Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Even though more shoppers make purchases online this year compared to previous, their satisfaction levels with e-tailers declined slightly this holiday sales season.
A new industry report released today, by Foresee Results, ranked holiday winners and losers among major online merchants based on customer satisfaction. Satisfaction with the top 40 online retailers slipped 1 percent to an index of 78 out of 100 points.
Retailers were judged on four categories: content, functionality, merchandise and price. Amazon ranked #1. They reportedly excelled on content, functionality and merchandise. Again reinforcing that the lowest prices aren't everything.
According to Kevin Ertell, vice president of retail strategy at Foresee, “Overall online site experience is incredibly important to not only satisfaction but in getting people to come back and buy, again and again.”
As you plan your online presence for the upcoming year, your website may need an update. Evaluate your website from the perspective of your customer. Evaluate what is working and what needs to be adjusted for better response and retention. Solicit answers from your customers. Asking "why" and acting on the feedback, may help you to gain better long term customer satisfaction.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Our society should glorify failure the same way it glorifies success. The stories we read about in the general press and in special interest magazines all make success sound easy. They tell you stories similar to the housewife who was selling her "Best Tastin’ " cookies at school bake sales when her son’s teacher suggested she should sell them in stores. Almost overnight she's a millionaire.
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Monday, November 15, 2010
Two new Google features are striking a high note with some people and hitting a bad nerve with others.
- If you recently changed, or regularly change your page content, the thumbnail may not match your actual page.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
What are their professions?
Does gender or age matter?
What are your client's interests, hobbies, and lifestyle?
What group or area can afford your fees and product prices?
Who could be a good long-term, repeat client/customer?
What are they getting from you that makes then a long term and repeat client/customer?
What values does your ideal client have?
What are their challenges or problems that you are able to solve with your services/products?
And just as important as knowing who is your ideal client/customer, who is NOT your ideal client/customer?
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Sunday, October 31, 2010
What or who is the exact market for your business/product/service?
Do you know?
Some entrepreneurs erroneously believe that everyone is a prospect for them. Everyday I receive about a dozen emails from people, many whom I don’t know, telling me that they have the perfect business for me; or when I am ready to give up my J-O-B and quit making someone else rich, they have the opportunity for me. Dozens of emails circulate the internet for vitamins, prescriptions and enhancement products. Not one of these people has identified if or why I am the “perfect person” for this perfect solution to a problem they don’t really know if I actually have. Instead they are using what is termed as a shotgun approach – quantity over quality marketing – and hoping some of it will come through. This approach may work for some, especially if you have the thousands of dollars needed to stay one step ahead of the spam controls. However, is this how you would like to be introduced to a product or service? Most people would prefer to be told about something they are personally interested in or need.
Start two lists with two columns each.
The first list, write what is the EXACT market for your business/product/service in the left column.
And in the right column, write WHY.
EXACT NICHE MARKET | WHY
On your second list, identify who is your target customer in the left column. And in the right column, write WHY you know that this is your customer.
EXACT TARGET CUSTOMER | WHY
What research did you do to determine these answers?
What sets YOU apart; what makes what you have to offer – different than someone else allegedly offering the same thing? This is an essential piece of the puzzle. What is unique about you and your business?
This is an important piece in your entrepreneur puzzle. There are numerous “me too” businesses and products on the market battling for business. Yu can set your self apart from the crowd when you effectively identify your uniqueness, the unfilled need and your target market.
Friday, October 29, 2010
"Since I have given it chicken feed and trained it to be a chicken, it has never learned to fly," replied the farmer. "It behaves as chickens behave, so it is no longer an eagle."
"Still," insisted the naturalist, "it has the heart of an eagle and can surely be taught to fly."
After talking it over, the two men agreed to find out whether this was possible. Gently, the naturalist took the eagle in his arms and said, "You belong to the sky and not the earth. Stretch forth your wings and fly."
The eagle, however, was confused; he did not know who he was. He was comfortable with his life and was content with the farmer providing his food and being in the company of the chickens. Seeing the chickens eating their food, he jumped down to be with them again.
Undismayed, the naturalist took the eagle on the following day up on the roof of the house and urged him again, saying, "You are an eagle. Stretch forth your wings and fly." But the eagle was afraid of his unknown self. He was afraid of the world he did not know. He was scared to fly. He jumped down once more for the chicken food.
On the next day, the naturalist rose early and took the eagle out of the barnyard to a high mountain. There he held the king of birds high above him and encouraged him again, saying, "You are an eagle. You belong to the sky as well as to the earth. Stretch forth your wings now and fly."
The eagle looked back toward the barnyard. Then he looked up to the sky. He still did not fly.
Then the naturalist lifted him straight toward the sun. The eagle looked up to the sky and began to tremble. Slowly he began to stretch his wings. He looked back once more to the barnyard and then fixed his gaze toward the sky. At last . . . . With a triumphant cry he soared into the heavens.
From that moment on, the eagle was living life as an eagle.
Now it may be that the eagle still remembers the chickens with a certain fondness and nostalgia. It may even be that he occasionally revisits the barnyard. But as far as anyone knows, he has never returned to the barnyard to live the life of a chicken. He truly was an eagle, even though he had lived the life of a chicken.
Just like this eagle . . . . . people who have learned to limit themselves by their surroundings, instead of the passion of who they really are.
As you begin to map out and plan your business venture, stretch your wings and let your inner eagle soar.
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010
If someone else asked you the following question: “Why are you the best person to do this (business, product, service, job)?” , what convincing answer would you need to convey?
What makes you unique?
What do YOU have to offer?
Why are YOU the best person to do this?
How does your background and experience assist you in this?
Are you the kind of person who can get a business or project started, or consistently advance towards a compelling Goal or Vision? How do you know this? How would someone else see this in your or your results?
Why You? Do you really believe ALL that you have just answered about yourself?
If not….. then don’t go any farther with these questions, until you are able to believe your own words. If you don’t believe you – then chances are that no one else will either.
Did any part of your statement sound defensive? If so, what would it take to remove the defensiveness and replace it with confidence?
It is important that you can understand- ”Why You?” And when it is true for you, you will be able to tell someone else with confidence and not defensiveness.
“Know that although in the eternal scheme of things you are,
you are also unique and irreplaceable,
as are all your fellow humans everywhere in the world.”
~ Margaret Laurence ~
Taking all the reason why YOU are the best person to do this, how will your actions or results benefit others?
Who else (family, friends, employees) will also benefit?
What is the greatest benefit to you?
Many people run into the next business venture or job without much forethought, many times in desperation and then the results are stressful and unprofitable.
Taking the time to identify the WHY YOU and the benefits to all involved before making the decision can make a difference in your results.
Once you identify the Why You? then you can move towards identifying your precise target market.
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Thursday, October 21, 2010
Describe in minute detail every piece of your business ideal.
What do you plan on accomplish? (not wishing or hoping for)
Where are you going?
How big will this become for you? For others?
Describe your business/product/service success as if you were talking to someone who was interviewing you for a detailed success profile. HOWEVER, you are going to look at your success from a different perspective.
Start writing your detailed success profile, your ideal vision from today projected 10 years ahead. Write as if it is already 10 years from today and you are sharing your success in detail with a friend who you haven’t seen in 10 years. Describe HOW YOU DID IT. It is easier to reflect on success, than to attempt to imagine success if you have never been there.
Where are you in your business?
How are your finances?
What freedom are you now enjoying?
How are your relationships with your clients, vendors and employees?
Write it all – every area of your business and your success.
Now as you imagine that you are 10 years down the road of your successful journey, you are contacted by a well known journalist. You are invited to be interviewed for a prestigious publication that publishes the detailed profiles of successful entrepreneurs. The interviewer wants you to reflect on your previous 10 years and describe HOW YOU DID IT.
Let your imagination run free. You may find real solutions in your creativity.
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Wednesday, October 20, 2010
"The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work." ~ Mark Twain
Entrepreneurs are four times more likely to become millionaires than people who work for others. Entrepreneurs also include salespeople in every field whose financial rewards are dependent on their efforts.
Entrepreneur (Dictionary.com) a person who organizes and manages any enterprise and significant accountability for the inherent risks and the outcome An Entrepreneur is one who is willing to take upon her/himself a new venture or enterprise and accepts full responsibility for the outcome.
50% of college graduates currently identify themselves as entrepreneurs, compared to 15 years ago when less than 25% did. With downsizing and job dissatisfaction, over 58% of the corporate business sector are motivated to move into their own small business, if only part time.
With the increase in entrepreneurism, more emphasis and training is being offered on how to succeed, yet many entrepreneurs still fail within their first two years.
Many entrepreneurs enter into business with the education of an employee. Although this education and experience is valuable, it is also limited when balancing all the pieces of a new venture. Even more entrepreneurs attempt to grow their success “by the seat of their pants” or “plan as they go”. Salespeople, network marketers and others with a product to sell are embarrassed many times when they find that their lack of planning has caused them a loss of a sale or business rather than success.
A comprehensive written business map can overcome many obstacles and frustrations. A map written from the perspective of your ideal vision can also keep you on track when experiencing unexpected success. Many people are thrown off track when a windfall of success shows up. They celebrate the success and then find themselves farther behind afterwards. A map written from your understanding of your motivations, your limitations, your strengths and your challenges will give you a clearer view of your road and how to travel on it.
Over the years I have met several entrepreneurs who scoff at the idea of researching their idea and mapping out a plan. I have met many “spiritual’ people who tell me that to make God laugh just show her your plan. I have met sales people and people searching for a new job or a promotion who tell me it is a waste of time to research their prospect or their company and use this research to advance their goals. In all these cases, their results are a reflection of their strategic planning or lack of it. Your map is a focusing tool and is a reflection of your commitment and your flexibility. Without one you become a victim to whatever shows up. With one, you are empowered with your creativity, your inspiration, your guidance, your new opportunities and your choices.
A persons focus changes when they take the time to write down their ideal vision and their goals. Their awareness of everything around them becomes clearer, suddenly they begin to see and hear answers and opportunities they didn’t notice previously.
Success comes from focusing on your ideal vision, your ideas, your plan, and placing all your energy, all your will power, all your effort, everything you have behind them. The world of today is filled with unlimited opportunities, which the dreamers of the past never knew.
Success comes with an unwavering commitment to your ideal vision, mapped out and put into a plan of action. This map that you relentlessly follow, will overcome many otherwise obstacles, including lack of capital.
Your map is a guide that you can use to direct you on your continuing journey towards success. Your illustrated map can aid you in your strategic thinking. It can act as a communication tool when speaking to potential people to join your downline, potential investors, potential key employees, partners, and strategic alliances. It can motivate you when uncertainty or struggle arises. It can assist you to motivate other people who work with you. This written map is a tool for others to see your goals and dreams as seriously as you do. It can be a gauge to measure your growth and solve problems.
"For most people, their planning consists of setting the alarm clock
For many people, this will be a complete departure from their current habits, activities and thoughts. Many people are afraid to write down their ideas because they fear that their dream might evaporate under scrutiny. Actually the opposite should happen. The more you write about your ideas, the clearer your road will appear. Some people will say that they don’t have the time, or they think they can keep everything straight in their head.
The reported major reasons for lack of success are (1) failure to identify the actual ideal vision (2) failure to research and gather the proper information, (3) neglect in mapping this information and ideas into an action plan, (4) lack of focus, persistence and motivation, and (5) lack of sufficient capital. (Notice how capital is last?)
Whatever result you desire in life and business, you must institute the most definitive actions that will bring these results. The results you are now creating are a result of the actions you performed previously and the actions you are currently taking. I order to gain different results you must use different behaviors and continue with these behaviors until they become a habit, second nature to you. If you continue the same behaviors attitudes and habits that you are currently exercising, you can only achieve the same results you currently have.
“The definition of insanity
Simply put: If the road you are driving points South and the destination you desire is West, you will need to change your direction to point West if you want to arrive at your destination. You now have an opportunity to develop new habits that will lead you to your goals.
Most entrepreneurs are visionaries. A visionary can see and feel the dream or idea in its complete state. You can see the future unfold. By mapping your ideas iinto a well formulated written plan, you provide yourself with the powerful structure and the daily steps to make your dream a success.
Avoid the temptation to stop short with the reading of this information and not follow-through with the work especially if you already have a collection of books gathering dust on your shelves.
With proper use, this information should stimulate your thinking, challenge your limitations, anger you, frustrate you and shine a light on your best answers for yourself.
Recently there has been an increase in the “Law of Attraction” and “Vision Boards”, however many of these same people fail to attract what they say they want. If you are only partially clear on yourself and your ideal vision, or only think about your goals part of the time, and look at your vision board occasionally, your positive results will be sporadic and only part of your long term vision.
As you clarify your vision through the puzzle pieces posted here, I suggest you put the pages into a 3 ring binder and make sections in your binder for each part of your map (ie: vision, goals, financial, marketing, etc.) With use your pages will become full of notes, and the edges may get tattered. Also, carry a spiral notebook with you. Write your ideal vision on the inside cover where you can look at it throughout the day. Add small pictures so you have a visual as well. As you go through your day and you stay focused on your ideal vision, your map, your goals and your plan, new answers and ideas will seem to appear out of unexpected places for you and you will need to write them down and then transfer the sheet to the appropriate section in your three ring binder. Your map will being to formulate itself.
If you were planning a trip across country, and your vision was to arrive 6 months from today, you would not hesitate to start collecting information and ideas. You would research the route, the sites special places along the way. You would make decisions on when to leave, who to take with you and where to stay along the way. You would begin noticing special offers for what you think you need. Pictures of sites along the route, as well as those at your destination would keep you excited.
This is the same energy and actions, once mapped into a business action plan that will drive you closer and faster to your success.
With each entry in your book and wrinkle on the pages, you will notice changes in your success. Wrinkles will seem to disappear from your path of growth and more answers will continue to unfold. You will find more answers “come to you” that you might not have heard or seen previously, or you may have simply overlooked.
As you research and map your plan, you will be able to identify your areas of strength and your personal challenges and fears. You will recognize opportunities and hazards for your advancement. You will better understand the full potential of your ideal vision and why it is so important that you do it.
Mapping your action plan is more than reading a book or copying someone else’s notes. It is more than just mere ink on paper. You must intimately understand all the puzzle pieces of your ideal vision, your ideas, dreams and goals. Your map is never final because your ideal vision will continually evolve.
Success can be compared to a puzzle. There are many “pieces” that must fit intimately together in order to create the profitable outcome you desire.
Many entrepreneurs experience difficulty in starting or expanding their new personal or business venture because they mistakenly look at the freedom of entrepreneurism in the wrong light. Many erroneously think it is freedom from time restrictions, freedom from a boss or freedom from authority. The truth is in fact that entrepreneurism does offer a new freedom.
This freedom is earned by careful mapping, organized and consistent action (especially when you don’t feel like it), continuous reevaluation of results, and the courage to make changes.
The freedom earned is the pride of taking responsibility, the ability to express your ideas, the joy of meeting and overcoming challenges, and the joy of your own personal development with the advancement towards your ideal vision.
Check back for future posts:
Clarifying your ideal vision
As each personal and business is unique and one of a kind, the author, publishers and associates having no control as to how this information is to be used, here in disclaim liability of any kind or nature in the use of this information, No representations, warranties or guarantees are given, either expressed or implied, that this information will raise capital, guarantee financial or business success or job satisfaction for the reader, end user or end user’s intended use.
This content is for informational purposes only and is not intended for use as a source of legal, business, investment, or accounting advice. The reader of this information assumes all responsibility for the use of this information. The author assumes no responsibility or liability whatsoever resulting from the use of this information.