Throw Some Daggers… At Your Business

Throw Some Daggers… At Your Business

Listen to this episode. http://traffic.libsyn.com/websearchsocial/0138-blog-throw-some-daggers-at-your-business.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download | EmbedSubscribe: iTunes | Android | RSSListen to previous episodes on Stitcher, iTunes or Libsyn. It’s July. Half the year is now officially over. In a few short months there will be open discussion about those 2016 resolutions. Take a moment to evaluate the plans, decisions and resolutions you made in 2014 for 2015. Chances are that like everyone, you hit on a few and missed on a few. But the year isn’t over yet. There’s plenty of runway left before 2016 takes off. So let’s take this time to cheat a little bit. Let’s re-evaluate the remaining half of 2015 and throw some daggers at your unfulfilled resolutions and plans. Last week I met with the shareholders of one of my businesses and we spent two hours doing nothing but throwing daggers at our own business. We tried to identify every challenge and problem so that we could prepare. Of course, we’re not soothsayers. We can’t see the future. But many businesses often hope for the best and plan for the best. 20 years in business has shown me that this is folly. So before July is up, call a meeting with all of the decision makers in your company and throw some daggers at your business. If you don’t know where to start, here are a few bullseyes you can aim for. Financial Daggers How should the business spend on health care? Healthcare is a huge investment for a business and the Affordable Care Act has not simplified the process. I know several businesses that have...
“Provide Value To Customers,” They Say. But What Does That Mean?

“Provide Value To Customers,” They Say. But What Does That Mean?

Listen to this episode.http://traffic.libsyn.com/websearchsocial/0133-blog-provide-value-to-customers-they-say-but-what-does-that-mean.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download | EmbedSubscribe: iTunes | Android | RSSListen to previous episodes on Stitcher, iTunes or Libsyn. Right up there with “write epic content” and “be awesome”, you probably hear or read something at least once a day that reminds you to “provide value to customers.” It sounds so obvious. Of course we’re going to provide value to customers. It’s what we do! It’s so obvious that nobody argues it or thinks about it. It’s a given. But then recently I had a conversation with SuperFred Kaarina Dillabough who asked a very simple question: “What does that even mean?” And I had to stop before answering. She didn’t ask because she doesn’t understand value. And I didn’t pause because I don’t know how to provide it. But in a moment of what we over here at Web.Search.Social like to call “challenging the status quo”, we both had to stop and consider that this bit of fluff is tossed around so often with no context, no explanation, no rationale that it’s simply assumed to be “a thing” and that we all know precisely what that thing is. Today I want to challenge you to consider what it means, first, by telling you that… Value May Not Be What You Think It Is Nobody is born intrinsically knowing what value is. We have to learn it. And nothing is inherently valuable. Take a diamond. The only reason that particular bit of rock is valuable is because a marketing company somewhere told you it is. No kidding. There isn’t even a shortage of them....
What Defines A Perfect Product?

What Defines A Perfect Product?

Listen to this episode.http://traffic.libsyn.com/websearchsocial/0130-blog-what-defines-a-perfect-product.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download | EmbedSubscribe: iTunes | Android | RSSListen to previous episodes on Stitcher, iTunes or Libsyn. We often talk on our podcast about the proliferation of webinars, ebooks and squeeze pages that attempt to sell you the idea of building your get-rich-quick product. We hammer those pitches for good reason. Because they are mostly schemes designed to find the perfect psychological price point that makes the purchase a viable impulse buy. The purveyors of these products entice and tantalize by telling you the “real” value of what they are giving you and then cutting you a deep discount. Because reasons. If you’ve been around long enough you know that all those scams out there are variations of the same thing and mostly intended to separate you from your money quickly and at a pain point so low that you won’t mind. What often gets lost in our discussions is that we think building products is good idea. And that’s what I want to talk about today. A few months ago, we discussed a program that promised to show participants how to create a product in 2 hours. A few episodes ago, we discussed another program that was designed to help you develop a product worth $197. They have defined the perfect product. But for whom? If you’re a cynic, you’ll probably say that the product is perfect for them. And I’d agree. I want to take some time to walk through how we defined a product that we’re developing. I can’t get into the details of the product yet, but...
How To Stop Saying Um (And Other, Like, You Know, Filler Words)

How To Stop Saying Um (And Other, Like, You Know, Filler Words)

Listen to this episode.http://traffic.libsyn.com/websearchsocial/0129-how-to-stop-saying-um-and-other-like-you-know-filler-words.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download | EmbedSubscribe: iTunes | Android | RSSListen to previous episodes on Stitcher, iTunes or Libsyn. As a podcaster this is something I’ve had to come to grips with in many unflattering ways. Being more of a writer than a speaker, I tend to think fast, type with abandon and edit later. But when there’s no edit function it gets kind of embarrassing. And it’s not just about podcasting. If you record video, go to networking events, host webinars… or even do something as simple as talk to your clients and prospects… nobody wants to hear you um and er your way through a conversation. I’ve worked to pre-edit those words out of my speech so that even in the absence of an edit/delete function I can sound reasonably intelligent. It requires practice and I’m not sure that even professional speakers can manage without slipping them in once in a while, but there are certainly ways to improve the quality of your conversation so more people will listen and fewer will cringe. This is how I practice – every day! Try these ideas and see how they can help you improve your speech. Pause A lot of filler words happen because we’re literally filling space. We’re not sure what to say, we don’t quite have our thoughts collected, so we um and ah until something works itself out in our brain. It’s an easy habit to get into and a tough one to break because we’re not all that used to the sound of silence. But one of the best...
Should You Run Your Venture As A Business?

Should You Run Your Venture As A Business?

Listen to this episode.http://traffic.libsyn.com/websearchsocial/0126-blog-should-you-run-your-venture-as-a-business.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download | EmbedSubscribe: iTunes | Android | RSSListen to previous episodes on Stitcher, iTunes or Libsyn. A few days ago, I wrote an article as part of my series on my entrepreneurial journey on my personal blog at RalphMRivera.com. I got a lot of feedback from it and I decided to share it here because I thought it was relevant. Let me know what you think about my observations and I invite you to read more at my blog. I’m amazed by how many people start businesses with no intent of running a business. I have a standing meeting every Monday and Friday for one of my new ventures. We’ve had several meetings already and discussed accounting, taxes, expenses, infrastructure and payment distribution. And that was just the first meeting. I’ve found that there is an entire subset of entrepreneurs who incorporate a business but then simply engage in building the illusion of a business in order to court investors. On the investor side, I’ve found that very few of them risk taking on a business with no model, team, product or revenue. Last year I had lunch with a friend who is an investor. We discussed a hypothetical venture as a thought experiment. In our scenario, the investor offered to provide a certain level of funding for a large stake in the business. The dollar amount, while not small, was not enough to pay the salaries of the management team. So I asked for more make believe money. “I’m investing in growth and profit, not your salary, ” he...
Don’t Believe The Hype! Your Success Depends On It

Don’t Believe The Hype! Your Success Depends On It

Listen to this episode.http://traffic.libsyn.com/websearchsocial/0122-blog-dont-believe-the-hype-your-success-depends-on-it.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download | EmbedSubscribe: iTunes | Android | RSSListen to previous episodes on Stitcher, iTunes or Libsyn. You know how in sales they use the ABC acronym to mean “Always Be Closing?” Well I’ve got a better one for you, and one that matters more to the success of your business: Always Be Questioning If you fail to ask questions, quickly and often, it can be life or death for your business. But we’re not exactly taught to question, are we? Especially when it comes to marketing, we’re (more often than not) told to just follow this formula or use this roadmap or take these three steps to success. That doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for independent thought. And I get it. We’re busy. Sometimes we just want someone to tell us how so we can follow the steps and get where we’re going. But (more often than not) that is a recipe for ending up lost in the woods with nothing but a wicked witch and a poison apple or two. While we’re regressing to childhood, let me ask you a question… Were You Raised To Be A Good Little Girl Or Boy? Growing up, here are a few of the things I learned: Policemen are good. Teachers are right. Do what your boss says. Don’t rock the boat. And never, ever, question authority. If you’re like me, when someone knocks on your door and says you need the super-duper-vacuum-cleaner-monstrosity-thing they’re selling then you let them in and let them sell it to you. I own some fancy...