Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"We have someone who does that."

Noooo … you don’t.

But, it’s a line I hear from businesses all the time. It’s a way of putting off a query from a salesperson or consultant or freelancer or maybe just an enthusiastic, do-gooder customer. In fact, the business may have someone who has “that” on their list of responsibilities … but, “that” is way down the list. Or, perhaps that “someone” is just incompetent at “that.”

A case in point, whether I’m selling or not, is when a business hasn’t taken advantage of (or even simply claimed) their free Google Places listing. I can point out the problem … maybe write some simple instructions on the back of a business card or in an email and then attempt to pass it along to the key parties. Months later the listing is still unclaimed, and, perhaps the location of the business is still wrong or perhaps the information about the business is still coming from third parties and not the business owners themselves. In any case, it’s an opportunity that’s gone begging for want of a simple fix by the person who does “that.” And it may be a windfall of opportunities missed.

So, if we’re to ask for accuracy and candor from a potential client, perhaps we should be hearing:

“We have someone who doesn’t do that.”

Do you have “someone who does that”? Are you sure?

Cross-posted from my other blog.

Monday, January 17, 2011

QR Codes

We've just published a new site to explain the basics of QR codes to consumers: readthiscode.com

Please let us know what you think and how we can improve our explanation. Version 1.1 of the site will include a video with a demo of the code being used.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Why wouldn't you?

You run a small business and someone offers you an opportunity to get a little bit of a competitive edge and some extra exposure to the public.  Better yet, it might get a few more customers through the door.  It's free and it takes about ten minutes (especially if you've already got a little bit of copy promoting yourself).  Even if you've "already got a website" (words I've actually heard as a reason to ignore this offer), why wouldn't you take it?

It looks to me like a lot of businesses are missing out on this offer from Google Places.  And yet, many of these same businesses are still paying for Yellow Pages ads.  Ask yourself: when was the last time a customer said, "I found you in the phone book."  That's becoming a rare event these days.  On the other hand, a lot of people look to the Internet as their first resource for finding services. Google Places (and some of the other opportunities out on the Web) would seem to be a no-brainer.

Hey, if you want to know more, I'm available to help. And, if you want to take it even further than just that (important) listing, that's my business.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Visual Metaphor: Group portrait of entrepreneurs

Click on the image to see it in better detail.

Visual Metaphor: Starting a business alone

My thanks to Joseph Kittinger for having made this jump from 102,000 feet in August of 1960.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What a bootstrapper has to think about ...

In starting a business from scratch, there are things you need to remind yourself of every day ... maybe more than once ... from Seth Godin's Bootstrapper's Bible (2004):

Bootstrapper's Manifesto

I am a bootstrapper. I have initiative and insight and guts, but not much money. I will succeed because my efforts and my focus will defeat bigger and better-funded competitors. I am fearless. I keep my focus on growing the business—not on politics, career advancement, or other wasteful distractions.

I will leverage my skills to become the key to every department of my company, yet realize that hiring experts can be the secret to my success. I will be a fervent and intelligent user of technology, to conserve my two most precious assets: time and money.

My secret weapon is knowing how to cut through bureaucracy. My size makes me faster and more nimble than any company could ever be.

I am a laser beam. Opportunities will try to cloud my focus, but I will not waver from my stated goal and plan—until I change it. And I know that plans were made to be changed.

I’m in it for the long haul. Building a business that will last separates me from the opportunist, and is an investment in my brand and my future. Surviving is succeeding, and each day that goes by makes it easier still for me to reach my goals.

I pledge to know more about my field than anyone else. I will read and learn and teach.

My greatest asset is the value I can add to my clients through my efforts.

I realize that treating people well on the way up will make it nicer for me on the way back down. I will be scrupulously honest and overt in my dealings, and won’t use my position as a fearless bootstrapper to gain unfair advantage. My reputation will follow me wherever I go, and I will invest in it daily and protect it fiercely.

I am the underdog. I realize that others are rooting for me to succeed, and I will gratefully accept their help when offered. I also understand the power of favors, and will offer them and grant them whenever I can.

I have less to lose than most -- a fact I can turn into a significant competitive advantage.

I am a salesperson. Sooner or later, my income will depend on sales, and those sales can be made only by me, not by an emissary, not by a rep. I will sell by helping others get what they want, by identifying needs and filling them.

I am a guerrilla. I will be persistent, consistent, and willing to invest in the marketing of myself and my business.

I will measure what I do, and won’t lie about it to myself or my spouse. I will set strict financial goals and honestly evaluate my performance. I’ll set limits on time and money and won’t exceed either.

Most of all, I’ll remember that the journey is the reward. I will learn and grow and enjoy every single day.

Thanks, Seth! Want to read the entire Bootstrapper's Bible? You'll find it on ChangeThis.com right HERE.

Also highly recommended: Jonathan Fields' F2 | Firefly Manifesto: Remixed

"Whatever you can do or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it." - Goethe

Now, pardon me while I re-read that.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Google Places replaces Local Business Center

Google has rebranded its Local Business Center service as Google Places. It's essentially the same service as before, but with a few new features. These include service area mapping, a $25 a month feature to help businesses stand out by adding "tags" to their listings, free business photo shoots, QR codes (see below) and a bit more. Local Business Center users in the Dallas-Fort Worth area will not be able to take advantage of the tagging service or the free photo shoot for the moment, at least.

QR codes are similar to barcodes. Certain models of smartphones have the ability to scan such an image on a business card, for example, in order to go directly to the business's mobile version of their Place Page. The QR code for MobileVisibility.com's Place Page is shown below.  For my Motorola Droid, the application that can scan this is "Barcode Scanner" and probably several other apps.  For the iPhone, one suggested app is "Barcodes."  Google suggests that you can find out what works for your smartphone by searching by your smartphone's model name and "QR reader."

Even without some of the features being available in DFW (yet), this rebranding isn't just a name swap, it's an upgrade.

Official Google Blog: Introducing Google Places