Lone Ranger Fails – Why A Community Is Necessary For Success

If you’re the kind of person that thinks they have to do everything themselves – either because you’re a perfectionist or are just too proud to ask for help you need to listen to today’s show.

Learning to delegate, ask for help or rely on a strategic partner can shorten your time to success and often mean the difference between ultimate success or failure.

The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same things and expect different results.  Bounce your ideas off some other successful folks and allow them to expand your options and ideas and do some things differently.

I was invited to join an online community several months ago and the friends and advice I’ve received there have moved my entire business model ahead several years.

If you’d like to take a look check out Earn 1k A Day. Use the trial period to look around and you’ll soon find all the free products and resources to be well worth becoming a full member.

What do you think?  Are you a lone ranger or have you found other resources to tap into and help you succeed?

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You Have To Hit Bottom Before You Can Bounce Back

You Have To Hit Bottom Before You Can Bounce Back

We’ve all heard this phrase and it’s usually someone trying to justify their poor decision making, riding a stock as the price drops to zero or recognizing their inability to make drastic changes until they have no choice.

I visited two different businesses today in the same market niche and within 10 miles of each other.  Their industry was hit hard during the financial crunch two years ago.  Both were in about the same shape financially in the Fall of 2008.  Today, one is lean, mean and growing market share while the other is still facing dropping revenue and zero or negative growth.  What’s the difference?

Three months into the financial system failure, one company recognized that doing business the same way they had done for the last 15 years was just not going to work when everything was turned upside down.  Instead of laying anyone off they cut payroll across the board 10% along with all extra expenses.  They asked their employees to look at every part of their policies and procedures to see if there were areas they could streamline, improve the customer experience or just remove completely if it was ineffective.  With the pay cut their employees knew things were serious and everyone is still committed to continuous improvement.

The other company kept payrolls the same, made no changes in their business model and basically hunkered down and hoped for the best.  They made lip service to seeing where they could cut costs and improve the customer experience to increase market share but there was no incentive to make those improvements.  With revenue falling the morale company wide is poor and instead of working as a team there is constant friction between employees about who’s working harder or who’s taking more vacation time.  At this point it’s going to take a huge housecleaning or a serious jolt to get their attention.

What about you?

Do you see the huge changes that online marketing and sales is bringing to the marketplace, yet you keep doing what you’re familiar with and hope for the best?

Do changing government regulations threaten to destroy your entire business model (think health care), yet you haven’t even begun to develop other products or diversify your market offerings?

Do you recognize the rising expectations that customers have in the sales experience, yet you still treat them as if they are ancillary to your entire business process?  Make them navigate a horrible phone menu system, wait forever to talk to a real person and leave them wishing they were dealing with someone else?

Don’t wait to hit bottom before you are willing to make wholesale changes to make your company better.  Whether it’s new product offerings, better processes and procedures and especially the quality of interaction you have with your clients.

Your customers will drive further, pay more and tell their friends about a company that treats them like royalty and provides a product or service that fills a felt need or solves their problem.

Start today and make it happen.

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The Power Of Facebook – Leverage The 500 Million Pound Gorilla

Every now and then in this fast paced, ever changing technology world along comes a complete game changer – someone or something that completely changes the way the system works. In just six years time (and the real explosion began just 2 – 3 years ago) the giant that is Facebook has topped 500 Million users – a number previously unheard of in the world of web site memberships. Even if you could figure out a way to get each member to pay you a penny a year that’s 5 million dollars a year. That’s almost enough to allow most people to quit their day job.

It seems like everyone is trying to find a way to harness the power of this new 500 pound (or is that 500 million pound) gorilla. I see two or three new $100-200 courses a month advertising the latest and greatest secret to instant wealth using Facebook. From paid ads to super fan page secrets and anything in between.

The problem remains that people come to facebook to socialize and not to purchase. That’s not to say that monetizing can’t be done but you’re going to have to think outside the box. Creating a facebook page called ‘Bob’s Hardware’ will probably get you a few fans – maybe a couple regular customers who have been buying your secret birdseed for years and your employees if they like you. Unfortunately, that’s a long way from the huge potential fan base available. So, let’s think outside the box a bit.

People love causes, or should I say they like to be part of something that is popular with their particular group of friends. We claim to be individuals but don’t really stray too far from the worldview and mindset of our peers. So, if all your customers are conservative you could start a fan page around a conservative cause that a large group of people would ‘like’. Or, if you support a cause that is identifiable to your community you could name a page “Facebook Fans Fighting To Cure Cancer”. On your fan page have a script that only shows a coupon to users who choose to ‘like’ your page. Your coupon would be for every purchase of $100 or more the customer get’s $10 off and Bob’s Hardware donates $10 to the local Cancer research foundation. The customer puts their facebook user name on the coupon when they turn it in and every time you have one redeemed you post the news on your fan page, which in turn is posted on each of your fan’s facebook page.

Oh, and because you chose such a great name for your page, when someone clicks the like button it shows up in their profile as “John Miller” likes “Facebook Fans Fighting To Cure Cancer”

That idea’s worth at least a grand – send an email to info@YouveGotFiveMinutes.com and I’ll get you my paypal address. Now get to work…

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The Power Of Local Search Listings

If you’ve done any searching in Google lately (the Godzilla of the internet) you’ve noticed they are placing a much greater value on the local search listings.  They’ve integrated Google maps and placed a small map at the top of the page with pins and along the side the businesses are listed in that geographic area.  If your business is not taking advantage of these listings you’re missing out on a huge traffic source for suspects, prospects and customers.

One of the services we provide to our marketing clients is to optimize these listings – if you have money to spend and very little time send us and email and we’ll talk J.  If you have little money and time to do it yourself I’ll share some of the secrets to getting the most from these listings.  I’m not going to tell you everything of course but I’ll get you ahead of 95% of your competition.

  1. Claim Your Listing – You’ll need a Google account for this (it’s free) and it’s a simple step of finding your listing however far you are down in the ranking and then claiming it as the owner.  You’ll then be asked to verify yourself by getting a pin number sent to either your business physical address or phone number.
  2. Verify of Correct Your Information – Take a few minutes to make sure that your address, phone number, web site and all other pertinent information is correct in your listing.  Interestingly enough, I had a client last week that although their location was near the center of the city the Google map showed them being 15 miles out of town along with several of their competitors.  In doing some detective work I found that Google actually had their street name spelled wrong in their system and could not place them properly on the map.  We couldn’t get Google to correct the street name but were able to force the association to the correct geographic location.  They went from 30th place, several pages deep to #1 on page 1 the next day.  Local search traffic has been off the hook ever since and two competitors on the same street are still out in the woods.  I love it when a plan comes together!
  3. Get Some Reviews & Ratings – Find a couple of your customers who are internet savvy (and like you) and have them rate your business and write a short review.  Except for restaurants I’ve noticed that few other businesses have reviews.  I get reviews for my clients and watch their local listing rank increase.

Those three things should keep you busy for a couple days and if you use your imagination you will be able to find a couple other ways to optimize your local listings (think photos, videos, coupons, etc.)

Oh, and if you’re an internet business that doesn’t post an address on your site because you’re trying to market to a worldwide audience?  I’d recommend posting an address or buying a separate domain name to market locally – example: atlantawebhosting.com – even if you don’t have a local office you could contact a computer consultant in that city and form a simple joint venture.  Then use their physical address, you provide them with local consulting leads and they pass on hosting client leads to you.

If you have any comments or questions about today’s show information be sure to post them on you’ve got five minutes (dot) com.  Also, we’re just putting the finishing touches on our free ebook ‘The Five Things Your Business Must Do To Survive in 2010’.  Sign up for our email list to get a free copy in the next week or two.

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How You Can Find Happiness During the Collapse of Western Civilization [Hardcover]

How You Can Find Happiness During the Collapse of Western CivilizationNo description for this product could be found, but have a look over at Amazon for reviews and other information.

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The Power of Positive Customer Testimonials

I’m not sure where I heard it, but several years ago a business consultant told me that money spent on great tools and on marketing are the best investments you can make as a business owner.  So, I’m constantly looking for great tools to either automate my business processes or find new marketing avenues.

With that being said, I was looking for a certain tool this week and did some online research only to find what seemed to perfectly fill the need.  I read the sales pitch and as I got to the bottom I saw four or five great reviews of the product explaining how it overdelivered on all the promises made.  My credit card was almost immediately out of my wallet and information entered into the order form.

Several days later I received the software package only to find that it filled only the basic requirements and in fact did not work as well as some of the other tools I already had.  At first, I felt a bit foolish for falling for the sales hype but realized there were a few lessons to be learned.

1.        When you have a customer in buyer mode, a testimonial or two immediately removes the remaining buyer objections.  One of our basic needs as humans is social acceptance and not being the only one to do something.  A testimonial removes that fear of being the only one to do something and helps the buyer to feel part of the group.  The closer your testimonial givers are to that persons ‘in crowd’ or the socioeconomic group they wish to be part of  the better it is.  Take the phenomena of Facebook as a prime example.  If you can find a hook that works in that genre you can basically print money.

2.       If you want a customer for life you need to provide actual value.  Because of the broken promise in the purchase of this product I’ll never buy from this vendor again.  I know for certain that this vendor is only interested in sales hype and the testimonials had to be faked or bought.  When you compromise your integrity you have a business model that is unsustainable.  In today’s connected world you can go from success to failure in just a matter of months by not delivering what you promised.  I’ve literally seen it happen and will share the story at a later date.

The question is – do you have a process in place to systematically ask for testimonials from your customers?  First of all, make sure your product or service overdelivers and provides so much value that it is worthy of raving fans.  Second, develop a way to kindly ask for testimonials from your customers – the best time to do this is just after the sale.  A side benefit is that it solidifies the great buying decision they just made and removes any tinge of buyers remorse that may be lingering in their mind.

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Winning Through Intimidation [Hardcover]

Winning Through IntimidationNo description for this product could be found, but have a look over at Amazon for reviews and other information.

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Restoring the American Dream: The Defining Voice in the Movement for Liberty [Hardcover]

Restoring the American Dream: The Defining Voice in the Movement for Liberty

Completely updated edition of one of the classic works of conservative literature Long before the advent of conservative talk radio and Fox News, Robert Ringer was an outspoken advocate for the cause of freedom and free enterprise. In this classic work–updated for the 21st century–Ringer’s basic premise is that liberty must be given a higher priority than all other objectives. The economic and political calamity that he warned about in the late seventies is now upon (more…)

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Action!: Nothing Happens Until Something Moves [Hardcover]

Action!: Nothing Happens Until Something Moves

From Publishers Weekly

Bestselling self-help author Ringer’s main theme is that people need to take personal action in order to get what they want from life. This truism is explored and coupled with other factors such as honesty, self-discipline, adversity, personal values and how these things help or get in the way of promoting positive action. As in his previous books, Ringer (Winning Through Intimidation) employs a narrative style that allows the reader to explore behavior thr (more…)

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Looking Out for #1 [Paperback]

Looking Out for #1No description for this product could be found, but have a look over at Amazon for reviews and other information.

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