Monday, July 7, 2008

RePosted Article

"3 Things You Can Do to Stop Worrying About the Coming 'Recession'"
by Alexandria Brown

I was catching up recently on the phone with an acquaintance of mine, and her talk turned to the coming recession. "Oh no," I thought. "She's really buying into this."

She went on to complain about the price of gas, how everything's getting so expensive, how she's worried about her husband's job, and how the country's going to hell in a hand basket. And she knows all this of course because she watches the news.

Then, as our conversation took another turn, she told me about the fancy new home entertainment system her hubby just installed in their family room. And how her daughter now is taking both ballet and piano lessons.

I don't know about you, but as I look around I still see people jammed into shopping malls and spending, spending, spending. Compared with the rest of the world, we really have nothing to complain about. And for you reading this article, this recession will only be what YOU make of it.

Now listen, I know prices are going up for many things. You may have lost some equity in real estate. And it may cost $75 to fill your gas tank. The family grocery bill may be higher than before.

But it's especially important as entrepreneurs that we do NOT follow the thinking of the herd. If you let the news get to you and become mousey with your marketing or waffle back and forth on firm business decisions, you WILL feel the "recession". So it's important more than ever to simply refuse to participate in all the worry.

Here are three steps to turning this "lemon" of a recession into some entrepreneurial lemonade...

1. Stop listening to all the media's B.S.

Mainstream news would make no money if it stopped preying on people's fear. (You realize the news networks are not a public service, right? They are in the business of getting ratings to sell advertising. Period.)

Have you ever noticed that after watching just 20 minutes of CNN Headline News you usually want to go curl up in a ball and die? I mean, you may as well because the world's going to blow up, right?

Everything is going to pot. You'll find negative stories on the environment, war, disease, crime, and of course... the economy. It's laughable what they'll come up with just to broadcast some bad news. A few weeks ago at the gym I spotted this "headline" story on the tube along with some sad-faced puppies: "PETS: Feeling the Foreclosure Boom!"

Everyone is selling crisis! From the news and politicians. So stop watching CNN all day, refuse to participate in this circus, and instead start planning your first (or next) million.

2. Look for the good news.

If you actually look around you in real life right now you won't see people holed up at home, huddled around a fire and eating rice and beans. Yes folks may be cutting back their budgets a bit, but it's pretty much life as usual.

I am told that just this past May the U.S. enjoyed the fourth straight week of a declining number of people filing for unemployment. And while the media keeps harping on the disappearance of the middle class, guess where most everyone is apparently moving? The TOP. Yes, that's right. Two-thirds of the middle class are movin' on up - just like George and Weezie.

A recent issue of Time Magazine stated that according to federal income-tax data, "...the pie is [still] getting bigger for everyone." And a June 18 article in the Los Angeles Times says, "...there still won't be an actual recession, UCLA forecasters say."

You can always find doom and gloom if you want to. So turn off your TV and use your brain.

And even if you think this recession is going to be a big deal, see what it brings with it: A huge opportunity for entrepreneurs, along with less competition from those throwing in the towel because they aren't made for the game.

3. Go where the profits are.

Those two-thirds who have moved up are what many are now calling the "mass affluent". These folks are a BIG opportunity for we business owners to re-engineer our offerings for large potential rewards.

My marketing mentor Dan Kennedy -- whose "no B.S." attitude on the recession I adore -- reported in a recent article that there has never been more discretionary income and spending on a broader and more diverse range of premium priced goods and services than ever before.

Dan was the first one to teach me that in normal conditions less than 10% of consumers truly buy only based on price. He surmises that number will go up in a recession, perhaps even double or triple, but it will still be the minority.

(By the way, Dan has an excellent new book on this precise topic, The No B.S. Guide to Marketing to the Affluent. Everyone in business right now should get a copy.)

So it's funny that many of us are so worried about what we charge. What we should be doing instead is looking at ways to make what we offer more valuable, more experiential, more unique, more indispensable. AND what we all should be doing is looking for ways to take what we already do and target it to the wealthy and soon-to-be wealthy.

For example, can you offer a premium version of what you already provide? Something that includes more 'hand holding', more services, or a more dynamic experience with you? Do a quick brainstorm on your own.

It's Time to Step Up, More Than Ever Before

NOW is the time to be bold, dear ones!

While your competition sits around and complains that toilet paper has gone up $1, you unleash an amazing new marketing campaign that blows 'em away. While they hem and haw their investments have dropped, you snap up real estate deals on the side. While they are convinced they should charge less and cutting their profits to survive, you choose to reengineer, raise your prices, and thrive -- growing your business faster than ever before.

Look for the silver lining... it's right in front of you.

© 2008 Alexandria Brown International Inc.

Online entrepreneur Alexandria K. Brown publishes the award-winning 'Highlights on Marketing & Success' weekly ezine with 28,000+ subscribers. If you're ready to jump-start your marketing, make more money, and have more fun in your small business, get your FREE tips now at www.AlexandriaBrown.com


Saturday, July 5, 2008

New Article Repost

This is a recent article I read that I thought others might find useful.

Top Ten Frugal Ways to Market

Your Small Business

by Bonnie Jo Davis

Most, if not all, small businesses are built on a budget. Available funds must be used to buy technology, additional phone lines and marketing materials such as business cards. In this article you will find ten low cost or no cost tips that will help you get your first customer and build your business.

1) Obtain free or low cost business cards at a company such as www.VistaPrint.com. Add an explanatory tag line to identify your product or service. While you are running your normal errands drop off a business card at every business you see such as drycleaners, restaurants, gyms, etc.

2) Have a new or rebuilt shopping center opening in your town? Attend the grand opening and chat with the business owners and staff and hand out your free or low cost business cards.

3) Create flyers with your phone number on tear off tabs and place them at the library, grocery store, coffee shops, etc. Carry a few in your car with push pins so you never miss an opportunity.

4) Hold a contest. People love freebies. When you're handing out business cards and designing flyers highlight your contest for a limited time. Anyone who books at least two hours of your time during the contest month is entered into a drawing for a gift basket. Put together an inexpensive gift basket with sample size coffee, a coffee cup, a business book or best selling novel, cookies and crackers. Put the names of the qualifying clients in a hat and have your child draw the winning name. Take a picture of the gift basket and your child drawing the name out of the hat, scan the pictures and put them on your website along with the name of the winner.

5) Write an article that would appeal to your target audience such as small business owners, add a four to five line biography with your e-mail address and web site address. Submit the article to websites and e-zines that cater to your target audience.

6) Create an informative presentation around your topic area and contact your local Chamber of Commerce and offer to speak at a monthly meeting.

7) Create coupons offering a free or discounted product or a free hour of service for every two or three hours of paid service. Give them out to prospective clients and to organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce to use in contests and give aways. Give the recipient an incentive to by your product or use your services by giving the coupon an expiration date.

8) Use the time you spend sitting in traffic to gain new clients. For less than thirty dollars you can purchase a sign for your car from www.iprint.com or www.webdecal.com.

9) Create a press release announcing the opening of your business or some other milestone event. Send the press release to editors at your local newspaper and to other free area publications.

10) Ask for referrals. Give your business card to your family members, neighbors, hair salon, etc. and ask that they pass them on. Offer an hour of free service or a free product to anyone who refers a client who signs a contract for services and give them a link on your web site.

(c) 2001, Davis Virtual Assistance

Bonnie Jo Davis is a Virtual Assistant working with small businesses to increase efficiency and profits. You can reach Bonnie at http://www.DavisVirtualAssistance.com or by calling (949) 709-2670.