Posts Tagged ‘networking’
Posted by Vicki Moulton on April 1, 2010
If you’re having the kind of year I’m having so far, then you’ve probably been struggling a bit trying to find the right kind of client for your business. You know, the kind that appreciates what you have to offer, wants to work with you right away, and remains loyal for the long term. In other words, the absolute ideal.
I found this article by Angie Segal of Action Coach very inspiring. It’s reprinted here (in edited form) with permission.
“What Kinds of Customers Are You Attracting?”
How do you get the customers you want and deserve? Are you randomly stabbing at the marketplace, or do you have a plan for getting the type of customer you want to work with?
Here are some tips for planning to attract the ideal client:
First, decide who your ideal client is and write it down. What size are they? Where do they operate? What do they look like?
Next, describe this ideal client to everyone in your sphere of influence. Communicate this clearly. Then ask your partners and alliances to describe your ideal client. How they answer this question will tell you whether you’ve been specific enough.
Find out where you can interact with people who fit your description of the ideal client and attend those functions.
Finally, look at yourself and make sure you present yourself in a fashion that would attract those people. In other words, dress for the job you want.
Clarity is a key element in finding your ideal clients. Once you are clear on whom you are trying to meet, and your actions are in line with that, it’s easy to find your ideal!
Posted in communications, MarComm, marketing, messaging, networking | Tagged: Action Coach, Angie Segal, attracting ideal clients, audience, client, communications, dress for the job you want, law of attraction, marketing, networking, planning to attract the ideal client, relationships, small business, sphere of influence, strategy, target | 1 Comment »
Posted by Vicki Moulton on February 17, 2010
Ever have one of those days that just feels “off,” right from the moment you open your eyes in the morning?
I had one of those days yesterday. And even though I’m aware that some of the folks I met at a networking event last night might be reading this today, I just have to be honest: I wasn’t in my usual rah-rah-let’s-go mode. In fact, I almost didn’t show up.
It would’ve been so easy to just stay home, avoiding the crowds, the hand-shaking, the quick room-scanning, the u-turns to avoid running into certain people. But I knew I’d regret that decision eventually. I also knew that this was an opportunity I could not afford to pass up, even if I was in the wrong state of mind to begin with.
As a small business owner, I’m particularly susceptible to feeling overwhelmed with a long to-do list and crossing stuff off just to give myself a break. There are no staffers to send to networking events on Movick Marketing’s behalf. I am my company’s chief ambassador. I can either accept that responsibility, and all the gripping-and-grinning that goes with it, or I can go take a nap and let my company drift away.
Pushing past that feeling of near-paralysis–getting yourself out there, keeping your commitments, honing that elevator speech–is critical to keeping the momentum going, especially for small businesses just getting started with word-of-mouth marketing. It’s never okay to give up just because you’re not in the mood.
After about 45 minutes at the networking event, I woke up and started to get into the spirit of things. By hour 3, I met some really interesting people, gathered some promising business leads, and wondered why I’d ever felt like staying home.
Posted in communications, marketing, networking | Tagged: communications, elevator speech, marketing, momentum, networking, networking event, not in the mood, off day, small business, small business owner, word-of-mouth marketing, wrong state of mind | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Vicki Moulton on January 27, 2010
“What would it look like as a newspaper headline?”
This was one of the thought-provoking questions posed during a presentation I attended last week on strategic partnerships. When you imagine your company’s name in a headline, is it announcing an exciting new development… or a disastrous scandal?
The presentation focused on how to choose the right partner, what can be gained, when to say yes, and what to watch out for. Doing your homework before making such a big decision as forming a strategic partnership means researching everything about the other company so that there would be no surprises, such as the hypothetical newspaper headline revealing an unsavory skeleton in the new partner’s closet, right as your strategic partnership is announced.
Scary stuff, right?
Taking a risk–opening the door to new possibilities–can mean staring down your greatest fears of failure. What if I lose money on the deal? What if my new partner doesn’t live up to her end of the bargain? What if my company’s reputation is hurt by this association? All of those questions are valid. But so is the flip side of that argument. What if this partnership could bring me new clients? What if my business flourishes? What if my company grows so much that I need to hire an assistant to handle the extra work?
Risk and reward are two sides of the same coin. You can’t expect your business to grow without taking at least some kind of risk. Putting your company name out in public, marketing your services online, shaking hands at a networking event during flu season: all of these things involve risk. If you let your fear of risk dictate your business philosophy, you’ll never get anywhere.
When planning to start something new, you should always do your homework and be aware of all the risks. But remember to follow your instincts and balance the potential for failure with the potential for growth. As I’m learning with an exciting new strategic partnership between Movick Marketing and Exemplus Virtual Business Services, great things can happen when you open yourself up to new possibilities!
Posted in communications, marketing, networking | Tagged: business philosophy, communications, doing your homework, Exemplus Virtual Business Services, fear of failure, flu season, marketing, networking, newspaper headline, promotion, risk and reward, scary stuff, shaking hands, strategic partnership, taking risks | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Vicki Moulton on January 20, 2010
I received an unexpected gift today: an extra-long stretch of time to work on my business uninterrupted. I was able to follow up on networking connections and research blog ideas for a couple of clients. I even had time to ghostwrite a blog post.
The source of this gift? Instead of the usual 2- to 3-hour toddler nap break I get every afternoon, my daughter was so sick with a cold and fever that she slept for 5 straight hours.
There’s a word for what I feel right now: grateful. As the old SNL Harvey Fierstein-type character used to say, is that so wrong?
Building a business while raising a family involves tradeoffs and shifting priorities on a daily basis. I wield this double-edged mommy sword to ward off exhaustion, apathy, and guilt wherever possible. One side is sharpened by the needs of my child, the other by the needs of my business. It cuts both ways: either neglect one to save the other, or risk losing them both. Today, just this once, I think both were saved.
Yes, I am worried about my daughter’s health and on guard for signs of worsening symptoms that might necessitate a trip to the urgent care. But I’m also relieved that her body kicked into hyper-sleep mode to help her recover–which coincidentally helped me get more work done. Two problems solved with one mother of a nap.
As for the mommy sword, it’s resting comfortably tonight, safely locked away in a toddler-proof sheath.
Posted in communications, marketing, networking | Tagged: blog, building a business, client, double-edged mommy sword, double-edged sword, ghostwrite, networking, one mother of a nap, raising a family, shifting priorities, small business, tradeoffs, WAHMs | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Vicki Moulton on November 16, 2009
I am pleased and proud to help announce the launch of JennyNess Designs, the new freelance design business of my incredibly talented logo designer and fellow networking colleague, Jenny Ness Decker!
Here’s Jenny in her own words:
I’ll finally be leaving my day job in January to launch a new career. I’ve published an online portfolio at jennynessdesigns.com. I’m looking for job opportunities (both full-time positions and freelance jobs) so please keep me in mind if you (or someone you know) are in need of design services.
I am more than happy to provide a recommendation for Jenny’s work. She’s the best!
Full disclosure: Her new website features a bit of marcomm direction and messaging help from Movick Marketing. (Glad to help, Jenny!)
Posted in communications, freelance, MarComm, messaging, networking | Tagged: artist, colleague, design services, freelance, Jenny Decker, JennyNess Designs, job leads, launch, logo, MarComm, networking, online portfolio, recommendation, website | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Vicki Moulton on October 7, 2009
I’ve been looking over my notes from the “Brand Reinvention Summit” (yes, this makes post #4 about this event… so sue me). Besides the authenticity theme, I found some other good advice, common to most of the speakers, that I wanted to share here–in particular, the idea of connecting with others through and with your brand.
With the following list of quotes, I’m giving each expert due credit:
Kaira Rouda (Founder of Real You and Real Living): “Today’s business is based on true connections, on networking. The way to connect is to tell your story. It helps your customers and employees understand you better.”
Mary van de Wiel (Brand Analyst, Master of Zing): “Make a connection… The explosion of social media has fed the human desire for connection… It’s about telling stories, being one-on-one in meaningful relationships. It allows people to see that you ARE who you say you are. When you feel connected, in a group especially, you feel supported.”
Anita Campbell (Founder/CEO of Small Business Trends LLC): “Are you different? Can your clients connect with you, communicate with you, develop a relationship with you? The client needs to feel comfortable with you as a person. This is not a business-to-business relationship we’re talking about: it’s person to person.”
Anita Campbell: “A passion, a hobby, a travel destination–something like this might be the one thing that sparks the interest of a potential client. You would never know this if you didn’t share it. You want to work with people you like, and so do your clients. This kind of information could provide a common thread.”
Simon Sinek (Author of Start With Why): “Are you courageous enough to be completely open and honest in your business? People tend to be very insecure about how they’re perceived by the world around us. But if you’re honest, people will be drawn to you and put their trust in you.”
Liz Taylor (Founder of Wow-at-Work.com): “Share and bounce ideas off of other people. Connect with others. Get those ideas out into the open. Be provocative. Take a risk.”
Posted in communications, MarComm, marketing, messaging, networking | Tagged: branding, client, communications, connection, marketing, networking, relationships | 1 Comment »
Posted by Vicki Moulton on September 10, 2009
I did it: I wrote my elevator speech. I can finally check that task off my to-do list. Whew!
This short speech is supposed to be a creative and/or intriguing answer to the casual question tossed one’s way at a Saturday barbecue, “So, what do you do?” The goal is to make the questioner want more information while avoiding putting a short little label on yourself (e.g., I’m a lawyer, I’m self-employed, I’m an artist, etc.).
So here is my elevator speech, subject to change after next Monday’s feedback-filled networking meeting. I welcome comments and suggestions before then, of course!
“I am an expert at marketing communications. I know how to get to the heart of the message and communicate it effectively. Through my company, Movick Marketing, I help clients design new ways to promote their services. Together we figure out exactly what they want to say and the most persuasive, creative, and affordable way to say it. Here’s my card. Check out my website!”
Posted in communications, MarComm, marketing, messaging, networking, writers | Tagged: elevator speech, marketing, networking, promotion, Saturday barbecue, to-do list, website | 2 Comments »
Posted by Vicki Moulton on August 3, 2009
Remember your grandmother’s advice about what to do when life hands you a bunch of sour lemons? This classic lesson about turning a negative into a positive can be applied quite handily to any sticky business situation.
SCENARIO: Your client assumes you are skilled in anything that’s remotely related to your actual line of business. The line between what you know how to do and what you pretend to know how to do is getting blurrier by the minute. You like this client and don’t wish to lose potential business by revealing the pretense.
DIAGNOSIS: Your professional brand is not well-defined, and you’re straying from your core mission.
SOLUTION: Take this opportunity to define who you are and what you have to offer. Make a list of your capabilities, and include everything that you’re confident you know how to do well. Make a separate list of things you could do with a bit more time/training/networking help. Leave off items in which you simply don’t have any expertise or would find yourself in over your head.
Next, write a short descriptive statement about the kind of work you want to be doing. You can take elements of this statement to become your mission and your slogan. This should include only the work you want to be known for, and be as specific as you can. If you have a web presence, you can turn all of this into your personal brand.
Then, any areas that go beyond your mission/slogan could go under a “consulting” umbrella, meaning you can always find someone else to help your clients with specific needs beyond your bailiwick. (Hey, I’m connected… I can get you someone for that project. Just tell me what you need!) Definitely keep your relationship with the client, and make sure you stay involved as a “project manager,” even charging a consulting fee (while you learn new skills from the other individual). You might consider partnering with that other expert on future projects.
Once you’ve defined your business, client requests for work beyond your core capabilities won’t cause you angst. To paraphrase Grandma, life may hand you lemons, but you’ve already mastered the recipe for lemonade.
Posted in communications, MarComm, marketing, messaging | Tagged: bailiwick, brand, capabilities, client, communications, consulting, MarComm, mission, networking, project manager, relationships, slogan, specialize, website | Leave a Comment »