April 23rd, 2010
Below is a post by Zeke Camusio, reprinted with permission from the Internet Marketing Company. It rings so true, we just had to share it! Enjoy, we did.
Learning from mistakes is the most effective way to learn. These are seven of the biggest screw-ups in my career as a marketer. I hope you learn from my mistakes. I sure have.
You Can Be as Big as You Believe You Can Be
When I was 20, my goal was to make $5,000/month and that’s how much I started making two months after I set the goal for myself. About three years later, I found a mentor who told me I wasn’t making more because I didn’t want to. “That’s ridiculous,” I said. “Of course I want to make more.” But he was right. I was setting my own limits. I needed to dream bigger. My mentor recommended a book called The Magic of Thinking Big. Read it; it’ll change your life. It sure changed mine.
Integrity Doesn’t Have Grey Areas
You either do the right thing or you don’t. There aren’t grey areas. Your reputation is the only asset you can’t recover once you’ve lost it, so think twice before you do something that could compromise your integrity.
I know what you’re thinking, “I never cheat.” But, integrity is a lot more than not cheating. One time, when I was 17, a guy called me and wanted to buy a product I knew wasn’t right for him. But he wanted it so I sold it to him anyway. I shouldn’t have. I should have told him that the product he wanted wasn’t going to help him. Sure, I would’ve made $50 less but I would have earned his respect, he would have trusted me and recommended me to his friends. And, even if none of that had happened, it was the right thing to do. This is the most valuable lesson I learned in my life.
Systems Are Everything
My first companies were a big mess. We didn’t have any systems. We just took care of stuff as it came along and we put out fires as they appeared. Now we have systems for everything and our company is a much better place to work. Everybody is happier, things get managed and done, and the best part is that because we have systems in place, we can grow our business without having to work harder.
If you still don’t see value in creating systems, think about how McDonalds works like a Swiss clock with-low qualified, minimum-wage employees. That wouldn’t be possible without the most effective systems in the world.
Breaking Even Is Good
We’re all in business to make money. But, there’s a lot more you can get from your business:
- An education you couldn’t get anywhere else (not even in the best business school in the world).
- Life skills that you can’t learn any other way (persistence, communication, empathy, etc.)
- Connections (that you’ll be able to leverage later in your life).
Keep working on making more money but if you aren’t profitable yet, appreciate all the other great things you’re getting from your business.
Happiness Is More Important than Profits
Last week I read a book from a guy who claimed that profits are everything and you should be willing to sacrifice everything, including your own happiness, to increase profits as much as possible. I feel sorry for that guy. I really do. There’s so much more to life than profits!
A few years ago I was making a lot of money doing something that I hated. I was miserable. I used to wake up sad and was always stressed. Then a friend of mine said something interesting: “you should follow your passion.” My passion was marketing, so I opened a marketing agency and I now love my work so much that I would do it for free. Seriously.
I was lucky, though, because passion is not the only factor you need to consider. There are two more very important factors:
- Skills: are you great at what you do?
- Demand: do people want what you have to offer?
If you love what you do, are great at it and people want what you have, then you have a winning formula.
April 12th, 2010
How do you feel about the ads and promos for “new accounts only”? What if you’ve been an existing customer for years? Would you like to know you’re valued? Would you be more likely to make referrals if you knew you were? What about all that business you’ve continually brought in (and we all like recurring revenue streams!)? And don’t you just love the department store sales or discounts for opening a new charge account with them today…what if you’ve had an account for years? You can’t participate? Wish you could open one in a different name? Social security problem there. So how do you feel when you see promos for new customers and nothing, or much less, for the faithful? Or are you so used to it, you don’t even notice anymore?
On the flip side, how often do you receive promos or discounts for places you frequent? How do you feel when you get them? Are they the same or even a better promo than new accounts? Do you rush to use them right away? Do you tell your friends about how great it is to be a frequent buyer at said establishment? Do you remain loyal or are you still likely to try somewhere new?
These are great thoughts to keep in mind in sales and management. Whether you’re coming up with promos for new and existing customers, or developing incentive compensation structures—a concept I am a firm believer in.
When developing promos, always be sure to include existing customers. The cost of customer acquisition is very high, so retaining their loyalty is of great value. Repeat customers tend to buy more and more often, especially with incentives. And don’t forget, people buy from people they like, so whatever you can do to maintain that status is a good thing! There are a few retailers that do this quite well, and unfortunately many who don’t. However, this is not just a retail concept. Everyone likes to be treated well and most people are happy to return the favor. Be creative, have some fun with it. Apply something tried and true in a different space, with a new twist. Most importantly, see the results!
This concept is also true in employee management and incentive compensation. Have you worked for a company that only offers incentives or commissions to sales people? And extra perks for going over your quota, traveling more days, and so on? Do you feel appreciated in these environments or like you have equal opportunity to participate in these programs? Do you feel like you’re missing out? Would incentives be more motivating to you?
Very often employees who are not part of the sales organization do not have incentives in place. Sometimes this leads to fallout and animosity among those employees or division into we/they groups. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The power of the flip side is extremely valuable! I established within my own companies and have worked with clients to establish for their organizations, incentive compensation structures applicable across all areas of a business. If it makes sense to establish a full-time position within your organization, then this employee is valuable in the aspects of their job. Therefore, you can identify those most critical aspects and develop incentives and “commission” compensation around them. There are different structures for this, but I most often developed both “revenue generating or cost reduction” goals as well as internal or professional development objectives. I did so on a quarterly basis. An added benefit is the focus and evaluation on a quarterly basis for those things most important to move the company forward.
I’m sure some of you are wondering about the cost of such a program for “non-revenue generating employees.” There are strategies for developing these structures that do not cost the organization more money. They consider both the base and the incentive side of the equation. The best news, for high performing employees (the ones you want most, whether an office manager, developer, or sales role!), they have no worries and immediately see the benefits to them and bonuses for going the extra mile. This type of plan is incredibly motivational! It takes a little time to develop the quarterly incentives and to do the evaluations, but ultimately this creates far more value within your organization and moves your company forward much more quickly.
This is a very hot topic of conversation with my clients. These methods have been very effective with their organizations and mine. We developed it by applying a tried and true concept in a new way, across the employee base rather than one segment. Contact us to discuss further.