There’s a recurring theme I hear frequently when talking with friends, family, and others who have a business, or have a great idea and want to start a business. Whether they want more customers, more sales, or simply to launch, it tends to sound something like, “I have so much to do,” “I don’t know where to start,” and “How do I get it out there?”
I’m a big fan of roadmaps; it’s how I think. What are the steps to take to get from where I am today to where I want to be? After creating a partner development roadmap (that is living far beyond my time at Microsoft), I started thinking about what my roadmap would look like for BizFarmer, or really any business. I’ve been working on this for a while, and had just about decided it was probably something that you would find helpful too.
And then last Saturday, a dear friend was expressing her frustration with not making the shift in her business that she wants to make, because she just can’t visualize exactly how it looks. She said to me, “I need a roadmap.” (Ok, message received!)
So this is for you if you’ve ever had thoughts similar to the friends I mentioned earlier. Are you ready to get your business out there?
An email recently landed in my inbox that reminded me about a significant change Google is implementing next week, affecting where your website shows up when someone searches for you on a mobile device. I hadn’t been paying close attention because I’m not affected by it, but I should have been…because the odds are good it is going to affect you.
If you don’t know why mobile-friendly is so important, are not sure if your site is mobile-friendly, or if you don’t even have a website…keep reading.
The amount of times I reference Michael Hyatt in conversations with friends, family and colleagues is almost embarrassing. His positioning as “Your Virtual Mentor” couldn’t be more on target for me. And if you have a message, solution or offering that you want to get out to the world, you need Michael to be your virtual mentor as well.
Lucky for all of us, he makes this very possible with Platform University.
The last few months I’ve been spending a good chunk of time working with our church. The goal? To attract customers and make sales of course. OH wait no, that’s your goal! But you’d probably be surprised at how many similarities there are in what I’m doing with the church, and what I would do for you.
I’ll give you some examples shortly but the bottom line is this:
You’ve got to smoke what you’re selling.
Today as I write you, it’s a gorgeous 67 degrees outside. The birds are chirping, the trees are even starting to bud. Whether it’s spring fever distracting you or the wearing of numerous hats in your business, it can be hard to focus on and do what’s most truly important, that will make the greatest impact in your business.
Recently two of my friends were struggling with this, not sure of how to spend their time to make big strides forward. They weren’t lacking for things to do, but prioritizing them and actually executing on the plan was a challenge. It really helped them to see my simple yet strategic way of scheduling my week. I thought it might help you too.
Last week we launched my husband’s new business. We kicked it off spending a couple hundred dollars on Facebook advertising, to invite fans to like his page. And we’ll probably spend a few hundred more. Why would we do that when you can’t really pin an ROI on those dollars? You’re not the only one to ask that. From other clients, to family friends and even an MBA bearing corporate colleague, I’ve explained our strategy often over the last couple of weeks.
We’re simply combining permission marketing with sales management. In Seth Godin’s book Permission Marketing, he explains it as simply turning strangers into friends, and friends into customers. And if you’ve ever carried a sales quota or managed a sales team, you know that you have to have a considerably larger pipeline of opportunity than what you actually need to close, to hit your number. If you combine the two (and I added a category) this is what you get:
With Ken’s business, for now we’re using Facebook as the way to invite strangers into the funnel. They become followers as they get to know him through the things he shares on Facebook. When his podcast launches next month, we’ll invite them to listen and subscribe to it (for free of course). This will give him the opportunity to turn those followers into friends – by providing entertainment and value through his podcast.
And then, once they know him better, and he knows them better, he’ll make a product available for purchase. Because they know, like and trust him, it’ll be a natural fit.
It’s like how I feel about Under Armour. Or Michael Hyatt. Pretty much anything they come up with, I’ll buy. (Although I do restrain myself with Under Armour so as not to break the bank!)
I bet it’s even easier for you, than Ken. You probably already have a service or product you’re selling. So look at the diagram again.
How are you pulling strangers into your sales funnel?
How can you reach out to people you know you can serve, and invite them into your circle? (Remember, it’s your job to get out there and tell people how you benefit them. It’s not their job to find you.)
On a Sunday evening in July 2006, I boarded a red-eye flight to Boston, where the following day I would officially begin work for the Microsoft Financing program. There was no better way to start than jumping in with both feet at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference, with some 15k-ish partners and Microsoft employees in attendance.
At the time I was employed by De Lage Landen, the most highly rated privately held bank in the world. I worked exclusively for the Microsoft Financing (MSF) program and saw success quickly.
Fast forward a few years and Microsoft switched bank providers but kept me with the program, employed through CIT Tech and then with PNC Financial Services.
During this time I took on first, expanded responsibilities and then, new roles – and in the midst of it, my husband and I had our first child, a baby girl.
That changed things.