Thursday, 30 August 2007

The Jelly Effect by Andy Bounds

I have found the perfect partner for my book 'Bright Marketing' - the strapline/subtitle to my book is 'Why should people bother to buy from you?'... and Andy Bounds answers this question elegantly in his new book The Jelly Effect... And I quote

“Every single product is bought because of what is left AFTER they’ve bought the product... Do not leave them to draw their own conclusion about the AFTERs."

(He goes on to talk about networking, how to sell more, referrals and making presentations)

So, what are your AFTERS?
- What is left after they have bought your product?
- What do they buy your product for - what DESIRED AFTERS do they want?
- What are your selling points?

'The Jelly Effect' is brilliant - read it... I have already lost my copy to one of my team!

Bright Marketing - the book
The Jelly Effect - the book
Andy Bounds - the website

Friday, 24 August 2007

What's Holding You Back?

I just received this feed from Clear Vision, the accountants...

"A new survey has revealed the five most common obstacles to growth experienced by small and medium-sized businesses.

According to the Institute of Directors' latest policy paper, SMEs are most concerned about:

  1. late payment,

  2. the lack of business finance,

  3. National Insurance contributions,

  4. business rates, and

  5. government business support.

The IoD said the government needs to address these issues before they become endemic."

A quick response...
What rubbish!! None of the answers mention the owner of the business; they only grumble about the external factors, things that you can't influence (although you can complain about them)!!

You'll see the research was a little 'loaded' ie out of the choice offered, these were the most popular but... What are the real obstacles to growth???

The fact is that what holds us back are our SELF-LIMITING BELIEFS

Our ability to dream is limited by our willingness to allow our imagination its freedom... 'Fear of failure' is drummed into many of us from an early age so that we become nervous to mention our deepest ambitions. 'Fear of success' is another limiter on what you are willing to do.

What's holding you back?
What are you frightened of doing that is stopping you from achieving your ambitions? Most fear is mental rather than actual... Fear of flying or of public speaking can be overcome with determination and willpower.

How badly do you want your goals?

If you aren't prepared to make the necessary sacrifices to achieve your goals, then you don't want them badly enough!

Institute of Directors' latest policy paper
How Do We Grow This Business - article
The Psychology of Success - article
The Psychology of Success - blog by Robert Craven

The 'Valley of Death' from the FD's Point of View

Fred Edwards from myFD uses my 'Valley of Death' analogy when talking about start-ups and growth (and summer flooding in the UK!) - Time - The Silent Killer of Businesses. I summarise below his six key relevant and practical points.

"Entrepreneurship guru Robert Craven talks about the “valley of death” – the “investment” period between being a profitable sole-trader and having about twenty employees. “You simply have to run as fast as possible to get there, otherwise you go bust”, he says....

So how do you keep your head up and run the business every day as though your life depended on it? Here are my top six business “sandbags” to get in place before the flood arrives:

  1. Have a clearly communicated plan with real milestones
  2. Make deadlines and milestones matter – celebrate success, learn from failure and crack on
  3. Employ a finance director – then you have objective forecast information; it’s too easy to duck impending problems otherwise, and they’ll tell you what to look at and what’s irrelevant
  4. Monitor cashflow closely – how much cash (= time) have you got in reserve? Your FD should pester you constantly
  5. Get a non-executive director – all successful entrepreneurs have them, love them and hate them – they make you look far enough ahead, whilst avoiding tripping over your feet
  6. Hold regular Board meetings away from the business – how close are you to plan, what actions are needed by whom and by when and ensure that actions are carried out

Get them in place and cash should be the only flood you’ll have coming in."

The Valley Of Death - How Many Employees Should You Have? - Will Critchlow, June 07
My Valley Of Death Article - Robert Craven, July 07
Time - The Silent Killer of Businesses - Fred Edwards, August 07
Let's Talk More Profit: Seminars from Robert Craven (Stoke, Nottingham, Wakefield, Oxford, Wembley, Guildford - a limited number of events in Sept-Nov 07 - FREE to attend!)

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Some Crunch Marketing Questions

Some initial questions for you:
  1. What is the need that must be satisfied?
  2. What are the products or services that will satisfy demand?
  3. Who/what is the competition?
  4. How are the need and the product best connected?

The fundamental question, then, is to write down your marketing vision. In other words:
Why... which customers... will choose us!

Write down:
  • Your market position now, and in the future.
  • Your customer position now and in the future.
  • the effectiveness of communication; it will improve and help awareness.


  • Is the business/brand distinct? Is it continuing to demonstrate its difference?
  • Is the business/brand proposition meaningful and right for the target audience?
  • How highly do customers think of and feel about the business? What is their perception of its quality and of its 'momentum' – its growth in popularity?
  • How many people know the business/brand and, more important, truly understand what it is about?

Checklist - Marketing meets business strategy
Decide what you want to do with the business:
  • Make it grow?
  • Keep it stable?
  • Decrease its size?

How are you going to be different from the rest?
  • By cost leadership (by being the cheapest with the lowest costs)?
  • By being uniquely different (by finding your niche)?
  • By concentration and focus (on a few key products or services)?

Some Crunch Marketing Questions in BusinessZone

Bright Marketing - the book
Customer Is King - the book
Let's Talk... Bright Marketing - free seminar series starts in September!

Friday, 10 August 2007

Redefine Yourself As A Problem-Solver!

Most businesses see themselves as a producer, a technician.

When company owners or managers introduce themselves, they say things like: 'We are a pizza restaurant; we make pizzas' or 'We are a video production company; we make videos'.

BUT... What problem are you solving? (What's the real problem?)

Sometimes you need to change how you see yourself – change the perception that you are using to look at the world.

To understand the customer's experience and to take advantage of it, redefine yourself as a problem-solver!

Most businesses end up looking at themselves through the wrong end of the telescope; you need to see your business through the customers' eyes – what problem are you solving? So, to get to the heart of what your business does, you need to redefine yourself.

My recent experience with a large UK electical retailer left me feeling angry because they were only interested in one thing and that was getting as much money off me as possible with scant regard for my needs or wants! The "We Don't Need To Care" School of Retailing!

So, ask yourself:

  • Why do people come to your business?

  • Why do people buy your product/service?

  • Why do they buy it from you?

  • What problems do they have that you are trying to solve?

  • What would their ideal solution be? (What should they be saying, thinking and doing as a result of visiting your business?)

  • What is your ideal solution? (What should they be saying, thinking and doing as a result of visiting your business?)

  • For a moment, forget about the need to make a sale…If you use the mindset of a problem-solver, what else could you be doing to make life easier for your customer?

Redefine Your Business article at BusinessZone
Customer Is King
book where the Seven-Point Plan is explained in detail
Mind The Indifference Gap article

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Robert Craven on Science Daily - Why?

Google has just informed me of a video interview of myself - recorded at the recent Business West Exhibition. If anyone knows how or why this interview ended up on Science Daily then I would love to know!

Robert Craven website
The Directors' Centre website

Sunday, 5 August 2007

She's Your Number One Customer!

The situation is as follows:

  • Women are the Number One business opportunity. As Tom Peters says, ‘they buy lotsa stuff…’ ;
  • Men and women are very different…;
  • Men are (still) in control… and are ‘totally, hopelessly, clueless about women’;
  • Not enough ’stuff’ is designed for women or communicated in a way that appeals to women;
  • Most stuff for women is, to be frank, pretty patronising;
  • We are witnessing changes in America but little seems to be changing on this side of the pond (the UK).

So there’s your opportunity.

Do I have to spell it out to you? I don’t think so.

This is not a feminist thing but a straight-down-the-line commercial argument. Women are not a niche market or a minority – they have wallets, and for many businesses, women as decision-makers and consumers hold the key to future success.

What are you going to do about it?

'She's Your Number One Customer' in Better Business Magazine