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Stamping Is My Business!: Business Building Articles

29 posts categorized "Business Building Articles"

March 22, 2012

VIDEO - Should I Charge For Workshops?

Whether you call them 'Private Classes,' 'Undercover Workshops' or anything else, should you engage in the practice of calling a workshop something that it isn't, charging your attendees a nominal fee and offer to refund that fee if they purchase catalog product? The answer might surprise you...

 

March 20, 2012

How To Make Your Own Luck In Your Stamping Business

 

No Leprechauns Needed

Now that St. Patrick's Day has passed, it's time to ask a few questions:

 - Did you get lucky?
 - Did you find the pot of gold?

Probably not.  And if you're waiting around for luck to happen in your business, you're going to be waiting for a long time! 

The truth is, every successful stamping business owner I work with... the ones other stamping business owners think 'got lucky'... make their own luck!

One of my favorite quotes is 'luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.'  What it basically means is you have to make your own luck!

How do you make your own luck in your stamping business?  Here are three steps:

1. Plan
After all these years, I'm still amazed by how many stamping business owners run their business without a real plan.  If you don't have a business plan, with a clearly defined set of objectives, as well as long and short-term goals, then how do you know if an opportunity that presents itself is good or bad for your business?  How do you know if you're doing things that are moving your business in the right direction?  Truthfully, you don't.  If you don't already have a Business Plan, take some time and create one.  If you'd like some help with that, click here.

2. Execute
Once you have your plan in place, you now have a roadmap.  However, the roadmap is only good if you follow it.  Again, I'm amazed by how many stamping business owners take the time to create their Business Plan, but don't follow through and execute it.  If you want to be successful, you have to work your Plan consistently!  The two things every successful business owner has in common is focus (the Plan) and consistency (the execution).

3. Analyze and Revise
After you've worked your Plan consistently for several weeks, take a moment to analyze your results.  Are you moving in the right direction?  Are there elements of the Plan you didn't consider?  Are there things you're doing you now realize you shouldn't be?  Have circumstances changed?  Have new opportunities presented themselves?

The most successful businesses are the ones that are constantly reading the ever-changing landscape and making the necessary adjustments.  They're the ones who become the trend-setters and leaders, while everyone else is left to follow.  

Don't be afraid of change.  It's part of any business, and the more willing you are to embrace it, the more successful you'll ultimately be.

If you follow these three steps, you won't need leprechauns leading you to pots of gold.  You'll be making your own luck... and creating your own success!

 

March 11, 2012

Three E-Mail Elements You Should Be Testing

Three Email Elements You Should Be Testing

Last week, I sent many of you my 'Top 5 List Bulding/E-Mail Marketing MIstakes' video.  One of the mistakes I mentioned was lack of testing.

This generated a bunch of e-mail asking me what, exactly, they should be testing.

So, here are  

Three E-Mail Elements You Should Be Testing:

1. Subject Line

You always want your subject line to engage your reader.  Remember, 80% or more of the people who receive your e-mail will never get past your subject line... UNLESS you make it compelling enough for them to do so.  Different types of subject lines are going to generate higher open rates with your customers.  And the only way to find out what those subject lines are is to test, test, test!  AWeber actually allows you to split test the same e-mail.  It will send out a broadcast e-mail, randomly selecting one of two different subject lines for each of your recipients, and then giving you a report of which performed better!

2. Time of Day

Every list has a sweet spot.  A time of day that generates more opens than any other.  The only way for you to figure that out for your list is to test different times and see which one works best for you.

3. Format

Some lists prefer e-mails that are relatively design free (black letting on a white background), while others prefer lots of colors and graphics.  How can you tell which your list perfers?  Do a split test with one of each design, but the same content.  See which one gets a higher click-through rate.

There are lots of other things you can and should be testing as you grow your list and warm it up to where you can send out an e-mail anytime, and count on them to open it and buy from you!

For the step-by-step gameplan to create YOUR list of dependable buyers, sign up now for the List Building/E-Mail Marketing Boot Camp.  The Early Bird Discount expires Tuesday!

March 08, 2012

Three Things To Remember When Building Your List AND Our Survey Results!

Mailbox

Building your e-mail list is the most important thing you can do for your business.  Without a good, responsive list, it doesn't matter how much you offer... or how good those offers are... you will NOT generate the amount of business you need to thrive!

With that in mind, here are

 

Three Things To Remember When Building Your List:

1. Make it easy
Don't make your potential subscriber jump through hoops to get on your mailing list.  Ask for the least amount of information possible (name, email address), and make sure the form is right on the front page of your blog.  Don't make them click a button to get to the form.  I know it sounds crazy, but the extra step will cost you subscribers!

2. Give them a good reason to sign up
Don't just say, 'Sign up for my newsletter.'  Tell them what they're going to get when they sign up for your mailing list that's exclusive... that they wouldn't get any other way.  Whether you're spotlighting the content they're going to receive, or the gift you're going to send them for signing up, the more enticing you make it, the more subscribers you'll get!

3. Give them more information than solicitation
It's OK to ask people on your mailing list to buy something from you.  If subscribers don't understand that you are running a business, then they shouldn't be on your list.  Having said that, make sure the majority of what you're sending them is information, rather than solicitation.  How can you tell the difference?  Every time you send out an e-mail, ask yourself, 'will my reader benefit from this regardless of whether or not they buy something from me?'  If the answer is yes, it's information.  If the answer is no, its solicitation.

 

Results of the Survey
On Monday, I sent you a survey asking how many names you'd like to add to your mailing list in the next 12 months.  Over 500 of you answered the survey!  And the average was... 186 new names in twelve months!

Well, I'm pretty confident you can all add a lot more names to your list than that

And if you'd like to learn, step-by-step, how to do just that, I encourage you to sign up for the upcoming List Building/E-Mail Marketing Boot Camp!  The Early Bird runs through this Tuesday. 

Learn more about the List Building/E-Mail Marketing Boot Camp.

January 02, 2012

5 Reasons Why Most Don't Become Wealthy

Brian-TracyJust finished reading a fantastic article by Brian Tracy called, '5 Reasons Why Most Don't Become Wealthy.'

In the article, Tracy points out that with all the opportunities out there, it's really surprising so few people are able to achieve financial independence.  He goes on to detail the reasons he believes this is so.  They are:

  1. It never occurs to you that wealth is a possibility for you
  2. You never make the committment to do what it takes to attain wealth
  3. You procrastinate
  4. You're unable to make the sacrifices now that will bring about the big gains later
  5. You're not focusing on the long-term implications of the decisions you're making today

As we head into the New Year, its important to understand how the way you think affects the way you behave.  And the way you behave impacts your overall success... one way or the other.

In other words, think about the way you think!

If you'd like to read the full article, you can do so here

If you feel like you lack the self-discipline necessary to take the steps outlined above, you may want to read Brian Tracy's book, 'No Excuses! The Power of Self-Discipline." 

And if you enjoyed this post, don't forget to click the Facebook Like and Google +1 buttons below!

November 02, 2011

Building Your Stamping Business - Four Destructive Myths

Building your stamping business can be difficult under the best circumstances.  However, it becomes much more difficult when you factor some very common, preconceived notions about how to best run our business into the mix.

These are ideas and theories we've heard so often, we assume they must be true.  A little investigation, however, shows they're actually quite detrimental to the effective and efficient running of our business.

Tony Schwartz has written a great article for the Harvard Business Review entitled "Four Destructive Myths Most Companies Still Live By." 

The Four Myths are:

  1. Multitasking Is Critical In A World Of Infinite Demand
  2. A Little Bit of Anxiety Helps Us Perform Better
  3. Creativity Is Genetically Inherited, and It's Impossible To Teach
  4. The Best Way To Get Work Done Is To Work Longer Hours

If you're trying to build your stamping business, and you're letting yourself be influenced by any of these four myths, you may want to take a look at the full article.

October 13, 2011

Is Your E-Mail Reaching Your Customer's Inbox? The Answer May Surprise You!

MailboxTrue or False?  If someone has opted into your mailing list, and you send an e-mail to them, are they guaranteed to get it?

Of course, you know the answer is false.  We all know e-mails bounce.

True or False?  If an e-mail we send bounces, do we always know about it?

Most people would say yes, but the surprising answer is NO!

In fact, Return Path just released a study which finds:

  • only 81% of all permissioned email from commercial email senders makes it to the inbox
  • 7% land in either the spam or junk folder
  • (Here's the shocker) 12% simply go missing!

That means, you send it... they don't receive it... and you don't receive any notice it wasn't delivered!

With 1 out of every 5 emails ending up in the wrong folder or not showing up at all, what can you, the business owner, do to make your marketing more effective?  Here are three tips:

1. Engage across mulitple platforms!
Make sure you're having conversations with your prospects and customers on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

2. Pick up the phone!
Nothing is more effective at generating business than picking up the phone and speaking with your customers and prospects.  E-mail has never been a replacement for a phone call!

3. Watch your bounces!
Whenever you send out an e-mail, make sure to look at your bounce report 24 hours later.  Follow up on all of your bounces with a phone call or, at the very least, a personal e-mail, letting the person know the bounce occured and trying to rectify the situation.

Follow these tips, and you'll become a better all-around marketer... and a more successful business person!

In the meantime, make sure you're subscribed to MY mailing list by filling out the form in the top right corner of this page AND then, click here to Like SIMB on Facebook!


August 11, 2011

Can You Guarantee Failure?

Absolutely!

I see stamping business owners guarantee failure all the time.  They guarantee they're NOT going to grow their business.  They guarantee they're NOT going to make more money.  And they guarantee that, sooner or later, they're no longer going to be stamping business owners.

How?

They give up before they even start!

For example, over the last week or two, I've heard from several stamping business owners who feel like qualifying for their company's incentive trip will never happen... so they've decided not to try!

My response to that is... WHY wouldn't you try???

Think about it... What's the worst that can happen?

Best-case scenario - you're sitting on a beach in Fiji.

Middle-of-the-road scenario - you're sitting on a beach in Hilton Head.

Worst-case scenario - You don't qualify for either trip, BUT you have a much more profitable, effective busuiness than you did before AND you're in a much better position to qualify next year!

The only option that GUARANTEES failure (and this is true in any business) is not trying at all!  Resigning yourself to failure and giving up before you start.

Why does this happen so much?  Often, people focus on the fact that they'll be disappointed in themselves if they fail... so to avoid that potential disappointment, they don't even try.

Personally, I'd feel more disappointed in myself for not trying.

If you feel like your business isn't growing at the rate it should, and you'd like some assistance in building a stronger business foundation, check out the Stamping Business Basics Program!  Just $7/month for 6 months, and full of the information and motivation you need to move your business in the right direction.

 

 

 

August 07, 2011

The 'I Need More Customers' Myth

One of the things I hear from Stamping Business Owners practically every day is:

"I need more customers!"

My response is almost always the same:

No you don't.  What you need are more of the right customers!

Probably one of the biggest reasons stamping business owners struggle is the customers and mailing list subscribers they have are not really helping them build a business that meets their needs and/or advances them efficiently toward their goals and objectives.

Think about it...

  • Is a customer who doesn't want to pre-pay for your classes helping you?
  • Is a customer who watches what you do, but then buys from Michaels really helping you?
  • Is a customer who thinks your prices are too high really helping you?

Of course not... but these are the customers most stamping business owners not only market to... but also continually cater to in their business!

How do you break this cycle, or avoid it entirely?

Be more specific when you're choosing your target audience!  Then, continue to laser in during the rest of the marketing process!

You won't get as many new mailing list subscribers, but you WILL get a higher percentage of people paying what you ask and actually contributing to the growth of your business.

Not only that, but you'll end up running a much more efficient business, as well.  Think about it... would you rather have 20 customers spending $100 each or 200 customers spending $10 each?

Targeting, marketing to and acquiring the right customers allows you to make at least as much money in significantly less time!

And THAT'S how you run an efficiently profitable business!

Please respond to the following question in the Comments section belowWhat percentage of subscribers on your mailing list have spent money with you in the last six months?

Finally... if you're looking for more help with this type of 'laser targeting,' you only have two days left to sign up for the Marketing and Advertising Boot Camp!  It starts Tuesday, August 9th, and there won't be another until 2012, so don't delay!

April 19, 2011

New Orleans Reflections, Part 2 (The Steps)

Johnjacksonsquare In yesterday's post, I wrote about our six-week stay in New Orleans, that it wouldn't be possible if my business wasn't structured the way it is, and that your business should be the means to your ends, as well.

If it currently isn't, that's OK.  You just have to figure out what changes and improvements you need to make to get it to be!

As I mentioned yesterday, this really was my wife, Liz's, idea.  Here are the steps we took, and the steps you can take to make your dreams a reality, too:

  1. Define your goal.
    After Liz came up with the idea, we immediately sat down together and wrote down exactly what we wanted to do.  In our case, we knew the timeframe, the housing requirements, and the neighborhood requirements.  Without this information, we really could not proceed to come up with a concrete plan of action.  It’s important for you to define your goal as clearly as possible.  So, really take the time to detail it out and get as specific as possible.
  2. Determine how much it’s going to cost.
    Once we knew exactly what we wanted, we then had to figure out how much it was going to cost.  This is an important step.  Not only for the obvious reasons, but because there are often costs you don’t think of until you sit down and figure it out.  For example, we realized that for a road trip like this, we were going to have to purchase a car–topper to store our luggage.  This was an added cost we wouldn’t have thought of if we didn’t spend some time thinking about it.  Once you have your specific goal and timeframe, sit down with a piece of paper and try to come up with every potential expense you can imagine!
  3. Break it down into specific steps.
    Once you know your costs and your timeframe, it’s relatively easy to figure out how much you need to make on a monthly or even weekly basis, and the steps you need to take to get there.  Write the steps down.  Having a written plan gives you the greatest chance for success. 
  4. Follow the plan and be accountable.
    There are no shortcuts here.  You have to follow your plan every month, every week, everyday.  To help, make sure you're accountable to someone.  If you work with me, I’m more than happy to keep you accountable and on track.  I personally was accountable to my own Coach and my very motivated wife!  :-)

If you follow these steps, maybe next year, we’ll pass you on the road or in an airport, and we’ll give each other a big thumbs up!

April 12, 2011

Business Lessons From The Last Week's "Shark Tank"

Shark Tank As many of you know, one of my favorite television shows is Shark Tank. 

Entrepreneurs pitch their businesses to five multi-millionaire investors (the Sharks), hoping to secure their investment in exchange for a stake in their business. 

 

Each week, there are always a few excellent quotes and teachable moments.  Here are three of them:

1. "Every dream has a shelf life.  I mean it.  A dream wihtout a deadline is hope, and hope is not a strategy." - Robert Herjavec

One of the most important aspects of goal-setting is the element of time.  If you don't have a deadline to achieve your goals, you can't have a solid plan.  And if you don't have a solid plan, you don't have much of a chance.

2. "It kills me when they don't know the numbers, never come on the Shark Tank without the numbers. You die an awful death!" - Kevin O'Leary

A real business person will eat you alive if you don't know your numbers.  They'll mark you as an amateur and won't have very much to do with you.

3. "Whenever someone asks you what your sales are... never, and I mean ever, start the answer with, 'well, unfortunately...'" - Daymond John

Whether you're having trouble or not, never start to describe any aspect of your business with a negative when you're speaking to a potential customer, downline or investor!

If you're not already watching Shark Tank, you can find it on ABC, at 9 p.m. eastern.

September 29, 2010

Q&A - What Goes Into A Newsletter

Newsletter A monthly newsletter is a pretty standard part of just about any stamping business.  I'm often asked, though, what, exactly, goes into a business-building, revenue-generating newsletter?

Here's a list of things to keep in mind:

1. Use a newsletter broadcasting service

You should not mail your newsletters from your personal computer.  You REALLY should not attach your newsletter to your personal e-mail as a doc or PDF!  Ultimately, you save time and money by using one of the many newsletter broadcasting services available to you.

My first place recommendation these days goes to AWeber.  They provide great flexibility, very professional features and top-notch delivery rates.  AWeber is the gold standard! 

Constant Contact gets my second place nod.  While they're deliverability rates are good, and they're the most user-friendly of the bunch, they lose points in my book for not allowing their users to have multiple, separate lists or unlimited autoresponders.

 

2. Make sure it's 70% information... 30% solicitation

Remember, the goal is NOT to send out a newsletter.  It's to send out a newsletter that somebody is going to OPEN and READ!  If your newsletter is predominantly "buy this, come to that," people aren't going to respond.

By keeping the majority of your content informative, you train your readers to look forward to your e-mails, because they know they're going to learn something when they open them.

How do you tell the difference between information and solicitation?  Just read your article and ask yourself, "would the reader benefit from this article if they didn't want to buy something or attend an event?"  If the answer is yes, then it's information.  If the answer is no, then it's solicitation.

 

3. Diversity Your Articles

One Card Project, one Q&A, one Technique, one Scrapbook Page, one non-paper Project, a Tool Tip, Class Calendar, company promotion and business opportunity mention is all you need!

 

4. Always Include Calls-To-Action

Don't let your readers guess at what you want them to do after they read the article.  TELL them what you want them to do in the clearest possible terms.

 

Follow these guidelines and you'll be producing a newsletter that generates business for you in no time.

Of course, if you'd rather not have to write ALL of these articles, check out the Newsletter Co-op you can join as a member of the Business Stampers Coaching Group.  Write one article, have access to 70+ new articles you can pick and choose for your newsletter each month!

For more information on the Co-Op, and the BSCG, click here.

 

June 25, 2010

Crunch Or Die! Avoid Bad Advice! 3 Steps To Evaluating New Ideas... And Why You Have To Take Them!

I was on a one-on-one call with one of my clients yesterday, when she told me a horror story I'm hearing more and more often:

"My downline was looking at a Yahoo Group she's on, and a well-known Demo suggested a 'business-building' idea to the group.  It basically involved giving a customer several free classes if that customer purchased some product.  Because she sees this Demo as 'successful,' she just ran with the idea.  She posted it on her blog and put it in her newsletter.  Then, she told me.  I couldn't believe it when I heard it, and couldn't believe anyone would give this type of advice.  I sat down with my downline and crunched the numbers with her.  When she saw how much money she was going to lose on this idea, she was not happy.  Unfortunately, because she perceived this Demo as successful, she had already put it out to her customers and is stuck with it."

Everybody has ideas, and we all believe our ideas are good.

I believe my ideas are good.  Other gurus believe their ideas are good.  Your peers believe their ideas are good.

Whenever you hear a new idea, though, you should never just jump right into it.

Before you decide to follow an idea or try something new, you should always evaluate it. And evaluating it requires a couple of steps:

1. Ask yourself, "Does this idea play to my strengths, or to my weakness?"

Obviously, if there is an idea that really focuses on an area you're not particularly good at, even if the idea is a good one overall, it may not be good for YOU!  So, it may not be the best idea for your business.


2. Ask yourself, "Will this idea get ME closer to MY goals?"

One thing you'll find in the stamping business community is there are a lot of different types of business owners with a lot of different goals.  If the goals of the person who had the idea are not the same as your goals, the idea may not be right for you. 

Also, there are going to be times when the goal of the individual, independent stamping business owner will not necessarily be the same as the overall goals of the corporation or the company.

That why it's always important to look at YOUR goals, and make sure the idea matches up with them specifically.


3. Crunch the numbers.

Finally, you have to make sure the idea makes financial sense to YOUR business.  Different stamping business owners have different types of businesses. They have different numbers. Some stamping business owners have a large downline.  Some, a small downline.  If the person who put forth the idea is collecting a big downline check each month, and you're not, an idea who's numbers make sense for them may NOT make sense for you.

But you'll never know unless and until you run the numbers.

Bottom line... not every good idea is a good idea for you.  And if you follow every idea you hear without evaluating it first, you could be jumping off a cliff.

Take the time to evaluate each idea, and you'll be fine.

For more on this topic, you can watch several videos on the SIMB YouTube Channel.

June 22, 2010

Why Do I Need To Keep Track Of My Finances?

Keeping track of your finances. For home-based stamping business owners, keeping track of finances is one of their least-favorite things to do. The truth is, many of them don't really want to know how much they are spending because, generally, they are spending more than they should.

As a business owner, though, it's very, very important for you to keep track of finances.

1. It gives you an honest view of your business.
If you don't understand exactly how much money you're making... or how much money you're losing, it's going to be very difficult to keep your business afloat long-term. 

2. You'll learn where, specifically, you're making and losing money.

This allows you to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your business. You'll be able to see where you're getting the best return on investement (ROI)... and where you're not.
By allowing yourself to identify those strengths and weaknesses, you now have the ability to make the necessary changes to maximize those strengths and minimize those weakness.

3. You'll make more money.

Keeping track of your finances... and being able to make the necessary changes, quite simply means you'll make more money!  You will be more successful and you will be in business a lot longer.

So, while keeping track of your finances may not be fun, especially in the beginning.  By the time you have your system established, you'll not only be having more fun... you'll be making more money as well!

If you'd like step-by-step help setting up a Financial Management System for your stamping business, check out the SIMB Quicken DVD!