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


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


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


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