12/15/10

Visibility Basics: Small Business Marketing with Newspaper Ads

We revisit the concepts of marketing for maximum visibility in this article by Todd Bates. He explains how newspaper advertising can still fit into your strategy.

Small Business Marketing with Newspaper Ads

Author: Todd Bates


Are you currently running Newspaper Ads? Have you seen that the cost of your ads in print have risen while the results are falling? In the modern era, print mediums are losing millions (some groups billions) of dollars to entrepreneurs moving to marketing their businesses online. Is print media dead?


Walk by any coffee shop, airport lounge, or newsstand and you will see that print media isn’t dead. Yes, print is struggling, but they still command millions of eyeballs. Millions of people still pick up newspapers daily. The big question is how are you transforming those eyeballs into customers? How are you piquing their interest and getting them to take action?


Should you fall victim to the ad salesman and be told you need to “run the ad longer” or “buy a bigger ad” you will just be throwing away money. Newspaper ads can work for your business, when you can avoid key mistakes.


1. Change Them Quickly – The benefit of newspaper ads is they are printed daily. Don’t get sucked in to running the same ad for an entire month. Be nimble and get the ability to change your ad quickly. If your ad doesn’t generate a single call, you don’t have to scrap the entire ad; you might just need a headline change. Remember, when you run internet ads you can change them every hour if you need to, push your newspaper advertising and change as often as you can to find the ad that works.


2. Remember the 7% Rule – Tragically the newspaper ad salesman isn’t your friend. They will try to use logic like “Just 1 customer and the ad pays for itself”. Last time I checked you aren’t in business to invest $1 and get $1 back, you might as well keep the dollar in your pocket. To keep your marketing and advertising costs down for your business, my 7% rule states that you can only invest 7% in marketing to get a customer. That means that if your average customer is worth $3,000 to you, then you can invest $210 to get that customer. Watch your numbers to keep your costs in-line.


When you want to get more from your newspaper ads, you can’t do what everyone else is doing. To get results, your ad needs to be different and needs to stick within your marketing budget.
Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/marketing-articles/small-business-marketing-with-newspaper-ads-3840300.html

About the Author


As a business and marketing coach he has helped over 15,000 clients in the last 20 years. His dedicated style of 1 on 1 coaching gets business owners and sales professionals the help they need, not like many of the "1 size fits all" programs.

To this day he is still the only top marketing coach that you can reach on the phone. With over 41 different marketing systems that he has personally developed he matches the personality of his clients to the RIGHT system for maximum success.

11/18/10

The Art of Follow-up in the Science of Visibility

Some would say that internet visibility, ala web page content and SEO tools, is a science. I would tend to agree.  You can certainly measure page hits, calculate analytics, and derive "scores" for what tactics are most effective. But what about the end goal -- connecting with people?

Recently, a follow-up e-mail came from a sponsor of an event that I attended. It took a few days for it to cycle through their internal process. I'm sure someone entered all of the contact info into a database. Perhaps someone else formatted the e-mail message in their template. It's also likely that the originator approved the final version before it was sent. This was from the largest law firm in town, ergo they have deeper pockets that many companies. The nature of what they do also lends itself toward a certain attentiveness to minutia. 

Those details aside, when all is said and done, this guy did his follow-up in an impressive way. He thanked us for attending. A link to his PowerPoint presentation was included, along with links to related materials on the company site. Spammer-resistant contact information was there, as well. These folks were thorough! If there is any chance of our engaging his firm in the future, he moved at least a little closer to top of mind. 

How solid is your follow-up strategy? Are you building your visibility by remembering the simple things, such as follow-up? Make sure you cover this area. You can be sure that your competition will be. 




A word of advice:

Get to your follow-up quickly. The snail at the end of the line becomes a meal for creatures higher -- and faster -- in the food chain.


This is what we can do for your business - Help you to get and use the best tools for:
  1. Building and maintaining Internet Visibility for your business.
  2. Channeling that visibility into Online Business revenues.
  3. Measuring and Managing Results from being visible and online.
Are any of these familiar?
  • Your website isn't bringing business to your door...
  • Your e-marketing is expensive and cumbersome...
  • You can't measure your results effectively...
Click this link to  Contact us now about solutions for those problems.

© 2010 DMMI Associates LLC – All rights reserved


8/30/10

Should You Reinvent the Visibility Wheel?

When I was growing up, from time to time my dad used to say "Why reinvent the wheel?" He was most often referring to doing something in a way that is tried and true, i.e.: proven to work. 

When I find a resource or a batch of information that is not just good, but great, I like to share it. Such is the case with the writings of a blogger named Stoney deGeyter.  One of his recent posts addresses a topic that is near and dear to most of our hearts -

Basically, most websites -- aside from their lack of ability to be found -- fail to lead people from Points A to B to C, so that they actually do anything while they're there. Stoney spells out some ways to fix that. Among the suggestions are: 
  1. Using ACTION words to describe what your business and website are about. and 
  2. Setting specific CALLS TO ACTION on the web pages to help drive the results you're looking for.
If you are wondering why you have not gleaned more sales from the internet, answer a simple question:
Have you asked for the sale? 

Take a look. Be objective. What does a visitor see when they arrive at your website?
You probably don't need a bigger, shinier, fancier Visibility Wheel. You just need one that works for your business.

This is what we can do for your business - Help you to get and use the best tools for:
  1. Building and maintaining Internet Visibility for your business.
  2. Channeling that visibility into Online Business revenues.
  3. Measuring and Managing Results from being visible and online.
Are any of these familiar?
  • Your website isn't bringing business to your door...
  • Your e-marketing is expensive and cumbersome...
  • You can't measure your results effectively...
Click this link to Contact us now about solutions for those problems.

© 2010 DMMI Associates LLC – All rights reserved


7/6/10

Business Visibility and Telling a Story

This post is short. It includes a business-related visibility story in video format. 
The video is short. 
The point: You don't need a long story to build your online visibility. 
You simply need to tell one... Or a few... Or many... 
In any case, start the process of telling your story. Otherwise, you remain invisible.



This is what we can do for your business - Help you to get and use the best tools for:
  1. Building and maintaining Internet Visibility for your business.
  2. Channeling that visibility into Online Business revenues.
  3. Measuring and Managing Results from being visible and online.
Are any of these familiar?
  • Your website isn't bringing business to your door...
  • Your e-marketing is expensive and cumbersome...
  • You can't measure your results effectively...
Click this link to >>> Contact us now about solutions for those problems.

© 2010 DMMI Associates LLC – All rights reserved


7/5/10

Visibility and My "Why"

DMMI Associates LLC turned 5 a few days ago. Those five years have had their ups and downs -- good times and tough times. Ergo, as Year Six gains its footing, I decided to revisit my "why" list. As Bill Bartmann, Tulsa billionaire wrote in his Why Be in Business for Yourself? article,

Entrepreneurs know that there is only one predictable way to become wealthy; you need to take control of your destiny...

Wealth and independence are certainly valid motivators for many small business owners. My why list, though, has another key element that greets me every day. I am responsible for the well-being and guidance of an adolescent child. He's my main WHY.

If you encounter me someday and wonder why I work hard and often push harder: he's why.
So, to all the parents out there whose why may be a bit fuzzy today: Keep at it, all you Mommy and Daddy Business Owners. Our kids are counting on us.


This is what we can do for your business - Help you to get and use the best tools for:
  1. Building and maintaining Internet Visibility for your business.
  2. Channeling that visibility into Online Business revenues.
  3. Measuring and Managing Results from being visible and online.
Are any of these familiar?
  • Your website isn't bringing business to your door...
  • Your e-marketing is expensive and cumbersome...
  • You can't measure your results effectively...
Click this link to >>> Contact us now about solutions for those problems.

© 2010 DMMI Associates LLC – All rights reserved


6/24/10

Visibility? Show Me.

Last week, I wrote a blog entry titled "Visibility on the World Wide Web"
It had some facts and figures (yawn) -- all intended to make a good case for Internet Visibility for your business. The catch is though, if you found your way to this blog, you probably already understand that visibility is important.

Over the last several months, I've told you about various Why's, What's, and How's relative to building your business visibility. Ultimately, that should lead to profitability -- a concept that I was first introduced to by Hazel Walker of the Referral Institute in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The missing piece, however, has been the "Show Me" part. A lot of people claim to be able to do something. This is especially true now that Social Media is deemed hot. Very few folks show you.

So, here's what you will have a chance to see:
Starting today, I'm demonstrating the Visibility Recipe in the real e-World.
I'll be using the tools that I've talked about on this blog and other social media sites.
  • Step One is the Website. It will be the Show Me Visibility site.
  • The recipe preparation will continue from there. 
As of this posting date and time, the site is a "shell" of sorts, ready to be filled. You are invited to watch its evolution.
Be advised: The site is meant to both demonstrate and market thinkVAULT's visibility services. Therefore, be forewarned. I intend for it to attract business owners who need the solutions we offer.
There will be some elements of fun, too. So, enjoy!

This is what we can do for your business - Help you to get and use the best tools for:
  1. Building and maintaining Internet Visibility for your business.
  2. Channeling that visibility into Online Business.
  3. Measuring and Managing Results from being visible and online.
Are any of these familiar?
  • Your website isn't bringing business to your door...
  • Your e-marketing is expensive and cumbersome...
  • You can't measure your results effectively...
Click this link to >>> Contact us now about solutions for those problems.

© 2010 DMMI Associates LLC – All rights reserved


6/21/10

Million Dollar Website

Million Dollar Website?!
What website could cost a million dollars?
Truthfully – anyone’s. A small business website that merely sits idly on the internet, with little or no traffic, will cost its owner about one million dollars in lost business. 
In fact, a business without even a simple Internet Visibility Strategy is missing opportunities to capture prospective customers every day!
There is a solution to this widespread problem, however. An Internet Visibility Strategy can solve it.
Whether your company is in the market for outside help, or not, some basic tenets remain true. 
  • If you would like to see and hear them, please set aside 5 to 7 minutes to review this web page:
    Click here
  • You may contact us from there, if you'd like to know more or engage us for help.

 

This is what we can do for your business - Help you to get and use the best tools for:
  1. Building and maintaining Internet Visibility for your business.
  2. Channeling that visibility into Online Business.
  3. Measuring and Managing Results from being visible and online.
Are any of these familiar?
  • Your website isn't bringing business to your door...
  • Your e-marketing is expensive and cumbersome...
  • You can't measure your results effectively...
Click this link to >>> Contact us now about solutions for those problems.

© 2010 DMMI Associates LLC – All rights reserved


6/16/10

Visibility on the World Wide Web

What exactly constitutes "web presence" and visibility on the World Wide Web? The mere fact that it is world wide presents both opportunity and potential obscurity!

Estimates from various sources revealed these numbers:
  • Active registered domain names = 80 million.
    This represents exponential growth over the last 5 years. Source: Netcraft
  • As of November 2009 - over 20 BILLION web pages were being indexed by Google and Yahoo! Source: Answers.com
  • The number of unique URLs, i.e.: the addresses to your web pages and other sites, now exceeds 1 TRILLION -- yes, a 1 followed by 12 zeroes.
Is it any wonder that web surfers may be a bit challenged to find your website? The odds are quickly turning against you.


Let's say that you own a flower shop and you put up a website. You sit back and wait for the phone to ring... 
But wait -- how will your website and your flower shop be found among the 11 million plus search results? Click the image to see a larger version.

Just how do you build a strategy to be found among the millions of possibilities?

That is in fact the key: you must have a strategy.

That strategy begins with knowing your market and understanding it better than any of your competitors. Beginning there will help you to refine your market niche.
Once you know your market niche, the who to and what you sell, it becomes more clear how to target that market. Zero in on that target. Then you can create and tune your website to serve both it and your bottom line.
To help you answer the key questions for defining your niche, see this article from Entrepreneur.com on how to narrow your Target Market.

This is what we can do for your business - Help you to get and use the best tools for:
  1. Building and maintaining Internet Visibility for your business.
  2. Channeling that visibility into Online Business.
  3. Measuring and Managing Results from being visible and online.
Are any of these familiar?
  • Your website isn't bringing business to your door...
  • Your e-marketing is expensive and cumbersome...
  • You can't measure your results effectively...
Click this link to >>> Contact us now about solutions for those problems.

© 2010 DMMI Associates LLC – All rights reserved


6/12/10

Raising Queens and Successful Business Owners

My friend and business colleague, Cynthia Newman, has just published a book. It's titled Raising Queens.
The opportunity to help her to plug it notwithstanding, the theme also sparked my thinking.  
The same values that we should be teaching our daughters and girls about success in life, also apply to success in business. 
  • Excellence
  • Ethics
  • Esteem
None of these "3 E" values have changed over many milenia. Congratulations, Cynthia on bringing the message to the masses. Here's to making it a best seller.
Read about the book on Cynthia's promotional website

Cynthia's first book signing is Sunday, June 13, 2010 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Indy Arts Center in Broad Ripple. 820 East 67th Street, Indianapolis, Indiana 46220.


© 2010 DMMI Associates LLC – All rights reserved




6/9/10

The 3 Ingredients of Web Presence for Online Business

A solid web presence is the lifeblood of any online business. The internet is without a doubt the great frontier of playing field leveling. It doesn't take Fortune 500 sized marketing budgets to make an impact. Yet, this wondrous internet frontier is so vast, with so many ways to navigate it, that a lot of business owners are overwhelmed by the whole idea of doing business online.

One fact cannot be ignored however:
If you miss the Internet Roll Call, you will miss any and all opportunities that could come your way through web channels.
You must be PRESENT!
I suppose it doesn't hurt to be big and unmistakeably present, like Sweetums in the Muppet Roll Call below. But what if your business is small? What if your "crew" is just a few?

Take heart. There are just three key ingredients to having a meaningful web presence. The best news is this: Unlike in years past, when high quality would cost you a high price, your budget is just another factor and not a features-limiting restriction. You can do a lot with whatever you have.

The Web Presence Ingredients are these...

  1. Definitely purchase a domain name and build a website.
    It does not have to be fancy. Your website should represent you well, however. Load it with content that helps or informs your prospects -- even if they are not quite ready to buy from you now. 
  2. Start a blog and write regular blog posts.
    Blog entries can be short; in fact, they were meant to be brief (just like this one). 
  3. Find a way to add video content to your pages.
    You can embed other people's videos, from You Tube or other sources, like I've done here.
    Better yet, find a way to include video content about your company and what you offer. Tell stories about how you add value to your customers' lives and businesses.
    See 'Lucy's Story' near the end of this post.





Be VISIBLE.

This short video shows you what our partners at IMG Online Business can do for you and your crew. Click on the live link at the end if you would like to try it for yourself. A 30-day trial can be had for the low price of: FREE.
By the way, if you need help getting set up, just let us know.

© 2010 DMMI Associates LLC – All rights reserved


5/24/10

Working Way Too Hard at Visibility

Internet visibility can be a challenge. Keeping web pages updated and dynamic, so that the search engines are happy, can be a full-time job. Just ask any webmaster.

Yet, the solution is more multi-faceted than merely hiring someone to maintain your website. You could probably do a better job of that yourself anyway; you know what you want to say, need to say, and when it needs to be said. All you really need are the tools to get it done.

Case in point:
Earlier today, I visited a website. On the home page, an event was advertised. In all fairness, the event was coming up within a few days. HOWEVER... The Early Bird, discounted price deadline had already passed. Since I know the folks fairly well, it's guaranteed that their intention was not to rub this fact into anyone's face.  
Wouldn't it have been nice for them to have an announcement -- or even an entire page -- that expired after the deadline date?

Our on-line business partners at IMG have just such a solution. Their web business tool does that and much more.
This short video highlights a few features for you. Click on the live link at the end if you would like to try it for yourself. It's free.
By the way, if you need help getting set up, just let us know.

© 2010 DMMI Associates LLC – All rights reserved


5/12/10

Wacky Webcast Wednesday: Visibility in Action

indianapolis new air conditioner, new air conditioner indianapolis, air conditioner, air conditioning, central air conditioner
Business Visibility in Action 

This post is part of a theorem proof. You remember those -- from high school geometry? Every so often, you must test and prove a theory in business, as well. Welcome to my world.

Stay tuned... literally and figuratively. This video is just over a minute long, if you want to take a look.



Comments are welcome. You are invited to share your thoughts.
Remember, part of our focus is your business visibility. So, if you need help being more visible to your target market, click here and we can get started on solutions targeted just for you!


© 2010 DMMI Associates LLC – All rights reserved


4/30/10

Fearless Five Fridays: Be Brave Enough to Ask "Why"

Children ask "Why" much more often than adults. Why is that? 


If you are a parent, or you can remember back to when you were a toddler, the word why weaves its way into many conversations. Children are not afraid to ask "Why." That's how they learn. The logic and nuances behind our decisions dictate why. Children -- little sponges that they are -- seek to understand our why. They should; otherwise they grow up to be automatons, blindly following directions and orders. 

Today, I'm asking you to begin asking yourself "why" more often. When we learned the 5 W's in language arts class, "why" is usually last in the list: who, what, when, where, why. Let's shift that order and make it first. Starting with why can help you to answer the other four more quickly and effectively, from a business perspective.

Wikepedia simply suggests the word is a "request for an evidential reason." Evidence: the facts, preferably persuasive, that support the reason for doing something. Stopping to ask yourself "Why" is a way onto the path of continuous improvement - a necessary ingredient to stabilizing and growing your business.


Instead of overwhelming you with the hundreds of "why" questions business owners could or should ask of themselves, in this periodic series I will pose specific "why" queries you may wish to consider. How you answer this first one, and what action you decide to take, can help you better manage your time.

BONUS: For parents -- here is a website to answer some of the thousands of science-related "why" questions you hear from your little ones. And yes, you can search for "why is the sky blue" on The Why Files.



Why do we check and read e-mail so often during the day? 
Understand, I am not suggesting that you ignore your e-mail. Consider, however, the amount of time you spend on it. More and more of our in-boxes are filled with Bacn that we want and don't get to, versus Spam that we don't want. 
Time management experts suggest that we schedule e-mail reading appointments, just like we (should) do everything else during the day. 



Let a valid Why drive how you schedule even a seemingly harmless task like responding to e-mail. If it's related to generating revenues, preserving a client relationship, or building relationships into revenues: Go for it!
It's easy to let time just drift by, reading and responding to e-mail that really is not urgent. Set up e-mail "appointments" during your work day -- and stick to it!

See also these suggestions on How to Give Your Inbox a Master Cleanse published on Mashable.com. Even the Bacn must be handled eventually; the article spells out some ways to help you do that. 
If your time spent on e-mail is eating into your business-building time, start shifting your focus. Box it into time slots and don't let it creep outside them. You'll begin to see results in other areas of your business life.

Comments are welcome. You are invited to share your thoughts.
Remember, part of our focus is your business visibility. So, if you need help being more visible to your target market, click here and we can get started on solutions targeted just for you!


© 2010 DMMI Associates LLC – All rights reserved


4/21/10

Visibility - Market Targeting with 140 Characters

Twitter began their "Promoted Tweets" Program this week.
Should you care about that? Maybe...


If you have a set of target markets defined, along with strategies to reach them that include on-line Social Media tools, then yes, you should probably care about that. 
If you have carved at least one specialized niche from your market (see this related post), then you may find the possibilities intriguing. Niche marketers will find many creative ways to use this new service as time progresses.

This example was found on Mashable.com -- 
"Take Virgin America for instance. The Twitter-savvy brand wasted no time targeting Promoted Tweets toward their in-flight WiFi customers. On launch, the company put out three distinct tweets that they then promoted with carefully crafted keywords. Two of the tweets were meant to engage just their passengers at 35,000 feet. Just imagine how cool it would be to fly Virgin America and uncover a tweet that was meant just for you. That’s the power of talking to a smaller audience."




Virgin America is one of just six hand-selected early adopters, or Phase One Twitter advertising partners, who are using the new Twitter offering.

Virgin America carefully distilled this niche. From the universe of air travelers, they targeted just the people flying on one of their airliners, at cruising altitude, using the in-flight WiFi.

 How can you parse your market to better serve your customer base?
I suggest that you give that some thought. The more visible you are to your ideal customer, the better results you are able to both realize from, and provide for, them.

Comments are welcome. You are invited to share your thoughts.
If you need help being more visible to your target market, click here and we can get started on solutions targeted for you!

© 2010 DMMI Associates LLC – All rights reserved


4/19/10

Manage Your Money Monday - Niche Focused Marketing Can Improve Visibility

Are you focused on a Niche Market?


...or are you aiming for whatever can bring revenues in the door? 

Consider an archer, with a quiver full of arrows. In a field filled with targets, will that archer pull out a bevvy of arrows, load them into the bow, and launch them... HOPING to reach one or more of the targets? 
Probably not and neither should you!

A few weeks ago, a blog entry was published on how your Business Model affects your top line. Answering those 5 W's will help you to define a niche. Once you do define your niche, however, it's usually in the best interest of your company to stick to it.  


A niche market is the subset of the market on which a specific product or service offering is focused.

A key reason to stick to your niche -- it makes it much simpler to market your product or service. This is especially true when it comes to the Who your target market is: the demographics
Have you ever been to a networking event and listened to various people introduce themselves? The format is often a 30-second or 1-minute Elevator Speech or Elevator Pitch. 
  • The ones that make you sit up and take notice are which ones? 
    • The person who starts with "I'm looking for anybody who..."  -or-  "My company helps very small businesses, owned by women who..." 
    • The guy who says "We can help you get more customers."  -or  "If you've been thinking about finding time-saving ways for more potential customers to get to know you, we can help you with that."



Those are just a couple of examples. But, here's another question for you: 
How narrow can you make your market niche? 


The better you can define exactly what you're selling, the more likely it is that you will find your target market quickly. This is especially true of services providers -- the folks that sell intangibles. They must know what prospects' problems look like and what the symptoms are of an unsolved problem. That helps them to tell good stories and paint mental pictures for their prospects of them solving THEIR problems similarly.

A narrower niche may help you to hit your target more consistently, with a corresponding increase in revenues. You will likely find yourself spending less time, and marketing dollars, to get more customers with just a little more focus. Try it. Let us know how it works for you. 


Comments are welcome. Tell us what you think.
If you need help being more visible to your target market, click here and we can get started on solutions targeted for you!

© 2010 DMMI Associates LLC – All rights reserved


4/12/10

Manage Your Money Monday - Drawing the Line on Sunk Costs

How often do you hit the snare of Sunk Costs?


You know this term by a few different words and phrases. "In for a penny, in for a pound" is a common one.
Sunk Costs defined:   


Sunk costs are retrospective (past) costs that have already been incurred and cannot be recovered.

One of the keys here, of course, is the whole concept that the expenditures cannot be recovered. Similar to the scenario in the 1986 movie "The Money Pit," business owners are sometimes distracted from reasonably evaluating future investments by what they have already spent on an earlier bad decision. Thus, they blindly throw "good money after bad" so to speak. They fall into what's called the Sunk Costs Fallacy that leads them to believe it's less costly to continue. Too often, it is in fact less costly -- in the aggregate -- to stop and begin again. 


I actually had someone justify a decision to continue down the same path, who had used this line of thinking. "Understand, I have already spent $XXX dollars. It will be cheaper for me to stay with that." 
It made no difference that the other option was better, less time-consuming, more reliable and a more cost effective solution in the long-run. The net initial out-of-pocket cost was higher -- and that was all that person could see.


What would you do in a situation like this? 
  • Would your decision be influenced by what you had already spent -- and could not get back? 
  • Would you evaluate your options based strictly upon merits, or would you be unwillingly to admit -- even to yourself -- that a mistake was made?
Regardless of the type of resources committed -- money, time, people hours -- you probably want to take a hard look at total costs when making a decision. Even if sunk costs are involved, make an "apples to apples" comparison. (I had to use just one more cliché).


Comments are welcome. Tell us what you think.

© 2010 DMMI Associates LLC – All rights reserved



3/31/10

Webcast Wednesday - The Visibility Equation: Social Media + Video

Are you really still wondering whether or not you need Social Media as a part of your Marketing Strategy?

Please allow me to respectfully submit the following theorem to you -- 
The time for wondering is over and the time to incorporate Social Media into your visibility toolkit is now. 

There are several variables in the Visibility Equation. Two factors that are givens, however, are: 
  1. Social Media
  2. Video
That is clearly illustrated in the informal treatise in the video below. Michael Stelzner walks, drives, and talks about why Social Media is here to stay.


"It's a lot like fax machines when they first came out... Every business is going to have to have a presence in Social Media."
Michael Stelzner Creator of Social Media Examiner


Social Media Drive 2 from Michael A. Stelzner



Oh, yes... Michael is advertising a virtual Social Media summit which starts in May 2010. I'm sure it will be great! 
How would you like to get a jump start on your planning process, though? Just keep reading below... 


Social Media for Business Webinar Series

Why don't you join us on a journey toward using Social Media to help you build your business? 
It comes in small, manageable, evenly spaced, virtual bites - i.e.: webinars. Click Here for details and to register, if you decide that this series is for you.



Comments are welcome. Tell us what you think.

© 2010 DMMI Associates LLC – All rights reserved



3/18/10

Tough It Out Thursday - on Perseverance

There usually is no blog entry from me on Thursdays. Tweets yes, with several hash tags for "#TIOTh" -- blog entries, no.  


The main reason Tough It Out Thursday is included in the topics calendar is simply this: 
For many of us, it is the most challenging day of the week. Maybe you've had three days of business bliss, but it's much more likely that you have met -- and overcome -- one or more challenges every day this week. A small percentage of us may even have "hit a wall" or worse yet... gone SPLAT! 

A few days ago, I came across a paper I'd saved. It was from the owner of a local printing company, who always included a cover letter with the monthly company newsletter. In it was a story that is familiar to many, but bears repeating. In fact, I read it to my son the day I found it.  

This little story is called "Giving Up Too Soon"
A man meets a guru in the road. The man asks the guru, "Which way is success?"
The berobed, bearded sage speaks not but points to a place off in the distance.
The man, thrilled by the prospect of quick and easy success, rushes off in the appropriate direction. Suddenly, there comes a loud "Splat!!!"
Eventually, the man limps back, tattered and stunned, assuming he must have misinterpreted the message. He repeats his question to the guru, who again points silently in the same direction.
The man obediently walks off once more. This time the splat is deafening, and when the man crawls back, he is bloody, broken, tattered, and irate.
"I asked you which way is success," he screams at the guru. "I followed the direction you indicated. And all I got was splatted! No more of this pointing! Talk!"
Only then does the guru speak, and what he says is this: "Success IS that way. Just a little AFTER the splat."
Author Unknown

Maybe you haven't gone "Splat!" -- perhaps you never will. But just in case you do, remember to keep going in the direction that your objectives, plans, and strategies are taking you - just beyond the next obstacle
I'll do my best to continue bringing you a little inspiration on Thursdays to help keep you going. 




Comments are welcome. Tell us what you think.

© 2010 DMMI Associates LLC – All rights reserved



3/15/10

Manage Your Money Monday - Visibility on the Level Playing Field Called Internet

Last week, we looked at your need for a viable business model - the road map for the journey to managing your money well. This entry for Manage Your Money Mondays focuses on how a strong visibility arsenal can help both the top and bottom lines of your income statement

Promoting your business is a basic requirement for its survival. How you promote it spells the difference between surviving and growing faster than your competition. More and better visibility content and visibility venues can give your company an edge. 


You must have an edge. What's yours?


"Whether you call it a commercial, elevator pitch, or 60 second presentation ... it's a must. If you have a product or service to sell, you must let others know who you are and what you offer."
Victoria Trafton, owner of Referral Institute of Central Arizona

I have referred to the internet as the great "playing field leveler" in other posts and presentations. This is borne out almost daily with an seemingly endless stream of web-based tools that can give smaller businesses their competitive edge. They are ever more flexible, often customizable, and most importantly AFFORDABLE.  
The service used to deploy the video below is an ideal example of an edge builder.


<h1>Video Visibility Tool - thinkVAULT | thinkVISIBILITY</h1><p>thinkVAULT, visibility, video, video marketing, blog, vlog, e-marketing, sales, website</p><a href="www.veeple.com" alt="Veeple Interactive Video">Veeple Interactive Video</a>


Disclosure: I was so impressed with the capabilities of this service that my company is now an affiliate. What do you think? Could this be the edge you need? 


However you decide to invest your marketing dollars, just make sure you get the best available set of benefits. Find tools with features that you will use to generate revenues or minimize costs.



If this thinkVISIBILITY service may help you to build your business, click here to sign up for a free trial.
Comments are welcome. Tell us what you think.

© 2010 DMMI Associates LLC – All rights reserved



3/8/10

Business Model Focus on the Top Line - Revenues

This entry for Manage Your Money Mondays focuses on the top line of your income statement: REVENUES. 
You have probably read and heard about the need for a good business model for your company.
It isn't as mysterious as it could sound. That's just a strategist's way of saying to ask yourself a key question: 

How will you make money?


A business model describes how an organization creates, delivers, and captures economic value  or social value.

Typically, for-profit businesses focus on adding economic value and not-for-profit organizations focus on adding social value. The case can also be made that the ideal position for each lies in a hybrid entity; i.e.: profits with social consciousness and social missions with fiscal responsibility.



Viable Business Model must come before you install that great marketing cotter pin: Visibility.
Too often, a business has a great product or service, coupled with reasonable pricing, but little or no business modeling. It leaves a big gaping hole in the viability of the business. 

What do I mean by that? You, business owner, have identified a marketable product that you believe will sell -- there is need in the marketplace. You have calculated your income needs, factored that into your pricing, and decided this can work. You venture out into the sales jungle and do "all the right things" -- or so you thought. The results are disappointing, however. Thus, a piece of the planning puzzle is missing. You can only conclude that your business model and key parts of your strategies are flawed.

The easiest way to build a Business Model is to 
Ask and answer the 5Ws -- the ones you learned in English or Language Arts class: Who, What, When, Where, Why. Apply the answers to your Business Model. Then make sure that your price points, your packaging and presentation [branding], and your placement match up accordingly.

For example: If you provide high-end bathroom remodeling, you need to market your services in venues and to prospects that are likely to spend upwards of tens of thousands of dollars on that set of products. Develop plans for finding and connecting with those prospects so that your time -- and marketing dollars -- are invested well. Find people who are already connected to your market niche; that makes a great starting point.




If you would like a little help with strengthening the viability of your business, E-mail us with your questions, or leave Comments below, about your challenges in reaching your business goals.

© 2010 DMMI Associates LLC – All rights reserved



3/1/10

Visibility: Don't Run Your Business Without It!

What one thing does every business need to stay in business?
Put simply: The one big common factor is visibility!


"A business with no sign is a sign of no business."
A common tagline in the sign-making industry

This widely accepted concept for brick and mortar businesses applies equally well to all businesses. 



Why? The great playing field leveler The
Internet has made it so. You may not have a storefront at the corner of Apple Lane and Orange Boulevard, but you still must have a visible presence. Otherwise, no one knows where to find you.

Furthermore, in today's Web environment, no one has a plausible excuse for lacking a Web presence
.

With just a little bit of research, a savvy business owner can find free hosting, free design tools, free domain registration, free blog sites and certainly free social media communities.

The caveat is, however, that a zero cash outlay does not necessarily mean "cost free." Some of the hosting sites will display your website for free, but that comes with banner ads -- of their choice, not yours. Visitors could get so distracted by other companies' ads that your message is buried in the busyness.
Design tools are also limited. Your choices for page templates, layouts, and colors -- if there are any choices -- will be limited.

Still, there are many other choices that offer very serviceable options for carving out your corner of business visibility. 


One of the easiest ways to build visibility is Blogging.
Among the group of visibility tools that require creating content, blogging takes the least amount of technical knowledge. Dressing up your page with colors, bold characters, and graphics takes just a few mouse clicks. The real "work" is in the writing. In a blog post on the Mashable site, Mark Suster - a venture capitalist - published an article called HOW TO: Create a Successful Company Blog. He clearly details Why you must blog, What you should blog about, and some Right and Wrong ways to go about it. 


It's my fond hope that this blog is an example of a "right way" to go about it. Let me know what you think. 
In future entries, we'll take a look at some other visibility options, including a newly emerging concept called Vlogging - no that's not a typo.



If you would like to have higher visibility for your business, start by checking out one of the services we offer to our clients: A Webmercial. You can see an example -- and place an order --  in this post "How Visible Is Your Business?"

© 2010 DMMI Associates LLC – All rights reserved


2/23/10

Tech Tools Yield Tech Skills for Small Business Owners



On this Non-Techie Tuesday, I pose two questions to you:
Are you intimidated by your computer, non-techie small business owner?
Do you use a cell phone resembling any of these?

I'll bet that you do. Now think back a few years... Would you have pictured yourself using anything that "complex" before you actually tried it? My guess is: probably not. Yet, you do it everyday!

Why then, are so many people still intimidated by their computers? - a colleague posted the cutest picture of her dogs on Facebook. She took it with her cell phone and uploaded it. Here it is. (If you are not a Facebook user, and you can't get there from here, my apologies). A couple of clicks and it was all done. I challenge you to acknowledge that your desktop or laptop computer can be tamed just as easily.

Start by recognizing that you control it, not the other way around. A bit of planning ahead to see to its care and feeding is all you need.

This article is about memory maintenance.
To better understand why that's important, envision this scenario:
You have just come back from grocery shopping for your family. Your children help to carry the bags into the kitchen. They sit them anywhere there is an empty space. That is fast and convenient -- at that time. You could leave the bags where they sit, but odds are you won't. You could still find everything, BUT IT WOULD TAKE LONGER. (Not to mention the fact that the perishables would spoil)!

Windows works in kind of the same way. (Sorry Mac users. I haven't used one for a long time).
Your files get stored wherever it's "convenient" for Windows to "sit" them, when you click SAVE. After a while, though, finding the files gets harder and harder. Some of them have even been split up and stored in two different "kitchen cabinets." The end result: Your computer gets slower and slower.

The solution is simple. Windows comes with a tool called "Disk Defragmenter" or Defrag, for short. Depending upon how often you save files, and how big they are, you may need to run Defrag every week. Defrag should be run at least once per month, in any case.

To get you started, here are links to the Microsoft site for how to run the Defrag utility.

  • Vista users click here. The instructions are written in an easy to understand manner (unlike the XP version linked below).
  • XP users click here. Fair warning: the article is a be "tech-speaky," but the steps can be followed.
If you have never run Defrag on your computer, the process could take hours. My advice: wait until your workday is over, then start it. Everything should work faster when it's done, unless you have other problems...

Happy Computing!



E-mail us with your questions, or leave Comments below, about how to reach your business goals.

© 2010 DMMI Associates LLC – All rights reserved


2/22/10

Manage Your Money Mondays - The Value of a Banking Relationship

How valuable is a good banking relationship?
Over the long haul, a banking relationship is to a business as air is to everyone: It is required!

"Keep skunks and bankers at a distance."
Humor from the Heartland


The quote above, widely accredited as "Old Farmer's Advice," is only half true. Your banker should be close -- in good times and bad. It is much easier, as well, to make a case for lines of credit or a loan BEFORE the money is needed. This is especially true now that credit has been and remains tight.

A banker who knows you will be more likely to help you. Small business bankers are increasingly creative these days. Certainly credit has not become any easier to get, but for a business owner with personal assets to use as collateral, and a decent credit score, money can be had.

One cautionary note: Make sure that the credit line is used to support activities that will replace the funds. Working capital to cover cash flow needs tied to customer orders is one good use. Cash requirements just to cover payroll, on the other hand, may not be.

Also consider forming relationships with multiple banks. The financial meltdown of 2009 bears out the wisdom of this approach. If you were a customer of a bank that had to tighten lending, you were at risk of being left high and dry in the credit arena. This article from Business Week "Multiple Banking Relationships" clearly makes this point.
Entrepreneur.com suggests "aggressively managing cash flow" as another tactic for both building strong banking relationships and business survival in "Grow Your Cash Stash by Managing Cash Flow."

Talk to your banker regularly. The good ones will share information and insights on how things work in their bank or credit union. Your business will be better off for it.


E-mail us with your questions, or leave Comments below, about how to reach your business goals.

© 2010 DMMI Associates LLC – All rights reserved