Small Business Startup – Time to Move On

At a certain point during your small business start-up you will realize that your plan is working, kind of working or not working at all.

To start a business is one thing. To keep it going and have it succeed, let alone make a profit is entiely another story and that’s what I’m going to dig into today.

Like I mentioned in my earlier post, it’s best to find mentors to guide you along the way, especially if you have never been in business before. Find other seasoned business owners that are willing to help and assist you so you can avoid icebergs, sharks, barracuda, jellyfish and all the other hazards that could sink your new enterprise.

The earlier you find these people the better.

Because a small business startup take time, perseverance and a willingness to do whatever it takes.  But without a plan and guidance, you might find yourself back in a job with the other percentage of folks who didn’t make it.

And now we’ll continue with the startup saga of the Two Jacks and Dave…

This story continues where we left off in part two – Beyond the Startup.

After the initial opening of the business and settling in we leased an office we couldn’t afford. This was a mistake and cost us dearly because we then had to move the office into my partners Mother’s home.  Boy was this humbling and an experience that I will never forget.

Fortunately for me I was very young, flexible and had tons of energy but the agency/management/product business was fledgling, underfunded, unfocused and not going to make it, unless serious changes were made.

Believe it or not this was a really great experience for me. Both the hard lessons learned and connections made were worth it, although at the time I can say it was quite stressful and led me to living in a hallway for $50 a month.

Talk about a hit to the self image. VP of Ad agency living in hallway – that’s what a client wants to know….NOT!

Anyways -we looked and searched for funding, but no takers arrived. I funded some of our dealings with my credit cards and ended up paying these off over a period of years. It’s a nice reminder of your mistakes and misdealings when you go to pay a bill every month for a few years.

Time to Pull The Plug…

At the point where I realized it was time to move on, it was almost too late, but I got out just in time. Instead of sticking it out I decided to move on and start anew, and start anew I did, but in a totally different small-business venture that again included family.

This was painful but proved to be the right move at the time. I needed stability and could not move forward with my existing business partner.

The downside of the split was that Uncle Jack had to pay off the bank and neither of us had enough cash to pay off Uncle Jack. This led to Uncle Jack’s kids coming after Dave and then Dave had to take an advance on a credit card to pay off his distant relatives.

Sound like fun? If not, then avoid the pitfalls and road blocks in your start-up by taking advantage of these points:

1. Have solid partnership agreements in place, even if it’s family. Make sure to have your legal  house in order, no matter what the potential partner says. Because when it comes to money or debt or liabilities, you could end up holding the notes like I did.

2. If you have a vision for your business and the market is ripe… Pursue and stick to your vision like GLUE!  Just like we should have with the ‘On Hold Product’ that we produced.

3. Like I said in the beginning of this post – FIND Mentors and people who will guide and help you along the way. It may take a month or two or three but it will be worth it.

Enjoy the journey…because it’s the only one you have.

Dave Krygier
Publisher

Secrets of the Tiny Store

 

 

 

 

Email Marketing Tips – The Subject You Need to Know

“EMT”

The subject you need to know to know about today is the subject line in your emails that you send to your subscribers and clients. Does the EMT above make sense or did you miss the connection to the post title above?

Ok – onward, upward and to today’s topic….

When it comes to email marketing, one thing that drives me nuts is an off-liner (traditional, brick and mortar business owner) who doesn’t know what to put in the subject lines of their emails. It’s like they guess or just pull a rabbit out of the hat and click control v.

The subject line is what gets us humans to open the message.

The subject line is the headline to your marketing message and the key that opens the door.

Many times the traditional business owner (who I refer to as an off-liner) will just throw what ever onto the subject line along with a one to two page crammed together news blurb or whatever he or she thinks is relevant and/or urgent. They send the usual weekly e-letter with subject lines that don’t tie into a headline or the body copy and usually have so much cut and pasted content that it looks like a supermarket bulletin board!

BORING, BORING, BORING!

What these types need is excitement and enthusiasm or something so interesting that the reader is ready and willing to open the next message.

That something could be an audio or video link in the body of the email that leads to an interview. Or maybe a refreshing article that pertains to your niche and what they are subscribed to.

The nonchalant attitude of just sending info with no links to click on is about as dumb as driving over a snow-covered mountain pass with bald tires. And yours truly is guilty as charged for doing this in the past.  (no links to click that is)

So here are my email marketing tips for you today:

When writing your …

Subject Line (headline)  – Make sure that the words stand out and say, HEY YOU!  Because these words generally determine if the subscriber is going to open the email.

Intro sentence (subheadline) – Use words that keeps the subscriber’s attention so they read through to your message.

Body Copy – Remember to include a link to something else of interest, like an article, video, blog post, or even a sales page.

Close – Use a simple call to action, a thank you, a lead in to the next message, that may or may not include an additional link.

PS – This is your final chance to catch the reader’s attention. Use it wisely.

Now there are alot of different ways to develop and write email campaigns and you might have a solid strategy that works and is driving new subscribers your way.

If this is not the case, then subscribe to The List Building Guide and get on the right track.

Dave Krygier
Publisher

Beyond the Small Business Startup

The story continues as Dave and the two Jacks move forward in their small business start-up. Maybe you missed part one in the continuing saga. If you did – check out my post Start Up a Business Now and you’ll see where the story began.

To bring you up to speed, the agency business was started by the two Jacks and myself. This was back in the late 1980’s, pre-Internet, when the fax was a mainstay for business communication and Motorola brick phones were a big deal for small business guys like us.

I left off with my Uncle coming into review the books the first week, but we had barely finished setting up our little office and the loan money hadn’t been in the checking account
for more than a few days. It was awkward and the other Jack was a night owl who didn’t function well in the morning.

We did have a plan and networked like crazy, but my Uncle Jack(the loan cosigner) didn’t see the ‘big bucks’ rolling in immediately, so he pulled out within months.

The good news was that we started to bring in a few accounts and cash flow picked up, but not enough to sustain both of us and the business.

So what did we do?

Like all determined small business owners starting out ….(well, maybe not all)…we started a management division and started managing musicians.  Oh boy was that a roller coaster and that took our focus off the agency.

Then we developed a marketing product for the telephone. It was one of the earliest ‘on hold marketing programs called ‘Marketing On-Hold’ and this started to take off but we didn’t focus on it.  Clue here for you my friend – if something you are doing starts to take off and grow – WATER AND FERTILIZE!

What’s sad about this story is that the MOH product really had the potential to be a big hit for the fledging little agency and initial testing proved that the product was sound and that there was a market for it. But the partners didn’t agree or focus on it long enough. This along with not doing our legal homework brought a lethal blow to the new product and our future together.

Now I could go on and on about the details – crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s, but know this – the lack of attention to detail cost us dearly.

So pay close attention to the details before, during and after your small business startup and find mentors and coaches who will guide you along the way. I know this sounds elementary but the details and guidance are very important. This way you will minimize the bumps in the road and have less repairs to make along the journey.

Stay tuned for the continuing saga about the Two Jacks and Dave. It’s worth the read.

Dave Krygier
Publisher

Secrets of The Tiny Store 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Club Soccer – The Case for Coaching Continuity

This spring our kids’ soccer club decided to merge with another local club that we had left after several years.

This change came as somewhat of a surprise but we dealt with it as best we could, discussing scenarios and possible outcomes. As my wife and I were talking through the possibilities I came to the conclusion that the real reason we left the other club was what I coined ‘coaching continuity’.

You see, in the other club(we’ll call them SS Minnow), we were treated like a number. There wasn’t any personalization and in this particular organization, the coaches were very cold, distant and not approachable. So after two years, we left and went to the other club across town.

This new club was a breath of fresh air and we determined that the grass was really greener on this side of the fence (or pitch – in soccer speak) as they provided a full service operation and great training.

The year with the new club went so fast and we really enjoyed the coaching, training and how approachable the two guys were that ran the organization. They not only coached our girls but also trained them. It was a combination of three guys who would rotate in on a continual basis.

Well with the merger of our club and the SS Minnow, I came to realize that what we came to know and love(coaching continuity) would most likely dissipate and dissolve as the two organizations melded their cultures.

On the one hand you have three dedicated young men who worked and trained their teams together and communicated well with the parents. It was a great environment with consistency in communication and continuity in coaching. This familiarity brought trust and the young soccer players were able to develop and learn from three different men with a common goal.

On the other hand you have the SS Minnow that was losing momentum, had failed at a previous merger, did not have an internal training program and the management/coaches were not friendly or approachable.

So the coaching continuity that we had experienced was soon to be lost as the crew of the SS Minnow slowly took over helm and turned what was a great venture into a shipwreck. And club soccer in our little neck of the woods would never be the same.

With all that said…all this soccer talk leads us to your small business and the topic of continuity.

How can you as a small business owner develop and maintain continuity in your small business?

Continuity should be established throughout your business – from your marketing and sales messages to overall branding and merchandising(online or offline).

Continuity with employees and outsourced workers is also important because if you develop a break or crack along the way, then your people will see this and doubt will creep in, just like with the club soccer story above.

Your business is where it’s at due to the blood, sweat, tears and money you’ve put into it. Maybe you’ve even had to merge with another company or take on a partner which most likely upset the continuity in your small business.

To wind it down for today – Continuity is what keeps the business stable. Remember that the next time you look at changing your marketing, sales, consider a merger or joint venture.

Dave Krygier
Publisher

Secrets of The Tiny Store

How to Develop a List Online

How does one develop a list of subscribers online and make it a business? In this post I will share with you three simple steps that will hopefully get you pointed in the right direction.

First we need to ask a few questions…

Why build a list? Why develop an email list of subscribers and clients when you can do other kinds of businesses online?

When it comes to online opportunities, there is certainly no shortage.

Here’s a partial list of ways you could make an income online:

  • Sell physical products through ecommerce.
  • Sell digital informational products.
  • Offer content and then make a commission on the ads displayed on your site.
  • Make a commission on products through Amazon.com or other ecommerce sites.
  • Make a commission on the actions that people take (CPA marketing).

And the list goes on and on…

This leads us back to developing a list online.

Every business has its quirks, positives and negatives. List building is no different. It just takes consistent work on the list builder’s part as do other online businesses.

The thing that separates building a list from other ventures is that the list can become an asset of sorts, if you monetize it. And the way you monetize it is by treating people right and having products or services that they are in need of.

That’s right, you need to treat the people on your list like you want to be treated. The better you treat them and the better you communicate, the more likely they are to buy from you. This is what I call building relationships.

Now one of the things about list building is that you have to continually add new subscribers and then convert a percentage of those subscribers to buyers through the products or services you offer to them.

Here’s the Simple 3-Step Explanation about How to Develop a List Online:

1. Drive Targeted Traffic (searchers) to a Squeeze or Landing Page that has a form for the searcher to subscribe to your list. This page should be focused on capturing the searcher and bringing them into your world. Not telling your entire story and giving away tons of information.

2. Offer Quality Content, Products and/or Services that are produced by you or someone else. Once the searcher has been converted to a subscriber, these products or services should be setup in a sequenced sales funnel along with quality content that keeps the subscriber’s attention.

3. Convert a percentage of your Subscribers into Buyers and you have sales and revenue coming your way. Conversion is the key and you will hear all kinds of formulas and ideas on the best ways to do this. What’s important is that you have a system for converting your subscribers to buyers. Not someone else’s system – but your own. Your conversion rate is your conversion rate and this might be higher or lower than what you see other marketers are saying should be ideal or sufficient.

Simple, right? But know that there are other things that need to be done or what I refer to as the details in between the lines.

So if list building is something you are really looking to pursue or if your list building efforts have not produced much, then go get yourself a copy of The List Building Guide and also check out this page about how to build a list of subscribers.

To your online success,

Dave Krygier
Publisher

Local Internet Marketing – Connecting the Dots

When it comes to local Internet marketing you really need to connect the dots if you are going to be visible and gain exposure in your local community.

Over the years I’ve seen so many businesses guess with their marketing like they are throwing darts at a dart board. I don’t want to seem like I’m beating a dead horse but guessing with your marketing in this day and age of the Internet is like traveling across a country without a map.

Local Internet Marketing for a small business has expanded and grown so much in the last  five years that the possibilities for visibility and connection are extremely high, if you take the time to do the work and put the puzzle together.

When it comes to local Internet marketing you as a small business owner have more online tools available to you today than ever before. Tools like local directories, maps, links to phone numbers, google places, email marketing, social media and the good ole’ search engine organic listings.

If you happen to live close or in my neck of the woods, Eastern Washington or Northern Idaho, then you already know that small business is a big part of the many local communities that comprise this region. But one thing to consider is that local web-based marketing in a town like Spokane, Washington might be a bit different than say Sandpoint, Idaho.

This leads me to how you can connect the dots and develop a local Internet marketing strategy for your small business.

Basically what you need to do is come up with a plan that works specifically for your small business, not some cookie cutter formula that is mass produced like fast food.

Your strategy for local Internet marketing should be designed and customized to fit your business needs. Why – because all that matters is your business and ROI.

Remember, it’s all about keeping it simple, clear and concise, not complicated and confusing.

The Three Main Components (or pillars if you prefer) to local Internet marketing include local search optimization, email marketing and social media, but not all three are a fit for every small business. So what you need to carefully consider is which one of the three will be the most important and bring you the most ROI as soon as possible.

Then once you have determined this you can move onto the next most important component and then finally tackle the third one. This way you don’t get overwhelmed and  inundated with too much information and not enough results.

With certain strategies all three work well together. In other cases you might only use one or two.

Let’s look at the options you have available to you and your business:

1. Local Search Marketing includes organic and pay per click, directories, maps, places, phone links, videos and anything to do with the search engine. Remember visibility is key, so make sure to cover all the bases.

2. Email Marketing includes capturing leads and cultivating relationships with subscribers and existing clients. This is done through links and forms on your website pages, on your blog, in advertisements, articles and social media sites.

3. Social Media Marketing is currently one of the easiest and best ways to become visible to your local market but you’ll need to research and determine which channel is best for your business. Because not all social media sites are the same, you might find some that can help you achieve better rankings and faster ROI than others.

Ok – so that ends today’s commentary on local internet marketing. Stay tuned for part two in this series where I’ll dig further into email and combo marketing and how you can take advantage of the two together.

Dave Krygier
Publisher

Secrets of the Tiny Store

 


Startup a Business Now!

Have you got the bug to startup a business now?  Gotta get outa your job and be your own boss? Run your own show and call the shots?

Maybe it’s time you got started on your way and put your dream into motion and live it. First you need to be patient 5 minutes longer and let me share a quick story that starts out like this…

I was a young buck with entrepreneurial blood runnin’ through my veins and I desired to be in business for myself but wasn’t sure what kind of business I would start. So the GM of the business where I was working at decided to go out on a limb and start his own enterprise and asked me to come with him.

And with that we started our very own advertising and marketing agency. And boy was this a leap of faith, because neither of us had any money, never had been involved in an agency and had to bring in my uncle as a partner and co-signer on a loan. Well we got up and running but my uncle wanted to run things, and he even came into work on the books during the first week, when we opened the doors!

Aaaaaaahhhhhh! It was like – what did we do? And how do we change this?

Look – I’m not gonna tell ya all the details in this post (more about this startup story later), but I will share this…

No matter what business you choose, there will be struggles, failures, frustrations along with triumphs and victories. But just because you startup a business doesn’t mean you’ll actually make it.

 It takes persverance. It takes work. It takes time.

Because success is a journey and as long as you are moving forward or as John Maxwell puts it – “Failing Forward” – you can make it.

Back to our topic – “Startup a Business Now” and the phsycological factors that you need to address if you haven’t already done so:

You need to have the ‘mindset’ going into the startup or you’ll quit, retreat, get frustrated and second guess or maybe take the wrong path.

How do I know this? Because I’ve been around startups since I was a little kid and personally I’ve been involved in more than six startups plus worked with other entrepreneurs

So, what are you waitin’ for? The right time? The right business? For some sign? For everything to line up just right!?

Well I’m here to to tell ya this… Da bizness is not going to come knockin on ya door
and pick you up off tha sofa or out of the lazee boy chair and drop a business in your lap
like a ready made microwave meal. (a little of my New Yawk upbringing it coming out in this post –

You need to do some work…

But I believe it is ‘desire’ – yes, a true desire that will get you to start a business of your own. You may be negatively motivated, which is great. Maybe you have to get out of your job or switch careers.

Whatever it is that is motivating you to start up a business and become a member of the small business community, remember this, to start a business is one thing. To keep it going and have it succeed, let alone make a profit, is entirely a different story.

So dig deep and determine why you really desire to start your own business and then check out this Small Business Startup resource.

To your small business success,

Dave Krygier
Publisher

 

Affiliate Marketing & List Building

Affiliate marketing seems to have picked up steam over the last couple of years and there seems to be more and more products with affiliate options. This is really great for the list builder who doesn’t have a product or service to market yet, because the affiliate products can be used in the sales funnel in lieu of self-produced products.

Affiliate marketing and list building work real well together, if the list builder has relevant products in his or her funnel.

For example – If you offer organic gardening information – the products and services you recommend should be related to this topic.  And my suggestion to you is to test as many of these products or services as you can before you heavily promote them.

Now I want to make sure you understand the two sides of the affiliate coin. One side of this coin is where you as a product or service owner find affiliates to market your product or service and when they make a sale you compensate them.

The other side of this coin is where you as the affiliate, market products or services to your email list, on your websites or on other people’s sites. When a sale is made then you make a percentage of the transaction. This is what I am referring to when I mention putting affiliate products in the sales funnel.

When marketing affiliate products and services – make sure you do your homework and research.

You can do what ever you want, it’s your business and as a business owner, it’s your decision as to what products and services you buy and recommend. It’s just that you will be more believable when you recommend a product that you actually use.

I personally find it much easier to recommend products and services that I have tested and used. Over time I have developed a list of affiliate oriented products and services that work for me in my business and recommending them is a pleasure because I know they work and have had success with them.

If you want to know what that list is then check out Dave Recommend’s and see for yourself.

So my recommendation is to be up front and honest about the products and services you promote because long-term is not just about the short sale.

To your online success,

Dave Krygier
Publisher

List Building Guide

How to Increase Email Subscriptions

This article is really directed towards the business that is struggling with ways to capture leads on their website.

Maybe you already have a customer list but haven’t been able to figure out how to further monetize it using email and web-based applications?

Maybe you have yet to develop an online customer list but cannot seem to figure out how to put all the pieces together?

I think many small businesses find themselves at a crossroads where the offline marketing is coming up against the online marketing and they need to figure out how to make the two mesh.

Over the years I’ve seen businesses cheap out on their email lists but invest tens of thousands of dollars on their physical mailing lists because they didn’t have a clue about marketing online.

Oh they might have a Facebook page and Twitter account, so they think they are up on the current online trends, but in reality they haven’t a clue.

Here they have their existing customer both in an offline and online database yet don’t know what to send him or her except sales and promotional mailers and emails.

They miss the boat, week after week, month after month and year after year.

And continue to scratch their heads as to why they can’t seem to figure out how the Internet really works.

If this is you and you are ready to make the change and capitalize on the fact that you have people who are visiting your sites regularly, then here’s what you need to do to increase email subscriptions:

  1. Put a subscribe link (opt in box or form) on every page of your site. This way you are giving the visitor an opportunity to join your list.
  2. Add a free gift (information, trial offer, service, etc…) to entice the visitor to subscribe. People are inundated with offers so make it special.
  3. Put the subscribe form on your blog and post a link on any social media sites that you currently use. This way your opt-in forms are getting maximum exposure and your subscribe rates should increase over time.
  4. Write and send an offer to your existing subscribers that they can share with other people they know. To redeem the offer the new visitor will need to subscribe to your list.

Need more subscribers to opt-in to your email list – subscribe here – and find out how to do this.

Dave Krygier
Publisher

List Building & The Sales Monster

“List Building Tales Part I”

Ok so I decided to step out with the whole ‘monster’ title. I was thinking about ‘Cookie’ but that’s been overused and since my post is about sales and list building and how they work together, I kept the ‘Monster’ intact.

This is actually part one of a two part series, so look for the second half down the road. It will be worth it.

Here we go…

Let’s get the facts straight:

#1 – List building is work. Albeit a different kind of work. If anyone tells you any different – turn and run.

#2 – List building is a business – unless you are a non-profit.

#3 – List building by itself will not make you any money until you have a product or service to sell the subscribers on the list. This product or service can be your own or someone else’s. And then…you must CONVERT the subscriber to a client in order to make a SALE, which should ultimately make you a profit.

Make ee sense?

I sure hope so.

To make list building profitable you need to sell and sell you must. But selling can be done in a way that is the opposite of the ‘hot tub and car sales way’…Yes it can be done and the monster doesn’t need to come out of the closet and jump all over your subscriber!

Sales is the what’s on the other side of the door and conversion is the key that unlocks the door. Yeh, I know – ‘Dave speak’ once again comes onto the page and interrupts the normally scheduled blog post. So just bare with me for a little longer and I’ll be wrapped up.

“A sale is a very fragile thing. And it needs to be treated as such…”

So why is it that so many people are afraid to sell?

For some reason people get online and just think they can make money hand over fist with little or no work put into the equation. It’s the preconceived notion that in the online world you can make a bundle by doing little to nothing and especially not selling.

The reality is that sales comes into the equation in just about every online business. Now there are a few exceptions like with sites that are monetized by AdSense or some other advertising platform that provides the website owner advertisers in exchange for a percentage of the click.

Sooooo…..

Learn what I refer to as ‘the art and science of persuasion’ and connecting with people. It makes selling a whole lot easier and much more fun.

Until next time,

Dave Krygier

PS- Still stuck on list building? Check out the The List Building Guide and get unstuck.