What happens when you look at a picture of your loved ones? Does your heart flutter? Do you become more responsive to what comes next?
Did you know that a picture can connect you to an experience. And that experience connects you to an emotion. And that emotion can connect you to an action. And in business action and emotion can help your business grow or it can prevent that growth
How the Picture triggers the mind
What do you think when you look at each of the people in the picture above?
Do you see an excited grandmother who now will need to buy a gift for the newest grandchild or do you see something else?
Do you see a wizard and think of a flim flam man trying to get you to believe his pitch?
Or do you see the successful young executive busy closing the deal?
Do you see a young woman showing you something or do you see something else?
Why do car dealers use bikini models to sell certain brands of cars? Is it because the models make men feel young? Have you noticed the new beefcake models used to sell cars to women?
Why do successful real estate people show their houses in ways that make them inviting to the people who might buy the house?
What YOU See either virtually or actually triggers most of the things you say, do and think
When you have a picture, real or virtual (in your mind) of the prospect you are talking to, you write better copy. You create best when you talk to a real person about what you want to say. Seeing a real person rather than a vague construct, the demographic of your ideal prospect, helps you focus on what you want to say.
Understanding this concept is difficult for many of us. We are afraid that if we talk only to one picture we will miss opportunities with others. But, the interesting thing is that what you see in your picture is different from how others see themselves.
My Business Start Up was specifically targeted to women over 50 who were finding it difficult to find employment and self employment was a viable option for their skills. Our best pieces were created when we talked to each other either in person or pictures each other.
But our following included men and people in their teens and twenties who saw value in the messages we were giving.
Angel funding schemes, crowd sourcing conventional loans and shares are a few ways to raise money that will help you take your ideas to $$$$s. But what do you know about community funding schemes? Are they an avenue when the bank turns you down?
The Dragon’s Den
In several countries a television program called the Dragon’s Den was created to help product designers and service operators find funding. The contestants pitched their idea to five rich successful business people who then decided either to invest in the business or not. The investment always meant a shareholding in the company and the dragon’s often took on a powerful position as a director and mentor to the business.
Many contestants failed to gain any funding for several reasons. These included:
- They wanted funding to support themselves while they developed the product
- They refused to give up control of their business to the dragon’s for the investment
- They had no real plan to develop the market for the product.
Yes it was a program for entertainment but what it also did was point out that if you wanted investment in your business, you needed to be prepared to work you butt off for nothing, you needed an understanding of the market needs for your product and you needed to have a plan to for what the money would be used for and the return on investment as a result.
And remember that the investment is returned with interest as agreed at the time of the signing of the documents.
Angel Fund Loan Schemes
Angel investors are usually affluent individuals who put capital into a start up business. Sometimes they take ownership equity or some other debt instrument.
There is usually some form of accountability for the business owner borrowing the money and the angel or the collective investing often have some performance accountability until the debt is repaid or forgiven due to the business failing.
This results when there is a collective effort of individuals who network to support the efforts of other people. Crowd funding is often used to support causes as well as start up businesses or development of some free product (software or inventions).
Recently crowd funding has been achieved by selling small amounts of equity in a business to many investors. This has resulted in legislation on the administration and accountability for this investment in many countries.
Money, Trust and Accountability
Whatever the source of the funds are for the business to start or grow, the common theme is preparation and plans.
- There must be a purpose for the money that benefits the prospective clients and the community.
- The person receiving the money must be prepared to report back on what is happening with the money
- Each side (lender and borrower) trusts that the money will be used as stated and will be returned with some form of interest (real or social)
- Records must be kept and available for reporting back as requested.
Whatever form of funding a business receives, it makes a difference.
It can help people who have never been accountable before to take responsibility.
It can increase the self esteem of the borrower because someone else believes in them and their ability to carry out the plan
It makes a difference in a community because the community takes on the responsibility for giving a helping hand to others in the community to increase their independence and ability to earn an income for themselves by their efforts.
Often the amount of money is small but the trust in handing out the funds is a blessing that only an angel can give. It touches the pocket and the soul, the mind and the heart.
Do you have any angel stories in your life? Please share them in the comments and if you believe we need more angels to help business, share this story and ask others what they need and what they would give.
To your growth
- After all, everything costs more each year so we need more income.
- Our desires increase so we need more revenue.
- And most of us just want MORE because we want more.
But do you know the 3 things that may be preventing your business from growing?
A Tale of Lost Vision
Once upon a time there was a business that had enjoyed a steady growth each year. They had more clients and made more and more money each year. They began to focus on new markets and they succeeded more. They took some shortcuts and cut some corners and made even more money.
And then one day the market changed.
And when it changed they discovered that their shortcuts and sloppy service reduced their competitiveness. They discovered that their lack of investment in staff and the loss of the vision by the General Manager and the Director, meant their staff generally just wanted to do as little as possible to collect their pay check each week.
And after 20 years in business, the business limped to its demise. From a successful small business it suddenly was no more. It’s assets were stripped and it faded into “has been land”.
Another Tale of Lost Focus
There was a brilliant man who developed a camera back in 1888 which changed the way we capture images forever. As a result of this invention a company was born and grew and grew and grew.
The company grew in areas that were not related to film and cameras. It purchased several companies totally unrelated to image and films.
Then the market made a shift to digital and the company no longer was the innovator but found itself running hard to catch up with the changes in image capture and storage.
And last year, this 110+ year old company declared bankruptcy. It stopped because it stopped focusing on the needs of its original clientelle.
A Tale of Shiny Object Syndrome
This tale is about a self employed person who keeps looking at the next shiny object to solve their problem. They have spent hundreds (thousands) of dollars on products, training, software packages and dozens of other different tools to build a business. They have downloaded hundreds of eBooks, whitepapers and other educational material.
Of the materials and resources and contact people they have met, they have NEVER completed any program to implementation.
On any given day, three or four new promises are presented to them and at least once a week, they buy the next object.
They have done hours of training, have certificates for completing training but what they never seem to complete is implementing it into their business and then looking at how the next shiny object will enhance their business.
They keep looking for the shortcut, the answer to a prayer that will magically flip the switch and make the money flow. They know what to do. They advise others what to do but they FAIL to do it themselves.
And as a result, they survive and persist but they never thrive and grow. And while most of the time they have fun. the financial burden can become wearisome and holiday time never mind sick time, just never happens for them.
What Stops Growth?
- People without vision, passion and purpose. People who lose their way and forget what buyer needs they are meeting.
- People who forget to focus on what they do well. People who think of the business growth rather than their buyer needs and the market changes as technology changes the way needs are met.
- People who look at the shiny object or the next quick fix. Growth is slowed radically when you are constantly looking for the next solution and never fully implement or follow through on the most recent. A good mentor or coach can help you chose the right path and stick to it. But the challenge for many business people is to have the flexibility to consider new ways with the discipline to implement their strategy and plans and meet their current target market‘s needs fully.
While there are more things stopping growth, these three are often the keys.
To grow you business you need to:
- Keep your vision and purpose alive. Fuel your passion to meet the needs of your clients and the community you work in.
- Keep focused on the needs of the people you serve. And remember their needs keep changing so be agile but focused.
- Implement one thing at a time. And listen to the people you hire to support you. Ask them questions. Challenge their thinking and together you can both grow. But first implement and incorporate the whole. Do one thing well instead of 10 things poorly.
Grow, turn your ideas into $$$$s and always have some fun, earn some funds and stay fit, agile and alert. Life is lived on purpose and today is the one that really counts so make it a good one.
To your success
On going research is essential for any business to succeed. Today would you please answer 8 simple questions that will allow me to develop materials and blogs to help you more effectively. The survey is here http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/62YM3QN.
Your expectations in life and business often dictate how you respond to your environment and the events that happen. In life this can affect things like:
- Where you live
- How you live
In business your expectations can affect:
- your cashflow
- how you deal with clients
- your sustainability
- how you run your “business”
If you expect your clients will have problems with your price or service, they often do.
If you think of your business as a way to keep you busy then it does.
If you expect to grow each year and find new opportunities you will but if you buy into the dire economic woes that sell media, then you can struggle and feel challenged.
So what are your expectations. Please take a moment to fill in the survey and remember that if you want help to grow your business this year, a mentor can make the difference between same old same, old and expecting more.
Take you ideas to $$$$s in 2013 and have fun, earn funds and be fit.
Do you and your business suffer from seasonality?
Some Examples of Seasonality
The farmer plants his crops, often borrowing money to buy the seed and fertilizers, hire equipment and workers against a crop that will come in three, four, five or six months later. What do they do if the crops fail or the weather devastates a crop?
Colleges enroll students at one or two times of the year. The students pay upfront and then the college must use that money wisely over the entire year so that they have the money to pay their bills and payroll and maintain the facilities. And what happens if they have unusual expenses or less (or more) enrollment than expected?
Holiday camps, resorts and venues operate 12 months of the year but are often only open for 8 weeks in a year? How do they manage to pay their bills all year round?
Ski fields open when the first real snowfall happens. But what happens when there is no snow or only ice? Yes the snow making machines help but are they the answer to seasonality? And what happens when one year has a six week season and the next an eight week season and the next a four week season and then a twelve week season. What does that do to staffing and other resources?
The less obvious seasonality challenges
Seasonality affects every business in some way. The examples above are obvious examples but what about the following examples:
- Slow down for holidays when business to business trading can cease for up to three months in parts of the world.
- Changes in time, money and resources at budget time.
- Staffing issues when unemployment is low and finding good people is a challenge.
- Finding and outfitting premises when there are few properties available.
- An unexpected disaster or demand that affects the business operation.
- Planning for change and the circumstances of that change are different than expected as happened with the global financial crisis.
Dealing with Seasonality
Since all business experience some seasonality, they need to do the following to manage their seasonality:
- Manage cashflow, always keep a reserve for the unexpected.
- Make decisions quickly to take advantage of opportunities but do a risk management analysis of what happens if it fails.
- Have good insurance cover for business disasters and keep it current and relevant.
- Have a good support team to discuss ideas with, coaches, mentors or masterminds.
- Remember that this too shall pass and if you have to change than change is required. And business is always about responding to change: changing needs, changing conditions, changing products, changing expectations and changing conditions.
- The man who fails to adapt will be out of business quickly
In the comment box, share how seasonality affects you and what you have in place to support the seasonality of your business.
To your future success