How to Pick the Best Training Class For You and Your Business

Posted by on Mar 18 2019

Every month, you’re innundated with offers for workshops, classes, weekend intenstives, bootcamps, and webinars. How do you decide which one is best for you?

Here are six tips:

  1. Decide on your MOST important business goals first. Only choose classes which will help you achieve your business goals for this year. If you learn materials that you can’t implement immediately, you’ll forget most of what you learn by the time you really need the information.
  2. Decide how you like to learn — and how you learn best. Some people prefer intensive, immersion experiences; others like to learn a little at a time. Some people like to have time in class to practice what they’re learning; others like to take the exercises as homework and work on it at their own pace. Some people like small group classes where they can get one-on-one help from the instructor; others thrive on large conferences. Some people like a lot of interactive discussion with the other students; others want to have a ton of information given to them and find classroom discussions to be an interruption.
  3. Decide what you need to learn and at which level. For instance, say you need to learn about internet marketing techniques. Do you want an overview class, or do you want to learn a specific internet marketing technique? If you want to learn a specific topic, do you already know something about the topic (and therefore are looking for an “advanced” class) or do you want to learn from the very beginning, where an introductory class would be right for you? If you choose a class that’s too easy, or too hard, you’ll find your learning diminished.
  4. Decide how much time you have to devote to the learning experience. Can you take two days away from your business to attend a weekend bootcamp, or do you only have one hour a week available to attend a webinar series? For those training events that aren’t local to you, factor in travel time and costs.
  5. Decide on your financial budget. Most business classes should make you money, once you implement what you’re learning. But spending huge amounts of money on a training class when you can’t predict Return On Investment (ROI) can feel uncertain. Ask yourself, “How soon will this training repay me in increased revenue for what it cost to attend the training?” Do the math: how many new sales or increased sales will you have to make to recoup the cost of your training? How many hours will you save by implementing what you’ve learned?
  6. Choose the teacher with care. What is the instructor’s reputation, both as a topic expert and as a trainer? Have you ever sat through a class where the teacher droned on and on? No matter how exciting the topic, a boring, poorly prepared teacher will put you to sleep instead of offering a training experience that helps you to cement your learning in your mind and in your daily life. And a self-serving teacher who only wants to upsell you to the next level will dimish your learning (and your attitude towards them). Be sure to ask your friends and colleagues about their experience with different instructors.

Lifelong learning is an extraordinary backbone to a successful business. Just be sure you choose the best class, and the best instructor, for you and your business. Then, sit back and enjoy the training experience!

   

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Category: Running a Strong & Efficient Business

Why Marketing Fails #5: Niche Exhaustion

Posted by on Feb 08 2019

When it comes to marketing to multiple niches, I have two words of advice:

1. Go ahead! There’s nothing wrong with targeting multiple niches. BUT…

2. Pick one and become a leader in it, then move on to the second one.

If you try to go after too many niches (target audiences) at the same time, you will wear yourself out. It’s exhausting and doesn’t use the “best of you.”

When you go after too many niches simultaneously, your marketing time and money is scattered too broadly. Say for example that you want to go after “salespeople in the pharmaceutical industry” and also want to go after “salespeople in the auto industry.”

Their appears to be a common denominator (salespeople), but the two industries and the two selling styles are dissimilar.  You would have to connect with both industries simultaneously, which means you can’t really focus all your time, energy and marketing money on just one target. Scattered focus equals scattered results.

In my article, The Problem With Niches, I said that the whole purpose of choosing a niche is so you can find a central place that potential clients congregate. Find ALL the places where auto industry sales people congregate: meetings, magazines, conferences, classes…especially those that are specifically focused on the niche you’re going after. Center your marketing attention on those areas first. Once you become known and recognized in that niche, then move on to other industries or other niches.

Read the complete Why Marketing Fails blog series here:

   

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Category: Marketing
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Why Marketing Fails #3: No Follow-Up

Posted by on Jan 29 2019

There are some people in the world who love the challenge of “cold calling” — that is to say, you enjoy calling people who you have never met, have never had any contact via email or phone, and asking them whether they need your product or service.

But what about those people who contact you and ask about your products and services? They’re interested in your services, your classes, your mastermind groups. Do you follow-up with those warm leads?

Most small business owners will make at least one follow-up phone call or email to a prospective customer. But if they don’t get a response back, they often drop the whole thing. You don’t want to feel like you’re being a pest.

But you have to remember two important things:

  1. The prospect called you. They want to hear from you.
  2. There are many reasons why a prospect might not call you back.

Let’s look at both reasons

In the first place, the prospect contacted you. They are interested or they wouldn’t have gone to the effort of leaving a voicemail or sending an email. People who take action, even these seemly simple actions, are motivated and interested.

In the second place, just because they don’t return your phone call or email doesn’t mean they’re not interested anymore. Think about your own life for a minute: I bet you’re a very busy person and there’s always something going on that needs your attention. Items on your to-do list slip off, including returning phone calls and emails. Well, your prospects are just like you! They’re busy, they’re time-constrained, and they’ve got to put out fires first, before they can take on another task.

I’ve done an unscientific test over the past six months. I’ve continued to call and email people who have expressed an interest in me and my business, just to see what happens. Amazing! In nearly every single case, the prospect was grateful that I took the time to continue to follow-up, even though they hadn’t replied to me.

So why hadn’t they replied to you?

In short, life got in the way:

  • A family member died and they had to go out of town to take care of funeral and house-selling tasks for a month.
  • A child was preparing for a big college-entrance exam and needed a lot of extra time and attention.
  • They were working on a big proposal for a prospect and put everything else on hold until the proposal got out the door.
  • They had never gotten my reply email (a spam filter had captured it).

…And any number of other reasons. All legitimate.

How often should you follow-up?

Here are the rules of thumb I work with when I get a prospect call or email:

  • First contact: we follow-up within one business day
  • Second contact: we re-try three days later, always via phone (darn those email filters!)
  • Third contact: 10-14 days later, both by phone and by email

In marketing and sales, being shy or lacking confidence is a killer for your business. If people express interest in you, now is the time to connect with them, repeatedly if necessary, and not avoid it.

Read the complete Why Marketing Fails blog series here:

   

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Category: Marketing
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Ready to Plan and Take Action? Join the One Action Now workshop!

Posted by on Jan 01 2019

One Action NowAction Planning Workshop and Implementation Group

Workshop Overview

Are you ready to work on your 2019 plans, but feel overwhelmed about how much you need to think about and do?

Here is an important business fact that I want to share with you: You don’t have to feel overwhelmed by your business planning and tasks.

I am massively productive, and you can be, too. I’ll teach you the secrets of how I got to be so productive at growing my business and getting things done.

There is a way to create your plans and get things done, over and over again, that makes you feel confident and energized that you are moving in the right direction.

Just imagine how wonderful you will feel, knowing you are on the right track and you’re getting into action now!

You Will Learn

In this 3 week virtual workshop, you will:

  • Review your goals and intentions for the next 12 months, selecting the perfect goals for you (it’s a great time to work on your 2019 project plans!)
  • Prioritize which projects and tasks, creating order out of chaos
  • Create your Action Plan using time-tested techniques…stop wasting time on tasks that don’t bring in revenue or build your business
  • Learn how to master the Action Planning Journal, so you can use it over and over again
  • Discover productivity tricks that help you stay focused

Come to One Action Now, and walk away with a plan — and an implementation group to help you stay focused, accountable and on track with your goals and tasks!

Learn more about One Action Now here. Class begins January 14.

   

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Category: Upcoming Classes

Why I Always Read Email First Thing Each Morning

Posted by on Dec 13 2018

Time-management pundits are always harping on how we waste time reading emails first thing in the morning. I think they’re full of manure.

First of all, a Marketo study found that 58% of people read email first thing in the morning, many reading email before they even eat breakfast. Is it just addiction — or is there a good reason for it?

As a small business owner, I have a HUGE reason for reading email first thing in the morning: my customers matter to me more than anything. Most of my clients, students and mentoring group members communicate with me via email, so taking care of their needs first thing in the morning is simply good customer service.

Why do the time management folks act like email is evil? Because we don’t segregate “important” email from “read this when you get a chance” email.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with reading email first, just like there’s nothing wrong with writing your blog post first each morning or doing yoga first thing or working on a major project first thing. You have to pick your priorities and you have to focus on the task at hand. It’s all about goal setting and self-discipline.

  • For instance, I do not use my personal email address when signing up for ezines and email newsletters. That way, my personal Inbox doesn’t get crowded with non-essentials and stops a lot of spam from ever reaching me. If something is in my personal Inbox, it’s because it’s important, like an email from a client, student or my business partner. (A colleague told me that she has 2,500 new emails each morning. My question to her is: WHY do you allow so many emails get into your personal Inbox? They can’t possibly all be of the same importance level.)
  • Another reason I read email first is that it’s the only real quiet time I have during my working hours. Typically the phone doesn’t start ringing until 9AM and using the pre-phone time to read email allows me to focus.
  • I’ve delegated much of my email reading to my business partner who handles any routine customer service questions from people who have bought my ebooks or audio programs, or students who have lost their login ID.
  • I quickly scan my new emails and only answer those ones that are most urgent. I leave the rest of them for later in the day, after I’ve done my other daily prep work.
  • Finally, I read email first because it’s when I’m the freshest and smartest. Do you really want to be writing emails when your brain is fuzzy?

If email is an important part of communicating with your customers then go ahead and read it first thing. Just pay strict attention to whether you’re keeping focused on the Communicating With Customers task or veering off to read articles, news, jokes, quotations, or watching YouTube videos of Surprised Kitty instead of doing your work. Set a time limit, say 30 minutes, and get through the most important emails first.

   

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Category: Managing Projects, Tasks & Time, Running a Strong & Efficient Business
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11 Things To Do When Business Slows Down Over the Holidays

Posted by on Dec 04 2018

I’m sure you’ve seen it happen every year: your business slows down during predictable times, like the summertime months or the holiday period at the end of the year.

For the self-employed who rely upon steady cash flow, this can be a disconcerting time. Should you just take a time off until things naturally pick up again? Or should you try to find the needle-in-the-haystack business that might be out there during slow times?

This year, vow to be different! Instead of languishing in no-business-never-land, get off your butt and do something to build the foundation of your business so that natural business cycles don’t affect you too deeply:

  1. Clean your office. Go through all the piles of papers that have been sitting around and get rid of them once and for all. Remember the office organizing mantra: do it, ditch it or delegate it. File all your papers, dust and vacuum your office. Reorganize your desk and your office so that you can find everything you need in 60 seconds or less.
  2. Review that stack of books. I know you’ve been meaning to read them, but will you seriously finish 20 or 30 books anytime soon? If not, pick one or two you want to focus on, and put the rest back on the shelf. Commit to reading 30 minutes a day. If the average adult reads 200-300 words a minute, that means you could read up to 6,000 words in a half-hour session. Typical books are 50,000 – 60,000 words, so you could finish that book (finally!) in about 10 days of easy half-hour sessions.
  3. Take a mini-break from work. Walk away from your office and enjoy a day or two of renewal and relaxation. Go to a day spa. Take a weekend retreat. Go for a walk in the local park. Take your honey to lunch. Breathe.
  4. Get ready for tax season. If your business slows down during December, no worries! Use that time to prepare your tax files so that you can whiz through tax season (it’s coming sooner than you expect!). Tally business-related mileage for year. Estimate your last tax payment for the current year (many self-employed people make quarterly estimated tax payments; the final payment is usually due around mid-January). Send your final invoices for the current year.
  5. Send business holiday cards and gifts. If the slow time falls around the holidays, use them to your advantage. Get into the holiday spirit with your clients by mailing holiday cards and gifts to them. Make specially-discounted holiday offers to clients/customers. Offer them gift certificates that they can give to their family, friends or colleagues for your services and products.
  6. Do your accounting and bookkeeping. Enter all revenue and expenses into your recordkeeping system. Balance your checkbook. Set your budget and revenue goals for next year.
  7. Become goal-oriented. Take this down-time to look at your current goals, to see how you’re doing so far and to write some new goals for the next 12 months. Create an updated marketing plan and budget. Make sure your budget includes a cash reserve to cover you during slow business times. Even if this business slow time falls mid-year, you can still spend time planning for the next 12-24 months.
  8. Go back to school. List the topics you’d like to study, the classes you’d like to take, or the books you’d like to read, to keep you up-to-date with your industry and business skills. Use your quiet business times to read, study and add to your intelligence pool.
  9. Get some personal chores done. Slow business times are ideal to schedule your annual dental and eye exams. It’s also a great time to clean out the attic, garage or basement. Remember, a strong personal foundation helps to propel your business forward.
  10. Go shopping. No, not for personal items (though that’s always fun!), but for business items. Have you been putting off buying a new PC, laptop or tablet? Now’s the time to research what’s out there and determine your next computer purchase. Is your office chair uncomfortable? Spend some time at office furniture stores “butt-testing” for a quality office chair that will support you properly. Stock up your office supplies. Buy some music to play in your office to inspire you. Invest in that software system you’ve been eyeing.
  11. Spend time with family and friends. When business is busy, it’s easy to sequester yourself away to get all that work done. Now that business is slow, come out of your cocoon and visit with family and friends. They’ve been wondering where you’ve disappeared to!

As you can see, slow business times can be used productively to prepare you for the next burst of business coming your way. Renew your business, your office, your Self, and create a firm foundation for the busy business days ahead! Always ask yourself, “How can I use these days wisely?”

Will you be doing anything for your business during the holidays? I’m looking forward to the “quiet” week between Christmas and New Years Day, when I’ll be working on a new class design. 🙂

 

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Category: Business Strategy & Planning
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