Insanity.

I believe the term is Insanity – to do the same thing and expect different results.

There are two scenarios- when a business is losing money or has hit a plateau.

When this happens, you can’t do the same thing you’ve always done (waiting for the economy to recover is not in your budget, trust me). You’re going to have to change something. Do something different.

Maybe you need to spend less time in the office and more time on the sales floor. Maybe you need to get a new sign and clean up the front door, maybe you need a new marketing campaign.

The moral of the story is that you have to do something new to get a new result.

Here are 3 things you can do to get started.

Look at your front door. Is it inviting? Do your customers know who you are? Go stand out front with an objective lens and decide whether or not you would shop there. Is it too cluttered? Don’t litter your entrance with signs. Keep it simple: business hours and possibly one other promotional sign (NOT handwritten). I also allow “Local First” stickers if they are off to the side and in good condition. But that’s it, nothing else!

Network. Go talk to the other businesses in your area (within walking distance), start a relationship with them. Don’t sell them anything, just go be a good neighbor, learn about what they do and refer some business their way. You’ll be amazed at the effect it has on your business. Givers gain!

Self Promotion. For some reason that’s foreign to me, I find that business owners do not self promote their status as a business owner. I mean, COME ON! Your own a business! When people ask what you do, tell them. Be honest and proud, I assure you it’s not boasting, it’s factual information.

Just try it. See where these thing lead you. They may not all work, but it’s something different than what you normally do. Chances are, you’re going to get a different result.

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Networking: The Golden Rule

After writing my last blog on networking, I decided that a follow up was in order.

Networking is not about selling your business to the first person you run into. If that’s what you do, just stop. Instead, find out about the other person. What do they do? How can you help them?

The best way to gain someone’s trust is to give away information. Maybe you don’t need the services of his printing company, but so-and-so from place is looking for new business cards. 

Set up the referral. “Hey printing dude, I have a friend that does something really cool and needs business cards. Would you mind if I send her your way?” Exchange business cards, small talk and polite goodbyes as you find someone new. 

When you have a second, note what you plan to do. Actually SEND the referral. Do them a favor. These favors come back two-fold. Some day, Printing Dude will have a client who needs a new website, or house remodel, or (insert your expertise here) and will recommend you.

Why? Because you sent business his way. And if he did it well, you’ll probably continue to do so. It’s reciprocal.

Remember, try not to sell your business at networking. Instead, pinpoint the people you can help, help them, and they’ll help you!