November 28, 2006

Need Help With Marketing Your Workshops and Teleclasses?

It's a lot of fun to create a workshop or teleclass, then POW! You're plunged head-first into the business side of marketing your class.

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November 13, 2006

The Continuing Self-Employment Boom

From the National Dialogue on Entrepreneurship:

New Census Bureau figures confirm what many experts have long suspected. The US is in the midst of a major boom in self-employment.

2004 data show that 19.5 million Americans are self-employed, and their numbers are growing. Between 2003 and 2004, the number of self-employed grew by 1 million (about 4.7%). Overall, these businesses without employees account for 70% of all US businesses and generate annual receipts exceeding $887 billion.

E-Bay is clearly having an impact as electronic shopping and mail order houses are among the fastest growing sectors (up 12.7%) for new self-employment ventures. Even faster growth can be found among building finishing contractors (up 22.5%), Internet service providers (up 18.7%) and nail salons (up 14.7%).

The July 2006 U.S. Census Bureau report, Nonemployer Statistics 2004, can be accessed at:

November 7, 2006

The Myth of Written Messages

Wandering down the street in New York City early one morning, I noticed a group of people standing in front of the doors to Macy's department store. Since it was 9:00 a.m., I assumed they were waiting for the store to open.

But as I walked by I noticed a sign in every door that clearly said: Store Hours 10AM – 9PM. So why were they standing there an hour before the store opened? Was some sort of special event going on?

As I walked closer to the huddled group, one of the women motioned to the Macy's security guard and asked, "What time does the store open?"

I am not kidding. She actually asked that, even though she was just six feet away from the Store Hours sign. She had been standing and staring at the door for at least three minutes. The store hours sign is in every door at eye-level. Yet she still preferred to ask another person to verify the truth of the sign.

What does this mean to the small business owner?

  • Just because you put something in a conspicuous place doesn't mean they'll see it.
  • Just because you write something in your marketing brochure doesn't mean people will read it.
  • Just because you have Frequently Asked Questions on your website doesn't mean people will read it, or believe that it applies to them.
  • Just because you write about the benefits of your product or service doesn't mean people will never have a question about whether those benefits apply in their particular situation.
We work so hard to craft good written messages, but for many people, the written message is only half of the picture. So what are creative solutions? Use graphics and images to also portray the message. Use audio so they can hear you as well as see you. Repeat the message often and be prepared to answer questions in a gracious and courteous manner...even if you've answered those same questions a thousand times before.

The security guard at Macy's was a gentleman and a customer service expert. He said in a genuinely pleasant and smiling manner, "Oh, yes, ma'am, the store opens at 10:00 a.m. and I hope you'll have a wonderful shopping experience here at Macy's."

Smart cookie.