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Success Is an Inside Job

on December 19 in Soapbox | 0 comments

Part of my message at today’s Conscious Connections panel “Insight from Women of Influence, Impact + Profit” was “Success is an inside job.” This was/is a hard learned lesson and speaks to the need for personalized attention when growing as an entrepreneurial-minded leader. I/we need this kind of help. That’s why I fill the role of “creative partner” for others. And why I heavily invest in personal-professional development myself while involving advisors and team members (especially my “A-list“) for added perspective. The interesting thing about being on a panel for me (any speaking gig, really) is that I spend so much time preparing and then I (have to) let it go. Especially if I don’t show up with notes in hand. It’s just going to be whatever comes out of my mouth. And hopefully that experience is just as good as the one I planned. For this panel, the central questions about entrepreneurship were: What has been most surprising about being an entrepreneur and scaling your business?  What has been most challenging?  What are the 1-2 key things to which you attribute your success?  In preparing for speaking, I try to craft in writing what I would like to say. So I thought it would be fun to provide the answers I wanted to give today–the ones I had painstakingly crafted (with some inspiration from Jennifer Lawhead and a lot of coaching with communications angel/phenom, Jenn Kaye). I may have touched on these points or said them differently. I probably added a bunch not captured here. And hopefully I said the spirit of this–in so many words. Here’s how I responded to the questions in writing: What has been most surprising about being an entrepreneur and scaling your business?  Lots! No shortage of surprises. Frankly, that the best path is my own. So often we’re bombarded with all these messages about what success looks like and the formulas for how to get there plus quite frankly our own expectations and assumptions. I call BS. I had to learn that I didn’t need to follow any of that–at all or to the letter. The surprising thing has been I needed to accept that I had to find my way of doing...

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Nothing Is Created Alone

on January 9 in Soapbox | 0 comments

I’m putting a stake in the ground: Nothing is created alone. This is what came from my Root Session with the fabulous team at Root + River. I’ll write more here later. The important thing is to know that it does take other people to create. We need each other. Despite our ideas about rugged individualism, nothing is created alone. And in my mind, the best stuff is created together. Someone once told me that ideas choose people and if one chooses you but you don’t claim and act on it, that idea is released back into the Universe to find someone else. Call me superstitious. I don’t know if the same is true for beliefs and manifestos. I’m not taking any chances. I’m hitting “Publish” on a too short, too thin post. So be it. Until I can carve out time to write more in-depth on the subject, I’m posting items related to my newfound love-cry (because it’s a call to arms, although hugging ones) with #nothingiscreatedalone. (Update: This little movement is getting some traction and resonating . . . Check out Kristi Hall’s article in Green Living magazine that credits me!)...

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Creating Your Own Vocabulary – Tracyisms

on August 15 in Soapbox | 0 comments

As you learn new things, identify trends, or solidify your own ideas about your industry or your world, it’s often useful to create your own vocabulary. I’ve created this post as a running tab of the words I’ve created or picked up on and made my own. I call them Tracyisms. Do you have words that aren’t really words you’re using regularly? Post in the comments! Tracyisms Bounce-backiness: The measure of your ability to bounce back from a difficult or stressful situation or event. Scarecitement (or scarecited): Feeling scared and excited at the same time, which happens often. I’ve heard it said that “the difference between fear and excitement is the breath.” This term can be used to describe the specific place before you’ve harnessed the breath or decided how to feel as well as the general space of not knowing which way you will go–or being comfortable in the limbo if you choose. It’s the journey. Conflictedness: The feeling or state of holding conflicting or competing ideas in the mind, which creates indecision or procrastination. It’s not always bad; it just needs to be...

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StartUp Connect Summary, Part 2

on December 19 in Soapbox, Tech | 0 comments

(This is a continuation from Part 1. Originally published 12/19/13. ) I only attended the Saas/e-commerce breakouts since tech marketing is more my thing.  Here are my rough and random notes, with commentary. Brad Jannenga of WebPT and Bob La Loggia of Appointment-Plus had an amusing session addressing life as an entrepreneur.  No slide deck, just a background of changing images with their heads on bodies of animals, icons like Jules and Vincent, and even inanimate objects like jet fighters. In terms of challenges, they noted execution (Bob) and prioritization (Brad).  Basic as it sounds, it obviously was important to state that “the right product and demand for it is required” for success.  (In my mind, when marketing is an integral part in product development instead of being brought in as sales support after the fact, success can be assured. But, I’m biased of course!) Metrics and measurement was also covered, with monthly recurring revenue (MRR) a key for SaaS companies.  Other measurements include churn, customer acquiring cost, and LTV (which should be 3x the acquisition costs). Trends identified included “platform as a service, portability aka ” How is my data formatted and how do I get it out of there?” (Brad), and enterprise service bus (Bob). Brad  had some great points around content marketing, such as “Be a voice in the industry,” and he noted how marketing has changed and is “no longer about tradeshows and ads but is science now.” I think it has always been thought of as (at least part-) science, just in larger organizations.  Now small businesses and startups are getting more savvy and adoption of testing and measurement is more commonplace (and in part because tools are more affordable). Other panelists addressed marketing in interesting ways as follows: Carlos Roman from Insight highlighted the shift that has happened since the 1990s in solution marketing, which is from a scarcity of information (from the buyer’s perspective) to abundance via the Internet.  The content provided allows you to be found at the right time. Now, when an enterprise client calls, he says,  the sale is 60-80% completed. Alan Lobock, co-founder of SkyMall and now Worthworm, raised the point about investors needing to know what the...

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Meta-Blogging: 21 Unwritten Marketing-Related Blog Posts

on September 2 in Soapbox | 0 comments

I should be blogging more frequently, I admit. Really, lack of time shouldn’t be an excuse for any of us. Mostly, I think there’s so much that needs to be said to the SMB market about marketing.  That realization led me to this post,  which is actually a list of blog post topics I’d like to write about.  I may be cutting corners but, hey, it’s a new post.  Let me know if any of these strike your fancy and maybe I’ll get to work on some real blogging . . . Marketing-Related Blog Posts Titles and Ideas Product Development: The Missing Link Process:  A Service Differentiator How Marketing Compares to Pushing Drugs Why Your Marketing Tasks Fail (or are at least ineffective) You Don’t Know, Because You Don’t Track Marketing’s Role in a Knowledge Economy OR Marketing Is Knowledge Work: Invest Accordingly You’re Too Busy to Succeed: Here’s Why OR Tactics Keep You Too Busy to Succeed Marketing: Part Science, Part Art, but Whole Hearted Stop Trying to Solve Your Communications Problem Misdiagnose Marketing Issues . . . and Misuse Funds Don’t Underestimate the Work Required If You Don’t Invest in Your Company, Who Will? Ease on Down the Road . . . to Marketing Failure What You Need to Make Smart Marketing Decisions You Don’t Need Marketing, You Need Sales Learning to Love Marketing Strategy Unconscious in the Ocean: When Businesses Ignore Their Markets If You Really Want to Improve, Stop Following Others Brand-Based Decision-Making Internal Marketing’s Blind Spots: Value, Logic, and Competition Born Yesterday:  Where Today’s Marketers Come From  ...

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How to Prevent Bad Marketing Decisions as a Small Business Owner

on February 10 in Small Business, Soapbox | 0 comments

Small business owners sometimes buy print/radio advertising, social media, and other tactical marketing solutions based on the recommendations of a sales representative for those services. Because they haven’t been able to look at all available solutions and make informed decisions (without sales pressure), the owner can incur unnecessary costs, create more work, and achieve little to no results. In worst-case scenarios, I have talked to small business owners who have to face closing their doors because of poor, ill-advised, costly, and ineffective marketing decisions. This is why an owner should speak with a marketing strategist first and talk about their business goals and challenges. By starting their conversations with an independent, skilled marketing professional and focusing on strategy and goals, owners can be assured that all the important factors when designing a marketing communications strategy—regardless of media—will come into play and that a plan will be created to meet the agreed-upon objectives. This approach allows small business owners to benefit from results-driven investments in their success based on a professional marketer’s understanding of who they are trying to reach (their market) and how their brand will “behave” as well as how the right solutions can be implemented based on actual owner budget and desired level of effort. If a small business owner you know is at risk of signing contracts with multiple media or agencies and intending to manage marketing in-house (especially without a professional marketing background and/or a professional marketing strategy in place), please stop...

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