Sunday, January 11, 2009

Four Tips On Growing A Business In Today's Marketplace

This is a repost, but I thought it would be helpful to bring it back up in honor of the new year. :)

A month or two back, my dog-related networking group, The K9 Circle, hosted a guest speaker who talked about "Four Vital Essentials To Growing A Business In Today's Marketplace." The talented man who gave the presentation was Aaron Mangal of Magnetic Messages. I've been re-reading his presentation and thought I'd share the basics with you.

To begin with, what is entrpreneurship? Aaron gave us a quote from Jeff Bezos, "Entrepreneurship is really more about a state of mind than it is about working for yourself. It's about being resourceful, it's about problem solving. If you meet people who seem like really good problem solvers, step back, and you'll see that they are self-reliant." He also described for us a very interesting study. In a study published in Getting Rich Your Own Way, 1500 middle class workers were asked about their career goals and were subsequently tracked for 20 years. At the end of the study 101 out of the 1500 were millionaires. So who of those individuals was more successful in their business? Of those 1500 people, 83% made their career decisions based on money and 17% chose their careers based on passion. And here's the interesting part; 99% of the 101 millionaires came from the 17% based on passion. So to all of you out there who do what you love for a living, especially you fellow Etsians, your chances of becoming a millionaire have dramatically increased. ;)

So let's talk briefly about advertising. This is where vital essential number one comes in; we are in the Information Age, so it’s time to study, meaning, know where consumers get their information. Here are some statistics on the traditional venues of advertising and marketing. Only 18% of TV ads generate a positive return of investment. Fifty percent of newspaper readers are doing another activity at the same time and 46% of magazine readers do the same. So what seems to be the best avenue for marketing and doing business in today's marketplace? The internet! There were 22,368,960 billion views of User Generated Content in 2007. Research what tools you have on the internet to market your business.

So when using the internet to market and conduct business, we should remember vital essential number two, use transparency as a new guiding principle. Our conversation with the marketplace must be honest, authentic and completely “see through.” Why is this? Your marketing cannot defeat a community, you can't trick people (nor should you want to), there's nowhere to hide, and your secrets aren't safe (of course, if you're an artist, there are some techniques that you must keep to yourself to keep your work unique to you). This is all especially true for the internet, so take a vow to be authentic, empathetic and honest with your market. Your consumers will recognize and appreciate it.

This brings us to vital essential number three, become a friend and an expert to win the market over. Being a friend and an expert of a particular subject makes you a maven, and with the internet today, virtually anyone can become an expert in any field. Friends are trusted and salespeople are despised. There’s only one way to cross over; become a maven. Here are four steps to become a maven:
  • Choose a subject area you’re passionate about
  • Commit to lifelong learning
  • Work hard and smart to create world-class content
  • Build a knowledge base and fill it with relevant cutting edge tools
Finally, this brings us to vital essential number four, share value through expertise, time, ideas and commitment. Sharing with your market in this way shows that you care about your customers. Sharing knowledge leads to very happy customers. Find ways you can share your ideas, time, and commitment with your market.

So, the overreaching goal of the entrepreneur is to utilize these four essentials to create an environment where the value of you being in that enviroment is greater than the value of the environment without you. Basically, make yourself vital to your market. :)

Again, I'd like to extend a special thank you to Aaron Mangal for joining the K9 Circle and sharing his expertise, allowing me to share it with you. I hope these tips help some of you entrepreneurs and fellow Etsians out there. Enjoy building you business and keep on doing what you love!


kim* said...

this is a neat entry thank you

Ophelia Miller Boutique said...

Great tips.

Anonymous said...

That's interesting and inspiring. It's nice to see that even online authentic is key. It feels too public sometimes ... the face book, blog, twitter, flickr, etc. But I'm slowly edging into some of it.