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7 steps to fixing the auto industry

The Hindenburg burnsLike most things the government does, its approach to “fixing” the auto industry/energy/environment problem is broken. Badly broken. Wrong-headed. Misguided. Appallingly stupid. And sad. It always amazes me that when we have an industry more-or-less crippled by poorly thought out government regulation, the answer to fixing it is in more government regulation. What a concept.

Recent polls show that only 26% of Americans think the government’s plan to bail out GM is a good idea, and only 42% of GM car owners are even “somewhat likely” to buy GM again. Clearly, most of us don’t think we’re on the right track for fixing this mess. But there are things that can be done, and the industry can survive and progress without massive government meddling, spending, and regulation.

So here’s my 7-step plan for addressing the auto industry/environment/energy situation. Amazingly, there’s not one single step that requires new regulation or money for the auto industry. Continued…

Posted in Culture, Economics, Management, Policy and Regulation.

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Harlan Ellison on client-vendor relationships

I don’t think the clients in that last video would enjoy negotiating with Harlan…

Posted in Economics, Management, Marketing, Videos.

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The client-vendor relationship

How many times have you been on one side or the other of these conversations…

Posted in Management, Videos.

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ShoutNow — A new tool for reaching offline customers

I went to Startup Riot in Atlanta this week and one of the more interesting startups was a company called ShoutNow — a rapid voice messaging company. The idea is that you record a short message using your own phone, then ShoutNow broadcasts that message simultaneously to a list of numbes you enter into their website.

The uses they suggest are more personal — coach notifying the youth soccer team that practice is canceled, pastor notifying the congregation in emergencies, etc. But a really good use of this technology for entrepreneurs is creating a voice reminder for registered attendees for your event.

You can’t be too proactive in making sure people remember to attend an event for which they’ve registered, and most people won’t mind a short voice message if it’s something they really don’t want to miss. Email is good, but it’s not reliable for time-sensitive events.

You could also use this as a follow-up reminder after the event to encourage people to get in touch if they have questions. You don’t want to bug people, but I can see a number of ways this could be used effectively to reach people who can’t reliably be reached online.

Posted in Marketing, Videos.

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The best sales video ever

If we all had this much enthusiasm for our businesses there wouldn’t be a recession.

Thanks to Jim McGee for the link.

Posted in Big Lessons, Management, Sales, Videos.


How to sell on value instead of price

red-leaf-1In a recent blog post titled Be the Red Leaf, John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing discusses the importance of defining, understanding, and communicating your unique value in order to stand out from the crowd. Being different is not being louder or having more ads. It’s about truly knowing what your product or service means to your potential customers. Jantsch listed three types of research every entrepreneur must do to uncover this customer-eye view of value: Continued…

Posted in Entrepreneurship, Marketing.

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The only reason for a small business blog

blog-viewer-statsRecently I had a conversation with a friend who has a small consultancy. Over the years we have had a number of thoughtful, helpful conversations and we tend to feed off each other’s futuristic tendencies. During the conversation I was encouraging more product development to capture his methodologies and to use as promotional tools.

The conversation turned to resource constraints — time, effort, money, etc. – and the need to spend some portion of time on futuristic efforts as well. He estimated that he needs to spend 5%-10% of his time on long-term futures thinking and planning. I think that’s realistic – 100-200 hours per year. I asked if he was spending an equal amount of time on product development. His answer was that he spent about 200 hours this year on developing new seminar materials, and 300-500 hours on his blog.

I was surprised by this, as the ratio seemed upside down to me. So I asked another question, “Do you track leads/sales generated from the blog?” His response, paraphrased, was that he only tracks it loosely, but it helps. Continued…

Posted in Economics, Marketing.

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Two resources for direct mail marketing

postage-stampOne of the mistakes that many new internet marketers make is forgetting that the internet is just one, and often not the most effective, channel for reaching customers. Good ol’ direct mail – yes, the USPS snail mail – is still a very viable and effective channel to reach customers and prospects that may not live on the internet. The challenge is that many of us don’t have an easy way of using Direct Mail, and we don’t have time to research all the available options.

Here are two resources you can use to simplify and automate your direct mail communications: Continued…

Posted in Marketing.

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Three Big Lessons from the Info Products seminar

As I mentioned, this past weekend I attended Fred Gleeck’s Info Products seminar. Before it recedes too far into my memory I wanted to list out three of the biggest lessons that I think apply to traditional business owners. These are what I call Aha! moments – moments when a misconception or prejudice falls away. Continued…

Posted in Big Lessons.

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Fred Gleeck’s Info Products Seminar

I just got back from beautiful Saddle Brook, NJ where I attended Fred Gleeck’s Info Products seminar. Two days packed with very informative, and very helpful, presentations by some down-to-earth marketers and experts. Hype level was very low, and quality was gratifyingly high.

When you spend as much time studying internet marketing as I do you start to get really burned out on the hype and BS. It’s refreshing to hear real people talk about actual businesses and how they’re using legitimate marketing techniques to grow them. Continued…

Posted in Marketing.

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