What’s Under the Hood?

I watched/listened to a video blog this morning that had such a great and simple analogy, I just had to write about it. The guy that does the vlog is in the same business as us and I enjoy listening to his subject matters and experiences because mine are so similar. Anyway, just to setup the scene, he did his vlog while he was working or I should say restoring a vintage car. He said that he had been restoring that old car for quite a while and has been so focused on things like the grill and the chrome around the headlights, but he hasn’t put much time or effort into the engine. That’s kinda funny right? I mean you can make the car look pretty and sparkle, but if it doesn’t run, what good is it?

Which leads me to my next point (his next point). In business, or as a business owner, we all want our stuff to look really, good right? I mean our brand, collateral pieces, website, videos, social media, etc. But what’s driving your business? Sure, your website may get you some business, but let’s be honest without SALES your dead in the water or in this case sitting in the garage. If we’re not putting forth most of our efforts into what’s under the hood and keep this thing moving, we’re out of business! So why do we do this? What makes us want to spend so much time on the stuff that doesn’t matter that much? Here’s a quick list of perhaps the reasons:

  1. It’s Fun(ner). It’s more fun to work on stuff for yourself than spending time trying to find business. With every hour you spend on yourself you can be reaching out to a handful of folks via email, LinkedIn, or…that’s right…phone call. Don’t let fear or laziness keep you from success!
  2. It’s Easier. It’s easier, when you think it’s fun. But hey, being in business ain’t easy! Again, don’t be lazy and don’t fall into this trap.
  3. You feel productive. Sure, you have to have a website. I know. And of course when you’re working on some that you have to have you feel productive and satisfied at the end of a days labor. But try this – Try just getting something up and out there and know that you can tweak it along the way. Or dedicate 10-20% of your day to your stuff and the other 80% to reaching out or meeting people.

Look, we’ve all been there. Even my dad would make fun of me because we changed our website at least 3 times in the first year in a half of being in business! He would say, “It’s just fun to work on your own stuff.” He was right! But I’m telling you, I’m telling you…you MUST have sales if you’re going to keep your business running and moving forward. So, take a moment today, look how pretty everything looks or could look, and then start working on your engine!

 

Back to School

Unfortunately, I’m not going to talk today about the 1980’s comedy classic with Rodney Dangerfield. I know, I know… you’re disappointed. (The Triple Lindy!) BUT can you believe that it’s that time of year again?! If you’re like me and have little ones, then you know this can be a happy/sad time. Happy to get them out of the house (haha) but sad because Summer is winding down and it just means they’re (we’re) getting older.

For me, knowing that Fall is coming is always exciting! I feel like it’s my 2nd New Years in some respects. A time to start over. A time to evaluate my business. It’s also a great time to talk to businesses about helping their business because many companies start their planning for the following year around this time.

Just like going back to school, we all need to prepare and have everything in place for the upcoming year. Whether you’re planning for January or you’re hoping to be in someone’s plan come January. So how do you as a service provider become apart of that plan?

Well, we’ve heard timing is everything. I think typically when we here that  expression we think about being at the right place, at the right time. But it’s so much more than that. Timing is patience, but timing is also not waiting. It’s a strange thing this “time.” For example, we just finished a major video campaign that took almost a year to get started on. You say “a year? That’s seems like forever.” Maybe, but here again it wouldn’t of happened if we hadn’t gone ahead and reached out at the right time, and also if we hadn’t been patient with the company as they put their internal pieces into place. You see our initial “cold email” (I hate this term) or let’s say “reach out” was in September. Then our Discovery call was in December. After that our first face to face meeting was in mid February. After that more emails and phone calls as the client continued to work out their plan for the upcoming year. Then finally in May we were asked to bring something to the table. This gave us a month and in June we pitched the video campaign to the client and was well received! Yay! After this there was more time involved with figuring out which major brand (that they sold) was going to be involved with the campaign. After this decision was made, we had to pitch the campaign to that major brand. Needless to say they loved the idea and we started the pre-production process that coming December…A year after our first Discovery Call! Yep a Year.

Was it worth the wait? Well, without getting into too much detail, the commercial spot we produced that kicked off the campaign won us an award and gave us an opening into an industry we hadn’t worked in before. For me, anytime I’m involved with something I love, something I’m good at, and something that’s bigger than me (or us) is worth the wait. When you can impact others lives and well as help someone’s business grow, that’s always worth the wait.

So, what will you be doing in this back to school season? Reaching out to potentials with expectations? Preparing for the wait? I hope both.

 

Are You Likable?

Are you likable?

Seriously? You ask.

Seriously.

Over the years, the one thing that I’ve seen that might be the factor that beats out talent is Likability. I can’t explain it, but if people like you, they tend to trust you – and if they trust you, you usually end up with their business. This may be the ONE thing that leads you to all the business you ever wanted. So are you likable?

I don’t want this to read like it’s some quick way to manipulate your potential clients at all. That’s not what this is about. My purpose of this article is that all of us, as humans, would take a look at ourselves, our morals, our beliefs, etc. and see if what we really believe about ourselves is reflected out in the “business world.”

Is it true sometimes we just need someone to come in and do the job? Sure. I heard a sermon one time where the pastor said, “Just because you’re a Christian Plumbing Company, doesn’t mean I want you to fix my pipes. I want the guy that can come in get the job done and go.” I get that (in some respects), BUT I do feel that if you are building a relationship with a person or business there needs to be a little bit more than the “I can get the job done” persuasion. There are hundreds of folks that can probably solve that businesses problem(s), but what separates you from them is they aren’t YOU. You are unique and so make them realize that.

“Some people are just likable,” you say? I would agree with that statement. But why don’t you think you are? Is it you’re not a people person? Well, I hate to say it, but you’re not being hired by a wall, you’re being hired by a human. So become a people person. Even when it feels weird to be nice, be nice and see what happens. Show your passion for what you do. If you lack in that area, then you probably don’t believe in what you’re selling. And if you don’t believe in what you’re selling, then you’re probably in the wrong business. Just saying.

I feel that there is something in all of us that wants to embrace people more, but we’re a little scared to show our true selves. Let me say, you can still be yourself and act as a professional simultaneously. People want authenticity more than you think.

So, If you’re into handwriting thank you cards after an introduction, DO IT! If you’re the type that calls instead of emails DO IT! If you like to have a good laugh to break the ice, DO IT! If you like to tell people “God Bless You,” DO IT! Whatever the case be respectful, be professional, be genuine, be YOU, but more than that…be a LIKABLE YOU.

Price Vs. Cost

How often have you based your decisions on the price of a product or service rather than the cost?  You may ask…“what’s the difference?” And believe it or not, there is a difference. The late great Zig Ziglar talked about this in one of his famous motivational speeches to a group of fellow salesmen. He asked his prospect…“Mr. Brown are you basing your decision on the price of the product or the cost?” I’m sure you can guess what the prospect asked -“Well, what is the difference?” Zig goes into giving an example of when he went to buy his 6-year-old son a new bicycle.

They first went to the Schwinn bike store where they priced out a bike for $64.95 (a lot of money in those days for a bike). Then he went down to the discount store and priced a bike at $34.95. Now, you can clearly see the difference in price right away. So, they ended up buying the cheaper bike from the discount store. But 60 days later they had to go back to the discount store because he needed new handlebars – which was ok because it was still under warranty. Then 30 days later they had to replace them again and they were no longer under warranty. So it cost him $4.50 – so now the bike costs $39.45. Well, three months later the sprockets and brakes went out and they had to replace those parts and they went back to the store and paid $15.00. Now, he’s got $54.45 (plus gas and time) invested in that bicycle. A month after that, the bearings in the front wheel went “kazzip” (says Zig) and the discount store told him it would be about $5 to replace it. At that point Zig said, “I threw in the towel and said no way.”

So what did Zig do? He went back to the Schwinn store, bought the original bike they looked at for $64.95 and his son rode that bike for the next 10 years.  All they had to do was periodically raise the handlebars and replace the tires once. So what…right?

Well, let’s break it down. For 6 months the discounted bike cost them $54.95 or $9.00 per month for him to ride that bicycle. On the other hand, after 10 years the $64.95 Schwinn cost him $6.50 a year!

Now I get it. Do you? Price vs Cost.

I’ll go ahead and say it – I’m definitely an emotional buyer. Heck, most of us are. But sometimes we have to think about the cost of something over the price tag. We’ve been conditioned to believe what we see, and doubt what we hear. So look at the over all investment – see it and hear it.   Whether it’s reinvesting in a new website for your company or producing a branded video, I wouldn’t recommend ever going with a company based solely on price. Remember there’s a reason why some things cost more or why a business may charge a certain rate for their services. Look at their product/service and then their success rate. Look at their reviews and testimonials from those who have used the services.  It’s important, and in the end could save you time (which is so valuable), and of course, money.

 

Never say “Cheeeese”

Let’s be honest, it doesn’t take much to take a photo. However, on many occasions when handing a camera to someone to snap a photo of me and the family, I get this puzzled look like “What is this strange contraption?” Or “What do I press?” Not to be sarcastic, IT’S ALWAYS THE BIG BUTTON! Sorry just had to get that off my chest.

The purpose of this article is to talk about what makes some profile photos spectacular and others not so spectacular.

What makes the right shot?

Some folks say it’s all about the equipment. With an expensive camera that has tons of megapixels and the right lighting setup, you can produce a great photograph, right? I agree that with the right “tools” you can accomplish a number of things..but I beg to differ on this subject. I mean, today’s mobile phones most likely has the potential to be a pretty great resource to capture some stellar photography. So I don’t want to focus too much on the equipment which  takes us back to my question – what makes the right shot? Let me ask you something, what makes a Picasso, a Picasso? The paintbrush or the painter?

I believe the secret to great photography is the human eye and the direction of the photographer.

So, let’s talk about headshots for a moment. Headshots are something we do, so I feel comfortable talking about them. Headshots serve a purpose. They should capture the “true being” of that particular Human Being. When I see headshots (or professional profile pics) especially on LinkedIn, they are very flat (no dimension) and most of the time, they don’t feel natural.  A good photographer discovers the right angle and expression of the subject that mirrors who they really are at their best. Peter Hurley, a well sought after headshot photographer charges $1100.00 for a headshot. “Wow!” you might say. “That sounds like a lot of money.” But he knows that one great headshot can help get people the work that they want. He had an aspiring actress get six call backs in one week! I’d say that’s worth $1100.

Obviously headshots are only one area of photography, but anytime you’re dealing with people you have to be good at directing them. For me, I feel that being good at conversation is key. Getting folks to relax and to just be themselves makes for THE BEST photos. It could be a laugh, a surprised look, a questionable look, the slightest smirk, or even the right crop that turns someone’s photo into a spectacular photo which could lead them to the job of their dreams.

Remember a majority of what you are paying for is the artistry of the photographer. Here’s 5 quick suggestions when hiring a photographer:

1. Check References – Word of mouth is just as important when you are hiring for business as it is when you’re trying to get business.

2. Compare Portfolios – Look around at different work and don’t just get set on one person.

3. Match Your Photographer’s Expertise with Your Product – Remember some are experts at food, some headshots, and others could specialize in fashion or commercial.

4. Don’t just look at price – You may spend more by trying to save money and going with an amateur.

5. Work with someone flexible – Sometimes things don’t work out as planned so you need a photographer that can be creative and think on the fly!

Now you’re ready for your polished, profile photo! And remember whatever you do never say “Cheeeese…”