Mark E Goodman

January 23, 2010

Everyone wants something for free

Filed under: Small Business — Tags: , , — markegoodman @ 3:05 pm

Recently it seems like everybody wants something for free.  Our first reaction as small business people is to reject the idea as unfair.  Sure, if you are running an ice cream shop, handing out a tiny spoon, while the person is in the store deciding what flavor to buy is a no brainer.  You know that they are going to purchase, so just build an extra half ounce into your pricing model.

But how about services, how do you give something away.  Recently, I have been shopping for a logo.  I came up with a number of home grown concepts, shopped them around my network and got some good responses.  However, a number of people suggested that I consider getting quotes from professional designers.

I reached out to two companies.  I sent each one my concepts and what people had said about them.  I figured that I was at least half way there.  One company took my email and without asking turned around a concept that got me about 80% of the way there… at no charge to me.  Another one, scheduled a call, did not call me.  When I called them, they did not acknowledge the receipt of my material; were peeved that I did not recognize their design brilliance; announced their price, then ended the discussion.  Took all of about 5 minutes.

Who do you think I will purchase from?

Sharon Aby discusses the 4 step sales process of Awareness, Education, Consideration, and then the buyer purchasing.  If you can get someone to consideration, I would suggest that you think about “Free”.   Offer a workshop at no charge, or coupon for one of a series, or a no charge assessment.

What the heck, if everyone wants something for free… give it to them!

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August 11, 2009

3 Tips on having fun at work

Filed under: Small Business — Tags: , , — markegoodman @ 8:29 am

In today’s times, sometimes it is difficult to have fun at work.  Here are 3 tips to help out.

1.  Recognize accomplishment.  When something good happens, you get an order, or solve a problem, announce it and celebrate it.  When I worked in the cell phone business,  when someone, either us or a competitor found a creative way to improve a product, that accomplishment was celebrated.  Then in a competitive situation, we challenged ourselves to do better.  Caution, don’t let someone else’s accomplishment, turn into accusation.

    2. Enjoy being in your working group.  Create a regular process of getting together and having a good time.  The most successful collaborative efforts create events to enjoy just working together.  I worked on a project with a customer, internal people, and suppliers.  Every month, we’d get together in another location do a business review and have a nice dinner.  One of my colleagues stated that “you can’t be too upset with someone you eat with”.  Caution: don’t let the celebration become dominated by one person or group. You don’t want to turn it into a coronation.

      3.  Announce that one of the goals of the group is to have fun.  Just saying it gets you half way there.  Caution: if you say it, you need to do it.  See points 1 & 2.

        August 7, 2009

        Own your own name as a brand?

        Filed under: Internet, Small Business, Social Media — Tags: , , , — markegoodman @ 11:25 am

        You have a brand that your carry through out your life.  It is on your driver’s license, your passport, and you are universally known by it.  It’s your name.  So consider owning your name as a url.

        I just purchased  www.markegoodman.com .  Five years ago, when I was working for Motorola,  I would have never have thought about it.   I felt that I was a subset of the Motorola brand.  But with job changes and the fact that search has become the yellow and white pages of the 21st century, how can I insure that I can be found.   Not only be found, but insure the continuity and integrity of your brand.

        Granted, social media sites like LinkedIn,  Facebook, and Twitter can help give you presence.  However, they can come and go.  Who remembers Prodigy?   These sites often require membership from the searcher.  In addition, for the most part, they control the routing.

        Think about it.  What is more important than your own brand?  When it comes to building your image and furthering your career, who is more important than you?

        August 5, 2009

        4 Considerations when you are creating a Marketing Plan

        Filed under: Business Plan, SCORE Chicago, Small Business — Tags: , , — markegoodman @ 7:50 am

        I am doing the  Monthly Marketing and Sales Workshop for SCORE Chicago tomorrow, August 6th.    Here are a few highlights.  Information about the workshop is at: http://bit.ly/MarketingSelling

        Marketing is key to your success

        • Keep it simple
        • Know what business you are in

        No one perfect marketing plan

        • Understand your key metrics
        • Set goals consistent with those metrics
        • Revisit on a regular basis

        Don’t fall in love with a business idea too soon

        • Do your research
        • Understand your competition
        • Reach out to a set of advisors who can provide feedback
        • Listen to the sales not made as much as the customers you land

        You’re not ready to start a business until you can do a credible Year One monthly sales and profit forecast

        • Your numbers are another way of expressing you plan
        • Ask youself realistically  “Can we really do that”
        • Come up with a “Slow Day” – “Average Day” – “Busy Day” … Understand the impact if every day is a  “Slow Day”

        August 4, 2009

        Know your Credit Score before you Talk to a Bank

        Filed under: Small Business — Tags: , , , — markegoodman @ 8:19 am

        Knowing your credit score before you talk to your bank can save you significant time and consternation.  In this excerpt from a CANTV inteview that we did with Meghan Kearns from Harris Bank, Meghan emphasizes the importance of a credit score.   She also relates a couple of examples where she worked with clients to recognize inconsistencies that held up the loan process.

        I host a weekly cable access TV show for SCORE.  Meghan will be a guest on CANTV 21 Hotline show tonight at 6:30.  If you live in the City of Chicago, please watch it live.  If not,  you can check it out on our BLIP.TV channel http://scorechicagocantv21.blip.tv/ in  a couple of weeks.

        August 1, 2009

        10 Trends to Consider

        Filed under: Internet, Small Business — Tags: , , — markegoodman @ 5:37 pm
        • Aging Boomers
        • Economic Recovery
        • Greater Education
        • Rising Hispanic Influence
        • Increased Immigration
        • More Government
        • Healthcare Reform
        • Green
        • Globalization
        • Web 2.0 and Social Media

        What’s the Best Name for my Web Site?

        Filed under: Internet, Small Business, Social Media — Tags: , , , , — markegoodman @ 5:36 pm

        Small business people often ask about picking out a name for a website.  In many cases, the name that is a 100% match for the business (mycompany) is already taken.  So the company asks should they take out mycompanyinc or mycompanyco etc.    Alternatively, a company has a long name  mysmallbusinessisbrilliant.   They ask about if customer expects a shortened URL.

        In today’s world,  customers will go into Google, Yahoo, Bing etc and put in your company’s name in the manner that they think of your company.   Remember, the average search phrase is 4 words, so you have some latitude in matching.

        Here are a couple of suggestions.

        Most importantly understand how your customers think about your business.  If you are Hilltop Garage in Big Mountain, Iowa make a list.

        • Hilltop Garage in Big Mountain
        • Hilltop Garage Expert Foreign Car repair
        • Bob at Hilltop Garage
        • Bob over in Big Mountain at Hilltop Garage
        • Bob’s Hilltop Garage

        Second, when building your website, don’t just think about the URL, but think about the Title, Description, Keywords and Headings on each page.   By putting the appropriate words in these areas, Hilltop Garage will have a better chance of being found.  In the title of the home page, Bob should consider having “Expert Foreign Car Repair – Bob Smith Hilltop Garage Big Mountain, Iowa. ”

        Remember, you don’t have to limit yourself to one URL.  Bob could beHilltopGarageBigMountain, but he could also purchaseBigMountainHilltopGarage or even BobsHilltopGarage.  It is fairly simple to route alternative sites to one main site.

        When you do pick a site, use that  URL in your email, Twitter, Facebook etc.  Instead of being hilltopgarage@globalemail.com Bob should bebsmith@hilltopgaragebigmountain.com.

        If you do have a site, go back and look at your titles, descriptions, keywords and headings.  If you are not sure where they are, ask your web developer.  When it comes to social media, pick one and get started.

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