From the monthly archives:

June 2010

Are You Making Originals or Copies?

by Justin Lukasavige on June 29, 2010

Nothing says humor for me like the show, “The Office.” Michael Scott has a funny and very relevant line about making copies versus making originals.

Are you making originals or copies (if you can’t see the video here)

What about you? Are you making originals or are you making copies?

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Your Kids Look Like Interns

by Derek Sisterhen on June 29, 2010

My guess is that at least some of you have kids that cost money.

Well, of course, Derek, kids cost a fortune.

Right. That’s why you have a very critical lesson to begin teaching your kids right now, this summer. The lesson is connecting work with reward.

In the summer time, we take vacations, send the kids away to camp, let them sleepover at friends’ houses, hang out at the neighborhood pool, and so on. Each of these events and activities opens the door for kids to spend money. Maybe it’s a souvenir bottle of colorful sand at the beach, buying snack foods at camp, going to a movie before a sleepover, or buying a mask and snorkel for the pool.

Instead of forking over one $20 bill after another for these economy-stimulating endeavors, why not invite your kids to earn their reward? Since most kids are out of school during the summer, consider yourself to have just retained the services of an intern.

What jobs or tasks can be done around the house or can your child help with to earn money? Clearly identifying what responsibilities are required simply because your child is a member of the family is a must, too. However, if you set a list of tasks your kids can complete for pay, as well as set limits on what you will be paying for during the summer, you’ll create a wonderful teaching opportunity. And when you carry this into the fall, you just might be building up future self-sufficient, productive members of society.

I was speaking with a couple recently who said they have a son going away to camp this summer. When they told him they wouldn’t be paying for all the little extras that come with camp, that he’d have to pay for those things on his own, he became a lot more aware of his spending. They said, “Before now, he never had any trouble spending our money.”

It’s always easier to spend someone else’s money. Doing so doesn’t make us any better at managing our own, no matter how old we are.

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The Unluckiest Man in the World

by Justin Lukasavige on June 25, 2010

bear attack“The unluckiest man in the world.” That’s how my local newspaper refers to Rick Oliver.

Rick was struck by lightning in 2006 and survived. That’s a feat in and of itself.

Earlier this month he went to investigate a noise and ended up getting run over by a bear.

Survival

The Cary News reports that “Between 2005 and 2009, only nine people were killed by bears in the United States.” In contrast, 141 people were killed by dogs during the same period.

The odds of being stuck by lightning are 1:500,000.

Unlucky?

The main focus of this story is how unlucky Rick Oliver is. Is that how you’re living your life? Do you treat your business with perpetual pessimism? How about your marriage?

I read this article, and the entire time I was thinking, “this is amazing…this guy is the luckiest man alive!” He experienced two of the rarest circumstances and lived to tell about it.

I’m not saying you need to paint a rosy picture and pretend that things are great when they’re not. The future is entirely our making however. You can choose to be gloomy and pretend the world is out to get you, or you can “carry your sunshine with you”, as my friend Dan Miller is found of saying.

What do you think. Is Rick lucky or unlucky?

(Photo by Ted Richardson)

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Hootsuite 5: The Best Tool to Manage Your Social Media

by Justin Lukasavige on June 24, 2010

Hootsuite 5 just launched and the improvements are amazing. I take you through the updates and show you the improvements to speed your learning along.

Social media tutorials

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Losing Friends and Alienating People

by Derek Sisterhen on June 23, 2010

A few years ago my wife and I were walking through Home Depot on our way to the paint section. When we got there, another couple of similar age struck up a conversation with us about what rooms we were painting, etc; you know, small talk. By the end of the conversation, they said we should try to get together some time. Seemed harmless enough, so we exchanged phone numbers.

A week later I got a phone call from the guy, inviting us to dinner and offering to “tell us about his business.” Turns out he was a Kool-Aid-drinking Amway fanatic.

Just this past week, a good friend was offered an opportunity to hear an Olympic athlete speak on health and wellness. As a doctor, she jumped at the chance. Turned out to be a pitch for a vitamin supplement multi-level marketing program.

Now, I happen to have a few friends that have been successful with multi-level marketing businesses simply because they operated them like, well, successful businesses. The funny thing is that they never told me about what they did until I asked!

Apparently they missed the orientation meeting that taught about misleading, deceiving, and manipulating people into attending a high-on-emotion, low-on-facts presentation from someone who will happily belittle them for not singing up. (“You’re a smart guy. Only a fool wouldn’t want to take advantage of an amazing opportunity like this,” I still remember hearing.)

Many – though not all – of these “opportunities” are positioned as the solution to personal financial challenges. All you have to do is utilize your network of friends and family to build your business and then you can make residual income hand over fist.

Here’s my point: Is it safe to say that many of those falling into the trap of chasing money are doing so at the expense of their relationships?

And yet there are some of us working in careers that demand we work 70 or 80 hours a week…

Rather than drive those we love away from us, what can we do to have a significant, meaningful impact on the lives of those around us?

If we have that kind of impact and it leads to business, great. If not, at least you haven’t lost any friends or alienated people that care about you.

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My Wife’s Shower Habits and Your Marketing

by Justin Lukasavige on June 22, 2010

bacon in the showerAt the top of the list of things I never thought I’d see in the shower is this bottle of Bacon Pieces. Apparently it was there for nearly two weeks before I caught on.

Is my family so hungry that we need a mid-shower snack?  On the outside it may appear that way, but it’s actually a container for a homemade, natural face scrub that my wife, Christine, is trying.

Your Marketing is Out of Place

Does this picture describe your marketing?  Is it packaged and presented well, but still out of place?  Small businesses often make this mistake.  We wear suits to attract a certain kind of customer when it’s not really our personality.  We try to convert followers in social media for our products without building a relationship first.  Some of us even advertise in the phone book when our target market isn’t looking for us there.

Get Out of the Shower

Remember, everything you do is marketing.  When you answer the phone, you’re marketing.  When you reply to an email, you’re marketing.  When you cut someone off on the interstate and have your companies name in large print on the back of your car (this has actually happened multiple times to me), you’re marketing.

You can dry your marketing off with these steps.  The longer you’ve been screwing it up however, the longer it will take to fix.

1. Be Real

You have to be you.  We don’t do business with large, faceless organizations any more.  Be someone that your market wants to do business with. Don’t try to put on the facade of a large business if your market just wants to talk to you.  Social media is a great tool in this case.

2. Be Relevant

Be there when your prospects need you.  If you don’t have the right offer at the right time you can kiss the sale goodbye.  You also need to make sure you have the right product with the right features and benefits.

3. Be Consistent

You need to have a consistent message.  Your blog is considered marketing.  Then why, when I visit, does it say:

Welcome to the (Your Company Here) Blog
This is the first post of our Blog.
This is an actual post from a company that I know well.  They spent a lot of time setting up their blog and I gave them some feedback to get it up and running.  The problem is, this is their first and last post, and it’s dated 6/26/2009.

4. Don’t be a Generalist

“You cannot make it as a wandering generality. You must become a meaningful specific.” – Zig Ziglar

Be very specific in your message.  Can your business help everyone?  Probably.  Can you marketing to everyone.  Most likely, no.  Know who you’re speaking to and don’t change your message unless you change your market.

5. Be Remarkable

Bacon in the shower is remarkable.  People will talk about it.  This picture has been passed around a lot in our circle of friends.  If people aren’t talking about you, your business won’t survive.

These five steps will help improve your marketing, but when it comes down to it, a compass is more important than a roadmap.

What about you?  Is your marketing out of place?

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Real Friends Hurt Your Feelings

June 18, 2010

In the context of starting a business you’ll find a lot of people who are excited for you…on the outside. It’s not real, genuine excitement though. You know the kind; “Oh, that’s great Bob. You’ll do well.” And then it’s on to the next topic.
I surround myself with people who are genuinely [...]

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HOW TO: Use Google Reader as Your RSS Reader

June 17, 2010

Google reader is one of the foundational elements that helps me manage and share good content. I take you behind the scenes and show you how to add a subscription, share content, and integrate google reader with hootsuite automatically.

Use Google Reader as Your RSS Reader

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Don’t Hire a Coach Who Wears a Suit

June 15, 2010

We talk often about being professional but this is against the grain. Does a suit add to your credibility? Perhaps. But maybe that goes against every bit of your personality and you shouldn’t be trying to attract clients who are looking for that kind of coach.

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Get a Greater Return from Print Advertising

June 14, 2010

As I got into my car last week I was just about to drive away when I noticed one of those annoying pieces of paper under my windshield wiper. You know, the ones where the business can’t think of anything more creative and effective to get the word out, so they bomb every car [...]

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