Positioning and presentation – make your coffee worth lining up for

As I wandered my way through the small local village to the butcher the other day I was struck by something – most of the people I could see were in line for one store. One cafe.  It got me thinking about how important ‘exposure’ is to all of us as business owners and entrepreneurs.

You see, the only perceivable difference between that one cafe and all the others in the village is its position and the way they display their items.

Trust me, the prices are the same (or bigger) for their coffee and food, the quality is arguably the same, the service is equally nonchalant. In fact everything else is much the same.

The only real difference that appears to generate 4-5 times the sales of their competitors is their positioning and presentation.

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5 Ways to Increase Visibility as a Business Owner

Business owners need visibility for growth. In the highly connected world in which we now operate, there are new ways to increase visibility, beyond the boardroom. Don’t get me wrong, I love an old-skool face-to-face meeting with a prospect. Maybe I’m showing my age (!), but when you’re sitting down with someone you have ALL your persuasive tools at your disposal—your voice, your body language, your active listening skills—those are the big guns.

But face-to-face sales take a lot of time and time is the modern business owner’s nemesis. Given many of us work with (or want to work with) clients from all over the world it can be a near-on impossible task to reach people in person. And have you noticed too, that a lot of people don’t want to meet face-to-face as a first step, like they used to? There’s a whole lot of research that happens first…a gathering of information from a variety of sources to help them make up their minds before contacting you.

These realities have forced me to get creative and look for alternative ways to ‘get in front of’ my prospects. None of these options put pressure on people to buy. Instead, they compel people to learn more about you in their own time, which may make them more inclined to buy down the track. Eventually you’ll get the ‘face time’ you want. Continue reading

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Meaningful connection with audience begins with connection with self

The content you produce for your business should be about creating meaningful connection with your audience.  Yes, it should demonstrate expertise, yes it can be for the ultimate goal of creating sales, but the underpinning motive should be to connect.   The thing is, meaningful connection isn’t only about the content you share with your people – it’s also about connecting with yourself and your ideas.
Arguably, if you get the second type of connection right first – the self connection –  meaningful connection with those you want to help will come as a natural next step.

A really great way to encourage self connection is with old fashioned pen and paper.

The process of writing long-hand is SO good for the brain and for the free-flow of ideas.   There is evidence to suggest that writing long-hand:

  • improves retention of information (handwritten notes helps retain knowledge as the brain summarises and comprehends better when committing notes to paper)
  • increases critical thinking and problem solving (strong writers and avid readers are non-linear thinkers and are more able to draw connections and develop unconventional solutions to complex problems)
  • heightens creativity (using paper forces the brain to slow down and use phrases or shapes to solidify complex ideas).

A huge bonus is that you also can’t self-edit as easily as when you use a keyboard, which means a higher likelihood of actually getting all of your ideas out on the page before pressing the delete button!Writing in long-hand is a fabulous way to create a meaningful connection with self partly because of the physical act of feeling the writing surface and holding the pen. Your brain is actually required to use thought to direct precise movement of that pen across the writing surface.  Whereas, the alternative, using a keyboard, is a simple memory-based action – executing keystrokes is a repetitive motion based on letter placement on the keyboard.People often prefer typing because of the speed and convenience and the ability to share and print documents easily.  All very valid reasons.  However the benefits outlined above are often lost when you hit the keys instead of the paper.  Thankfully there are ways to have your cake and eat it too – using a stylus to write on a tablet or using a service such as Evernote to scan your handwritten notes are great ways to get the best of both worlds.

Here are a couple of ways to connect with yourself and your ideas

Mind Mapping

The writing of content on paper requires more than just scribbling on sticky notes or idle doodling.  Mind mapping is a great way to develop concepts or solve problems because it encourages unstructured thinking and it activates the creative side of your brain. When you write a whole bunch of ideas down around a particular topic, you get to see the connection between them.  This often helps you find the story or pathway within the idea and connects you more fully to it.

Multiple Colours

Incorporating different colours into your writing is beneficial in both academic and professional settings. Using a consistent colour-coded system allows you to easily see where your priorities are and where pertinent activities or thoughts are included.  If you’re more of a visual person then this will really suit you. You can get quite creative with your colour coding!

A Focused Moment

When you’re in a position where you know you need some help or it’s time to make a change, but you’re not quite sure where to begin, stop for a minute and take a good look around you. Where you are right now is super important.  Then write it down. Describe what you see, how you feel, who’s around you and what you’re doing. Be ok with where you are but acknowledge you want something more or different. That clarity and acknowledgement of the present will help you figure out the next best step for you.

Examination of Fear 

Being wrapped in fear is paralysing.  Sometimes the fear is founded but often it’s only perceived.  So if you’re able to pause for a few minutes to examine what you’re actually afraid of, you’re better able to face those fears.  Write them down.  Where is the fear felt on your body? How does it affect your thinking, your breathing? What if that fear wasn’t real? What if it was removed in an instant? When you can face the fear, you can embrace the fear which helps you work with it and move forward rather than stay paralysed.

 

Connecting with yourself first, through pen and paper, to understand where you’re at is going to put you in good stead to write the words your audience needs to hear at any given point. Take a moment, don’t rush it. The right words to create meaningful connection will come.

If you need a hand with implementing this process into your weekly marketing schedule, drop me a line. We can do a thirty minute power session to get you on the right track.

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The art of resilience – there’s never a wrong age to learn it

This is a story about my girl Lucy. A story of resilience and dogged determination – two values I regard highly. It’s a story whose lesson most adults could learn from, and a story which is equally valid when applied to dealing with tough situations in our business as it is here in the childhood swimming pool.

Lucy was determined to give the school swimming trials a go. As a grade 3 it was the first year she was eligible. Not many of her friends were keen to try out, in fact there were only 8 girls out of about 55 who were attempting it. She’d been equally excited and nervous all week, unsure of what to expect, but really wanted to give it a crack regardless. She’s a great little swimmer but not what I’d call a natural fish.  However, she’s very competitive with herself, so she wasn’t going to let the opportunity pass her by.

Her race was up first and it was the compulsory freestyle – not her favourite stroke, but a necessary one. I could see the nerves on her face, but she patted her friend on the back to encourage her and made a joke at the starting line to cover up her feelings. Continue reading

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