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Peter Drucker said that businesses exist to create customers. We say that great businesses exist to create a great legacy.

Expert Content Marketing Insights

Posted: April 18th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Branding, Lead Generation, Marketing, Promotion, Sales | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Content marketing is not new. All of the buzz and debate about whether it is a valid approach or just marketing hype has value, but the bottom line is that content marketing has taken the front of the stage in marketing strategy and tactics.

As a business owner, you need to know what is, what works, and how and where to best leverage it, when it comes to effective marketing. Because the truth is we are all marketers. And marketing is a fundamental function of your business.

Here are some keen insights into the state of content marketing from 14 experts, courtesy of Curata:

 

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Are You Committed?

Posted: April 16th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Company Culture, Customer Service, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Purpose | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

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I have just re-read The Commitment Engine by John Jantsch, the author of Duct Tape Marketing, The Referral Engine, and his newest book, Duct Tape Selling, which is out next month.

Much of what John speaks to in this book – The Commitment Engine – resonates with my own take on leadership, service, and developing a culture of ownership. Simply put, this is a book that I would recommend to every one of my clients and every business owner regardless of where you are in your business growth.

Here is an excerpt from the book’s description on Amazon:

Jantsch’s approach is built on three foundational planks, which he calls the clarity path, the culture patron, and the customer promise. He draws on his own experiences and shares true stories from businesses like Threadless, Evernote, and Warby Parker. His strategies include these:
  • Build your company around a purpose. People commit to companies and stories that have a simple, straightforward purpose.
  • Understand that culture equals brand. Build your business as a brand that employees and customers will support.
  • Lead by telling great stories. You can’t attract the right people or get them to commit without telling a story about why you do what you do.
  • Treat your staff as your customer. A healthy customer community is the natural result of a healthy internal culture.
  • Serve customers you respect. It’s hard to have an authentic relationship with people you don’t know, like, or trust.

Are you committed?

We speak often of passion, vision, and drive when we talk about entrepreneurship and business success. Determination and grit rank high, as well. But this idea of commitment is somehow broader and deeper, and perhaps carries these other traits with it.

Commitment on the part of the owner must be a given. If you, the owner, are not wholly committed, how can you expect your employees or even your customers to be committed? And commitment must be nurtured in your staff – your commitment alone will not carry you to success. And, thirdly, a truly great business will have a community of customers that are also committed.

So how is your commitment engine running these days?

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7 Leadership Approaches

Posted: April 14th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Communication, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Relationship | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Whether you agree that these leaders were great or not, the fact is that they had great impact on their world and they each displayed their own unique style, or approach, to being a leader.

The ongoing debate among scholars, self-proclaimed business gurus, and business owners is how to define leadership styles and what are they. This infographic takes a classic approach to categorizing and briefly defining the most commonly recognized styles of leaders. See if you can recognize yourself in one or more of these:

(Courtesy of Click 4 Compliance)

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Passion As Fuel For Success

Posted: April 11th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Company Culture, Customer Service, Entrepreneurship, Greatness, Leadership, Passion, Service | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

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It may sound a bit strange to talk about passion when it comes to customer service. Perhaps, but I believe that having a real interest in and passion for what one does cannot help but to infuse that activity with power. And this is particularly true when we speak of serving others. And that is what we do in a business – no matter what our role – we exist to serve the customer. For without a customer there is no business.

The role of “passion” 

There is a very big assumption at work here on “being passionate” and it is that you like what you’re doing. Oh, maybe not every detail of your job certainly. But it is assumed that you really enjoy your work and look forward to being there. It is assumed, as well, that you have a genuine interest in the nature of your company’s service or product. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be working there, right?

Okay, so I may be pushing this assumption a bit far, I know. But this begs a really crucial question that must be addressed: If you don’t like what you do then why are you doing it? If you are an employee this is a critical point to consider.

If you are a business owner… then you especially need to think about this. It’s been said before that no one cares about your business as much as you do. So it naturally follows that if you don’t like your business then…

How Does Being Passionate Show Up?

Dave Ramsey said it this way:

The secret ingredient to small-business success is you. You are the energy, the ideas and the passion. You are the enthusiasm and the smile that greets the customers.

People respond to people. Customers have an experience each and every time they interact with and do business with you and your company. And to a large extent the quality and impact of that experience rests on you – how you show up, how you conduct yourself, and especially by how much energy and passion you display. In other words, if you truly enjoy what you are doing and you truly believe in your product or service, it will not only be seen, but it will be felt!

Another statement by Dave Ramsey speaks to this idea:

Everybody wants to be successful in their job and make lots of money, but personal happiness is just as important. If you wake up jazzed about what you’re going to do every day, chances are you’ll be successful and happy. But if you wake up dreading the day and your job, then I can almost guarantee you won’t be financially successful or happy.

I am not speaking of a false or manufactured interest. We have all experienced this at one time or another. The forced greeting, the strained smile – the perfunctory responses that have somehow been imposed on otherwise unengaged and dispassionate employees.

And I am not advocating overbearing intensity either! It can a bit unnerving to be greeted by someone in a place of business who is overly forward, unnaturally animated, or in some way needlessly intense. What I am speaking to is authenticity. If you truly love your work and love what you offer or provide for people, then it will show.

Be real, be authentic.

And have fun!

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The Overlooked Value of Hard Work

Posted: April 9th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Inspiration, Leadership, Motivation, Passion, Purpose | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

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I recently read about one of my favorite people, Abraham Lincoln. The book, Lincoln Unbound by Rich Lowry, brings forth some of the personal values and principles that guided the young Abe Lincoln and grounded him as an older man as he led the nation through its most wrenching crisis.

Some of these came vividly to light in the words he penned to a young man desiring to study law with him: “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed, is more important than any other thing.”  At another point, writing to his law partner William Herndon, he expressed his philosophy for dealing with opposition and perceived setbacks,

The way for a young man to rise, is to improve himself every way he can, never suspecting that anybody wishes to hinder him. Allow me to assure you, that suspicion and jealousy never did help any man in any situation. There may sometimes be ungenerous attempts to keep a you man down; and they will succeed, too, if he allows his mind to be diverted from its true channel to brood over the attempted injury… You cannot fail in any laudable object, unless you allow your mind to be improperly directed.

 

Working hard, or hardly working?

Lincoln held fast to the doctrine of hard work, thrift, generosity, and fair play. While many today might dismiss him as simply being a man of his time and irrelevant for today’s culture, I contend that there are some values and principles that are timeless and perennially relevant. Human nature doesn’t really change, despite our contemporary bias to the contrary.

As Lincoln put it to an aspiring lawyer almost 200 years ago, “Work, work,work, is the main thing.”

And this reality still holds for us today: anything worth having, worth building, worth achieving takes work. No amount of technology, “get-rich-quick” efforts, or positive thinking will replace the need for good, old-fashioned work and determination, or grit!

The are multiple benefits of work beyond simply getting a thing done. But nothing can get done without work.

So, how’s your work ethic today?

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