Promoting Yourself Without The Ewww Factor

Are you ready to be the face of your business?

I’ve discovered that many business owners find self-promotion distasteful or even shameful.

And guess what, I can relate!  I used to dread sending one too many email newsletters, posting one too many tweets, or making that extra follow up call to the client. I didn’t want to be a pest, annoying, or blowing my own horn.  I would promote 10 third-party events or special offers before I would write something about my own business.

I even made up a story about my brand: my brand was above  it all: cold calling, sales letters, loud colors on my website. 

This worked for a short while, until a client said: why didn’t I know you offered this new service? And a colleague asked why she didn’t know I had a workshop coming up  – she would have loved to register if she knew about it a week earlier!

That’s when I realized that not promoting myself enough was a disservice to my clients, current as well as future.  Continue reading

Google Places Reviews: Where Did They Go?

If your business has a physical address, coming up as a dot on the Google map is HUGE!

And if you have a Google Places listing, as of this week, some of the reviews associated with that listing may be gone.

What happened? Google ate them!
Continue reading

I blame Kinko’s!

help entrepreneurs Be Seen and Be Found, I am pulling back the curtain on my own business and letting myself be seen by my readers.

I hope you’ll play along.

The other day I had a speaking engagement in San Diego, which on a Monday morning is a 2-2.5 hour drive from my home in Marina del Rey.

The night before my early morning trip, I made a last-minute decision to update my presentation with some fresh images and data points.

Next, I decided to add a bonus “SEO Action Plan” to hand out to my audience.

Oh and maybe also update my speaker one-sheet.

Before I knew it, it was 1 a.m. and I was breaking my commitment to myself. Actually two commitments: 1) plan for 8 hours of sleep every night, and 2) shut down my computer by 11 pm.

Part of the reason I got sucked into my old habit was that I knew I could send my documents tomy lovely partner as crime formerly knows as Kinko’s, and then pick up my crisp beautiful materials before heading down to San Diego at 7 am the next day.

I can always count on Kinko’s… Ok, it is now called Fedex Office, but calling it Kinko’s brings me back to my college and then startup days, when last-minute was the name of the game.

I can always blame Kinko’s, too.  It is feeding my “crack habit” of doing things at the last minute.

On the long drive to San Diego that morning, I had some time to reflect on my processes. After all, as my coach reminds me, “how you do anything is how you do everything.”  And I am ready to stop being the last-minute girl.

It’s time to own up to what really happens when I count on Kinko’s round-the-clock service. And honor my commitments.

Can you relate? Is there a “Kinko’s” in your life or business? Who is feeding your “crack habit”?

3 Steps to Successful Partnerships – Part 2: Negotiate Creatively

Got partners? What about vendors or clients? Employees?  In my last post, I shared one of my key success principles for business partnerships – communication! Today I’d like to talk to you about creative negotiation.

HandshakeBy creativity, I mean thinking outside the box – the standard partnership terms – in your business relationship.

As a media buyer at my last company, I was responsible for generating the highest return on our multi-million advertising budget. So you may think my job consisted of “squeezing” every last penny out of our advertising partners. Not quite!

Our team succeeded by negotiating creatively: in addition to price, what else can you put on the table?  Consider the cost to you and the value to the other party.

  • Payment terms is a good one: many vendors will give you a better price if you are able to pay sooner: net 30 instead of net 60? Depending on your cash flow, this may be a win-win.
  • Content – maybe you have an article, a white paper, or a training product with low marginal cost (meaning it would cost you next to nothing to product an extra) that would be of value to the other party.
  • Event Tickets – it’s no wonder event tickets make popular prizes and giveaway. The marginal cost of adding an attendee at a conference, meeting, or teleclass is usually nominal, while the value to your partner may be high.
  • Support and Your Expertise: let’s say you are talking to an advertiser who doesn’t have the right size banner available for your site. What would it cost you to have the banner re-sized? If the cost is low, or the skill is something you have, consider bring this service to the table as well.

By using creative thinking in your negotiations, you can achieve win-win and increase the value for both parties. And that’s one of the keys to a successful partnership!

What are the “cards” you bring to the table when negotiating with your vendors, clients, employees, contractors, or consultants? I’d love to hear from you.

3 Steps to Successful Partnerships – Part 1: Communicate!

In my last corporate job as a media buyer, our team was named Partner Management.

businesswoman ready to shake handsAt first I was confused by this title, and as I developed relationships with our publishers, I quickly got the “Partner Management” part.

The lessons I learned in that role are actually universal success principles that apply to any business partnership.

I’ve used them to structure joint ventures, to secure new consulting projects, and to connect businesses with their ideal clients. And today I’d like to share them with you:

Step 1:  Communicate With Your Partner!

  • Tell your partners about new products, launches, press or kudos you’ve received. Whatever your relationship, your partner will be happy to know they’ve affiliated with a successful business. Don’t we overlook the opportunity to share great news or let our partners, clients, or vendors know about the latest developments in your business.  I recommend scheduling a quarterly check-in call  or meeting with your key partners to share these updates.
  • Share data: if you have access to data or other results from your joint efforts–remember to let your partner know what’s working. In an advertiser-publisher relationship, data is key. Or let’s say you are creating a joint event: tell your partner who has registered so they can be better prepared to address the audience.
  • Meet in person: as much as I love the virtual environment, taking the time to meet your partner in person, even as part ofanother trip, is invaluable. When I travel to  the San Francisco Bay Area to visit family, I always schedule in a few business meetings with my Silicon Valley colleagues. (Including fellow Savor members  – Hi Jenn, Julia!)
  • Share your Rolodex: connections are currency, and if you can introduce your partner to another advertiser, vendor, resource, or joint venture partner, you will be making each party more successful and creating a win-win-win. And who doesn’t love that :)

Stay tuned for Successful Partnership – steps 2 and 3!