Think Tank

Entrepreneur’s corner

In Any Business Activity Plan on Herding Cats

Sunday, November 26th, 2017

How to Herd Cats

We conduct many workshops and events every year. We are always trying new ideas and testing our limits. Most go smooth as silk. Some go much better than expected. Then there is that one event that reminds you to never let your guard down. There is no autopilot when it comes to herding cats.

On paper things can work perfectly. Diagrams flow to next position. If /then logic makes perfect sense. Spread-sheets provide the “golden snapshot” of activity. Activity advancement smoothly stair-steps in a logical motion. Growth is obtained by ramping up your projected activity. Budgets somehow appear. And so on. Plans and projections have such potential and promise yet all those thoughts on paper can have its limitations.

Enter the human factor.

As much as we would like to predict and control what others will do or think, we need to plan for the unexpected and assume that it will happen.

The only way to plan for the unexpected is to simplify your plan. Even if the original plan seems simple, take a step back and see if you can reduce or eliminate a step or two or ten. Build in an escape or a fast adjustment. Be ready to improvise. Add in the “what if” factor and always remember, that no two people think alike and everyone thinks they are right.

So how do your herd cats? You don’t. Save your efforts for what you can control. You have control over your content and your message. You have control over what you accept to learn from your actions. And you can control how you move forward by what you have learned.

Also, know that sometimes, it’s best to let the cats roam free and simply tap into that energy.

5 Ideas to Power-Up Your Marketing

Monday, September 25th, 2017

People spend a great deal of time online. Your marketing efforts need to be online as well. Websites, social media and email marketing all need to be part of your marketing plan. That doesn’t mean “old school” marketing such as printed brochures, post cards, holiday cards, business cards, annual reports, calendars etc., should be forgotten.

Studies show that multiple touches need to occur before a customer becomes a customer. Having a comprehensive and cohesive marketing campaign that combines online with off can get results.

Here are 5 ideas to combine online and traditional marketing:

  1. Have printed brochures available for people who visit your brick and mortar. Make sure your brochures point to your website and social media presence. Possibly even have a ‘hidden deal’ page on your web site that only folks that received a brochure would know about. This could help drive traffic to your site and create interest in your brand.
  2. Offer them a year of deals. For example: let people know online and via your email marketing that they can ask for a complimentary calendar to be mailed to them (of course that calendar should have monthly specials and other enticements). This can be a great way to stay top-of-mind all year.
  3. Print out business cards that double as an online coupon. For example: if you had a space at a trade-show or networking event, you could hand out cards to the people you meet. These cards could have an “exclusive discount code” that they could use when they purchase from your online store before a specified date.
  4. Grow your email list by sending a post card to select zip codes and demographics. For example: you could purchase a physical address/mailing list from a mailing house and periodically send a postcard to everyone on that list. The mailers would offer something enticing, direct them to signup for exclusive email offers, and maybe even enter in a give-away or contest. Of course, you should make sure to print your URL for your email sign up or lead page on that mailer.
  5. Offer your annual report as printed piece and as a PDF download. You may want send everyone an email with the PDF download and offer the option to contact you for a printed version. Many donors and supporters may prefer a printed report. Providing the option, can improve the readership of your important communications.

It is important to remember that people like to connect with a business. Even though most of us are “connecting” online, the printed piece still has value. Print lets people literally touch your brand. It can reinforce your online communications, help drive traffic to your online presence and bring a real-world feel to your audience.