I’m sure Fabrice Penot had plenty of naysayers when he launched an upscale fragrance company in 2006. In fact, experts told them it was ridiculous to launch an “unpronouncable” fragrance company selling bottles for $200. That’s double the cost of most upscale brands.
Regarless, Le Labo was launched in 2006 and four years later is generating $4.5 million each year in sales.
“No one believed in the idea,” he said, and then he launched anyway. (Entrepreneur)
In the face of everyone telling you no, what do you need to say yes to?
Over the last fifteen years, spreadsheet programs, software, and web-based account aggregators have made it incredibly easy to warehouse our spending activity. Some of us have years and years of recorded transactions stored on our computers, ready for quick and easy access.
It’s important to know what the August 1998 water bill looked like, isn’t it?
One of those hard life lessons – not just a financial lesson – that we all have to learn is that we can’t do anything to change the past. (If we could, I would’ve changed my bad tailgating habit as a teenager that resulted in two fender benders and skyrocketing insurance premiums, but that’s another story for another time.)
From a planning standpoint, I find most people are reactive budgeters. We’ll use our nifty computer programs and spreadsheets to track every penny we spent previously, and then create a budget for the coming month using averages from the last year. We react in frustration when, in that next month, life and our spending don’t line up with “how we’ve always done it”.
The problem with this approach is that we’re greatly inhibiting our ability to control the flow of money in real time. No two months are ever the same: creating a homogenized, carbon-copy budget from old data removes our ability to proactively plan for what is going to happen. Reactive budgeting is rooted in looking backwards – you can’t react to what you’ve spent until you’ve spent it.
Instead, get on the front end of your budget. What is happening in the next two weeks or the next month that will require spending? How will you allocate money for that amidst all the other categories? Now you know what you will do with your money before you ever do it. Use your bell-and-whistle programs to simply organize and track how the money flows after you’ve created your plan, but let the past stay the past. It’s time to get back to the future.
I’m reading The Referral Engine by John Jantsch right now before it’s released on May 13, 2010. (Disclaimer: John sent me a free copy to review).
John connects newer platforms like facebook, twitter, and linkedin with not only getting referrals but also in giving referrals. John says he was working with a large insurance carrier to help design a marketing system for their agents. Like many insurance carriers they were practicing outbound, interruption marketing. Much of what they did was cold calling and it wasn’t working. (Why do insurance agents continue to do this?)
John explained to his client why sales needed to go to the backburner (briefly) while a focus should be on sending referrals. That’s when they fired him.
Business is About Being Helpful
American Express went to the trouble and expense to create the OPEN Forum, an online community where entrepreneurs can connect with each other, ask questions and get insights from the pros. I’m sure many businesses will even become American Express cardholders after spending time on the website.
Don’t blindly do this without a plan, but be helpful. Connect people. Over time business will come back to you many times over.
And that client that fires you? If you can sleep well at night knowing you gave them good advice, then you’re doing it right.
It seems like many websites have moved completely to offering only contact forms on their websites and have removed all references to email addresses. With spam a rapidly growing problem, removing your email from your website seems like a good solution.
Contact Form or Email Address?
My friend Andy Traub uses a popular Wordpress plugin simply called Contact Form 7. It helps you create a custom form for your Wordpress website and gives you the ability to do pretty much what you like with it.
Some people create their own custom form and others use google docs to create a form for free. Still others list an email address on the bottom of every page of their website. Me? I use them all.
It depends on your goal. Forms give you a great way to keep spam to a minimum. You can create drop down lists and require people to chose why they’re contacting you. You can field speaking requests to your agent or speaker’s bureau. Product questions get sent directly to your support team. Consultation requests go directly to you.
What’s good for you might not be what’s best for your customers
I don’t work with too many companies who couldn’t use more business. I get a bit aggravated when I can’t easily click a button to contact a company and do business with them. Yes, listing your email on your website attracts spam. In my eyes however, it’s much easier to delete spam in my inbox than it is to find clients.
This is a screen shot of an advertisement I found on facebook. A few weeks ago this same woman broke a news story on the shocking truth of the acai berry. It seems like she’s breaking news stories at breakneck speed.
I’m not sure who puts these ads together, but for all the reasons I mentioned before, this add catches your eye and probably works well for the Penny Stock people. It’s funny that she’s wearing the same outfit. At least the look on her face is different than the last one.
Is your Marketing Different?
I’m certainly not saying you should use these tactics, but what have you done to make your marketing stand out? Or, now that you really look at it, is it the same as every other company’s marketing material?
I was out walking around my Friday office, taking time out of the office and thinking about an upcoming trip to Colorado. There are a lot of similarities between climbing a mountain and growing your business.
What are you sacrificing now to do something remarkable later?
I really need to preface this post post with a very important message…
Unless you have a very compelling reason to stick with Typepad, do not podcast in Typepad. Instead, go to wordpress.org.
Alright I said it. I hope you took me seriously. I would even consider changing your entire website over to wordpress [...]
I’ve read no fewer than six articles in the last week that deal with the issue of contentment. Whether talking about comparing income to others or wondering what life would be like if different decisions were made, it seems many of us are still focusing on that elusive Jones family and how to keep up [...]