The Myth of the Comfort Zone

I have heard it said many ways, that you cannot grow unless you leave your Comfort Zone. I call BS once and for all. I know for a fact you can grow and develop while staying quite snug and safe in your Comfort Zone. I think it can be damaging to some people to be forced out of their comfort zone for the sake of growth and short-sighted to believe those who stay in their comfort zone can’t grow. So let’s explore this a little deeper.The Myth of the _Comfort Zone_

What is a “Comfort Zone”?

It’s a place, situation or state of being where you feel safe, at ease and not stressed. This is typified by the image of sitting at home, in your favorite chair snuggled in a warm soft blanket. Everyone is different and people can feel safe in many types of situations. Some love to be surrounded by people, others prefer to be alone. It really depends on your own life experiences as to where you feel the safest. In the business world the comfort zone generally is described as the work and tasks you feel most comfortable with and you have the most skill at. Whenever you are at ease while working is your comfort zone.

So why does everyone say no growth occurs inside your comfort zone?

Doing new things can be scary and usually it is a learning experience. When we are in the comfort zone we are rarely trying new things and therefore it is assumed we aren’t learning. The thinking goes that change and growth must accompany risk and risk is being outside our comfort zone.

It’s a Myth!

I say it’s a myth, that we can grow inside our comfort zone. Are you comfortable reading? Reading creates growth and even reading new things is rarely outside our comfort zone. If we are going to try new things, read about them first, that reduces the stress and anxiety new things can cause. If it’s still scary, read more. Keep exploring the subject until you are an expert before you even try it for the first time. You have permission to be comfortable trying new things. This may not work for everything but it can work for most of the things we do in the business world. It’s slower, maybe even less efficient but it keeps us in our comfort zone as we explore new things. We can also make changes incrementally, changes so small that they don’t cause us stress. If we keep making those changes we will eventually get to where we want to be. Manufacturers use this all the time. They can’t afford a big change so they make hundreds of small changes over time until the same result is achieved.

Why is growth within our comfort zone important?

For some of us, running around outside our comfort zone is fine. We exist on the edge and love taking chances. Others hate going outside the comfort zone and just the thought of it paralyzes them. So that’s the main reason. Small changes within the comfort zone are better than no changes because of fear. Even those who love being outside the comfort zone need a break but they refuse to quit improving. Growing inside the comfort zone is a great option for them as well. Moving forward and giving yourself a break at the same time.

So there you have it. Don’t let the myth of the comfort zone hold you back. Grow, change and improve inside or outside your comfort zone, what ever way suits you best.

Business Development: Deciding What Business to Pursue.

Sometimes you see opportunities to go into business for yourself. Sometimes those opportunities come out of the woodworks and you are overwhelmed. Maybe you have 100 ideas about a new business to start and don’t know which one to pursue. When that starts to happen I recommend you conduct a personal SWOT analysis. SWOT is an analytic tool to determine strengths and weaknesses, usually, your business versus your competitors. In this case, it’s just you so the SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Talents (as opposed to threats in the original SWOT). We will go step by step through a personal SWOT analysis and get you on the road to figuring out what business you should be going after. Remember, this isn’t the only step, if you decide on a business you still need to do a Market Analysis to determine if it’s a viable business.Copy of DSS SWOT

Strengths

You are going to examine what advantages you have that others may not. What education have you received, what certifications? Are there skills you have that you do better than other people? What have you accomplished that sets you apart? What kind of a network have you built?

Weaknesses

This is examining your weak points. Failure to understand where we need help can sink us fast, so be honest with yourself. What don’t you like doing or aren’t very good at doing so you avoid it? What skills do you still need to work on? Where are your education gaps? What are your negative work habits? Are there personality traits that limit you?

Opportunities

Looking at the business and personal opening that might be available to you. In what industries are you connected? How extensive is your network? How is your network constructed, as in what types of people? What equipment do you own or have easy access to? What are your capital resources?

Talents

These are your inherent abilities rather than trained or learned skills. What are you naturally good at? What do you do that feels good? What kind of tasks give you a sense of accomplishment? What do you get compliments on that isn’t something you learned?

Once you have all of these written down a better picture of what business you should be involved in will come to light. The more strengths, talents, and opportunities that align the better your chances of sticking to it and making something a viable business. Get a couple of ideas together then start your market analysis to see where your efforts should go. Keep in mind you don’t have to start at the top, get a minimally viable product and start from there.

 

Defining Success

Defining Success

When you have your own business there is no one who can define success but you. In a regular job, you have metrics you are measured by, above this number is good, below it is bad. When you are the boss those numbers don’t come from an outside source. Some numbers have a bearing, for example, above this many sales and we can pay all our bills and below we can’t, but those don’t necessarily define success, they just define reality. So, what does success mean to you? I have run businesses where success wasn’t measured with money or other standard business metrics, it was measured by how much I learned and grew. Others were more practical, I make a certain amount of money and keep expenses below a certain percent and I was successful. Currently, it is more complex with a monetary component and an educational one.  I have a goal for the number of people I want to teach but still provide a reasonable living for my family.

Above all make sure your success is internally defined and not externally. If you look to outside sources to define your success for you or try to keep up with someone else, your chances of success diminish significantly. It’s ok to use outside info to make your definition, for example figuring out costs for maintaining a lifestyle, but the motivation and the drive for success has to come from within. When your definition comes from an internal source you are motivated and driven to achieve that success and it will be easier to drive toward. Make sure you write it down so that once you get there you can celebrate that success and maintain it. Without that definition in writing it is easier to lose focus and remember why you are doing what you do.

Do You Have a Plan?

“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth” – Mike Tyson

Every business will eventually get “Punched in the mouth” and needs to know what the plan is for when that happens. Sometimes that plan goes right out the window, as Mike Tyson explained, and sometimes it’s followed to the letter, though not often. Having a plan in place gives your business a fighting chance when things go wrong. Succession planning, crisis planning, disaster planning, it all needs to be done because it can happen to any business any time. As Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.” Sometimes the plans don’t hold up but since the resources are gathered and ready you can adapt the plan to suit the situation. If you have no plan you not only don’t know what to do, but you have no resources to do anything about it. My tip? Look at the worst-case scenario and be ready for it, just be glad when it never comes. _Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth._

How to Market Your Business with Zero Budget

How to Market Your Business With Zero BudgetLet’s talk about how to market your business on little or no budget. One truth I have found in marketing is that when you spend less money you must spend more time, it’s a tradeoff. It is truly astonishing how many ways there are to market without spending money if you are willing to spend the time. When you feel you shouldn’t spend money on marketing your business ask yourself what your own time is worth. Depending on how valuable your time is it might be more expensive in the long run not to hire someone. Of course, you can learn to do it all yourself, just make sure that’s the best thing for your business.

So how do you market without a budget? The answer is by simply spending time on your marketing. The less money you spend on marketing the more time you will have to spend on getting your message out there. For example, Content Marketing is a great method for establishing your brand voice, gaining credibility and getting your message out to your target audience. Personally, networking has done the most for my business in terms of time spent to dollars earned. Each industry is different, but I am of the opinion you can’t go wrong with networking as you explore the methods that work best for you.

When some businesses say they want free marketing it means they want someone else to do it for free. They just need to remember that everyone’s time is valuable and in general, people do not like working for free. One method to reduce your marketing spending is to consider a trade, consider what you can do for them. If you find a way to compensate others even when you are cash-strapped, you will find people are more willing to help you. Doing it yourself is the intent of this article on marketing without a budget but if you can get help, go for it.

So, what methods do I recommend to market on zero budget?

Email Marketing

According to Imaginepub, email is the third most influential source of information for B2B audiences, behind only colleague recommendations and industry-specific thought leaders. No matter what business you are in you should always be building your email marketing list. You can have a sign-up list at the front counter or use gated content to build your list, but you should always be generating more names for your email campaigns. Email marketing has one of the Highest ROI and conversion rates, in fact for every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $38.  Use a free email service to get you started and upgrade when the email list becomes profitable. To keep people subscribed make sure your email campaigns provide value. People leave lists that don’t provide them something they feel is valuable to them.

Blogging

Blogging is the cornerstone of Content Marketing. Research conducted by Demand Gen Report in 2016 found 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep. HubSpot found that marketers that use blogs get 67% more leads than those that do not so the number tell us it is worth the investment in time if used right. There are many blogging sites you can use for free and others that have a reasonable fee structure. Make sure you take a look at the user agreements regarding monetizing your blog if that is a direction you eventually want to go. If you create your own unique content and publish it yourself, you won’t have to spend a dime unless you want a specific domain or program features for your blog. Couple that with a program to create your own graphics and it makes it easier to brand your business online in a uniform way.

Social Media

Using social media platforms to reach your potential audience can be cost-effective and powerful. Sprout Social found that 80% of social marketers said that their key strategy is to increase engagement across social channels. You don’t have to buy paid ads to talk directly to your audience you just need to speak about things they want to hear. The same company found that 73% of consumers want to see posts about discounts and sales, 60% want to see posts that showcase new products and services and 59% want to see posts that teach something. Between preexisting groups and growing your own following, there are many channels to get the word out about your business. Use only the Social Media channels that make sense for your business and the ones your target audience uses. Don’t waste time on Social Media Channels that don’t make sense. Using a graphics program will also help gain more exposure as visual content does well on all social media platforms.

Networking

The number one way to get the word out about your business is Networking. Forbes conducted a survey and found around 9 in 10 people claiming that small meetings are their favorite communication method. Networking reaches fewer people but has the potential to create a richer client list and more impact than any other method. The biggest impact is that the close rate for in-person meetings is 40%. No social network or online ad has a close rate anywhere near that high. Also, if you network properly you aren’t just finding new clients by yourself, but you are creating an army of advocates who will feed you warm leads and more business. The most powerful part of networking as a marketing tool is that people buy from people they trust and networking builds trust.

 

Conclusion

You may want to spend zero dollars and do all the marketing yourself, but it could be worth bringing in outside help. Regardless of which direction, or combination of directions, you go you now have more of an idea of what is possible with a little time and determination. Stuart labs found that 90% of searchers haven’t made their mind up about a brand before starting their search so marketing is more important than ever in the modern world. Make sure you have a plan and know which parts you are willing to do yourself.

Small Business Marketing With No Budget

5 Things Marketers Can Learn From Magicians

It’s amazing how many things Magicians and Marketers have in common. They both need to get their audiences full attention and usually have a very small window to do so. Missing that golden window can cost them dearly so they develop techniques to draw in a crowd and keep them paying attention. Because of these similarities, they can both can teach the other new and different ways to hone their craft. Here are a few ideas on what Marketers can learn from Magicians.

Look at the End Result, Then Figure Out How to Get There.

Professional magicians start with the end in mind. They look at what the desired outcome is and what the restrictions and working conditions they will have to deal with are before they set up a plan. This planning stage can take up the bulk of the time. There may be some trial and testing, but planning is the most essential part of it. Look at the end result you want, list the pros and cons of each method to get there, find a way to make it happen that fits the parameters.

Think Outside the Box.

I hear this phrase a lot but what does it really mean? For both the magician and the marketer I believe it means to explore new ways to get to your goal despite the limitations. Placing limits on your resources inspires creativity and outside the box thinking. People get stuck thinking about what they can’t do or what resources they don’t have and forget to look at what they do have. For example, if you have no money find ways to counteract that. Propose a trade. Do it yourself.  Collaborate with someone who can help with the project. There is almost always a way around your limitations if you put enough time into figuring it out.

“Sometimes, magic is just someone spending more time on something than anyone else might reasonably expect.” Teller

Focus on the Feelings You Want to Create.

As it’s been said, people don’t remember what you do they remember how they feel. Use this emotional memory to make a real connection with your audience. Magicians exploit this human tendency in many ways, through script, audience participation, music, or a host of other methods. Use your marketing to bring out emotions whenever you are able, through music, pictures, well-written copy, or any other method you can come up with. Keep the message consistent as you evoke the emotions, going for what your core message is trying to be and getting people to feel it rather than think it.

“Magicians have done controlled testing in human perception for thousands of years.” Teller

 

Learn the Basics, Then Combine Them to Fit Your Style.

Magicians have certain move the must learn even if they find better ways to do the magic later. There is no getting around the grind of learning the basics in magic or in marketing. Take classes, watch videos, read blogs, but most of all, learn! As you can produce consistent results you can start to adapt the basics to fit your style and ultimately the style of your brand. Hard hitting and journalistic or lighthearted and fun? They both have their core in the fundamentals. Don’t neglect the basics once you have them figured out. Almost every marketing campaign that fails can trace the bad results to ignoring the basics.

“You have to be creative. It’s the basics. You can’t be Picasso unless you know how to draw a real face; then you can turn it upside down.” Diane English

Clip the Script.

This one is easy. Don’t say 25 words when 5 will do. Even in long form blog or video content make sure each sentence adds to the whole and there are no fillers. The best magicians in the world make sure every word is in the show for a specific impact it has on the audience. The same is true for the best marketers. Keep it short, sweet, and to the point for maximum impact.

“Most of the scripts performed needed a great deal of editing. Sometimes for grammar and sentence construction but always for length. Too many words! Too many words before something happens and, especially, too many words after the magic has happened.” – Eugene Burger

 

There you have it. Some tips and tricks you can steal from magicians to make your marketing better and create a more lasting impact on your audience. Add in a little showmanship and a surprise and you will have a marketing campaign that is truly magical. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. http://www.MyBusinessAdviser.com

The Instagram Age Still Going Strong

If you have a visual aspect to your business you owe it to yourself to be on Instagram. It is the number 14th ranked website in the world and has over 800 million people as part of it. The beauty of Instagram as a marketing platform is the ads aren’t as developed as Facebook so it still feels like an ad-free platform. With a plan to share visual an interesting content you can gain a wide following to market your goods or services to. Here are some statistics on why you should be paying attention to this powerful tool.

Instagram - Stats

What Can a Business Coach do for You?

I hope you all have been enjoying the posts, infographics, and knowledge I have been passing on to you good folks. Today I’d like to talk about what a business coach can do for you. Small business owners wear many hats and are expected to know every aspect of business. Of course, it isn’t realistic and that’s where I come in. I help fill in the gaps so all those important things don’t fall through the cracks. Social media, marketing, sales processes, customer support, business plans, content management can all have an impact on a business’s success but is a ton for a small group or individual to manage. Some clients need advice, some need training, some just need me to get the job done for them. I am a force multiplier for small businesses helping them get more done than they could do by themselves. Of course my first consult is free (otherwise how do we know if I can help) and it isn’t meaningless fluff, you will walk away with usable information even if we aren’t a fit. Give me a call and get your business the help it deserves. (435) 554-8209 https://www.facebook.com/mybusinessadviser/

Coach Should You Have A Business Coach-

Location, Location, Location…In Networking

Great, you are all fired up to do some networking but you don’t know where to begin. Fortunately, Networking can be done anywhere. Standing in line at the store (don’t be annoying about it), waiting for your car at the lube shop (they are bored as well, start a conversation) and anywhere else there is a gathering of people. In these situations, the way to network without becoming annoying is to focus on the other person and not on your own needs. Most people will talk about their work and the company they own or work for. Don’t push sales in these situations and be very reluctant to push solutions. This is about meeting people and adding to your network. Here is a list of 10 more places to network to get you started. Remember, this is the tip of the iceberg. Anywhere people gather, even in small numbers, is a networking opportunity.

Best places to Network

The Most Important 7 Seconds of Your Life

You only have one chance to make a first impression and that impression is formed in the first seven seconds. That’s why when you’re networking you shouldn’t leave your introduction to chance, it should be a tightly scripted and carefully cultivated statement about you and your business. Included is a handy guide to building your introduction that helps bring those impressions around in your favor and start generating more leads and more business. Here are a few more tips to make these introductions shine.

  • Use power questions when you can. A power question hits on a pain point you are trying to solve with your business “Do you struggle with your social media marketing?”
  • Finish with a call to action. This lets the potential customer know what they need to do next to get the solutions you are offering. “Here is the link to download our handy guide to Social Media greatness.”
  • Practice until you remember, then practice until you can’t forget. Sometimes you get distracted or nervous when networking. Practicing until you can’t forget is the key to overcoming this. Practice out loud and exactly the tone and tempo you intend to use.

Networking Done Right- Introduction