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Madison Main Street Project

Page history last edited by Kim Brand 2 years, 11 months ago






Mistakes to Avoid If You Run a Business


Presented to the Madison Main Street Project

April 24, 2012


Kim Brand

(just Google me)






One of my many mistakes . . . a skewed tile from my basement floor











1. Why 5? (Five is the new Ten - nobody has time for ten)




2. I'm more like a Pharmacist than a Physician (More like a chicken than a pig :)




3. Why Mistakes? (Pain is interesting.  There are so many to choose from :)




                    * Mistakes may not be proportional to income, sales, costs

                    * Mistakes keep you from investing in what works - fail fast!

                    * Remember: rules which govern the motion of the stars fail to explain

                         what happens in atoms - your mileage may vary


                                   (You may discover that their 'rules' don't apply to you :)




4. Where do all small business owners want to go?






5. Wouldn't it be nice if bad decisions were obvious?









6. These five mistakes can scuttle your chances for success, waste your time/money and stress you out!:



     # 5: Ineffective website - Search replaced Sales when Google replaced the Yellow Pages


                    * Sales turned into Search when Google became dominant

                    * Prospects want it quick - and deep; they want information and affirmation; 30 sec video rules

                    * Customers want a relationship

                    * Decide what your website sells: a phone call, a visit, an order

                    * Does Google have a 2nd page?  Narrow your search terms to mean 'you' are the right answer

                    * Not all search is created equal: YouTube, Blogs, Yelp, Facebook







     # 4: Misunderstanding my customers' needs; Complicated sales messages, processes, distribution means; Lacked focus







Literally and figuratively







                                                       Pennsylvania                                                     Michigan







                                                                                      Pennsylvania & Michigan




This is what mattered







                    * Dominate your space; location; location; location - brand, position, value proposition

                    * Your best shot is with your 'tribe'; be cautious not to confuse your product with your personality

                    * Make it easy to buy from you; where, when, how the customer wants to buy

                    * Determine if customers are members of your target or one-offs



And when you think you are having a big impact - consider this analogy






     # 3: Mistaking politeness for the truth; the reluctance of people to give me bad news


                    * Confirmation Bias, Availability Bias (see Leonard Mlodinow: "The Drunkard's Walk")

                    * Seek out the truth: third parties, focus groups

                    * Consultants & Coaches, Boards, Curmudgeons



Not everybody's baby is beautiful











     # 2: Neglecting Processes; "winging it."  Being too busy to manage; continuing to be my 'best' employee


                    * Create feedback systems: sales, bookkeeping, metrics (Trends, Ratios, Stupid Stuff.)

                    * Training - Let go of jobs that make you feel good because you are the only one who can do it

                    * Automate follow-up with prospects and customers; 'mechanize' relationships






     # 1: Misunderstanding my own capacity/interest/talent to deliver what's needed by my business


          * Businesses need more skills, at different times, than most owners can deliver.  

               Your job is to figure out how to compensate for your weaknesses, avoid mistakes

                    And let your talent bloom



Blooming in the rain Vector Graphic






Five Authors you should pay attention to - recommended to my Business Ownership Sales & Marketing classes:


Seth Godin.  Here are the first four chapters of his 'Permission Marketing'

Jeffrey Gittomer.  Here is a summary of his 'Little Red Book of Selling' 

Frank Rumbaskas.  Here is his free whitepaper: 'Cold Calling is a Waste of Time' (First 10 chapters)

Marshall Goldsmith's Leadership/Coaching library is totally free and totally awesome!

Peter Geisheker. Here is his free marketing whitepaper including 110 marketing tips for small businesses.


Where to look for more:


YouTube (search for Sales & Marketing training videos)

iTunes (Podcasts, etc.  Check out this link to Sales & Marketing books you can download to your iOS device.)

StumbleUpon.com (Register then add Marketing and Sales (at least) to your profile)

wiki.KimBrand.com (what you are reading now :)

links.KimBrand.com (then add BOI and/or Entrepreneurship to tag filters)


And these Selling Facts












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