and other ramblings of a small business owner

Other Ramblings

Nearly managed it

I’ve got a confession to make. I didn’t fully complete the last week of my 28-day marketing program. I kept putting it to one side and then all of a sudden it was the end of the week. At the weekend I went through my list and was pleased to be able to tick some of the actions off, things which I had just naturally done, here but I’d completed nowhere near as much as I had planned.

It’s a bit disappointing because I’d been sticking to it so well and I missed out on that feeling of satisfaction of having kept to it to the end. However, I’m still feeling very positive about the whole thing. I exceeded the goal I had set myself (certain number of new prospects) and could really tell that my activities were having a positive effect. Definitely worth doing.

So, I’m planning another 28 days to start in a couple of weeks time. I’m going to keep the activities that were obviously working and try out a few new things. Now that I’ve used the book a few times I’ve got to the point where I’m adapting it to suit how I work. I’m going to use my own tracking sheet as I wasn’t finding the book’s way of doing it to really worked for me – wasn’t giving me an idea of how much of the week’s program I’d completed. I’m also going to skip the daily pep talk. I can see what the author intends with that but I think that after having read it a few times it’s losing its impact.

Looking forward to making a start on the next 28 days!

Category: Other Ramblings | Tags: marketing

Those extra special touches

I found myself doing something last week that I never do. I placed an order with a cold caller. Really, I never ever do that – hate cold calls and never buy anything over the phone (or on the doorstep for that matter). But last week I did.

Actually, from the point of view of the caller it was probably a cold call but at my end it was much warmer. Why? Because I’d already heard of the company and at one point had considered buying from them but for some reason never got round to it. He also phoned at exactly the right moment as I was needing to order some stationery (he was phoning from an office supplies company). In fact at that exact moment I had a slip of paper on my desk in front of me saying ‘buy printer cartridges’. So, he was onto a winner wasn’t he? I knew the company, I had wanted to use them and I had a need for their products.

So I ordered a couple of things on the spot. Not a massive order but we generally don’t need much stuff. The order promptly arrived the next day along with a packet of chocolate biscuits – now they know the way to a girl’s heart don’t they? And that’s really the point of this blog post. It’s the special touches like that that really make a difference. I’d already had a good experience through placing the order but I’m really going to remember them now aren’t I? And I found myself talking about it at my business breakfast on Tuesday – not because I consciously thought ‘let’s plug my new stationery supplier’ but because I wanted to tell everybody about the biscuits.

In case you happen to be in Cornwall, the company I’m talking about is Office Smart. I’ve only placed the one order so far but it was an excellent first impression. Now, I wonder if they can help us with our filing cabinet problem…

Category: Other Ramblings | Tags: customer service, marketing

That light bulb moment

Inspiration is a funny thing isn’t it? Sometimes you can’t get hold of it however hard you try and sometimes it just comes to you. Maybe that’s it, search maybe inspiration is something that you can’t force, maybe you just have to let it happen.

Last night I was trying to think of a subject for a blog post for our web design blog. As part of my 28-day marketing plan I’m writing at least one blog post each week – the last couple of weeks I’ve done a two-parter on how to make the most of your website. So, yesterday being the start of a new week I wanted to start planning this week’s post. But could I think of anything? Nope, not a sausage.

And then while I was waking up this morning an idea came to me. So much so that it stuck in my head and I had to get up and write it down. So, since 6.30 this morning I’ve been sat with my laptop drafting this week’s blog post. A productive start to the day but I would have liked another 30 minutes of snoozing. Now all I need to do is proofread and add it to the site – might even manage that later on today.

Category: Other Ramblings | Tags: blogs, inspiration

Week three of marketing program

I’m starting week three of my marketing program today. Last week I didn’t keep on top of my daily actions as much as I would have liked. The week certainly wasn’t a complete write-off, but there was one day when it really didn’t happen. So, I need to start this week with renewed energy. Anyone got any spare energy they can lend me?

Overall I’m definitely feeling the benefit of following the program, it’s providing me with structure for my marketing activities and a means of tracking results. Results so far are very encouraging. I’m beginning to get a feel for which of my daily actions are most effective, and which I could probably replace with something else. For example, going to a couple of networking events each week I’m sure is doing me some good, but the online networking I do every day isn’t very successful. It’s not that I’m expecting instant results from it, it’s just that I’m not really feeling like I’m engaging with anyone at all. Actually, writing this makes me realise that it’s not necessarily the activity that is a problem, but that I need to improve how I go about it. I’d better give some thought to that and see if I can turn it around over the next couple of weeks.

Category: Other Ramblings | Tags: marketing, networking, social networking

Why do pyramid schemes make me uncomfortable?

At breakfast yesterday morning one of our regulars gave me some information on a pyramid scheme that she’s getting involved with. Now, she’s someone that I’ve been breakfasting with for several months now so there’s a certain level of trust there. So, why does the idea of signing up to it make me so uncomfortable?

It’s one of those schemes where you get a certain amount of money for what you do and also a cut from anyone that you introduce, and presumably from anyone that they introduce etc. That’s why it’s a pyramid. I don’t know exactly where it came from but I’ve got this ingrained suspicion of this type of scheme. Is it just gut feeling?

I think part of my problem is that I believe that making money can’t be that easy – money is something that you should earn, with hard work. I’m a strong believer in hard work – working hard on my business gives me a sense of achievement.

Am I looking a gift horse in the mouth? Or am I actually being very sensible following my intuition?

Category: Other Ramblings | Tags: networking, pyramid schemes

Week two of marketing program

I’m now into week two of my 28-day marketing program and I’m pleased to say that I’m still going strong. Feeling pretty pleased with myself actually. The program has helped give me the right mindset so I’m making the most of all the opportunities that come my way. And there is something very satisfying about working through my list of actions each day – individually the actions probably aren’t that mindblowing, but working through them consistently each day definitely adds up to something.

I’ve got two successes which I’m particularly pleased about – a potential new client from one of the networking events I went to last week (don’t want to speak too soon but it’s looking very promising) and a press release accepted by Business Cornwall, Cornwall’s business magazine – I only sent it to them this morning and it’s already on their website (New premises for design companies). Fingers crossed it generates some interest for us and our chum Neil.

So, a good start to the week and lots of enthusiasm for my marketing activities. Can’t wait for breakfast at Cape Cornwall in the morning.

Category: Other Ramblings | Tags: marketing, networking

How to make the most of your website

Head on over to the Webfooted Designs blog for the first part of our Top 10 tips for making the most of your website article. Second part coming soon!

Category: Other Ramblings | Tags:

Feed Forward not Back

I went to a very interesting event in Truro this afternoon. It was run by Enterprising Women which is an organisation for women in business. After a couple of inspirational talks we were taught the Feed Forward technique.

Feed Forward is a technique to help you continue to improve – in whatever area you wish to improve. It’s actually very simple. Instead of asking for feedback on something you’ve done (and let’s face it asking for feedback isn’t always the easiest thing in the world), you think of something that you would like to improve and then ask people for suggestions. That’s pretty straightforward isn’t it?

We spent 45 minutes or so going round the room asking each other for suggestions on a particular subject. The idea was that we didn’t give loads of detail or enter into a discussion about it, we just said what we would like to improve in and everyone gave two suggestions. It was very interesting how everyone interpreted it slightly differently and gave completely different advice. I ended up with quite a list to consider.

So, I came away from the afternoon with a new technique and having met a load of new people. Good stuff!

Category: Other Ramblings | Tags: confidence, improvement, networking

Marketing program

I’ve decided that it’s time for a marketing push. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day running of the business (at least I find it is) and every now and then I need to remind myself that we need to be getting out there and actively finding new clients. So, I’ve started myself on a 28-day marketing plan in the style of Get Clients Now!.

I’ve got it all mapped out and am coming to the end of day 4 of the plan. Actually, saying I’m on day 4 makes it feel like I’m cheating – the book starts you off on a Saturday to make sure you’ve got everything prepared and are ready to throw yourself into it on the Monday. But to me it feels like I didn’t really do anything for the first two days. So, I’m actually on the second day of actively doing stuff.

It certainly feels very positive having a plan to work to. It’s making me think about everything I’m doing and all my interactions with clients and contacts. Let’s see how it goes!

Category: Other Ramblings | Tags: goals, marketing

Buying local produce

One of the things that I like about living in Cornwall is the fantastic local produce. There’s something really satisfying about buying local produce and knowing that it has literally come from just down the road. People in Cornwall do like to support their local businesses. This is something that I hadn’t particularly come across where we lived in Oxfordshire before. Is it the same in other parts of the country?

There’s a farm just down the road from us that has a veg bench – a bench where they lay out the seasonal vegetables and you can go along and help yourself, leaving payment in a jar. I love it. On Saturday, with the idea of slowness in mind, I walked down the road in a leisurely manner to buy some veg for the week. It was a beautiful morning.

While I was selecting my veg (potatoes, celery, leeks and cabbage this week), the farmer came out of his cottage to say good morning. He asked for some feedback about why I bought my veg there. What a brilliant opportunity to let the farmer know how much I appreciated being able to buy directly from him and to say how much I loved the veg.

Category: Other Ramblings | Tags: buying local