Reinventing Your Marketing Model

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If you’ve been in business for a while, you probably already have a marketing model that is working for you. Or, at least it used to work for you

There are seven different areas in your business where rethinking and reinvention are possible: Marketing is a great area for innovation and change!

Have things changed in your business and marketing?

  1. Your audience isn’t reacting to your marketing techniques the way they used to.
  2. You are bored with your marketing techniques, so you’re not doing them as consistently as you once did, and the quality of your marketing is suffering.
  3. You’ve become complacent because business is going great, and stopped paying attention to “big picture” strategic marketing planning.
  4. Your marketing techniques are stale, outdated.
  5. You’re totally freaked out by the amount of work you have to do, so some things just get put on the back burner, like marketing (and remembering to eat).

Time to shake things up!

Last time I counted, there are over 80 offline and online marketing techniques you can use. There’s one for everyone. Why not try a new marketing technique you haven’t tried yet but have always been curious about?

If you’re feeling the innovation itch, why not combine two techniques into something original and noteworthy?

For instance, could you combine a free, funny bumper sticker giveaway with a contest?

What about combining a free webinar with a SEO using a strong article or blog post, to increase sign-ups and boost your mailing list?

Pick a new technique or combine two! Jazz it up!

Here’s the trick.

Don’t overwhelm yourself with trying to do 20 new marketing techniques at once. Choose one, learn all about it, try it out, track your results, and master that technique. Then do it again with the next new one.

Having an annual marketing plan will help. You could schedule a new marketing technique each quarter, based on your goals and what you’re promoting that quarter.

Maybe it’s time to delegate?

One big reason why seasoned business owners don’t do the level of marketing that they should do is that they simply run out of time and energy. Just because you’re the business owner doesn’t mean you have to be the head of each department.

I know, I know: you’ve heard that you should delegate a million times. Hey, just do it! (Do I have to pester you?) Consider finding someone who can implement some (or all) of your marketing techniques for you, so you can focus on your core competencies, the unique gifts you bring to the world.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Where do you feel you need to shake up your marketing model?

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Category: Internet & Social Media Marketing, Marketing, Rethinking Your Business
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Stop Copying Everyone Else’s Business Model!

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When I looked at my business transformations over the past five years, I quickly came to one daring insight: when I tried to copy other people’s business model, I got mediocre results. When I stepped outside of my own comfort zone (as well as what my industry says businesses “should” look like) and created my own business model, business soared!

Tom Volkar says, “Herd mentality works best for the lead bull. If you base your decisions on what others are doing then at best you’ll create a poor imitation of what has worked well for them.”

Transform Your Business by Zigging

You’ve got to be willing to zig when everyone else in your industry zags. What does this mean in practical terms?

  • If everyone in your industry sells their service by the hour, sell your service in a monthly package.
  • If everyone in your industry has a membership site, create a pay-per-use system instead.
  • If everyone in your industry has an email newsletter, offer a weekly audio postcard.
  • If everyone in your industry offers webinars, create live events instead.
  • If everyone in your industry sells to homeowners, sell to commercial building owners, apartment renters or vacation home owners.
  • If everyone in your industry competes on price, change your model to compete on quality or speed of service.

…and the list goes on and on! There are a million big Zigs and small Zigs you can do.

You cannot stand out from the crowd by following the crowd. W. Chan Kim writes in Blue Ocean Strategy, “Companies try to outperform their rivals to grab a greater share of the existing demand. As the market space gets crowded, prospects for profits and growth are reduced.”

So instead of trying to compete in a crowded marketplace, find an untapped marketplace by going after an entirely new set of customers or offering a unique blend of products and services that rise you head and shoulders above your competition.

Not Creative? Ha! Impossible!

Ah, but what if the reason you don’t Zig is because you can’t come up with creative ideas? Well, stop trying to do it on your own! Join a mastermind group, brainstorm with friends, hire a mentor. We are all creative beings, solving dozens of problems a day in creative ways.

If you need a kick-start to come up with creative Zigs, find others who will spark your ingenuity. Find a mastermind group or accountability partner that will help you brainstorm ideas.

Don’t Know How?

There’s nothing you can’t learn how to do.

If your excuse for not zigging is because you don’t know how to implement your creative idea, you’ll sabotage your success for sure. Find a book (like Blue Ocean Strategy or Positioning or Seizing The White Space), take a class, talk to colleagues, interview an expert, hire someone who knows how to do it — find a way to learn what you need to learn in order to implement your Zig Idea.

Whatever you do, set your own rules for the game. Don’t let others define what your business looks like.

Want to learn more about how to rethink and transform your business? Read my other blog posts on rethinking your business.

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Category: Business Strategy & Planning, Rethinking Your Business, Start and Run a Mastermind Group
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If You’re Feeling Like Your Business Needs Reinventing, You’ve Come to the Right Place

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Does this sound familiar?

  • You’re feeling restless. You yearn for “something new” for your business, but you’re not sure what that something is yet.
  • You’re thinking, “My business model isn’t working for me anymore. What’s next for me and my business?”
  • You’re frustrated, because you’re ready to take action, if only you knew what the right action was to take.
  • You can feel change is coming — you just know it — and you’re excited about it. And maybe just a little scared.
  • You need a crystal clear vision for the future of your business. (Oh, and an action plan for implementing it would be nice, too.)
  • You’ve run a successful business before, but your goals and values have changed, and you need a business model that mirrors those changes.
  • You have bits & pieces of the picture for your new business model, but not a complete picture. You need to put the pieces together, but in an entirely different way than your current business model.
  • You want to grow personally and professionally and you want to design a business that will challenge you and help you grow.

Business reinvention is a journey of discovery.

Business reinvention isn’t about tweaking one marketing technique or hiring one employee. It’s about reinventing your whole business model.

This is not just about a minor makeover or a little face lift – it’s about transforming your business and strategically choosing the future direction of your business with complete clarity of purpose and a strong action plan.

When you reinvent and transform your business model, you are an explorer in a new territory. In this series of Business Reinvention blog posts, I talk about the different phases of this business reinvention journey, but in essence the journey begins with exploring two important pieces: You, and Your Business Goals.

Transform your business with a step-by-step process.

Business reinvention isn’t about throwing the whole thing away and starting from scratch (though you can, if you really want to). You take all your knowledge and experience and assets with you on this journey. Read What Does Business Reinvention Really Mean? to get a better idea of my definition — it may help some of the pieces fall in place for you.

Many people have been on the reinvention journey before you and there’s a process to transforming your business. In the blog, I’ll share the milestones and roadblocks I’ve discovered on my own journey, as well as Reinvention Stories from others, so that you can learn from my experience and the experiences of other small biz owners just like you.

Check out my four-part video series on how to step through the thinking process for your own business reinvention. Watch the Re/Vision video series here.

In the final analysis, it’s about having a roadmap and a compass to help you on your journey to business reinvention.

Start your business reinvention journey here>>>

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Category: Running a Strong & Efficient Business
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Phases of Your Business Reinvention Journey

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I’d love to be able to tell you that there are set of linear and finite phases that every small business owner goes through while you’re reinventing your business model…

…but if I told you that, it would be a lie.

But there are some well known phases that you might go through, sometimes circling back to one you thought you already finished, and skipping others completely. Here is a short list of some of the signposts you’ll encounter on the road to reinvention:

  • I know/feel something needs to change – You find yourself pausing in the middle of the day (or worse, in the middle of the night) and asking, “Is this the business I want? What’s next for me?” People report feeling restless or frustrated, knowing deep in their heart and mind that the business needs a shake-up, a new way of being in the world.
  • Getting lost in the not-knowingness – This is one of the toughest phases in business reinvention, because you have to be okay with not having the solution. Some spiritual teachers call this not-knowingness “the grace of mystery.” Puts a different spin on it, doesn’t it?
  • Finding clarity on goals – If you spend time tapping into your goals for your business, and for yourself personally, you’ll find that it’s easier in the next phases to explore and choose the right business model for you. Is there a particular problem you need to solve? A particular dream you’d like to achieve? Values you’d like to express into the world?
  • Exploring the possibilities – In this idea-generation phase you explore every aspect of your existing business model, looking for places to add, modify and discard. No idea is sacred and no idea is thrown away. Even the craziest of ideas can be a springboard to a new business model. Creativity and innovative thinking are crucial keys during this phase.
  • Making a road map – This is where you design your new business and marketing model, keeping what still fits from your old model and mixing in the new ideas you’ve generated. This is also where you create your transition plan and map out where and when changes will take place, and what resources you’ll need to make it happen.
  • Taking the journey – Implementing your business model changes can happen in a week or it can be a two-year process, depending on how complex the changes are and how many resources you have at your disposal. This is often a journey through the weeds and can be rough going. Why? Because you have to continue to run your existing business (unless you’re independently wealthy!) while creating your new business at the same time. Managing change can feel like a juggling act, and I’ll talk more about it in future posts.

Where are you on the path to reinventing your business? I’d love to hear your story, so join me in the comments below!

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Category: Rethinking Your Business
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Improvement versus Innovation When Transforming Your Business

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How can you tell if you should just go after improvements, or if you should go after true innovation when transforming your business?

Susan M. Grotevant of the University of Minnesota says, “Old organizations, like old people can become set in their ways.” We tiptoe around innovation because it means getting rid of sacred cows, those projects, tasks, products and services we’ve been doing a long time but are no longer profitable, effective or efficient. Instead we settle for improvements, small tweaks that seem like we’re moving forward but really are a smokescreen to real transformation and business reinvention.

Improvement can be defined as small levels of change that have low risk, and typically start with an existing problem or process. There’s nothing wrong with gradual, consistent improvements, and the Kaizen philosophy of  change is being embraced all over the world.

But gradual improvements don’t allow for the type of creative thinking that starts with a clean slate, breakthrough thinking which helps innovate new ways of serving your customer and leapfrogging over your competitors.

Yes, innovation is riskier, but the rewards often outweigh those risks: greater revenue and profitability, thought leadership, and a bottom-up overhaul of how you serve your customers so you can serve them even better than ever.

Which strategy is better for your business reinvention? Both have their place in your strategic thinking, and your long-term goals will help you determine whether innovation or improvement is right for you. Don’t push away innovation because it feels to overwhelming or risky, though. You could be pushing away the future of your business.

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Category: Rethinking Your Business
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What Does Business Reinvention Really Mean?

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The phrase “business reinvention” might have you quaking in your boots. After all, who wants to start all over again from scratch?

Ah. I think I can help by offering up a different definition for you to ponder.

Business reinvention isn’t about tossing it all away and starting from scratch (unless you really, really want to do that). Instead, I think of business reinvention as a process of looking at your current business model and your own goals, and finding places that could use a makeover. Knowing why you’re reinventing your business is the first step in the process of transformation.

There are lots of places where you can transform your business: your marketing, your target audience, the services and products you sell, the way back-office administration happens, your technology, your scale (national versus local), your resource base, your business and personal goals. You can choose to remodel every single one of these items or pick the one that will give you the biggest bang for the buck.

Some business reinvention stories…

One of my clients is a chiropractor and has been doing it for nearly 30 years. But as she gets older, its harder and harder to lift patients off the table and the work itself causes her back and shoulder pain. In addition she feels that she would like to reach a larger audience with her message of being in conscious choice about all aspects of your life and not just following what everyone else tells you to do or think. She will take everything she’s ever learned as a chiropractor and everything she’s been studying and living for the past 30 years and create a new business where she can teach and coach.

One client of mine is taking her existing locally-based business and making into a virtual business that she can conduct from anywhere in the world. This frees her up to travel with her husband and continue to have a business she loves.

Another client of mine stayed in the same industry but changed his service offerings. In the past he had offered sign design and installation to his local customers. Now he’s offering sign management on a national scale to large organizations with multiple locations throughout the USA. He’s taken all his knowledge, experience and connections and put them to work for a new, larger, and more lucrative target audience.

In all these business reinvention stories you’ll see a common thread: as a small business owner, your goals, your values, your needs and your lifestyle can change. And you can reinvent your business to reflect these new dreams and move you towards the business and life you want.

You decide how, when and where to transform your business

Business reinvention is what you make it. But it’s not making tiny tweaks here and there; it’s shaking up the whole business and marketing models and realigning them to your goals, values and needs.

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Category: Rethinking Your Business, Running a Strong & Efficient Business
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