(Time to read this Blog is about 3.5 minutes)

Before we get to the main topic, here are a few things to get you thinking or smiling:

  1. My Quote of the week:

“When things go wrong in your business, you can spend your time figuring out who’s to blame, or you can spend your time fixing what caused the problem.  Choose wisely.”   

…Donald Cooper.

  1. Quick Biz Tip: Are you partnering with ‘Pros’ or struggling with amateurs?

We’re in the process of booking a long-anticipated Safari in Tanzania, with a side-trip to Zanzibar for late November.  With ‘free’ Points flights not being available, the best Business Class fare I could find online was $14,000 for the two of us.  So, I called a Pro…the travel agent that we used before flights became bookable online. 

Elaine quickly found efficient biz-class fares, with lie-flat beds, with only one stop each way, for just $8,000. She has also organized airport transfers, hotel and wonderful excursions at great prices…and advised us on what shots we need.  That’s what Pros do! 

My slightly irreverent phrase about this is that, ‘sex is usually best with an enthusiastic amateur and everything else in life is better done by a Pro.”   Are you partnering with Pros in your business?  Do you have an accountant / tax expert, lawyer, web designer, social media person, financial planner and key management team members who are ‘experts’…or have you surrounded yourself with amateurs who ‘would love to give it a try’, at your expense?

  1.  Zombie Companies.  It’s estimated that 25% of all US companies can barely afford to pay the interest on their debt.  They’re referred to as ‘Zombie Companies’…the walking dead.  The same situation likely exists here in Canada.

As interest rates rise, or if there’s a mild recession, most of these companies will be insolvent.  Many will go out of business and some will survive by convincing their creditors to take a financial ‘hair cut’ on the money legitimately owed to them. 

  1. Why new hires leave quickly.  A recent survey shows that 33% of new hires start looking for a new job in their first 90 days on their current job.  The most common reason for preparing to ‘jump ship’ so soon is that the job or the business culture don’t align with what they were told it would be.   
  2. I have an opening for one new Biz Coaching client. If you’d like info about how my transformational, 1-on-1 Biz Coaching can help you solve pressing problems, identify opportunities, grow your business and your bottom line, email me to request our brief Info Package.  I’m easy to find at donald@donaldcooper.com. 

 

Now, to this week’s important topic:

Now is the time to proactively promote your business:

Whatever product or service you sell, your market is over-served and under-differentiated. There’s no better time than right now to stand out, promote your business, differentiate yourself, get some free media exposure, or create social media buzz. 

The folks at WestJet, the upstart Canadian airline that delights customers and makes money, are great marketers.  Last Valentine’s Day, February 14th, anyone with the last name Valentine, Love, Rose, Sweet or Heart (Hart would do), or anyone with the first name Rose, was able to fly anywhere in Canada for just $14, plus taxes and airport fees. This is very clever and it got them a ton of free publicity all across the country, including the 11 o’clock Network News. 

During the last recession, Hyundai Motors received a ton of media attention for their innovative and helpful approach to difficult times for their customers.  Under their ‘Hyundai Assurance Plan’, if you bought or leased a new Hyundai vehicle and subsequently lost your job within a year, you could return the car, without any credit hassles.

If you’re a small business, you can still do neat things to get noticed and get talked about. Check out this chiropractor’s roadside  mailbox.  Does this cost more than a 6-foot cedar post?  Of course it does.  But this is guaranteed to get noticed and talked about…and to make people smile.  We all need to make people smile these days.  Joy is good…and it’s contagious.

There are just two simple steps in this game of getting yourself noticed and talked about.

Step #1…be a story.  Do something original, bizarre, wonderful, innovative, helpful, joyful or heartfelt.

Step #2…tell your story.  There’s no point in doing something wonderful if you’re going to keep it a secret. Put it on your website, send out an email to your customer database and to all media contacts who might be interested in telling your story. Clients ask me, “Why would the media do that for me?”  They’re not doing it for you.  They’re doing it for them.  They need content.  They need stories.  So, be a story and then tell your story!  

In the case of WestJet, a month before Valentine’s Day they could have sent an email blast to all their customers named Valentine, Love, Rose, Sweet or Hart to announce the special offer. Then they would send out a Press Release to their media database and posted on their social media.

Hyundai went the media Press Release route and got talked about and written up all across North America.  If the Chiropractor with the amazing mailbox post was smart, he would have featured it on his website and then sent a photo and brief story to his local newspaper and could have ended up on the front page on a slow news day.  Then, the local TV station would likely have picked up on it from the paper and the Chiropractor could have appeared as the ‘whimsical feature’ that they always include on the 11 o’clock news, so that we won’t go to bed too depressed.

Of course to make this ‘free publicity’ thing work effectively, you need to build a customer database and a media & key influencer database and get active on social media.  Get started on that today if you haven’t already done it. It’s a great project for a student intern.

So, what neat things could you do to stand out, get noticed, differentiate yourself and get people talking about you?  What will your story be…and then what will you do to tell that story?  Sit down with a few of the best minds and hearts in your business and see what great ideas you come up with.  Then, make sure that each thing you decide to do has a ‘champion’ who will make it happen.

     

That’s it for this week…

Stay safe…live brilliantly!       

Donald Cooper 

 

Donald Cooper speaks and coaches internationally on management, marketing, and profitability.  He can be reached by email at donald@donaldcooper.com in Toronto, Canada.

About Donald Cooper

Donald Cooper, MBA, CSP, HoF: Donald speaks and coaches in over 40 industries throughout the world.  He delivers the ‘straight goods’ on how to sell more, manage smarter, grow your bottom line...and have a life!  To chat about ‘possibilities’ for your next business or Industry Association Conference, call me at 416-252-3703 in Toronto, or click here to connect to our ‘Enquiry Page’.  

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