows a lot about. When I talk about it with respect to the business world, I am referring to a specific and specialized area of a larger market.

Let me simplify it – I look at your target audience as “who you help” and niche as “how you help those people with their particular and specialized needs”

For example, the service industry is a huge market, and is comprised of a ton of different smaller markets. Restaurants, salons, spas, bars, and retail stores all fall under that category. A “niche” would be found within an even smaller division that would fall under one of these kinds of subcategories.

Let’s take a spa into consideration for a minute. There are tons of different kinds of spas, and thousands of different kinds of treatments that can be done at one. Maybe you know a lot about skin, so a possible niche within this category could be a spa that focuses solely on skin treatments. Maybe you are more into aromatherapy kinds of things, so you could create your business around that. That’s the how-you-help part.

Basically, when I say that you need to find and embrace your very own “niche,” I mean that you need to come up with, and focus your business around, a very specific sector of your particular business market. It should be something that you are particularly passionate about, that you know a lot about, that really suits your talents and personality, etc. It should be something that makes you stand apart from the rest of your market and that is not too generic or overly used.

The idea is to be unique, and to be the BEST at what you do. Defining your niche should significantly aid you in doing that.

The idea of finding your niche goes hand in hand with defining your business’s target market. Your “target market” is the people who you want to aim your business and marketing efforts towards. These people are your potential clients.

We went over this a couple of weeks ago, but I want to reiterate that you DO NOT want to target everyone out there. There is a reason why it is called a T-A-R-G-E-T market. You should not throw your advertising and efforts out blindly shooting in every which direction, but aim it towards a specific group of people. It may seem counterintuitive, but it will actually aid you in gaining a larger client base. And you don’t want to be wasting what could otherwise be productive time, energy and money.

How do you go about defining your target market?

Good question!

There are definitely some great tactics out there that can help you do this.

FIRST of all, you should think about the kind of people that YOU want to work with. Yes I said YOU!!! This is one of the few times when it comes to your business that you will really be able to focus on yourself and what exactly you want. Define your absolutely ideal client, thinking about what characteristics you do and do not want in the people that you work with/for.

Do you want to work with that lady who always complains and that can never be satisfied? No? Then throw her out of your target market!! Believe it or not, you have a ton of control over the kind of people that come to you. You just need to define who those people are, what they are looking for and want, and build your business and marketing strategy in a way that caters specifically to them.

Another thing that is important to think about is who you best relate to. You are going to be much more successful when it comes to marketing your business if you can understand what it is that your potential clients want, why they want it, and how they want it. This understanding is strongest between you and people that you have an affinity for, that you can identify with, and whose conversations you can simply step into as the solution they’re looking for.

You need to KNOW your clients. You need to be able to really get into, and understand, the conversations that are going on in their heads. Although a group of people may seem like a great and profitable target market, if you can’t understand what it is that they are looking for and what they want, then they will be absolutely useless to you. In order to solve their problems, you must first know and understand them.

Ask yourself these things: What is it that they want? What are their compelling desires? What are they lying awake worrying about? What are their secret fantasies?

If you can’t begin to answer those questions, than you should probably look deeper. Ask them. Do surveys, have conversations, etc.

TRUST ME! You will be much better off if you take these things into consideration. Not only will you be more successful, but you will be much happier doing it.

And let’s face it, if you aren’t happy doing what you do, then why should anybody else be happy with it? Clients want to work with people who love what they do and who are good at it, not with people who hate their job and push through it every day.

Happy people do a much better job and are much much much more pleasant to work with. It’s a fact of life!

So think about these things when creating or re-defining your business, they are CRITICAL.

What other kinds of things have helped YOU when deciding upon a target market? I want to hear about your experiences and any ideas that you may have. Either leave a comment below or by clicking on the bubble in the upper right hand corner of the post.

Make it a great week!

 

What Do You Say?

I know it’s been a couple of weeks, but I hope you remember everything that we have gone over with respect to mistakes to avoid when building and positioning your business. Today I am going to go over one last big mistake that is all too often made by business owners when trying to develop their business.

Something that many people struggle with, and that if you do it wrong, has a tendency to really detract from the attractiveness of your businesses, is mastering their message. This is the message that you use in order to appeal to your potential clients and to bring them to YOU. It needs to resonate with your target audience and to address their personal needs and desires.

I mentioned this in our last positioning post, but in order to come up with a really great business message, you need to get into the conversation in the heads of the individuals that make up your target market.

You need to know what it is that they need and are looking for, and to appeal to those wants and needs. It should be personal and unique.

In order to be as helpful as you can to them, and in order to create a message that really resonates with them, you need to think about what is going on in their head throughout the whole process. For example, say you are a real-estate agent that focuses on downsizing seniors.

Maybe they have just lost their spouse and can no longer stand the thought of living in a home that is filled with so many memories. Maybe it is a senior couple whose kids have grown up and moved out, and they feel that it’s too big of a house for them and they don’t need all the extra work to keep it maintained. You need to think about WHY they may be choosing to downsize.

Once you have considered the WHY, you need to think about what comes along with it. So, with our downsizing seniors, when they’re thinking about moving into a smaller, easier-to-maintain place, they’re probably going to have to get rid of some of their stuff. What can you do to help your client’s with the process?

Something else to consider – How might they be feeling about leaving the home that they have lived in for so many years? They may be disheartened to think about losing their connection, their touchstone to all those family memories, in the home and the neighborhood where their babies grew up. Because they have such an emotional bond with the place.

Maybe they are worried that they will have no idea how to go about selling and buying a house since the market has obviously changed drastically since they bought the place.

Maybe they don’t have anyone to help them move, and have no idea who to turn to.

It’s all so overwhelming, and can even be terrifying for some.

Think about this: When anybody is doing anything, there is a reason for it. By figuring out what that reason may be and by being sensitive to it, you can better appeal to potential customers in your specialty field.

Thinking about their worries and concerns allows you to address them beforehand, thereby preparing yourself to have all of the necessary things in place already when they come to you.

By tapping into the conversation within your potential client’s heads, you can position yourself as the person best suited to meet their wants and needs. It allows you to better relate to them.

People like to feel understood, and it is comforting when the person you go to seems relatable and accommodating. You need to keep all of these things in mind when creating your message.

This also ties into the last two mistakes that we went over before. Your message needs to set you apart from the crowd. It needs to show you and your business are different than the others. It should be presented in a unique and creative way that will catch the attention of you prospective clients.

But most importantly, it should position you as the obvious choice. It would make much more sense for a senior couple who is downsizing to go to someone who specializes in such things then to some generic agent who is just looking to move as many people in and out of houses as quickly as possible without taking their special needs into consideration.

Let me give you two examples, and then I want YOU to decide which would be the obvious choice for this situation.

Real-estate agent number one’s message: “Hi. My name is Joe Schmo, and I have an incredibly high sell rate. I would love to help YOU sell your house as quickly as possible, too!”

Real-estate agent number two’s message: “Is your house too big now that your kids have all moved out? Has the maintenance just become too much? My name is Joe Schmo, and I’m the downsizing senior specialist. I can help you to sell your home and to get settled into a new place that’s a better fit for you. I can make the entire process easy and as stress-free as possible, and I will work WITH you to make sure that your every question is answered and that every concern is addressed. You are not alone. I’m here to help you.”

Which one would be the obvious choice? If you don’t say the second, then we really need to talk! : )

Nobody wants to feel as though they are just a means through which someone else can make money. That makes them feel devalued and like you just don’t care. By tapping into what is going on in their minds, you can avoid that, and show them that you care about them as individuals.

They won’t mind the expense, because they will feel that it’s worth it for the specialized and genuine care that they get from you. In short, you will resonate with them, and they’ll be tickled that they chose you.

As I’ve said before, positioning is not the simplest thing in the world. There are a lot of things to be considered, and there is no one quick fix that will suddenly make your business boom.

However, that being said, all of the mistakes we have talked about are relatively easy to avoid. Being aware of them is the first step in avoiding them. They definitely take some time to work through, and a heck of a lot of thought, but the time and effort is well worth it in the end.

I will be going into further detail with respect to some of the most important things that you can do in order to position yourself in a way that sets you apart and that will ensure you greater overall success.

If you have any questions or there is anything in particular that you would like me to write about, LET ME KNOW, and I will do my best to answer your questions or point you to someone who can.

I’m excited to move into the topics of positioning, branding and defining yourself as different from all of the others out there because this is MY passion. It is MY specialty, and I can’t wait to share it with YOU!

Until next week…

Make it Great!

 

Who’s Your Client? Everyone With A Pulse and A Wallet…

We’ve recently discussed how one of the biggest business positioning mistakes that you can make when marketing your business is to take too generic of an approach. If you don’t separate yourself from the crowd, you and your business are no different than any of the other ones out there.

This week I’m going to go a little deeper into this concept with a closely related concept, because so many people make this mistake: Trying To Appeal To Everyone.

Too many people try to appeal to the masses thinking that it is the best way to get the most clients and to make the most money.

This approach may seem like the rational way to go, but in reality…it is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when creating and marketing your business.

By trying to make your business appeal to everyone, you end up really appealing to nobody.

This goes hand-in-hand with being too generic. If you try to appeal to everyone, then it is almost impossible to be unique.

However, if you position yourself to appeal to a certain demographic or segment of the population, rather than trying to appeal to everyone, you can play up the ways in which you are unique and how your solutions are beneficial to that specific group of people. By trying to appeal to too many people, you stretch yourself thin and minimize any difference there may be between you and your competition.

The most successful businesses have streamlined their target market to include only specific groups of people. This allows you to better appeal to, and to better address, your potential clients’ wants and needs. In doing so, you will significantly increase your allure to those people and will as a result gain more of them as clients.

Let me explain what I’m talking about with an example or two.

Say for example, that you sustained some physical damage from a car accident several years ago, and you’re tired of suffering and not being able to sleep through the night and move your body in a certain way with ease, so you’re looking for a massage therapist.

You have a choice – you see that there are about 100 choices to select from. You can pick a masseuse that has a generic “let me help you relax and heal the pain” message, or you can select a masseuse who actually specializes in deep tissue massages for people who have sustained injuries in an automobile accident and have significant scar tissue hampering their mobility and movement.

And that’s all that they do.

That’s their specialty.

They are the expert.

Who are you going to choose?

Any masseuse may be able to do a massage that feels good in the short term, but are they really skilled in working with scar tissue from previous injury?

Sure, they may be qualified – they may have learned how to do that in massage therapy school…

Just because someone is qualified to provide whatever service you’re looking for, doesn’t mean that they specialize in it!

Think about that – qualified does not equal specialized.

Here’s another example I use all the time – Stop me if you’ve heard it before…: )

(Uh-oh, Warning: personal story coming – you may want to close your ears and hum : ) )

I gained a lot of weight when I became pre-menopausal. Up until that point I hadn’t had any weight issues. I’d been at a healthy weight for my whole life. But then hormonal changes, slower metabolism, getting more sedentary, and not really paying close attention to what I ate, all kind of crept up on me, and I gained quite a bit of weight.

Frankly, I was never so obese that I broke 200 lbs, but even so, I have no business being anywhere close to 190. So for my frame, it was quite a bit of weight.

And then a few years ago I shook myself awake and recognized, hey – time to address this issue before it gets worse. So I started doing all of these things that I know will take the weight off – I was becoming way more active, started really paying attention to eating healthier, got off of fast food and junk food, high fructose corn syrup, carbonated soda, started drinking way, Way more water, etc.

And nothing was working.

I got even more determined – really focused on walking at least 10,000 steps a day.

Even started running a little, really started reading package labels, eating more natural foods and staying away from a lot of these processed and modified foods, etc. Kicked up the running to where I could run for three miles.

Did I lose some weight? Yeah I did – a little.

But I was so-o frustrated! Because I was putting all of this focus and attention on it, devoting a lot of time every day to the activity and keeping track of what I ate, and it should have dropped off like I was in my first week as a Biggest Loser contestant.

But it didn’t.

Over the course of several months, I lost a few pounds. All the pounds put together over the months: not even a good week 9 or 10 for a Biggest Loser contestant.

And of course, every day we are bombarded with weight loss messages. There are weight loss programs out there by the hundreds. I was certainly not at a loss to find some help if I wanted to.

But I didn’t want a generic weight loss program.

I felt like I was doing everything a typical weight loss program would recommend. I was watching what I ate; I was getting a significant amount of activity every day, etc.

What I really needed was for someone to show up with a message that said something like “Menopausal weight gain getting you down? Do you feel like you’ve tried everything and your body just isn’t cooperating? Don’t know what else to try? Well, I specialize in helping menopausal women really fight the weight gain that comes from those hormonal changes and metabolism slowdowns that naturally occur as we age. Call Me Today. P.S. The bonus is that one of the side effects of you and I working together is that we get those hot flashes and night sweats under control, too! Naturally!”

If anyone, ANYONE had presented me with a message like that, I would have been all over it.

I didn’t care about the generic weight loss messages – because they didn’t speak to me. I knew the basics. I just didn’t know what to do about the things specific to menopausal weight gain.

Why would you go to someone to fix your problems, when they may not know how to do it any more than you do? That’s a lot of time wasted and money spent on something that might not provide you with the maximum benefit that you could be getting.

And that ladies and gentlemen, THAT is why you should specialize. When people want something, they want something specific. People have specific needs. If you focus on a more specialized area, and a smaller group of people, you will actually appeal to more people.

Understand that when I say “specific groups of people” I don’t necessarily mean small groups of people. You can still target your efforts towards a large group; the members just have to have common wants and needs. There needs to be something that they all have in common that makes them good candidates for your services.

What’s the specific group that could have been targeted by my need? Women who had never had weight issues until they hit menopausal age, and then they’re struggling to deal with it.

It’s not like that’s a small market.

It’s simply smaller than the market defined as “everyone who’s overweight”.

Well, now you’re wondering “What about all of those people who you don’t appeal to anymore?”

Okay…What about them?

Realistically, you never appealed to them or anyone else before. In order to really appeal to someone, you have to be able to address their specific wants and needs and to help them overcome whatever obstacles they are facing.

That is why you have to get into the immediate conversation in their head. Like that menopausal message above would have stepped directly into the dialogue I had with myself every single freaking day and night for several years – if anyone had provided it – but no one had a message like that for me.

I don’t know anyone that can fix anything and everything, and even if that is you – you still need to focus on your specialties and who you can provide the most benefit for.

You really need to hone in on: How can you truly serve those you’re most able to help?

Along with narrowing your target market, you need to define your own niche and concentrate all of your efforts towards that specific area of the market. You focus on what you do best.

You figure out what you are passionate about, and build your business around that. This is one of the easiest ways to help you figure out what your target market should be. I will go more in depth on defining your niche and target audience in the future here, so keep them in mind.

For now, think about what we have gone over in the last couple of weeks and how it applies to your business.

If you still think you need to go generic and undifferentiated with your marketing and promotional message, I don’t know how else to convince you. I’ve given you some of my best stuff – I even pulled out my “I got fat” story to share with you. : )

Next week is Super Bowl week and we’ll talk about how that pertains to your business. After that, we’ll come back to positioning, and we’ll go over another big marketing mistake that you should avoid making at all costs.

Make it a great week!!

 

P.S. Bribe: If you want to know how the “I got fat” story has worked out for me, just drop a note in the comments below. If there’s enough clamor and ruckus – I might even share with you! : )

 

Stand Out or Be Benched!

Once again, its Super Bowl time and the buzz of football fans’ excitement fills the air! Due to the special occasion, I thought I’d share with you some of my thoughts on how marketing your business is like football.

Yes, believe it or not there are connections between this crazy sport and your business…

Marketing is just like any competitive sport in that, in order to play the game and be successful, you have to stand out from the crowd.

If we’re talking professional sports, you could still make some money sitting on the bench with all of the other players that are competing for your position, but it is the player who is actually out there on the field showing his/her stuff and making the big plays that is going to make the big bucks.

Think about a football team. It is made up of a bunch of different people who specialize in certain parts of the game. Although there are a number of different positions, there are always at least 3 or 4 people vying for the same position. Obviously not all of them can play at the same time, and of course, the one who is the best is going to get substantially more time on the field.

It is the one who plays the most that people recognize and cheer for. He not only gets paid way more money than the other 2 or 3 guys on the bench, but he is the one that others consider to be a success.

The other people sitting on the bench are just some other players that may get to go in every once in a while, and may even have a good play here and there, but nobody will remember them. As far as the fans are concerned, they are just like every other guy on the bench, and therefore are not perceived as “as good as” those who actually get playing time and are watched by millions of people all over the country.

The business world is exactly the same.

No, you’re right – there is technically no bench and 99.9% of the time no business will be viewed by millions on TV. However, the concept holds true.

Those businesses that do not stand out from the crowd won’t ever gain the recognition needed to become truly successful. If you have no customers, it’s equivalent to never getting out onto the field to show your stuff.

If you never get out onto the field to show your stuff, you might as well not be a player.

Same goes for your business. Why be in business if you don’t get to work your magic and help those you’re most able to serve with your gifts, skills and experience? Might as well shutter the doors.

You have to be playing your game in order to make your business thrive.

The way in which business success is different than sports is that it’s not necessarily the best of the best that gains the most recognition and that conquers the market.

It is the business that really sets itself apart from the others as reliable, trustworthy, and knowledgeable and that creates a message which allows them to stand out as something special in the mind of their prospects that will see the most success.

If your potential client doesn’t see you as the obvious choice with exactly the solutions that they’re looking for, they’ll look right through you. You’ll be as invisible as someone who got cut from the roster. You’re no longer even a backup choice at that point.

There may be other great quality, dare I say even better businesses out there that give better service for a cheaper price.

But if nobody knows who you are, no matter how good, bad or indifferent you are at what you do, then you are no different than the subpar businesses that people regret going to.

Unless you differentiate yourself and your business from the masses, you will always be a benchwarmer that is the backup plan in case the starter isn’t available for some reason or another. Or maybe, like we said earlier, you’re cut from the team and never get the chance to create the winning play.

In order to even get a chance to play, you MUST set yourself apart.

How do you do that? Well, the first thing is to know what you want your business to stand for in the minds of your customer.

And that something had better be attractive to them.

Because believe it or not, the game is not about you – it’s about how your prospects and clients perceive you.

And as you know, the only thing that matters from their perspective is whether or not you can deliver the answers, solutions or transformations they’re looking for.

So put yourself out there as a player that is ready to compete and show just how much of a stand out player you can be. All of your prospective clients are like scouts looking for the next best thing…by setting yourself apart as different and focusing on your strengths, you can make sure that YOU are that business.

While watching the Super Bowl this week, think about how your business is like football. Comparing business marketing to sports may seem like a stretch, but if you think about it, the two concepts really do have a ton in common.

Let me know if this concept resonates with you, and how.

Until next week, enjoy your football and I hope your team wins!