Steps to Starting a Small Business: #4 Naming Your Business

When you’re starting a business, one of the steps to starting a small business is naming your business.  While a rose by any other name may indeed smell just as sweet, the name you choose for your business is one of the most critical decisions you will make.

Your business name is the foundation of EVERYTHING in your business.  It will affect every aspect of your business from customer perception to the domain name you use for your web presence.   Make a mistake in naming your business and, trust me – it will haunt you for years to come.

This post is obviously a “do as I say, not as I do” kind of post.   I am the QUEEN of choosing horrible names for my adventures.  Case in point – Virtual Impax.  I can admit it – it’s a TERRIBLE NAME for a business!  The “fun-n-funky” hooked on phonics spelling just makes it worse.

How do I know it’s a terrible business name? The first clue I had that the name Virtual Impax was a horrible business name was when first question most people ask is, “What is that?” or “What do you do?”

Another horrible choice – Acumen Web Services.  Do you know what the word “acumen”  means?  If you don’t, you’re in good company.  Naming my alter ego business Acumen Web Services is clearly a case of “Who talks like that?”

The answer – me and only me.

With this said, there is a school of thought out there on naming your business that would tell you that I’ve been BRILLIANT in naming my business ventures.  See, these unique and unusual names means that my web presence is a GUARANTEED NUMBER 1 listing with the search engines.

People who SUBSCRIBE to this school of thought are idiots.

I say this with all the love and affection possible, but these people truly do NOT understand search.


You put yourself at a huge advantage if your business name is also your domain name.

“But wait,” you may be thinking, “Xerox is a made up name and they’re a house hold word now!”

Ah, yes my Padawan learner (veiled Star Wars reference) Xerox, Kodak, Kleenex – even Google are all “not real word” names that have come mean something in our daily lives but the path those “brands” have taken have literally been paved in gold.   In each case (except for Google), the path to creating a brand name that becomes a household term is achieved through extensive and relentless advertising.

One of my early web development clients was a local Tru Value store.  This was way back in the 1990’s and my client had recently purchased the store.  While the storefront was barely breaking even, the previous owners had started selling lighted Christmas lawn displays out of the back room.  Now THAT was a business worth buying.  My client had decided to take the business “to the web”, which was VERY cutting edge thinking way back in 1998.  Unfortunately, the name he chose was Holiday Silhouettes.  The only reason I can spell silhouettes is because of the time I worked with him.   He took a pass on the easy to spell, easy to remember domain name “Christmas” Is it a coincidence that the company who chose the easy to spell domain name is still in business and he’s not?

So if choosing an obscure hard to spell word, a nonsense jumble of letters or purposefully misspelling common words are all LOSER business naming strategies, what are some WINNING business naming strategies?

The following advice is for those who don’t have a lot of money to spend on either a branding consultant or a naming service.

  1. A great small business name tells what you do.
  2. A great small business name communicates your business’ unique place in the universe.
  3. A great small business name uses words that people can easily spell.
  4. A great small business name uses words that people are using to search for solutions to the GDP (not Gross Domestic Product but rather Goals, Desires and Problems).

A rose by any other name may indeed smell as sweet – but you can make the climb to the top easier by choosing the right name for your business.

Steps to Starting a Small Business: #3 Promotion (a.k.a. “marketing”)

This is the third in the Steps to Starting a Small Business series and I’m assuming you’ve cleared the first two steps to starting a small business, which are of course the HARDEST hurdles to overcome.

The first step to starting a small business is you’ve got to come up with a GREAT idea that you’re passionate about.  The second step to starting a small business is to  figure out a way to package this idea into a product or service so that people are actually willing to write a check and PAY you for providing this valuable product or service.

Now, the third step to starting a small business is to let the world know about your business, also known as marketing.

Marketing is simply communicating the solutions you offer with the people who need your products or services.

People have problems – people have goals – people have desires.  If your product or service doesn’t help people solve their problems, achieve their goals or satisfy their desires – then go back to the drawing board and start over again.  After all, why else do you think people are going to whip out their credit card or check book and give you their money?

Begin your marketing strategy by asking yourself this simple question, “Who needs my product or service?”

If you answer, “Everyone,”  then smack yourself across the face- HARD!  “Everyone” is the answer that will doom your small business to failure.

When you try to target “everyone” you are in essence targeting NO ONE!

Akemi of the Yes to Me blog interviewed Tom Volkar. From the interview at Coaching The Freedom Of Self-Employment: Tom Volkar

In my coaching business the challenges were more internal and consisted of trusting myself and working through the underlying fears that developed around the lack of time and money. In chronological order here were my biggest challenges.

  1. Not completely following my core values, allowed me to be lured by projects that looked financially promising but were not authentically aligned with who I was.
  2. I fought prevailing wisdom to niche myself for far too long because I thought it would limit the work I’d receive and cause me to earn less.
  3. I allowed my fear of learning technology to get in the way of my business growth.

The emphasis above is my own.

Time and time again, small business sucess stories usually start at the moment the business owner defines a target audience, known as a “niche market”.

Long ago and far away, I worked with a tiny bakery located in the basement of a former office building in a dying downtown area of a rust belt community.   The location was horrible, the product was expensive and probably not the best fit for a town populated by unemployed factory workers.  Yet those two ladies created an incredibly successful business in a relatively short period of time.

The secret to their success was simple and began when they tightly targeted their niche market.

In the early days of their business (before I was working with them), they ran ads in the newspaper – declaring themselves to be a bakery.   Ho-hum.  Wal-mart had a bakery.  The local grocery chains had bakeries and those bakeries were not only cheaper, they were a lot more convenient!

However, when they began talking to a specific audience – working women who didn’t have TIME to create home made goodies for their friends and families – their bakery business literally exploded.

We began running ads that talked about the extravagant cheesecakes and unique cookie platters.  We described them as the kind of “treat” that every woman would love to create – if only we had more time.  We placed those messages in places where working women would be exposed to it and the change in focus was like adding a match to gasoline fumes.

Did we alienate men as customers with these messages? If we did, it certainly didn’t show on the bottom line.

Did we alienate stay at home mothers with these messages? Again, if we did, it didn’t hurt the business.

By targeting WORKING WOMEN in this tiny community – we unleashed an avalanche of business upon that tiny bakery.

Even though there were only 63,000 people in the community – by tightly targeting the message and the audience, we were able to deliver more than enough customers to make this bakery a success.  They didn’t need 63,000 customers – they needed 300 customers and by tightly targeting their message, they surpassed that goal with ease.

By targeting a niche audience, we were able to create an effective marketing message AND find the right places to deliver that message to the right people.  Blogs are one way of delivering that message, but believe me – they are NOT the only way!

What is your defined “niche” audience?  What solutions do you offer and to whom do you offer them?  Take this opportunity to toot your horn and declare your niche (or your intended niche)!

Steps to Starting a Small Business: #2 – The Implementation

In the first post of this series, Steps to Starting a Small Business: #1 – The Idea, I covered what is perhaps the most IMPORTANT part of starting a small business – the idea behind your business.

Once you’ve got an idea whose passion has taken you prisoner, it’s time to get down to the next step which is the implementation.

You know – the BORING stuff like the legal FORM of your business, choose an accounting method, apply for an EIN, set up a business checking account, order business cards and stationery – yada, yada, yada!

One of those “yadas” may be to apply for a line of credit or a business loan. There’s been a lot of debate over years over the cost associated with starting your small business.

In one online debate, the two sides are arguing over how much it really costs to start a freelance business. One side says plan on spending a couple of hundred dollars, while the other puts the figure quite a bit higher in the $1,000 – $3,000 range.

Remember, I’ve worked with HUNDREDS of wanna-be small business owners and I have to say, the $300 or less plan is a very dangerous point of view to adopt.

When you’re starting your own small business everything is going to take longer and cost more than you planned.

Chances are, you aren’t a MASTER at all of the jobs you’re going to need performed in your small business, so you should probably plan on farming out at least SOME of the work.

  • If you’re not a web developer, you’ll probably need to hire one to create your website or blog.
  • If you’re not an accountant, you probably need to find one to help you set up the book keeping for your business.
  • If you’re not a graphic artist, you’ll probably need to hire one to create your logo and identity package.

The list goes on and on. (Trust me!)

Without a doubt, the biggest obstacle you face as you start your small business is trying to do EVERYTHING yourself.

Several years ago, I wrestled with a client for almost a year over the opening page to her website. That’s right, it took 12 full months to create a single page. She was obsessed with not only controlling every aspect of the appearance of her website, but she was EQUALLY determined to spend as little as possible.

The thing is, she had a GREAT idea for a small business. Unfortunately, putting up the site was quickly turning into a decades long ordeal and during that time another competitor came to market offering a similar service. My client lost her opportunity to be “first to market” and the last I heard, she had given up on the idea all together.  Meanwhile, her competitor is enjoying the accolades and success of being “first” to market.

Time is NOT money. You can always make more money. You can’t make more time!

Time is constantly ticking away. Ooops! There went another second. No matter how much money you have in the bank, you can’t get back that last second.

This is important. If you’ve got a GREAT idea for a business – one which has captured your every waking moment, every day is precious. Trust me, if it’s a GREAT idea, someone else is working on it.

Every hour you spend trying to piece together your brochure or trying to create a header for your blog in Photoshop, is another hour you postpone the grand opening of your business.

If you’re charging $50 an hour for your services – start viewing the job of designing your business cards, designing your header, setting up your blog via that lens.

You may pay $750 to have a talented graphic artist put together an identity package for you, but in all probability that is probably the BEST use of your time and resources.

See, If you spend 40 hours trying to learn how to create a logo in Photoshop – that means you’ve invested $2000 of your time in creating your identity package. Unfortunately, the logo YOU design probably won’t look as professional as the one you would have HIRED someone to create and may actually PREVENT you from signing clients.


I believe this is what my mother would call being, “Penny wise and pound foolish.”

Meanwhile, if you’d hire an experience graphic artist, you’ll get a professionally designed logo which communicates without words all that your business is and does.

That’s why I cringe when I hear someone tout “ultra shoestring” budgets for launching any business.  Create a business plan. If necessary, take out a business loan or better yet – start it after spending a full day at your ‘real” job for a while.

Whatever your do – don’t start your business under capitalized. Plan on everything taking longer and costing more than you think it will.

Now, I’m not advocating getting VC style funding which enables you to splurge on polished marble floors for your office and a hiring half naked, well built men to massage your shoulders as you work.

[Wow – all of a sudden,  I’m wishing for some VC funding.  I believe I just unwittingly set a GOAL for myself with that previous sentence!]

Get enough cash so the desperation doesn’t ring in your voice as you go out and try to drum up clients. If you can do that without a loan, all the better!  However,  while”balls to the wall” isn’t usually isn’t the preferred mode, some people NEED that kind of pressure to get started.

Your comments – as always – are welcome!

The “Real Deal” – The Value of Authenticity in Blogging

If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.

David M Ogilvy

It’s no secret that I’ve been a HUGE fan of Cath Lawson for quite some time now.  While I don’t remember exactly which blog post it was that I first read, but I still remember the feeling that washed over me when I discovered her blog.   Was it recognition?  Was it relief?

It was probably a little of both.  After all, I’ve publicly declared that there are times when I feel like I’m the only ” honest politician in Washington” because sometimes, I sometimes get EXHAUSTED by the “self proclaimed gurus and experts” who talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk!  I was half way through reading my first Cath Lawson blog post when I recognized that I had found another “honest politician”, even though she lives “across the pond” from me.

See, Virtual Impax is NOT my first rodeo.  I’ve jumped in and out of self employment ever since the birth of my oldest child and I worked extensively with entrepreneurs and business owners during my time as an AE with an advertising agency.

So it’s only natural I guess that when I had trouble finding a reliable cleaning lady, I decided to start my own cleaning business on the side.  I don’t know WHY I thought that was a good idea at the time.  Looking back, that one was PURE FOLLY!  “Let’s see, I can’t find ONE person who will clean my house properly – I think I’ll start a business where I have to plant my foot in the buttocks of a CREW of people who don’t know how to clean a house properly OR show up for work!”

In the end, I learned A LOT about myself.  I discovered that  I SUCKED as a boss.   I ran my business like it was some kind of charity organization.    I hired women who needed flexible hours and extra money instead of hiring people for their work ethic.   I hired dwarves instead of giants!  I hired people who wanted easy money, not people who took pride in their work!

Of course, my employees used and abused me.  (As Liz Struass would say, “They were people being people.”)   I closed shop when I had a dream that I was working in food prep at McDonald’s.  In the dream, I was stinking of grease and exhausted, but I declared  within that dream that it was better than cleaning houses.

So that’s probably why, when Cathleen would write about the trials and tribulations of running her plumbing company, I could relate.  I recognized the voice of another battle scarred business veteran.

With that said, I don’t know why I was so FLOORED by reading Cath’s offer to run an ad for free on her blog.  I just sat back in shock and awe.


As a matter of fact, I’d say she’s a MARKETING GENIUS!  No wonder I’m such a fan!  Not only is she a giant, but her readers are as well.   As her readers have been finding this blog, I’m feeling quite privledged to be in the company of so MANY giants at one time.

By the way, I can DEFINITELY tell a difference between Cath’s readers and mine.  Cath’s readers leave comments.  Mine email me or use the contact form.  Either way is good for me!

Starting Your Own Small Business: Tell Your Story

In advertising and in business, familiarity doesn’t breed contempt -it breeds business.

Telling your business story is an essential part of your marketing efforts. James Chartrand writes in his post Creative Storytelling

A good story grabs anyone’s attention. We love stories. We listen to the tale and imagine everything in our mind’s eye. We experience emotion and are compelled to take action because of the stories we hear.

Matt McGee seconds shares in his post 12 Tips on Creating Content for Social Media that sharing stories is a GREAT way to leverage social media.

Heck, I even wrote about the importance of sharing your business’ story in my book Beyond the Niche: Essential Tools You Need to Create Marketing Messages that Deliver Results:

You must be familiar with your customers. Know who they are, where they live and what they like to do. Then, be sure that they become just as familiar with you. Tell them your story. If you don’t think you have a story, consider these questions:

• How did your business get started?
• If yours is a family business, why did your ancestors get into this line of work?
• What factors led you to enter into this business?

If you’ve got your own small business, then you have a story to tell. How did you get started? What inspired you? What would you do differently if you could do it over?

I’d love to share your story of how you started your own small business with readers of this blog.

Just fill out the form and I’ll be happy to share your story. (I will reserve the right to final editorial approval.)

Is a Blog the Best Marketing Tool for Your Business?

There is an adage in advertising that says, “I know that half my advertising dollars are wasted – I just don’t know which half!” Several authors claim credit for this quote, but no matter what the origin, I can assure you the saying is wishful thinking.

Not only is it possible that more half of your advertising dollars are wasted, on the flip side, it’s also possible that your marketing efforts are working very hard – against your business!

One every popular “advertising” avenue being touted is using blogs to promote your business. With all the hype surrounding blogs, you may be wondering if a blog could help your business.

The answer is easier than you might imagine. But in order to answer this question, you must first recognize that there are two different types of sales your business can be making.

Neil Rackham is the founder of The Huthwaite Corporation, which launched a 12-year, $1 million research study into effective sales performance. Rackham is not your typical “sales guy” but rather he’s a psychologist who studies the sales process. The study results are available in the book, Spin Selling, where Rackham differentiates sales into two categories… the Minor Sale and the Major Sale.

While Rackham applies this theory to sales people who make sales calls, I have taken this theory and applied it to advertising and marketing, because these activities are “selling” activities.

If your business is making Minor Sales, then a blog probably won’t be a really effective marketing tool for your business. However; if you’re making a Major Sale, then a blog can be a GREAT marketing tool for your business.

Are you making a Major Sale?

The elements that make up the Major Sale extend beyond the financial investment required. Asking a customer to spend a lot of money is one way you know you’re making a Major Sale… however, it’s not the only factor in play. To determine how much of a Major Sale you’re making, ask yourself the following questions:

QUESTION 1: How much risk is there in purchasing your product or service for your customers?

In other words, how much trust do they need to have to become your client or customer? How “high” is the risk if your customers make a wrong choice? Most businesses doing business on the internet need to establish a level of trust, but some require more trust to be built than others.

For example, if you’re selling office supplies, the consequences fof your customer of making a mistake and purchasing the wrong kind of copy paper is very, very low. If your customer orders the wrong kind of paper and then finds out that he/she made a mistake… the consequences aren’t very high. If the customer has children, then he or she merely brings home the reams of paper and the kids will take care of it in short order.

On the other hand, the choice of a financial planner is a VERY high risk decision for most consumers.

Several years ago, a financial planning firm in my home town made BIG news when it was discovered that the “investments” offered by the “financial planners” were not investments at all but actually a complex Ponzi scheme. As a result, several thousand of the firm’s clients in the area lost their retirement savings.

If you need to establish TRUST with your potential clients… then a blog is a GREAT marketing tool for your business.

If you’re selling baseball gloves to Little Leaguers… well, then trust isn’t quite as important as it may be if you’re a CPA or a financial planner. On the other hand, if you’re selling copy paper, trust may be downright irrelevant!

QUESTION 2: How much TIME will customers invest in researching their purchasing options?

The higher the “risk” is for your client or customer in purchasing your products or services, the more time he or shee will spend researching providers and searching for alternatives.

It’s important to note that devoting a lot of TIME to making a decision about buying changes the buying process significantly. Just because someone is spending time researching a purchase, it doesn’t mean that the decision will be made based ENTIRELY upon which provider has the lowest price.

If your customers are spending a lot of time researching options, then a blog is a great marketing tool because, via regular posts, you can illustrate time and time again why they should make an investment and build a relationship with you. You can use those blog posts to clearly illustrate WHY the lowest PRICE provider may not be the BEST provider.

If your potential clients spend a lot of time researching their options… then a blog is a GREAT marketing tool for your business.

Blogs are MAGNIFICENT COMMUNICATION TOOLS!! If you’ve got a good “handle” on the information you want to communicate to potential customers and your customers are SEEKING more information to make an informed choice.

QUESTION 3: How much TIME will your customers be spending with you after the sale?

Yet another factor that moves a sale from Minor Sale status to Major Sale status is the RELATIONSHIP that you’ll have with your customers or clients once the sale is completed.

The more interaction you expect to have with customers or clients, the more information those clients or customers need BEFORE they make the final decision. If you expect to have a lot of interaction with clients or customers AFTER the sale, then even if customers aren’t making a major financial investment, they still treat the transaction as a major sale. After all, breaking up with a service provider is hard to do!

So while the investment in choosing a baby sitter for a Saturday Night out on the town may not require taking out a loan, it still falls into the Major Sale category.

If your potential clients will develop a relationship with you after the sale… then a blog is a GREAT marketing tool for your business.

If your business is involved with making Major Sales, then establishing communication with customers BEFORE they make a purchasing decision is essential. When communication is key, a blog is a GREAT way to communicate with customers and clients.

This article was published at BizNik
Biznik - Business Networking

Choosing the Messenger

So, now that I have my end user in mind, the next step is to choose the messenger, because my messenger is going to dictate my content.

In the film Ghostbusters, Gozer (a powerful being from another dimension) stands atop an apartment building on Central Park West in New York City, and informs the Ghostbusters that the next thing they think of will be the form that of the Destroyer, one whose mission is to destroy the world. While all the other members of the team clear their minds, Dan Akroyd’s character Ray allows his mind to wander to an innocuous memory of his youth: the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

For many who spend their days on the internet, and in my case in particular, it would appear this would be an easy decision…. pick up a domain name and either set up a blog or a web site. VIOLA! However, for my campaign, choosing the internet as my SOLE delivery device would be an equally poor choice.

asleepatcomputer.jpgThere are just times when your target audience just isn’t looking for your product or service on the internet.

This may be shocking for some of you. It’s okay. Breathe.

This revelation doesn’t mean that a web presence can’t act as a powerful marketing tool. What it does mean is that when your audience isn’t searching on the internet for your solution to their problem, you have to find another way to BRING them to your internet presence.

And that is where I find myself as I plan the marketing campaign for my own product.

I can CLEARLY see how my product can benefit my intended audience, but if I try to reach them solely via the internet, then I won’t be reaching a significant number of them to even justify the time/expense of putting up a specific web site for the campaign.

See, my target audience doesn’t KNOW that someone has created a solution to their problem!

Now, I can sit back and wait for them to stumble to the internet and type in the words I think they’ll use when they head to the internet seeking a solution to their problem. That would be the “easy” way for me at least. However, from my analysis of keyword searches, it doesn’t appear that my target market is heading to the internet for answers.

The lack of search on the keywords doesn’t mean my target audience isn’t EXPERIENCING this problem, it just means they aren’t searching for a solution on the internet.

Because I know my target audience so well, I know that the lack of keyword searches doesn’t mean I shouldn’t launch the product or even set up a web site. It simply means I can’t count on the web site to attract heavy traffic from my target audience.

I have to find another way to drive my potential customers to my web site!

Fortunately, I have one clear advantage in choosing the form of my messenger: I have a very tightly targeted audience in mind.

Because I have such a TIGHTLY targeted audience, I can reach them cost effectively via Direct Mail.

Because I’m going to have a web site to direct them to, I can rely on a relatively inexpensive method of Direct Mail called Postcard Marketing.

By using Postcard Marketing ,

  • I can tightly target my message
  • I can choose an eye catching graphic
  • I don’t have to play games trying to get my prospects to open the envelope.
  • AND I can provide a web site for them to learn more or even place an order.

If you’ve got a product/service and you’ve been disappointed in your web site traffic and sales, it may be that your prospective customers either:

  • Don’t know they have a problem.
  • Don’t know YOU have a solution.
  • Aren’t searching the internet FOR the solutions you offer.

In either case, you may have to reach out and touch them and bring them TO your internet web site.

In my case, I can purchase a mailing list that goes ONLY to my targeted audience. SWEET! I then plan on creating a piece that brings my target audience to my shiny new web site where they will find a tightly targeted message created JUST for them.

The role of your product or service in your marketing campaign

Since this is a record of the process of marketing a product or service, I should probably start at the beginning with product development.

In my case, my product is my book Beyond the Niche: Essential Tools You Need to Create Marketing Messages that Deliver Results . 

LESSON ONE: Develop your product with the distribution channel in mind

I wrote the book with an end audience in mind and even with a potential distribution channel in mind. 

Never in my most sleep deprived state did I EVER expect my book to become a best seller merely by it’s appearance on Amazon.  That meant I was faced with deciding BEFORE I WROTE A SINGLE WORD on how I would get my book into the hands of my intended audience.

One way of reaching prospective buyers was to launch my Beyond Niche Marketing blog. 

At this point, I’ll go on the record as stating mistakes were made in the NAMING of my product.  I am horribly jealous of Jefferey Fox’s book’s name HOW TO BECOME A MARKETING SUPERSTAR: UNEXPECTED RULES THAT RING THE CASH REGISTER.  This is, in my opinion, the BEST title I’ve EVER seen PERIOD!  Also, for the record, Rosemary Davies-Janes wanted to change the name of my book when I hired her to create the book’s cover, but by then the chapters had been named and the book had been through three rounds of editing with two different editors and it was really too late to fix my naming mistake.

LESSON TWO:   Sometimes you have to FIDO: Forget It and Drive On

The poor naming of my book damned my chances of selling it "virally" via traditional channels, (bookstores both on and offline).

However, I had in mind from the beginning a plan for selling books in quantities larger than 1-2 at a time and THAT is the basis of this "project".


Don’t kid yourself!  Marketing begins during product development.

The marketing process began as I was writing my book.  I wrote my book with my target audience in mind.  I wrote it focusing upon problems that audience faces and in the book, I provide solutions to those problems.

When you’re creating your product, service or even a logo it’s a really good idea to create it with the end user in mind.  It seems so basic, yet often it gets overlooked.

In my talkes with clients I’ve seen this critical issue overlooked time and time again.  Whether it’s product development or even writing a book, begin with the end in mind. 

Once you have the end user in mind, it’s easier to create engaging and compelling copy.

Fear as a Factor in Marketing & Advertising

Fear of failure is perhaps the biggest threat you’ll face when launching a marketing/advertising campaign.

See, promoting your product or services (marketing) is all about making mistakes.  As a matter of fact, failure in marketing and advertising – to a degree –  is to be EXPECTED!

Many business owners fear blogging for their business because they fear that they will “make a mistake”.

When it comes to traditional media campaigns, only after running a campaign and then going back, fixing mistakes and launching a subsequent campaign can you expect to achieve advertising and marketing success.

The same is true of business blogging.  Write a post and see how it lands with your target audience.  Then, try – try again.

The cycle for both marketing and blogging is simple – “TEST-LAUNCH-TEST-FIX”…. just like the cycle for washing your hair is to “lather, rinse and repeat.”

Anyone who enters into a marketing or advertising campaign expecting perfection should probably reconsider playing the game because, by it’s nature, marketing communication is ALL about improving the performance of your last campaign.

A perfect example of obsessively measuring performance of advertising messages is Nutri-System.   Nutri-System carefully tracks each and every marketing message they create.  They experiment with different testimonials in different media, seeing with customer story performs the best.  In the hyper-competitive and lucrative market of weight loss,  it’s essential that you keep improving on your latest success.

The key to overcoming fear as a factor in your marketing – whether it’s business blogging or traditional advertising –  is to bite the bullet and put that marketing message it out there…. then measure the results.

Marketing your business is a JOURNEY and you have to choose to begin somewhere.

One of the most common frustrations I have with clients are the ones who insist upon tweaking and tuning their marketing messages in a vacuum.  They will change the the colors of their theme – the font – and the images repeatedly – without creating a single blog post.  It’s almost as if they’re afraid to actually take their message to their target audience to see whether this marketing message ‘connects” with their target audience.

Trying to create the “perfect” marketing message before you launch means you’ll tweaking and waiting forever.  It’s infinitely better to post a poorly written marketing message to your business blog than to spend years crafting the perfect one in a vacuum.

Marketing Case Study

Over the past decade, I have worked with some truly brilliant marketing experts on marketing their products and services.

That statement may seem odd to someone who is not a "marketing guru" but it makes sense if you think about it.  (There’s a reason you rarely see ads advertising an advertising agency’s services!) 

shutterstock_154410.jpgSee, it’s easy for me to listen to you describe your product or service and pull from those conversations essential elements that need to be communicated to your potential clients or customers.  Even someone who is not particularly gifted in the "marketing craft" can still provide VALUABLE assistance by merely offering a fresh and objective eye on your business.

Looking at my own business with a fresh and objective eye is almost impossible … a phenomenon my high profile marketing clients have also experienced. One of those clients frequently says to me after I’ve helped to give her direction, "Why can’t I do for myself what I do for my clients?" 

Why indeed!  A better question to ask is, why when I have so much experience guiding other brilliant marketing minds would I try to market my own product without outside help? 

I guess the answer would have to be for kicks and giggles.  

Maybe I’m doing this because I’m in need of blog fodder or perhaps I just don’t have enough stress in my life (NOT).  What ever the reason, I’m going to embark on this, my own marketing campaign, solo and the "official" reason of record  is that I’m doing so in the interest of education and edification. 

That’s my story and I’m sticking with it! 

Next up… overcoming fear!