Archives for March 2010

Mar
30

The Belly Dance Bonanza… and 11 ways to grow a business

I gotta tell you an amazing story because…

… you just never know where your next “Big Idea” might come from.

This is a story that was told by one of my Wild West Wealth participants. Actually, she stood up and told the whole crowd about it at our Wild West Christmas Bash in December.

I was relating the story of how I got the whole Wild West Wealth event going … about how frustrated I was over always having to travel all the time to the US for marketing seminars and training … how I didn’t even come up with this idea until January and started promoting in March (for a summer event)…

… and how my “business coach” (a position he didn’t hold for long) advised me, none too delicately, that it was an awful idea and I should just forget the whole thing.

Yeah, right … that just got my hackles up!

This was, after all, my … BIG IDEA.

Long story short … as you know, I went ahead full steam … got my speakers lined-up (including the major coup of getting Ted Nicholas to come all the way from Switzerland to teach us all a thing or two … or thirty!) … and the Wild West Wealth Summits were a HUGE success.

There were HUNDREDS of strategies presented by our line-up of experts.

But, y’know … sometimes the tiniest spark can ignite YOUR next “big idea”.

One person, in particular, took an off-hand comment of mine and turned it into…

Well … I’ll let Daphne tell it from here, in her own words…

“When I went to the Wild West Summit in the summer, I was inspired by something you mentioned. You were saying you always go to the United States to study what you need to study … and how that was the inspiration for you to put together a seminar right here in Canada … and I thought, ‘Oh my god … I can totally do that in MY business!’

“I own a belly dance academy … so I go to The States or to Europe to study with masters and I thought, ‘Well, I can   bring some of these people to Canada’ …

…so I did. And I had the largest belly dance festival in Western Canada. http://bellydance.ca

“People came in from Alaska, from The States and across Canada.

“That was in October … so, from the summer to October, I put all this together and brought in three major instructors …

and

it was a huge success. All from one little comment.

“So thank you, Troy!”

And therein lies the secret of success…

Look for people who are achieving the things you want in YOUR business and in YOUR life … find out how they’re doing it …

and TAKE ACTION!

There’s no substitute.

What do you think Daphne’s Big Idea will do for her business?

What will YOUR next Big Idea do for YOUR business, your bottom line?

There’s only one way to find out … IMPLEMENT it.

Just like Daphne did.

Take action!

One simple step a day to grow your business will do immense amounts of good to your bank account.

…One blog post
…One personality driven email to your list
…One online press release
…One phone call to a past client
…One comment on your favorite blog
…One article written and submitted to the directories (I’ve been having great success using odesk.com to find excellent
assistants and researchers)
…One hand-written note to a customer or prospect
…One quick and dirty video tip you can send to your customers
…One top 10 list you can use on your website
…One call to a like-minded entrepreneur who sells to the same type of buyers as you (to set up a joint venture)
…One birth of a new workshop idea your clients and prospects would want

Here’s to greater success in 2010 than you’ve ever experienced!

~ Troy

Mar
29

Wealthy writer tips

I get quite a few requests for help with writing.

Most of the time, it is a lack of effort that’s the problem.

Rushing through the preparation.

Not doing sufficient research.

Thinking that quick and dirty ads will do the job.

Then they wonder why they don’t get results.

Other times, they have put in some effort, but are missing some key points that will help.

Things like…

  • Slash and burn your first couple paragraphs
  • Snip each sentence down by 25%
  • Break the rules
    • use cliches
    • write to a grade 7 level
    • use one sentence, even one word paragraphs
    • forget most of what you learned in english
  • Write in an active voice
  • Work on developing your USP
  • Use ellipses … they get the point across
  • Never put a period on your headline
  • Spend more time on researching your buyers than writing to them (know who they are better than you know your own best friend)
  • Use your personality in your copy – and work hard at being “you” in print (there is no greater skill you will ever develop than this.  Every business with a charismatic leader and marketing materials that flaunt that  personality will thrive in the coming years.  Doubt this? How many businesses that you know, ones with a strong charasmatic leader, struggle?  There are so few companies run this way, it is difficult to name a dozen of them)

These are just a few short tips to help you get more response from your writing.

Let me know how it goes.

Troy

Mar
25

Gordon Ramsay… rude and obnoxious or marketing saint?

Never before has such foul language proved itself as a major business tool.

By now, I do hope you have heard of Gordon Ramsey, host of “Kitchen Nightmares” and “Hell’s Kitchen”.

If not, I would highly suggest watching the “Kitchen Nightmares” show sometime soon.

First, a WARNING: Thin-skinned folks need not tune in.

If you cannot handle foul language and incredibly abrasive personalities, do not watch Gordon’s show!

He is rude, loud, in-your-face, and LOVES swearing to get his point across (and everything is a point, so pretty well every sentence consists of swear words).

I am not going to go too much into Gordon’s past, but, rest assured, this ex-professional Scottish football player has a list of credentials that is long, and highly admirable.

He is now working on his 25th restaurant and many of them have multiple Michelin stars to their name (the most recognized and influential culinary ratings guide).  He has multiple best selling cookbooks, 4 television shows and a DVD series, to name a few.

The story line behind a kitchen nightmare …

Gordon comes into restaurants that are almost ready to close their doors, for any one of multiple different reasons.  He has 1 week to turn the business around and make it a success.

He is a no-bull guy and when he starts, there is no stopping him.

Why is this important to you?

Because Gordon’s formula for a 7-day business turnaround is one that each and every one of us should pay close attention to.  If you are looking to increase your sales, the ideas below will help you see new ideas you have never thought of before.  If you are struggling in your business or cash flow – go through each step below and reconstruct your business from the ground up.

*************************************
Step #1 – Figure out what you are selling now.
*************************************
Sounds basic – but is it really?  When Gordon first steps into one of the restaurants he is about to makeover, he sits down for a meal.

While he waits for the different dishes he ordered, he watches carefully for the way the staff works, the way they treat customers, and the way customers are enjoying (or not) the food.

When the food shows up, he is usually disgusted in what they are passing off as main course meals.

Also, the restaurants that he steps into are almost always seriously lacking enough customers to stay in business.

*************************************
Step #2 – Who is behind this disaster they call a restaurant?
*************************************

This is where the real truth starts to come out.  He interviews the owners, the servers, the head chef and the kitchen staff.

Usually, he finds one or two of them passionate about the business, the rest of them are putting in time between paychecks.

Typically the ingredients are sub-par, the menu confusing with too many options, and the actual food being delivered not worthy of a roadside burger stand.

*************************************
Step #3 – Find out what the customers REALLY want
*************************************

Rarely is it what is being delivered!

The first thing to be done – – ASK THEM.

Find out what is missing on the restaurant scene.

Find out what foods they want the most, or that they have a tough time finding.

Find out who the regulars are and what they want.

Find out which restaurants are doing best in your area – then go in there to sample their food and service, always looking for ideas to improvise upon.

And, very important, if it is a seasonal business or location – make sure that the restaurant caters to those who live there year round! Those are the people who keep the restaurant open – catering to one-time tourists is a sure-fire way to bankruptcy.

*************************************
Step # 4 – Find the signature dishes
*************************************

Such a simple concept that so many businesses (in every possible niche) completely ignore.

What is the one dish that the head chef enjoys making the most?

Usually, Gordon finds out that the chef has an incredible signature plate that is not on the menu.  Why?  The owner is usually the problem.  As Gordon says, “owners should never write the menu – the head chef should be the one to design the menu”.

*************************************
Step #5 – Simplify the menu and the number of choices
*************************************

Too many choices leave people confused and lacking in direction.

It also overcomplicates what is required in the kitchen to deliver what was promised (resulting in inferior quality on all the plates).

The menu is typically cut in less than half and the customers are usually very happy about the change.

Also, a large portion is NOT a secret to restaurant success.

Smaller portions reduce waste, and keep customers coming back for more.

*************************************
Step #6 – Systems ARE the key to success
*************************************

Once the new menu has been created, putting systems in place to ensure consistent (and fast) delivery is key.

Being able to double business in a week, without loss in quality or without increase wait times, is something Gordon does in every restaurant he walks into.

*************************************
Step # 7 – Feet on the street marketing
*************************************

Last, now that everything is in place and the systems have been tested on a smaller scale, they get busy.

Getting the staff all geared up in uniforms, loaded up with their new signature dishes, they hit the street and let anyone and everyone try out the new menu choices.

Usually, an afternoon of that and they have enough curiosity built up to guarantee their first night’s dinner is packed with diners and hungry new customers.

>>>> The 7-step formula above sounds simple, but it consistently turns failing restaurants around in 1 single week.

The customers love the new choices (the ones they told you to start making), the staff become much more motivated to deliver consistent service, and the restaurant very quickly starts to make a profit.

Gordon usually revisits the restaurant after a month or two to see if they have held together all the new changes.

9 times out of 10 they have held it together, stuck with the changes, and are enjoying more money than they have experienced in years.

And yes, this does apply to your business to …

* Figure out exactly what you are selling now
* Who is behind your business? What do the customers see? What do they think?
* Find out what the customers REALLY want
* Find your signature offer
* Simplify the number of choices
* Systems ARE the key to success
* Feet on the street marketing

Last, a few side lessons from Gordon …

It IS about the image you portray

Use only the finest ingredients in areas the customers enjoy most

What is the passion – where did it come from – find a way to bring it back

Don’t take it personally – take it seriously

It’s about the story you give them to tell others

When you hire a professional to help – try listening to their advice for a change (not that any customers who hire a copywriter or marketing consultant would ever ignore the advice of an expert!)

What you hear most on the show: “%^&#ing HELL!” (which he says every time he sees something that is destroying the business – about every
32 seconds you will hear him say “%^&#ing HELL!”

One of my favorite Gordon quotes: “Who needs a wine list when you can get pissed on desert?”

To your success,

Troy White

**************************************************
This article was originally written for the Small Business Mastery Column,
which I write every Friday for the World’s Highest Paid Copywriter, Clayton Makepeace.
http://www.smallbusinessmastery.com

Mar
25

Gene Simmons… lessons from a Rock and Roll Great

Two years ago, I was having dinner at the Grand Ole Opry hotel in Nashville, getting ready to attend the Dan Kennedy Superconference.

Just up to my right I saw someone come out of a discretely placed side door, and start walking down the hall towards me.

“Hey. There’s Gene Simmons!”

Gene was booked to speak at the seminar the next morning, but here he was wandering down the hallway all by himself. No one had even really noticed who this living legend was that was casually strutting his stuff, all by his lonesome.

So my buddy Owen and I jumped up and went to say hi.

He was incredibly friendly, offering us signatures or photos if we wanted. As we were snapping a couple pictures, people around us started to figure out who this was… and the crowd soon surrounded him.

What impressed me was watching him with the crowd.

There’s a guy that knows who pays his bills!

He was patient and friendly with everyone.

Photo? Sure.

Sign this? Sure.

He made sure every single person who wanted it, either got a picture with him or went home with something signed by Gene (the girls usually went away with some very strategically written ink on their bodies).

No rush – he was there to be with his fans.

One fascinating thing about his fans was the multiple generations that consider him the best in the world.

Grandmothers there with their grandkids – each of them as giddy at meeting Gene as the other.

The next morning he gave a fantastic talk about thinking big and success in business.

Many people judge Gene by the image he portrays in his old KISS costume, with makeup, platform boots and tongue sticking out.

If that is all you know about Gene, you will be astounded to learn how successful he has become marketing himself, his brand, and his many companies.

Seriously, Gene is a marketing genius and his Sex, Money, Kiss book gives you some incredible insights into the way he thinks, acts and grows his businesses (a warning though: if you are easily offended and unable to see past some of the points he makes, you will not enjoy this book. If you have thick skin, this is packed solid with marketing lessons).

If you watch his Family Jewels show, you catch a glimpse of how he runs some of the business and makes tens of millions of dollars a year, when most Rock-and-Roll old timers have dried up and blown away.

Did you know Gene has never used drugs or been drunk?

Most have no clue. Most don’t want to believe it.

But that’s how he stayed sober when all the rest of the band fell victim to drugs and booze.

Gene took control of the main assets and has continued to leverage his success for decades now.

He is one of the BEST at being a showman. He knows when to put on his game face, and does it incredibly well.

Some of the lessons I have picked up from Gene that are ideal for small business marketing:

  1. Make it a cool and catchy name. Many of the major successes in business are centered around products and businesses whose names are memorable (or they paid huge bucks to make it memorable).

Also, Gene is big into the designs and packaging of the name you use. You cannot deny the success he has achieved with this strategy. Make the name into a catchy logo, and, the real key, make the logo attractive enough that you would wear it on a t-shirt, or baseball cap, or on a poster, etc.

Gene has created a multi-million dollar empire out of merchandisable clothing, posters, stickers, electronic gear, etc …. all with a very catchy logo and designs.

  1. Think through each and every area that you can generate revenuesfrom your business and offerings.
    1. Your main product or service offering – price it at the high end (trying to win the low price game is not something I ever recommend). Prices at the high end may attract fewer buyers (sometimes it attracts more buyers), but the profits are higher, and the effort required to close a high end sale is typically as easy as selling the cheapest on the market.
    2. Find ways to incorporate a membership program into your business. This is a BIG money maker if done properly (the KISS members club has a massive client base that will buy anything that is promoted). You can price your membership program monthly or yearly, definitely worthy of testing both options. With a membership, they should get some form of discount of future purchases, they should have special member-only days, they should be eligible for contests, points for purchases – redeemable for additional goods, or impressed clothing or hats.[Side note: I have been watching closely all the different places that use memberships lately, and they are, typically, one of the leaders in their market, usually VERY busy with paying customers, and usually very unique, in that their competitors are too scared to implement membership programs.]
    3. What is your conversation piece?When someone talks about you and your business, what one thing are they likely to bring up in the conversation? If you don’t have that, yet, start thinking it through.It could be the bizarre things you do in your ‘off-time’ (think Richard Branson) – it could be who you regularly write about in your newsletters (I used to write about my twin daughters extensively in my newsletters, as they taught me much about life and business).Find something, anything that can position you as highly unique.
    4. Have annual customer appreciation events (more frequent is even better). People LOVE a good party – give them one. Make it free for all customers – you can combine the free event with an extra paid event, but do it at a separate time and make the paid event highly valuable.
    5. Is there any way you can license your brand, your products, your services, even your marketing process or ads? Create something unique in your business and how it is perceived by others, then approach others in unrelated markets (even competitors in non-competitive areas). Sell rights to use your licensed goods in their business. For them, it gives them more to sell to their clients, for you it provides additional income streams to further grow your business and bank account.Donald Trump recently discussed the fact that 15% of his revenues come from the licensing of the Trump name. People pay him significant fees to use his name, fees are payable in advance before they do anything with his name.

You and I may not have a name
like Trump or Simmons to license,
but we definitely have assets we can
and should be licensing.

  1. Cross promote everything that you sell, or want to sell. Each and every part of your business needs to be selling the other parts. You can do this through inserts in your product shipments, in your electronic newsletters, in your customer follow-up pieces, you can even create catchy cartoon or graphic logos that make for great stickers – include a bunch of stickers with each shipment (this has worked great for me and the Wild West Wealth Summit and the cowboy cartoons I have used).
  2. Create systematic 1-2-3 launchesfor every new initiative you are undertaking this year. As you lay it out on your marketing calendar you will start seeing where the majority of your time will be allocated throughout the year- and where the overlaps are on your launches, which can be powerful in the eyes of you customers – or confusing, if not explained properly.Make sure you cross promote your different businesses as well. Gene Simmons is very good at making sure each and every one of his businesses or clients is mentioned when he is in front of a crowd.You just never know who is in the market for one of your other offerings!
  3. Always be asking yourself how you can make more money from your existing products or services, and how you can repackage them for bigger boosts in sales. Try surveying your clients to find out what they like most, and least, about the products and services you offer now.
  • Brand yourself as the personality of your business. Many of the world’s great business success stories (and turnaround stories) are the result of the business leader becoming the front person and personality in all their marketing. Lee Iacocca WAS Chrysler when he turned them around. He was front and center on the television, the voice you heard on radio, and the person people connected with when they wanted to buy a new vehicle (versus all the other ‘faceless’ corporations they had to choose from).Use cartoons, if appropriate. They have worked well for me … and are working well for others. There is a major resurgence of interest in cartoons right now among adults. I don’t recall where I saw the article, but the growth in comic book sales to adults is experiencing a major spike right now – tap into it!How would you sell you and your company if you were a rock star? You may not want to wear makeup and stick your tongue out (or maybe you would?) – But there is something you would do to stand out from the thousands of other rock stars out there re: What is your personality you want to portray? Use that personality in your blog posts, in your newsletters, in your marketing and on your website – that is one of your greatest assets if you leverage it right.
  • Work harder (and smarter) than anyone else in your industry. Despite the premise behind The 4-Hour Work Week, hard work will be the key to your success. Yes, outsourcing and systemization is critical, but if you are working half the hours as your biggest competitor – they will become the leader. Look at Clayton, he doesn’t claim to work the fewest hours to have created the level of success that he has – he works hard, damn hard – and the results from his promotions speak for themselves.

I highly encourage you to pick up Gene’s book. It gives you a powerful look into the life of one of today’s greatest showmen.

Few people in any business can make ten, twenty, fifty million a year consistently… for decades. Those that do, leave some serious clues on how you can do the same.

Even if success and wealth is not one of your ambitions, learning how a guy like that has been able to turn a flame-breathing devil into a multi-generational icon is a fun ride in itself!

To your success, Troy White

 

Gene Simmons marketing and success secrets

Mar
22

Make a million with a $9 Lobster???

This, by FAR is my favorite success story of the past few years.

I heard about these 3 young brothers somewhere.

Their story reeked of good content.

They were young (both in the 20s).

They were in an industry that sells on price.

A very competitive industry.

Everyone told them their idea was stupid and it would be the end of them.

They were pigheaded and did it anyhow.

THAT’S the kind of story I love.

So I interviewed them.  And absolutely lovedwhat they did.

If you sell products in a competitive industry – get this interview.

If you sell high priced products or services – get this report.

If you want to find an innovative way to stand out from your competition – get this report.

Seriously, I have put together the best-of-the-best information from their interview, along with my recommendations on how you can make this fit your business as well.

How do you get it?

Either sign up in the newsletter box at the top center of my blog at http://blog.smallbusinesscopywriter.com – or you can also go to http://www.milliondollarlobster.com – both will send you the pdf report.

I guarantee this is worth your time to read.

It has already launched 5 other businesses that I know of following these simple ideas.

Could it work for you?

Read it and see.

Mar
20

Mindset secrets of the marketing masters

You and I both know how important a clear head is for your business.

Stress gets in the way and can destroy your chances of success.

Self-defeating beliefs that reverse positive directions you are headed in.

You need to always be cognizant of what you are thinking about…thoughts become reality.

Which is why you MUST read Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz.

This is a classic book you should re-read once or twice a year.

It gives you THE formula for creating your future… and your prosperity.

Entrepreneurs that I have worked with read this… and they will agree with me that it is one of the keys to their marketing success.

Here is a fantastic video that will introduce you to Maxwell Maltz.

Enjoy.