You know everything there is to know about the problem you solve, the technology you use, and the results you expect to get or are getting. You book space at trade shows, print out some information, and charm everyone who comes to your table. Are you getting the sales you want?
One high tech company spent a lot of money on their 86-page “white paper.” They had a stack of them on the table when the doors opened and still had a stack of them on the table when the doors closed. They did not get a single phone call or email in the days following the trade show. Their investment in that event resulted in absolutely no return on the investment but they learned something of value. It took some doing but multiple reviews of the material resulted in a half page graphic on the first page that replaced 90% of the content. The graphic told the story. What was left of the content was an easy read. The rest of the content added details. After that, the white papers flew off the table and there were phone calls, emails and sales during and after the events.
A while ago, I wrote a book called “Hand It to ’em on a Platter” to help people who ask me for help with their job search. The job search is marketing with a human as a product. The principles are the same for white papers, pitches, and any marketing material. In every case, you need to know what your audience wants and needs and let them know if you have it. Don’t make them work to find out you have the solution they’re looking for! You definitely want to hand it to ’em on a platter.
You might have different white papers for different types of trade shows but you do not want to overdo it. You’re always thinking of the audience. A startup wanted to reduce their printing costs for the 32 expensive marketing brochures they had developed over a couple years. A review of the material showed that not only was there a great deal of redundancy; there was a great deal of conflicting information. No two of the brochures looked alike. Claims for results differed from one to another and, if people only saw one, that might not prevent sales but they put out stacks of many different brochures on the table every time and people took more than one. There were only three types of trade shows that they did – three brochures were all they needed. It took time but verifying the facts and developing a common “look and feel” resulted in three brochures that fit the three types of audiences.
A three-part formula can make an effective white paper.
- Tell your audience what problem you solve in their terms, as they define it.
- Tell them what your solution is without being “salesy.” Simply explain your better solution.
- Tell them about proven, quantifiable results.
The unique assemblage of traits and qualities that comprise a truly great leader can sometimes prove quite mysterious and elusive. To really grasp what effective leadership entails, it is important to acquire a thorough education on its principles and truths. The material below should provide a strong basis for any study of the topic of leadership.
It is wise to use honesty as a great starting point for leadership. Your job will be to lead others in the right direction. If you are an honest leader, those around you are going to see your good intentions and want to be a part of them. Always be honest when dealing with your colleagues because you can influence them to be honest.
When you’re a leader, make sure that your team with people. You must remember that you are a part of a team. Individual voices can contribute to and better an entire project so try bringing others together to collaborate. Leaders are never alone. Do your best to invite as many perspectives into the discussion and decision-making processes as you can.
A good leader, or manager, will go out of his or her way to get to know employees better. Not just about work-related topics, but about their outside activities, family and interests. Employees appreciate it when their leaders acknowledge them in ways that don’t pertain to work. This makes the relationship a little more personal.
Don’t make the mistake of ordering people around. That is not true leadership. The key to true leadership is to inspire those around you. You need to help them find their own voices so that they can go on to lead others. The entire journey they take with you is about their ability to know themselves better.
Be sure that you spend some time each day out of your office, and in the midst of the workforce. Try to be a part of the group, while maintaining your leadership role. You can use this time to get to know your employees, ask questions or even join them for lunch.
Promotions, bonuses and raises should always be fairly distributed and based on performance. Don’t simply promote the person who has been working with you the longest or hand out the biggest rise to a family member. Your employees will be more motivated when they know that they can earn tangible rewards for working hard.
Spend more time in the office than out of it. It may be exciting to travel everywhere that you can, but suitcase leadership doesn’t really inspire the teams back at the main office. If you find yourself travelling more than half the time, then you can be sure your employees aren’t seeing you as their leader. They need to see you there.
Don’t fear to fail. Failing is something that many great leaders have done, and it has only spurred them on to greater victories. If you fear failure, you may be afraid to act boldly, which is the only way for a leader to act. If you fail at something, use it to help you change directions.
Be prepared for conflict and try to deal with it before it gets out of hand. Ignoring conflict will make the problem worse and make you look too weak to handle it. Practising good communication skills with your employees will help them feel more respected even if they don’t agree with specific decisions.
Keep in mind that hope is not always a good thing. If you or your business are involved in a situation that has an inevitable and bad ending, do what is necessary to terminate the situation and move on. Employees will never forgive blind optimism in such circumstances, and it’s better for everyone to have a bad situation behind them as soon as possible.
Good leaders hire good people to work for them. If you refuse to hire individuals that you fear may become the competition, you undermine your own chances for success. Search out people who are as passionate about your industry as you are and encourage their problem-solving abilities and reward their successes.
Anyone in a leadership role should be concerned about trust. You must be able to trust your team or workforce, and they must also be able to trust you. Try having a meeting periodically with a small group, where trust issues are discussed, and solved. Look for good articles on the subject of trust in the workplace, and read them with your group, giving each other feedback and suggestions.
As a leader, you are responsible for forming the goals and aspirations of your team. Come up with a best-case scenario for your team, and your vision for the future. Share these goals with them, and ask them for their feedback and suggestions. A true leader has a team under him that is focused on the same goals, and how to achieve them.
Always listen to feedback. The opinions of your employees are important and can be helpful. Some criticism might be hard to take, but try to be receptive to it. Make sure your workers know they can come to you with any feedback they might have. Point of views that differ from your own is valuable.
The value of strong leadership to any business enterprise simply cannot be overstated. The ability to motivate and spur others onto greatness is a rare thing indeed, and something that is indeed worthy of examination. With any luck, the information provided above has been a great starting point for readers everywhere.
There’s been so much talk in business about your why, your purpose, your mission. All of those are great in clarifying what you want out of your work, your business, but it can be a very narrow viewpoint when it is only about what your business will do for you.
You can have a much greater vision.
You can and do affect others. How do you want that effect to land? Do you want to do good? You can, with your business.
That’s what impact is all about, having a vision not just for yourself, but also for others, for what you can contribute to making the world a better place. impact is the harmonious blend of your personal interests and your contributions to others that increases your financial performance right along with your influence.
To reimagine the purpose of your business, consider what impact you want to have with your business. Look at that impact from a high level. Condense it into a single statement so that it can serve as a beacon for your business. Here’s an example:
Left Coast Naturals is a B-corp that manufactures and distributes organic and natural foods. They operate with a triple bottom line philosophy (people, planet, and profit) and see an opportunity to have a positive impact on society with business. Their vision statement, in this case aligned with their Impact Purpose, is: “To be an inspiration to society and a force for positive change.” So even though their products are foods, and their tasks are manufacturing and distribution, their Impact Purpose is on a higher, broader, and deeper level.
For you, this can be a process of multiple iterations, so be prepared to do this work over several days or even weeks.
Once you have your Impact Purpose statement, you can start to infuse your impact throughout your company, from strategy all the way through your marketing and operations. That infusion is critical to implementing a high-minded vision in day-to-day decisions and actions.
Even if you’ve done the visioning and mission statements for your company, reimagine them in the context of impact. How do you want to contribute as a company?
Ursula Jorch is a speaker, business coach and consultant who helps entrepreneurs grow a successful business that makes a difference in the world. A 21-year successful entrepreneur herself, Ursula helps you define the difference you want to make in the world and develop strategy and marketing so you have ever-expanding impact.
One of the things that can get in the way of creativity is the practice of negative thinking. Some people just naturally tend to think more negatively than others. It doesn’t matter, though; you can turn off your negative inclinations and learn to be more positive.
Negative Thinking Is Limiting
Right now, think of some negative things for about 30 seconds. Now you’re likely finding it hard to even read this because you’re thinking about how the dishes aren’t put away, or you don’t have enough to pay that medical bill, and other things about your daily life. Plus, now that you’re thinking negatively, you’re likely not looking for solutions because eventually, the negativity turns into giving up.
Acknowledge Your Negative Thinking
The first thing to do is realize and accept that almost everyone thinks negatively sometimes. It’s okay to have a bad day. But it’s not okay to let any negative thing that happens to you inform your entire life.
Combat Negativity with Facts
When a negative thought comes to your mind, combat it with facts. There is always someone who has it worse so if you can cite those facts convincingly to yourself, you’re going to feel better – at least for yourself.
Keep a Gratitude Journal
Before you go to bed each night, write down at least three things in your life that you are grateful for today. If you’re not sure what to be grateful for today, be more general such as, “I’m glad that today I managed to get through the day without going to jail.”
Surround Yourself with Positive People
The more people you can find that are generally positive and don’t focus on the negative, the more positive you’ll become. First, you’ll feel silly always trying to be negative to positive people who will point out the positives to you because that’s how they think. Secondly, their positivity rubs off onto you.
This might seem like a condescending thing to say but the truth is that when we smile with our mouths, eyes and face, it releases endorphins that make us feel better. Anytime you feel negative, think of something that makes you smile.
Take Care of Your Health
It’s hard to be positive if you’re not healthy. Even if you have health issues, taking the best care of yourself can make you feel better inside and out. Eat right, exercise, take your vitamins, and drink plenty of water and you’re going to have the energy to be more positive. This is going to almost automatically make you more creative.
A really important factor in ensuring that your audience is happy with your offers is to ensure that the user experience (UX) matches with their expectation (and maybe even wows them). User experience refers to how the customer feels when they use your website, your products, services and so forth.
The Basics of User Experience
In order to fix your user experience, you need to know what it feels like and looks like to them. One way to do that is to ask them, but another way is to go through everything as if you’re a buyer and new user every now and then to fix problems. You need to:
Know Your Audience’s Buying Cycle
Knowing the process they go through in their buying journey will be very helpful. This helps improve the type of content and information you provide them with.
Be Easy to Contact
This is a basic thing that so many people fail at. Too many people want to be anonymous or not be bothered by their customers. This is the wrong attitude to have today. You can, of course, outsource some of this, but be easy to contact and provide easy and multiple methods of doing so.
Keep Everything Simple
You’ll want to keep everything simple and easy to do. For example, don’t make your customers jump through many hoops to buy your product or service. Why should they have to click so many times to get to the good stuff? Improving your technology can help reduce the steps they have to take to improve the UX.
Focus on Delighting Them
While you have a goal of making money, your focus should be on delighting your customers and users in a way that stands out and differentiates you from others. This is the most important part of UX. If they’re not delighted, they probably won’t come back. There are too many choices today for them to waste time with any product or service that isn’t really standing out to them.
Analyze Your User’s Experience
Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s important to take the time to regularly examine whether you’re living up to your UX goals or not. Let’s look at some ways you can accomplish this.
Go through the process yourself as if you’re a new customer and make notes of issues that you find. Ask someone else to do it. You can hire a virtual assistant who does not work with you to go through the process and make notes along the way. You can even hire a UX expert to help you.
Entrepreneurship is hard. It needs unswerving discipline, and confidence in yourself and your business. Lots of people lack the opportunity to enjoy it. But for the few who are determined and ready to put in the hard work, entrepreneurship is the most fulfilling job, identity and lifestyle in the world.
Let’s look at 4 daily habits of successful entrepreneurs.
1. They stick to a routine
A day has 24 hours only and as an entrepreneur, time is the most valuable thing in the world. To get the maximum potential out of every day, successful entrepreneurs follow a strict schedule.
For instance, Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, schedules his whole day in five-minute blocks and he breaks up his week, where on Mondays and Thursdays he focuses on SpaceX and on Tuesdays and Wednesdays he pays attention to Tesla. He splits Fridays between both companies.
2. They read a lot
Most successful entrepreneurs make learning a regular daily habit. For instance, Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder, reads 50 books a year. As an entrepreneur, you need to learn as the world is continually changing, and the most impactful entrepreneurs create their profiles by improving their knowledge.
If your background is in design and strategy, as an entrepreneur you must have engineering and computer science knowledge to contribute meaningfully to your ventures. Examine your future goals and establish what skills and capabilities may hinder you, then start learning today to be ready for those roadblocks. For engineers and designers, that obstacle may be management, finance or project planning. Yours may surprise you!
3. They exercise daily
Yes, exercise keeps your body fit and the mind sharp, and it has a great impact on an entrepreneur’s long-term achievement. The reason is that it relieves stress and helps maintain a healthy work-life balance. Many successful entrepreneurs attribute their success to exercising and keeping fit. Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group, increases his productivity with daily exercise.
Don’t make excuses! Fitness and mental calmness are essential for a happy lifestyle. They’re the building blocks to your productivity for days, weeks and months. Find a sport, activity, or practice suitable for you and make it habitual by being responsible.
4. They stay positive
As an entrepreneur, you’ll face many challenges, but what makes you succeed is a positive and creative mindset. Every day. Being able to see things from a positive dimension means you can see interesting and unique opportunities others can’t see.