Sunday, October 31, 2010

Leadership Thoughts

"If there is anything I would like to be remembered for,
it is that I helped people understand that leadership is
helping other people grow and succeed.
To repeat myself, leadership is not just about you.
It's about them."

-- Jack Welch

"The five most important words a leader can speak are: "I'm proud of you."
The four most important are: "What is your opinion?"
The three most important are: "If you please."
The two most important are: "Thank you."
And the most important single word of all is: "You."

-- Denis Waitley

Friday, October 29, 2010

Chip Conley , Peak Leadership Coaching

Chip Conley speaks about The Peak Concept based on Abraham Maslows iconic Hierarchy of Needs theory.

Upward Trend highly recommends the book and audiobook, Peak by Chip Conley.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Success With People Formula: A + E = E

"I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among men
the greatest asset I possess. The way to develop the best
that is in a man is by appreciation and encouragement."

-- Charles Schwab

Having so many years of managing sales teams, I've tried many different methods. None is even near as successful as it is stated in the quote above: to appreciate and encourage. It is by far the most successful approach to sales success that exists in my opinion.

In my first sales manager position back in 1975, I was 25 years old and the youngest person on my sales staff was 34 and the oldest was 64, and I had worked with all of them at the same dealership as a salesman. Talk about a tough crowd. . . there is no way I could be tough with them because they would just laugh in my face, so I had to find better ways of succeeding in dealing with them in my new position as their direct supervisor. I learned to appreciate their differences, their specific talents and their personalities. I learned how to encourage. It's interesting that someone will respond to encouragement where they would never respond to the slightest criticism when you've worked with them for a few years already. So, if it works in that situation, it will work in every situation.

It was years later at a different dealership, that I started getting cocky and perhaps even arrogant. I started trying typical auto business sales management techniques. It was mostly focused on what they were doing wrong or poorly and what they should be doing to change that. Over and over I gave those talks until one day in the middle of one, one of my friends in the room stood up and tore me apart. I knew better what I had lost my way in thinking that all these other dealerships were doing it better. Truth is they weren't. That last talk was the last of that "put down" strategy, and I returned to the "lift up" strategy that worked so well, and I've never gone back.

As a result of this mentality when it comes to sales management, I've heard several sales people that I had the pleasure of working with in the past say that they would work for me anytime, anywhere. That is a really good feeling. I know they don't mean that literally, but it certainly is a vote of confidence and respect that I appreciate very much.

If I could be so bold as to give advice to every business, it is to treat all of your team with appreciation and encouragement. It will bring out the best in people. Even when you have to change people out of your team because they do not perform well in what they were hired to do, the mutual respect and appreciation for the person remains and the change is accepted in that way most of the time. Of all of the things that I have learned in sales management, this is absolutely the most powerful and effective. It is team building. It is great team building.

Success with people formula: Appreciation + Encouragement = Enthusiasm

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Leadership Is. . .

"Leadership is not so much about technique
and methods as it is about opening the heart.

Leadership is about inspiration--of oneself and of others.

Great leadership is about human experieinces, not processes.

Leadership is not a formula or a program, it is a human activity that
comes from the heart and considers the hearts of others.

It is an attitude, not a routine."

-- Lance Secretan

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sometimes The Most Basic Things Can Make The Difference

I get my hair cut at a hairdresser establishment. They have around 10-12 hairdressers. I usually go early in the morning, so it is only busy then if there is a wedding scheduled and the wedding party is getting ready for the day. I'm in the shampoo room getting my hair washed out and the phone is ringing, ringing, ringing. I tell my friend, why do you let it ring and ring? She says because we are with clients. Good reason. . . or not?

I said, "you know it is interesting in that I tried calling here to get you and no one answered the phone. It went to voice mail." She says, "that is typical." I say, "how much business do you think this place is losing as a result of no one answering the phone?" She says, "I don't know." That's the right answer: I don't know how much business we are losing as a result of not answering the phone.

Sometimes the most basic things can make a difference.

I wonder what could happen if the phone was answered.

She says that sometimes they answer it, but they think their clients wouldn't like it if they were going back and forth answering the phone.

She is absolutely right. They wouldn't. I know that I wouldn't.

I suggest that they get someone to purposely answer the phone and do other tasks when the phone isn't ringing to help make things run smoothly. She says, the owner doesn't want to hire someone.

Sometimes, the most basic things can make a difference.

Having all the independent hairdressers leave their client, answer the phone, find out they are looking for someone else, rapidly and perhaps even slightly in a hurry try to take a message and get back to the client, is not a good way to get this job done.

I ask, "why even have a phone that rings?" I'm serious. Why not turn the ringer off and let every call go to voice mail?

I wonder. . . how much business is going somewhere else because the phone is not answered? There is an assumption, I'm sure that everyone who calls will leave a voice mail and wait patiently for a return call. That is a powerfully large assumption in a I-want-it-now world. So how much is being lost? There is no way in creation to know.

Sometimes the Most Basic Things Can Make The Difference.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Guiding Light Is A Basic Ingredient Of Success

"The first basic ingredient of leadership is a guiding vision.
The leader has a clear idea of what he wants to do--professionally
and personally--and the strength to persist in the face of setbacks, even failures."

-- Warren Bennis

This quote holds clear meaning to me now, having been in business for myself for some years now. Now I think that of all the things that are critical to success of an enterprise, it is having a guiding vision--not just of the company or business enterprise, but personally. Jim Rohn, a person I have studied for many years said it well, "Of all the things that can have an effect on your future, I believe personal growth is the greatest. We can talk about sales growth, profit growth, asset growth, but all of this probably will not happen without personal growth."

I'm way down the road in looking at our company, while cognizant of what is happening today. I see where it may go, where I may want to go. I say want, because I am not hung up on firm destinations, for I have learned that better destinations can be found by being flexible about the outcome. Enjoying the journey then becomes the most logical and effective daily habit.

Indeed, the vision should be enhanced by others too. A company is not one person generally, so more people can add more input and it can be amazing how that affects the travel. Or, it may just affect your own thinking that they has you leading the company in a new direction.

I am reading business books all the time and have for many years. It's not that I'm trying to figure out how to do business. I already know a good deal about that, but I am trying to be open to new ideas, new twists, old ideas renewed from the X-files--in other words: inspiration! There is nothing so special as inspiration in business, or in personal life for that matter. It is a joyous experience and I want it as often as possible. Besides, it moves me forward pretty steadily.

So, personal growth is a key element in my thinking. I remember one of Jim Rohn's quotes, where he asks, "how may years do you want your child to be in the third grade?" His answer was of course, one. But, I look at that and people I've seen who spent many years in a certain grade, or place by avoiding personal development. Business owners can be that way too. They go into business all excited and grow the thing in their first year, and then perhaps they repeat that over and over for the next ten years.

How about looking at it this way: How would you feel if you found out that your doctor graduated medical school and then never read a book afterward? He just kept doing the same things over and over again. You would probably being looking for a doctor who wanted to keep learning, right?

I see the vision thing and the learning thing tied so closely together that it is so hard to tell one from the other.

Want to try some books to help re-energize your vision? I highly recommend these:

Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh, Rework by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson, Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins, The Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie, any book by Seth Godin, and any book by Jeffrey Gitomer, and especially Customer Satisfaction Is Worthless, Customer Loyalty Is Priceless. If you want more titles, let me know and I'll be happy to get you a list.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mission Statements Can Make The Difference. The Question Is WHAT?

I was thinking about mission statements and how many companies I've worked with in the last 30 years that have made them and how it made a difference or not. I have to say that the operative word is NOT.

I was also thinking about the history of that phrase, mission statement. I don't know what the real history is and it is obscure in researching online; however, in my own experience, the phrase mission statement became very popular and all the rage so to speak in the early 1990's after the publication of Stephen Covey's book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Of course, he was referring to a personal mission statement, which is even worse in my mind, but corporate America took it and went goofy with it.

One problem I have with mission statements is not that they are altruistic, which they generally are, or that they are dripping with slippery, obsequious platitudes, which seems to be a requirement. No, my problem is that all that I have seen are BS--plain and simple--BS.

Another problem I have with them is that once the company goes down the path of doing this, they lose the loyalty and belief of the people who work there because now there is this dreamy, wonderful-sounding objective and they will keep the company accountable. The first failure to achieve the stated mindset, begins the slow and sure cracking of the company employees trust and belief.

Another problem is that these companies publish this dribble for customers to see. Customers are far smarter than companies give them credit, and they will pay close attention to how a company measures up to its "promises."

All of this together is tantamount to the beginning of the end for these companies. Believe me, I have watched it happen and I can trace it all back to the first mission statement meeting and the months long drafting and redrafting of the magical elixir called the company mission statement.

So, what do I mean when I say it "can make the difference?" Certainly, it can be the negative side as I've presented here, and it can also be the thing that takes the company from zero to hero. So, what's the difference? It's very, very simple: walk your talk.

For the mission statement to be a positive springboard to greater success, a company must live their mission statement each and every day. They must measure themselves against it and every decision they make must be measured against it. They must treat their employees as if they are measuring the company against it, because they will be and are. They must treat their customers as if they are measuring the company against it, because they will be and are. They must become the mission statement before they get there. They must own it and live it and breathe it. That, my friends, will make all the difference. Not one of the companies that I was involved with who created mission statements did this. Most of them are out of business today.

Better to not have a mission statement than to have one that is obviously BS.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Biting Off More Than You Can Chew

"There's nothing like biting off more than you can chew,
and then chewing anyway."

-- Mark Burnett

"He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk
and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying."

-- Friedrich Nietzsche

In recent years, and especially since I went into business for myself, I am constantly biting off more than I can chew. I used to complain that I had ten things on my plate and only five would fit and the question was only which five would fall. I don't complain about it any more--or about almost (not quite perfect yet. . .) anything now. Instead, I am more and more excited about the volume and quality of what I entertain chewing.

It's really become somewhat of a game, and a fun one at that. I do relish the excitement of it all and deal with everything as good as I can and I just don't worry about the rest. Frankly, as soon as I stopped worrying about what I couldn't get around to, all the pressure I was feeling sort of vanished. I thought that was odd at first, but delighted in it nonetheless. Since the pressure is gone, and the fun remains, it must be a good thing.

So, I cannot necessarily recommend biting off more than you can chew. That is a personal decision that can only be considered by each of us. However, I can and will tell you that I think it is an awesome way to gain capacity and to expand one's interests and abilities, along with knowledge and confidence. All of those are very positive results in my life.

Indeed, it is by the expansion of my capacity that I grow. Without that, I am bored and tired and lifeless. I love learning and so I am always looking for another learning experience, real and otherwise. As I expand in my capacity, I expand as a person, my business expands with me and it all works together. I am having the time of my life and enjoying every second of it. I care so much less about the eventual outcome as enjoying the exciting journey and I tell you straight up that this is the single most important element I have ever learned.

I used to be so focused on the objective and in such a hurry to get there and it never seemed to come to fruition the way I expected it. Circumstances I didn't expect frustrated me and I was periodically discouraged and worried. Since I have let go of the super-heated need for the eventual outcome, I have let go of all of that negativity. What a blessing that is.

I didn't say that I let go of goals, or dreams or the vision of what I want to accomplish. Instead, I dream those things as if it is already, and I want them, but the difference is that I don't get uptight about it anymore. I've learned that it isn't my job and I am better off not trying to do anothers job for them. My job is the dream, and the gratitude for the day and all that has come before, and the full experience of the moment in pursuit of what I want. It almost doesn't matter at all what the outcome is any more. I've let go of that responsibility. I now do the part I can control and leave the rest of it alone. This leaves me joyful and free.

I highly recommend it.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Try A Focus Group For Some Valuable Feedback And Ideas

Here's something that is quite valuable to do once in a while. Create a focus group. So many extremely successful companies have made excellent use of this effective activity and it has helped and continues to help them develop the best products, services and customer interaction.

A focus group is easy to put together. Invite a few customers (some large, medium, small--a cross section is best). Then invite some vendors too--people from companies that are suppliers to assist your business in its success. Then, you might also consider inviting a few people who are not now your customers but who could be if they chose to. Gather them together for a meeting that will last between 1 and 3 hours depending on how much you want to go over. I recommend keeping it shorter than longer and focused on a few objectives than trying to cover too many things. Better to have a little depth.

How do you gather them? Food is a common denominator. I recommend inviting them to dinner. Lunch can work also, but you won't be allowed as much time typically as you would in the evening. Spend a little money and make it special. I've rented a room at a hotel and had dinner served and then the meeting can flow from the food to the discussion very smoothly and effectively while people are still seated at their tables.

It is also good to tape the session so you don't miss anything. You can also hire a stenographer to take notes. You don't want to miss any little comments that may not hit you at the meeting but may be profound later.

It depends on your company, but a group of ten people plus your team would be a good size and give you a cross section of input. If it is too large, it can be hard to manage, and if too small, will not yield the desired results.

To get people from a good cross section of customers, you may have to fly them in and put them up at a hotel for a night. I spent about $2,000 on one of these and flew several people in and it was really worth it. As expenses go, this can be an investment that pays substantial dividends. Don't look at it as a hit to the bottom line. What you learn should increase your bottom line.

Make sure everyone is introduced around the room so there is some comfort in the group. Then, insure that you have well thought out questions to ask. Lead the discussion with your questions and encourage a dialog with others on that subject. At some point, you may need to direct the discussion back to the topic. Make the time and expense of your money and time and their money and time well worth it. Focus on the objective and get the feedback you need, record it and review it at length.

As much as we think we know, it is often quite valuable to find what others think and then mix that with what we are thinking to see if any changes would be of benefit and what kind of changes they might be. Sometimes those changes can be pretty small, yet create a massive change in the bottom line. An example of this I heard many years ago in a focus group put together by Stew Leonard's ( They sold fish in packages like a typical store and asked about how people felt about the way they did that. There were several who said they liked the old way of having the fresh fish on crushed ice. Stew Leonard kept the fish in packages and added a section of fish on crushed ice and doubled their fish sales or maybe it was more than double, but the bottom line was positively impacted by that input from the focus group.

If you're a growing business, chances are you are almost constantly making changes, improving products and so on. Consider a focus group as a great way to get some valuable input that can move your bottom line on an upward trend.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Words of Wisdom

"Enthusiasm is the yeast that makes your hopes shine to the stars.
Enthusiasm is the sparkle in your eyes, the swing in your gait,
the grip of your hand, the irresistible surge
of will and energy to execute your ideas."

-- Henry Ford

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Give It Away For Free And Make Money? The New Business Model

How can you give it away for free and make money at the same time? It is being done every day by hundreds, probably thousands of companies. It has become a new business model. Well, not that new, but still a lot of people are unaware of it.

One in-your-face example is If you haven't already, go to and set up an account. It is free and easy. Then you will have access to a serious pile of wonderful free services. Yes, free! Services such as Gmail,, Webmaster Tools, YouTube, Feedburner, Google Docs, Picasa Web Albums, iGoogle, RSS Reader, Orkut, Calendar, Google Places, Google Maps, and the list is always growing. Those people at Google seem to be always on the hunt for the next great free service! Go figure. Yet, Google is one of the most profitable and highly valued companies on the planet. I think that a lot of other companies can benefit from some of this Google philosophy.

One way you can do this is by giving away free information and expertise. This is what YouTube is all about. There are millions of people who are giving away lots of information that is of value. Some of that may lead a customer to make a purchase. We give away a lot of free information in our companies as well. This blog and many other blogs, newsletters and such, along with free consulting and other services. It is a lot of work, but when it is a labor of love, it weighs so little, yet benefits many. Consider giving more away.

There was a time, which was not long ago, where companies would protect their information like Fort Knox, and of course, some still do, but many are letting go of that idea and giving that information away. Expertise. How you do things. These can be of benefit to many. Sure they could copy, but that is not a concern to the bold who are opening their doors to share information. Think about it. You can now, today, go to the Internet and find pretty much anything you want to find. Answers of all kinds are readily available from how to chop an onion to how to fix a clothes dryer and millions of others.

The big change is not so much what you do, but more how you do it. It is the company culture, or the company philosophy, the twist that you put on things that makes the difference now. That's the thing that is very hard, if not sometimes impossible to copy. Realizing this, helps create courage where fear used to rule.

Take some time and study how giving things away for free can benefit your bottom line. It will be worth the effort and time!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Shai Agassi's Bold Plan For Electric Cars

Excellent Talk and Idea!

About this talk
Forget about the hybrid auto -- Shai Agassi says it's electric cars or bust if we want to impact emissions. His company, Better Place, has a radical plan to take entire countries oil-free by 2020.

About Shai Agassi
Shai Agassi wants to put you behind the wheel of an electric car -- but he doesn't want you to sacrifice convenience (or cash) to do it.

Monday, October 11, 2010

What I've Learned About Success In Sales and Services

"Plant the seed of desire in your mind
and it forms a nucleus with power to attract
to itself everything needed for its fulfillment."

-- Robert Collier

"Our aspirations are our possibilities."

-- Robert Browning

Having started in sales in 1972 and sales management in 1975, I've seen a lot of opportunities for people to excel at what they do and have seen most fail to either see the opportunity, seize it, or follow through on it. After all of these years of hiring, training and managing sales people, and studied sales, and made my own observations, I think the main reason for this is weak desire. I have come to believe by watching so many, that it is the desire to do what they do that makes all the difference.

If a person has a strong desire and they focus on their desire, they have no need to know how it will be done. How is so much less important than the desire. A weak desire is much like a wish or a hope, or a try and see what happens. It is wishy-washy, lukewarm, and reminds me of a limp, sweaty handshake. But a strong desire and focus will move mountains. A strong desire and focus will attract everything that is necessary for success. First is the strong desire. One has to want it strongly. Next is the focus on it. See it being done as if it is already accomplished. In other words, believe.

Though this sounds so simple, it is a rare combination to find in my experience. There are so many who give so little toward their own success. Instead, they seem to (and actually do) sabotage themselves at every turn. It is always circumstance, other people or influences that keep them from doing what they need to do. Those things are real indeed, but they were attracted to give them legitimate reason to quit or to perform poorly. It must be something outside of themselves to blame. It is the only way to save face.

So, rather than I should focus on the negative here, I want to instruct what I have seen that makes all the difference in excellence.

First, is the desire. It needs to be big, and grand enough to inspire. Second, is to focus on the desire, the end result as if it is done already and to keep that focus every day. When problems come up, they will be easily solved with your focus kept on the goal. Do not focus on the problems, just deal with them as if they are just part of the successful accomplishment of your desire.

Next, think beyond where you are now. More reason to focus on the desire and the full accomplishment of it today though it may be far away physically right now.

Let me give you an example:

After 25 years in the auto business, with almost 23 of those years in sales management, I have seen a lot of auto sales people and frankly, about 90% of them failed eventually. I think it is the same reason: lack of strong desire and focus and that resulted in thinking so small that they couldn't see beyond the shift they were working and the problems that were constantly surrounding them. But, rather than play with this, how could it have been different, or better? The answer applies not only to auto sales, but almost any sales or service related field, including hair dressers, dry cleaners, plumbers, and every other service related to serving the public. So, here's some ideas that can make a huge difference:

  • First has to be a strong desire. If it isn't there, find a position in an industry that fires you up. Don't settle. Find your passion. Everything else will be a sacrifice--your own.
  • Second. Fan the flames. Focus on the desire, see it already done.
  • Third. Forget about how it will be done. How is not your job. What and why is your main job.
  • Fourth. See a much larger picture that where you are now. See what you do as making a difference. It has to be bigger than you; bigger than a paycheck. It must be an inspiration; an aspiration. In other words, you love what you do, you would do it for free if money were not needed and you are fired up.
  • Fifth. Let go and open yourself up to inspirational thoughts. Take notes. Don't worry. Don't think about how, just let ideas and things come to you. When you feel inspired to act, then act. Think possibilities. The only how that is worth considering is how you will be of more service than you are now, but forget about all the other how's.
  • Sixth. Believe. Believe it will come and you will succeed. It is inevitable. You cannot be denied. You will succeed.
  • Seventh. Deal with any problems as if they are merely a twist in the road. Never focus on the problem, or what is not yet right. Focus only on the desire, the goal.
  • Eighth. Grow. Keep learning, expanding, becoming more. For you to have more, you must become more. Be of more value, more service, more pleasant. Get better. Expand your knowledge and skills. Read, study, experience, teach. Teaching by the way is the very best way to learn.
  • Ninth. Be continually grateful for every thing and every situation that comes. You will never know when a situation that looks negative could very well be the exact thing that creates superior success. Gratitude will keep all of the balls in the air and all of the wolves from the door.
  • Tenth. Enjoy the journey. The journey must be just as important and enjoyable as achieving the goal would ever be. When it is, the power is with you and in you. Have fun. Having a big goal does not mean that you have to be too serious. It is okay to show your personality. Enjoy the journey.
That's it. That's what I have learned about succeeding in sales and service in the last 40 years. If you think it is lacking specifics based on your particular field, think again, or just relate this to what you do. Apply these to what you do and failure cannot happen. It is a guaranteed success.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Dan Pink On The Surprising Science Of Motivation

One of my favorite speakers with an excellent message for business owners and managers!

About this talk
Career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don't: Traditional rewards aren't always as effective as we think. Listen for illuminating stories -- and maybe, a way forward.

About Dan Pink
Bidding adieu to his last "real job" as Al Gore's speechwriter, Dan Pink went freelance to spark a right-brain revolution in the career marketplace

See one of my favorite websites for more at

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Chip Conley: Measuring What Makes Life Worthwhile

Excellent talk! Highly recommend watching!

About this talk
When the dotcom bubble burst, hotelier Chip Conley went in search of a business model based on happiness. In an old friendship with an employee and in the wisdom of a Buddhist king, he learned that success comes from what you count.

About Chip Conley
Chip Conley creates joyful hotels, where he hopes his employees, customers and investors alike can realize their full potential. His books share that philosophy with the wider world

See hundreds more wonderful videos at

Friday, October 8, 2010

Tea with Richard Branson with

Richard Branson on climate change

The British entrepreneur on the carbon war room, how to battle climate change and the clean-energy revolution ahead

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Jumping Off Point

There is a jumping off point when you may very well have to take a leap of faith to move your business to the next level. That point is missed by many--some on purpose and others by not paying close enough attention. When the decision is finally made to bring someone else on board to help get more work done, or better work done, that is a day of celebration. Though up to the point of jumping off, there may be anxiety and concerns, once the decision is made, there is usually a relief that is so satisfying and rewarding.

The good news will be that you can now move forward. Up to this point, it has been like treading water. You know the feeling well. You're doing so much work, sometimes even wondering if it is worth it, and though you work harder and longer, it just doesn't seem to be rewarding you for your efforts and determination.

Then you think you need some help, and the first thought after that is probably, "but I can't afford it." Maybe you're barely making it yourself, but one thing is for sure, treading water, staying in the same place while expending more time and energy is not the answer. As Yoda say, "do or do not. There is no try."

So, you finally decide to take the leap and you've reached the jumping off point. Now, you can grow. You must find a way to duplicate and replicate yourself as much as possible so you can focus on working on your business rather than in your business. The only way this happens is in letting go of the reins a bit and letting someone else help while you get some well-deserved rest and refocus.

I've been there and totally understand the feeling. One thing I've learned very well is that jumping off and making it happen is the best solution. And it's amazing how fast that money is remade and then some.

Take a deep breath. Breathe out slowly and make your move. You'll love it.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Value Of Business Cards . . . Or Not

I was watching some YouTube videos about business cards. There are many of them. This guy is really intense about having the best business card and calls all the others, crap: Well, that's definitely one opinion. . .

Then, here is a unique business card that has a USB 2 GB memory stick in it. It could be interesting:

I've thought long and hard about this business card thing. There are a zillion different quite unique ways of doing business cards, and I've had some creative ones myself, but at least in my experience, I don't see that it matters very much. You see, I have a file drawer full of business cards. I mean full. It wouldn't matter how pretty, unique or colorful the card is, it is most likely buried in my drawer.

The ones that are from people I care about are in there too. The only difference is that I have transcribed their information into my database, and/or I've friended them on Facebook (isn't that an interesting word. . . friended. . .?), or LinkedIn, or somewhere else where I can communicate with them, or watch their communications.

In other words, there is some kind of relationship. All the others in the drawer were acquaintances, one-time meetings, or something like that, but the key point is there is no relationship. In fact, I might even argue the point that a business card is a waste of money period. If you talk to someone and you don't develop some kind of beneficial relationship, the card is worthless.

Yes, I have a business card. An inexpensive one like the guy above was putting down. I've made my choice. What is yours?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Advertising And Marketing Differences And How They Relate To Your Business

"Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark.
You know what you are doing, but nobody else does."

-- Steuart Henderson Britt

"First we thought the PC was a calculator.
Then we found out how to turn numbers into letters with ASCII --
and we thought it was a typewriter.
Then we discovered graphics, and we thought it was a television.
With the World Wide Web, we've realized it's a brochure."

-- Douglas Adams

These definitions are from Wikipedia:

"Advertising is a form of communication that is intended to persuade an audience (viewers, readers or listeners) to purchase or take some action upon products, ideals, or services. It includes the name of a product or service and how that product or service could benefit the consumer, to persuade a target market to purchase or to consume that particular brand. . .

Commercial advertisers often seek to generate increased consumption of their products or services through branding, which involves the repetition of an image or product name in an effort to associate related qualities with the brand in the minds of consumers. . ."

"Marketing is the process by which companies create customer interest in goods or services. It generates the strategy that underlies sales techniques, business communication, and business developments. It is an integrated process through which companies build strong customer relationships and create value for their customer and for themselves.

Marketing is used to identify the customer, to satisfy the customer and to keep the customer. With the customer as the focus of its activities, it can be concluded that marketing management is one of the major components of business management. . ."

* * * * * * *

Now that you have read that, I'm sure you are clear on the differences, right? Well, don't feel alone if you're just as confused as you might have been prior. They are different, but in some respects, they are look-alike cousins.

I love to simplify these complicated kinds of things, so here is my ultra-simplified definition of the differences between marketing and advertising. Marketing is a strategy and advertising is an activity. There you go. The world will be impressed by how simplified that is. . . well, the long and short of it is that this is an excellent way to look at the differences.

In Upward Trend Management Services, we are essentially in marketing and we cross that line into activities now and again, but we say marketing and I believe that to be factual. Our business is developing a business strategy for helping small business market more effectively--not advertising more effectively, but market.

When you run an ad in the paper, yellow pages, TV, radio, that's advertising. It runs for a specified period for a specified cost and every business in the world that uses advertising wants immediate results to appear. Then there are those who are doing what we call, institutional advertising, where they are not making a specific, limited offer, but talking more generally about their product or service. Coca-Cola has led the world of soft drinks since the early 1900s using this type of advertising.

When you are marketing, you are making the public aware, positioning yourself in your marketplace, creating an image, and telling people what you do, who you are and how you do things. It is a strategy that includes how you handle sales, and your general business environment as related to a customer or client. It is more all encompassing, than the running of a special this week. Indeed, it is also, in our humble opinion, more important to the overall health, longevity and success of your enterprise.

Here's another way to look at marketing: It is creating influence. Whereas advertising seeks a specific action or thought, marketing is creating influence that can lead to becoming an authority, ranking relative to others in the same market, education of consumers and clients, and even service to the public.

We have learned to do marketing for our clients through the use of Internet influence. We do this with some basic and common tools, yet we are very uncommon in our overall approach and effectiveness in this field. The tools we use are websites, blogs, HTML email newsletters, surveys and the like, social networking which has become hotter every second of every day, and organic search engine optimization. We do all of this in a very inexpensive package and since they are used in harmony with one and other with specific strategies, they become ultra effective at creating influence. We just took one client in two months from non-existence on the web to first page on Google searches without buying one keyword. We do this for most of our clients.

Sometimes our clients or prospects confuse what we do with advertising. On your financial statement, you might lump the expense into that category called advertising, but what we do is far beyond and in the long run far more powerful and effective than advertising.

Give Terry a call at 707-434-9967 and ask me how you can benefit in your business and just how inexpensive it can be when someone specializes in this approach.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Branson on Business: It Doesn't Cost Anything to Listen

Richard Branson stresses the importance of listening to your customers to uncover innovative ideas. Find out what other owners are doing to run their businesses better at

Friday, October 1, 2010

There's Something To Be Said For Laziness.

"You can't teach people to be lazy--
either they have it, or they don't"

-- Dagwood Bumstead

"If you have a difficult task, give it to a lazy man,
he will find an easier way to do it."

-- Hlade's Law

Throughout most of my life, the concept of being lazy was not a very positive thing and that is saying it mildly. As I now see things, laziness has a great place in the scheme of things--even creative things.

I love the phrase, "if you have a difficult task, give it to a lazy man, he will find an easier way to do it." Well said. For all intent and purposes, that is the famous Toyota Production System, and many like concepts of finding the easiest, best, most efficient way of doing a thing. In fact, Henry Ford's introduction of the assembly line thinking into auto manufacturing is a very lazy way of doing things, but it certainly improved production, speed of the line, worker safety, worker satisfaction, and the list goes on very long.

There has long been a tendency in human affairs to complicate the simple. A lazy person wants very much to simplify the complicated. Why have a double Masters degree when the college of common sense will prevail in the end? We have this tendency to complicate every thing, including education.

I think of myself as a teacher much of the time, and my favorite and most effective attribute is to simplify the complicated. I talk about commercial trucks in a way that a child could understand it and this makes it more effective, simpler and more useful to a wider audience. Truth be known, I do it first for myself so that I may fully (or as fully as is really necessary) understand the subject, then in teaching it and demystifying it, it is spread.

We do this in our all new website business at Upward Trend. We simplify the complicated area of websites, blogs, email newsletters, marketing, sales, and so on so that businesses can do what they do best and be better as a result. If fact, it was this simplification that has made all the differences in our growth. Now, virtually any business, no matter the size can benefit from and understand our services.

We are always looking for the easiest, best, most effective way. We are truly lazy for our customers benefit. There's something to be said for laziness!