Archives for May 2011

May
31

Focus

I am going through what is one of the busiest times of my life right now.

All a good busy… but something I have struggled with… as do many entrepreneurs I know.

How do you focus when new opportunities come rushing at you at break-neck speed?

So how do I, and anyone else who all of a sudden becomes swamped with new work, handle this?

Focus.

First thing is first… you need a plan.

1. Write down all of the projects you have to work on.
2. Estimate how much time per week each project will take
3. Add 50% to each of those numbers – reality shows that it almost always takes longer than we initially think
4. Now add up all the numbers – and divide by 5 or 6 days -you now have the number of hours a week you will have to work to keep on top of it all

…scared yet?

5. Next, start looking at what other distractions are on your plate – email, phone calls, distractions, newsletters -and start saying NO to things. You MUST stop doing the things that won’t help you be productive on your big projects.

With 4 new companies needing 4 new marketing campaigns – I have a ton of work to do…

And reading 100 ezines a week won’t help me get things done.

Answering silly emails is another time waster

Surfing the net – got to go

Answering the phone every time it rings is a serious distraction

Sleep – ah, who needs it? (Kidding)

Need to factor in family time – make quality time for it

Not an easy task for anyone – but we are all faced with it. The question is – how will you deal with it?

Create your plan, then stick to your guns. Get used to saying no, and get used to firing troublesome clients.

And get to work!

Troy

PS: One way to get more done is to outsource more.

Join me this Thursday night for a fantastic teleseminar with Heather
Stevens.

Heather has just brought out the KING and QUEEN of personalized
follow up systems.

NOTHING else beats this that I have ever seen…

…and it is designed to scale from the one-person operation… right
up to the $50 million a year company.

Join us here: Hands Off Marketing Systems –
http://www.smallbusinesscopywriter.com/handsoffmarketing.htm

May
30

Why I love and hate my Canada Post Mailman

First, a warning: I am not a fan of unions.

This may offend you if you are in a union.

When I was 18 yrs old I worked for my first and only union, Alberta Transportation. I was getting paid good coin for standing there holding a elevation stick one day, a sign the next, weighing gravel trucks the next.

The worst job of them all? Counting fence posts.

Yes, I admit it, I got paid good coin (for an 18 year old!) to walk along a fence line counting the posts. Was it worth what they paid me? Not a chance. But I was not arguing.

Actually, it was that job combined with a gas pumping job (specifically, pumping gas when it was minus 30 out!) that convinced me to go back to school and get a Bachelor of Commerce degree (majoring in marketing and entrepreneurship).

Anyhow…

…since then I have grown distrustful of unions and the damage they can do to a business.

And now, to put a nail in the coffin for direct mail – grrrrr – this comes in:

“Notice of a Work Disruption at Canada Post: May 30, 2011

Canada Post received notice that the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) intends to begin strike activities at 11:59 p.m. EDT on June 2, 2011.

In the event of a strike, Canada Post will not operate. Mail and parcels will not be delivered.”

I truly do hope this doesn’t happen.

But it sounds likely it will.

I love direct mail – receiving it AND mailing it.

Admit it – don’t you love getting an unexpected package in the mail? Something you had no clue it was coming, yet there it is in your physical mailbox. Just today I got a beautiful thank you card and a Starbucks gift card from Charmaine Hammond. A couple weeks ago we did a marketing campaign for her book On Tobys Terms and she got best seller status in Canada AND the US… CONGRATS!

I love getting things in the mail.

So do your customers.

Yet fewer and fewer marketers are using the mail (which to me is a HUGE opportunity if you want to stand out from all the other clutter out there online).

But if Canada Post does strike, we will lose even more direct mail lovers like me.

Boooooo!

Before all these Postal bureaucracies end up going bankrupt, you should seriously get busy running some direct mail campaigns.

…before this marketing opportunity is gone forever.

Speaking of, if you want to learn from fantastic new tools that are just available for solo-prenenurs and smaller companies, join me this Thursday night for a fantastic teleseminar with Heather Stevens.

Heather has just brought out the KING and QUEEN of personalized follow up systems.

NOTHING else beats this that I have ever seen…

…and it is designed to scale from the one-person operation… right up to the $50 million a year company.

Join us here: Hands Off Marketing Systems

Till then. Troy

May
27

When Harry met Tommy

I want to introduce you to two people today.

One of them is real, one is entirely fictional. Both of them are highly successful, and pull in hundreds-of-millions in revenue per year.

The best part? They use completely different approaches to grow their thriving empires.

The main reason I wanted to talk about these unique business models is that they are both thriving in the downturn.

They both sell higher priced clothing. And they both target a more affluent type of buyer.

First, meet Harry Rosen: http://www.harryrosen.com/

Harry Rosen is a Canadian Icon with 55 years in business. Harry has turned his initial $500 investment into a $250 Million dollar empire and continues to thrive in the current economy. Harry Rosen now proudly owns 35 percent share of the national market in high-end men’s wear.

One of the BIG reasons Harry has done so well?

“Most companies are faceless but I’m the face. Like me or dislike me, it’s what you get,” he says.

Direct from the master: You MUST have a face in front of your company.

Simple …
yet ignored by 99% of businesses out there.

Do YOU put your name and face in front of all your messaging?

Do you make sure people understand that you are there for them, and that you will make sure they get the attention they crave?

It is one of the most critical skills to master in a buying environment like this.

People are desperately seeking out companies that are different. Companies who have something unique about them. Companies that give them a good story they can share with their friends and associates.

Harry does this.

Guess how Harry Rosen got his start?

A little know fact about Harry is that he was an outstanding copywriter who hand wrote out long “quirky” little letters to the top CEOs in Canada. He would hand pick who he wanted as a buyer, get their address and hand write out these “odd letters,” as he called them in an interview.

Despite what many people think: Those executives not only received and opened his mail; they read it top to bottom and came in to order some finely tailored suits and clothing.

Hand-written … long copy … no photographs.

The TOP business leaders would respond with credit cards in hand. (I did ask him if he kept copies of them … unfortunately he said no).

They continue to sell to the affluent professional.

The up-and-coming executive who must make the right first impression. The new manager who needs to look good in the boardroom, as well as after hours at the company party.

While Harry no longer hand writes those letters, they still continue to use advertising campaigns that bring people in the door.

One way they do it is through their Ask Harry Column. It all started with an ad they ran that told this story…

“This is Harry. Harry has a store. Harry sells suits. Harry’s suits are all naturally tailored. Harry calls this lean, unpadded styling the Cambridge look. Harry specializes in the Cambridge look. If you like the Cambridge look, remember his name, Harry.”

“Right from the moment it ran, it was very successful,” Rosen says. “We had customers coming in from outside of Toronto, from around the country, in fact. That was the beginning, although I didn’t understand it at the time, of the branding of Harry Rosen.”

Anyone could ask Harry any question they wanted about clothing, dressing the part, or even how to act in social situations they are involved in.

You can ask Harry “Can you wear a French-cuffed shirt and cufflinks with a sports jacket, or only a suit?” and get an answer.

Some of the random things Harry helps men understand through his Ask Harry column:

• Changing trends in the men’s fashion world -http://www.harrymagazine.ca/en/notebook
• How to pick a wine with confidence
• How to tie a tie – also one of the top applications on Apple’s iStore
• How to pack a suitcase
• How to choose and wear your denim

Harry still spends every Saturday in his flagship store with a tape measure and piece of chalk in hand. He does the same thing at his other stores across the country at least a couple of times a year.

This is a man who has become a Canadian Icon in the business world, and a major success in the world-fashion scene.

His new breakthrough advertising campaign features prominent Canadian Business Men in their element.

Each ad is like a case study with the customer’s photo, their name and credentials, and their story of how they became a devoted Harry Rosen fan.

Some of the titles he gave his customers:
The Influencer
The Guru
The Entrepreneur
The Visionary

Harry Rosen the new entrepreneur

(The actual ads have more copy than on this picture though.)

How did Harry continue to thrive in an economic disaster?

They introduced a new campaign: “Welcome to The New Confidence”

“Our experience has been that the surest way to bolster the economy is to inspire confidence, the kind of confidence conveyed by dressing in a manner that underscores the fact that you are the right leader for the task at hand. Your personal brand is your biggest asset today.”

Harry Rosen is an exceptional business man and his use of his photo, his name, and his values in their marketing is one of the big reasons they have done so well.

Next, my friend Tommy BahamaTommy Bahama

I say friend because I feel like I know Tommy, even though he is a fictional character. I am actually wearing one of Tommy’s shirts right now … and I love Tommy’s clothes. They are right up my alley (an ex-suit who despises wearing a tie anymore … I was a Harry Rosen Shopper and have now moved to the Tommy side).

It is very interesting to me that both Harry and Tommy target similar demographics … upwardly mobile, more affluent types of buyers.

Yet their clothing styles are dramatically different. The sales approach they use is even more different. Harry sells you on looking good and knowing how to act in a professional situation.

Tommy sells you on the way of life that many of us strive for.

From their site:

ABOUT TOMMY

There is a warm westerly breeze rustling the palms, the lulling roar of crashing waves – it’s a celebration of island living, courtesy of Tony Margolis, Bob Emfield and Lucio Dalla Gasperina.

In 1992, our fictional Tommy Bahama character became the inspiration behind the experience of traveling to exotic locales where the food is good, the beaches are hot and the mood is relaxed.

Tommy Bahama and his tropical adventures command the finer things in life: casual, comfortable sportswear, golfwear, swimwear, footwear and accessories for men and women.

As the purveyor of island lifestyles, Tommy Bahama, has created a world where life moves at a more relaxed pace, where the enjoyment of the good life is the norm, rather than the exception.

Not sure about you, but I can hear the waves, and see myself there on that beach. It is what I strive for … and there are a lot of people out there who have a dream just like that.

And the Tommy character is just what the doctor ordered.

For the beach lovers out there … you can visit Paradise Nation and travel to exotic locations with
Tommy http://www.tommybahama.com/TBG/ParadiseNation.jsp

They have also expanded into the restaurant business now, and, although I haven’t had the privilege of frequenting one yet, I know people who have and they absolutely loved it.

Tommy Bahama also knows that those who aspire to an island lifestyle want more than just the nice comfortable clothes to go with it; they want to completely immerse themselves in everything to do with the beach bum life.

They now sell luggage, furniture, bathroom accessories, bedding and bathroom goods, rugs … even ceiling fans.

By the time you are done with Tommy’s store, you are completely decked out from head to toe and from doorway to bedroom.

You can even pick up a bottle of Tommy’s finest Tropical Rum for your afternoon cocktails out on the patio set you bought from Tommy.

You ARE living the Tommy lifestyle … exactly what you wanted.

So what does all this have to do with you and your business?

Pay close attention to these two businesses.

They both use a personality front and center. One of them is a real person, the other is fictional (but real in the customer’s mind).

The personality is used everywhere, and it becomes the main reason why people buy … they aspire to be just like that person they hear so much about. They want to live the same lifestyle … look the part … be that person.

This is a secret of success that is soooooo rarely used.

For example, a new client came on board last year.

He has a successful business in the horse training business. He lives on a ranch in the middle of nowhere. And people from all over the world seek him out to get lessons with their horses. They fly him all over the world to teach his classes.

And he wants to take his business to the next level.

How would he do it?

He would model what Harry and Tommy have done.

He would give his clients an insider’s view on what it is really like to be a cowboy.

To work with horses day-in and day-out.

To ride deep into the mountains on a three-week trip.

To be at one with nature and live off the land like real cowboys used to.

And we build his personality into everything that he does.

I will share with you what happens as we get this rolling.

Much like the lobster story I have shared here, the key to success in business today is giving people a unique story they can tell their friends and family.

The lobster brothers send out DVDs with every product shipment.

Pop the DVD in and watch your dedicated lobster-fisherman telling you about their family, about how they catch your lobster, and about what it is like working on a fishing boat for a living.

Those brothers built a million-dollar business in just a few months using their personalities as the main selling point.

In a business that was traditionally a price-based decision.

No longer.

So the question for you is …

… Do you want your customers to think of you like a Tommy?

… Or a Harry?

Both work.

One is more wild and free … living the ultimate lifestyle many of your customers aspire to. The other is a professional … works hard and plays hard.

Do your customers want to:

“Escape the troubles of the modern world in favor of a place that’s relaxed and worry-free … where life is one long weekend …

Or

“Live in their own New Confidence in a New Economy?”

Which person are you targeting?

How are you giving them what they want?

How can you?

What can you do to give them the lifestyle they want?

How can you tie your personality into it so they will NEVER forget you?

What one thing could you do in the next month that would get them talking about you to their friends, family and associates?

I would love to hear your ideas.

Thanks again.

To your success.

Troy

May
25

Marketing lessons from the master (Master Yu, that is)

Five Years Ago, I finally got my twin daughters and myself signed up for Tae Kwon Do with Master Yu in Calgary.

I have been active in martial arts for years – but got out of it a number of years prior when I broke an ankle (not broken in martial arts – broke it jumping out of the back of a truck with sandals on – not smart).

Since then, the weight was adding up and I was really missing my martial arts.

But I didn’t want to go back to the place I used to.

Why?

– it was too rough for 6 year olds – it was Kickboxing and Muay Thai which is quite hard for 6 yr olds

– their teachers were more ring fighters than teachers for kids (Team Canada trained there – and they won 90% of their battles across the world as the training was excellent)

– they only offered 1 kids-only class per week

So, off I went in search of a new school.

This time though, the girls (my daughters) got to pick. At that age, it is tough to keep them interested – so I had to make sure the school and teacher were going to be a good fit for them.

The first couple places we went to were awful – nasty teachers with no real concept of being a decent human being towards children. While I understand the need for discipline in martial arts – there is a point where you draw the line and say enough is enough.

Critical, downright nasty statements out of the teacher was enough to scare the girls, and me, away.

Then we found Master Yu.

He has some excellent marketing techniques in use here:

1) by appointment only. No dropping in to see what they are doing – you must book an appointment and stick to your appointment (they called 2 times before to make sure we would be there)

2) must bring kids and myself – not just me as he wanted to meet the kids to see if THEY would be a good fit – turning the tables on us, in essence

3) he let them try some lessons – and made it easy and fun

4) he showed them all the other kids in his regular classes (kids have 4 classes a week – plus 3 family classes they could go to as well). NOTE: he has (on average) 30-35 kids per class – a sign he is doing something right.

5) he explained how they can get different colored belts

6) he refused to let us sign up for less than a year (too easy to quit after a month or two – give it a year and you are hooked)

7) he charges a big premium over others

8 ) has a print monthly newsletter

9) he caters to his ideal client (the kids) – make it comfortable for them and fun – and they are customers for years to come – AND, ultimately, he can get their parents in as well!

And, YES, he did get us all in – and took a sizable donation out of my bank account!

The girls LOVE the class (once they are there anyhow, they give me grief getting there, but once there they have a blast! There are also 2 other identical twin girls in the class about the same age, which definitely helps).

And I love it as well! Lost some weight already… that in itself is great for a month. My classes are great – during the lunch hours there are only a few people in the classes so I end up getting some excellent one-on-one training with blackbelts.

The big lessons I took from his marketing systems:

1) YOU, the business owner, should be the one setting the
rules for your clients – if they want to do business with
you, it is on your terms, not theirs

2) DO NOT make yourself too accessible – make them work to
do business with you (Dan Kennedy preaches this one
religiously)

3) give a test run – something free they can try – then they
can decide if it is for them

4) make the decision hard enough on the price point, but
with ample reasons why a premium price is better

5) constant communication with students (and, in this case,
their parents)

6) explain all the different offerings (belts) and what it
means to you personally

7) definitely NOT competing on price – a no-win battle – the
market for upper end products and services is THE FASTEST
GROWING market segment in North America.

Overall, I am really enjoying the martial arts – and in watching a master marketer at work! And of course, I will be finding a way to offer him additional marketing help in trade (got to always be looking for opportunities!)

Find a few ways to make these lessons work for your business…

Troy

PS: I also wrote and article about my experiences getting my black belt in Tae Kwon Do and you can read that article here (some great business lessons to be learned! this is also the reason for my Marketing Dojang program.)

May
19

Creative thinking for entrepreneurs

Here is a great interview/interactive video session I had with Michael Kryton of Fusedlogic TV

Enjoy.

Troy

PS: If you want a fun little sheet to spark those creative juices and get you thinking of some highly unique ideas you can use in your marketing, this sheet will help. http://www.smallbusinesscopywriter.com/creativelist.htm

May
18

Earn Your Entrepreneurial Black Belt

An admission: I love getting my butt kicked. troy white tae kwon do

Since I was a teen, I have been active in one form of martial arts or another.

Starting off with Tae Kwon Do, moving to Karate, then to Kickboxing and Muay Thai, finally ending up back in Tae Kwon Do… where I still train regularly. (First Dan Black Belt).

The sweat and rush from a great workout is highly addictive, and, for me, broken bones and injuries are all part of the game.

All said and done; probably 5 or 6 broken bones in my feet or hands, numerous tears and sprains, one black eye for my wedding day (not by my, now, wife), and many a sore nose.

The other day someone asked me why I still do this, as I hobbled around on a gimped ankle.

To me, the whole experience is one I thrive on.

As much I thrive on growing my business, and helping my clients grow theirs.

There are a lot of similarities between getting beaten up in business and getting beaten up in class.

Earning your black belt is much like finally achieving that big goal or dream in your business as well.

Some of the similarities:

1) We ALL start out as white belts. No matter how cocky you are going into it, very quickly you learn how little you know and how much more you need to learn.

Usually it is some black belt (marketer) that takes you down and leaves you sitting in a pool of blood. Even if you get lucky here and there and whip out a great promotion (much like kicking the butt in class of someone who is senior in levels to you), the next time around you quickly learn a one-hit-wonder doesn’t last long.

There is always someone better, more determined, willing to put up with more pain, and is willing to work a hell of a lot harder than you are.

2) Drop kicked… or dropped out? After many years in martial arts, I have seen a huge percentage of drop outs. No different than in business.

Not everyone can handle getting knocked down and humiliated in front of everyone.

Some of us thrive on it, knowing that the better we get, the more likely it will be that we are the ones kicking butt sooner than later. Others will move from school to school, each time they get knocked down, they blame it on someone else, or something else other than themselves.

The ONLY way to succeed in business and in the ring is to get used to getting knocked down… and to thrive on knowing that each time you got knocked down, you just learned one thing that didn’t work for you.

Let the next battle begin!

3) Those who do get up and keep going, showing up regularly to learn and practice, are the ones you see getting better and better at their craft, ultimately become a master and a black belt.

Those who get cocky and think they know it all, end up getting their ass handed to them on a platter, and slink away never to return (silently mumbling behind their back on how shady the school or lessons are, how poorly run things are, how slow the learning curriculum is, etc)

As you well know, it takes a very unique (and rare) individual to keep taking a whooping, just to get up again and “SIR, yes sir… may I have another?”

4) You have to learn how to spar with the big boys. All the class training in the world is great, but it is useless if you never step into the ring to test your skills.

Much like the seminar and information junkies in the business world, there are martial arts students who do all the classes but shy quickly away from actually testing their skills in the real world (sparring in class or in tournaments).

Book and theoretical knowledge is good, but nothing compares to getting a bloody nose because you dropped your guard down at the
wrong time.

You can own the biggest library in the world on your craft, but if you have never once actually applied the golden advice in the books, you are no further ahead than someone just getting started.

5) Respect your teachers. Grand Master Yu runs the school I now attend. He’s a hard ass. He is intimidating (despite him being half a foot shorter than me, his presence is enough to scare the bejesus out of most students… me included).

He was brought up studying Tae Kwon Do in Korea and has brought many of their hard core tactics to Canada.

He was one of the judges for Tae Kwon do in the Beijing Olympics.

He is on the World Tae Kwon Do committee as one of their most senior advisors.

His walls are adorned and filled from floor to ceiling with medals, awards, accreditations, accolades and articles.

Despite all of this, there is the odd person who thinks they are king you-know-what and challenge him in one way or another. The
challenge doesn’t last long, and the challenger quickly is tossed from the school permanently.

If you don’t respect those who went before you, you will NEVER succeed.

6) Respect yourself. There is this girl in the class who is always apologizing for things. She makes a wrong move and apologizes. She kicks wrong, she apologizes. It is annoying… and it is definitely costing her in her training. She doesn’t think high enough of herself to think she deserves a higher belt.

If she keeps at it, she will never rise through the ranks. No different in business. You MUST learn to give yourself some credit for the good things you do… and learn from the bad (rather than berating yourself for a mistake).

In writing sales copy, you will never succeed if you don’t show your readers that you respect yourself, that you respect your products, and that you honestly feel you are the king (or queen) of the castle. If you constantly apologize and beat yourself down, they will buy form someone else who DOES

7) Don’t be afraid of pointing out inconsistencies or to ask questions when you are unclear on how a certain skill works on the street. I was in kickboxing and Muay Thai for 5 years and absolutely loved it.

By far the best workout I have ever had and the best shape I was ever in. It was a martial art that always fares well in real life self defence. Tae Kwon Do is easier on my body (now that I am over 40, the idea of sparring with 19 yr olds with huge egos and quick healing abilities just doesn’t do it for me anymore!).

But Tae Kwon Do lacks some of the street smart fighting skills that would be needed if you were ever in a real life and death situation.

So I am constantly asking my trainers (my masters) if we can work on more boxing, and if they can show me how certain skills would be used in an actual street situation.

And they do their best to help.

Sometimes they realize the skill just taught applies in the ring for competition, but is useless in the street… but at least I know. I also quite enjoy having another black belt in my class who trained in more hard core martial arts, like I did.

Him and I get in there sometimes and bash each other around much harder than usual. It is good to keep ourselves in shape, and to
show each other where our weaknesses are starting to show through (thanks to that getting old problem).

Much like all the information out there on the internet, this blog included. You must ask and find ways to make the skills being taught work for you, in real life, in your own business.

8) Expect to feel pain. In a dream world, we start up a business, have the perfect product, a hungry market, and make millions in our first year. But we all know that is rarely the case. It takes a lot of bloody noses, sore muscles, endless workouts and practice… even then we still have to work just as hard (even harder) to reach our first big dream.

We have to be willing to take our lumps, get up and do it all over again.

Whining about sore muscles won’t get you anywhere… running laps to work through the pain will though.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that much of the content in this post is fairly basic. I know that… and I share that… because many people are so stuck on learning the advanced techniques first, they forget that advanced techniques DON’T work the way they should UNTIL you know the basics.

All the advanced SEO techniques are useless for putting money in your pocket if you have no clue you are supposed to collect a lead or convert a lead into a buyer.

Despite this fact, some of the more unscrupulous marketers will pitch you their magic pill with little regard to if you know the basics or not… they just don’t care. Give them your money and they are happy. Complain about the fact that the course you bought is too advanced and isn’t working properly for you… and they will be happy to blame you, call you names and publicly humiliate you.

Imagine if someone walked into Grand Master Yu’s school and told him they wanted to “buy” a black belt from him. After he was done laughing, he’d kick them out. He would first try and get them to understand that they need to understand the basics first… but most people with the attitude that they can “buy” success will never get it and would keep moving until they DO find a school that will sell them a black belt (they are out there… always good for a laugh when they tell you it’s possible to get a black belt in a year).
Troy White Tae Kwon Do Black Belt
I have been training with Grand Master Yu for almost 5 years now, and have my First Dan Black Belt. Second Dan Black Belt is next… and it takes 2 years for Second Dan, then 3 more years for Third Dan, 4 for Fourth, etc.

When you consider that Grand Master Yu has his 9th Dan Black Belt, you can appreciate how long he has been hard at training (do the math – it is 45 years(!) to get to 9th.

I don’t feel like I am owed any levels of Black Belts in Tae Kwon Do… I know that I have to EARN IT.

More people need to get that.

I would love to hear your ideas.

Thanks again.

To your success,

Troy White

PS: I am just about ready to launch the Marketing Dojang! This will be a fantastic community for passionate entrepreneurs who want to take their business to the next level. Using strategies that work today, combined with some mind and body training techniques from martial arts.. .this is going to kick some serious booty! You can get on the prelaunch information list at http://www.marketingdojang.com