Small Business Customer Service

One thing that differentiates a large corporation from a small business is the level of small business customer service. It’s easier for a mom and pop small business to make judgement calls when it comes to breaking the rules. The larger the company, the more levels of bureaucracy you have to deal with, and the harder it is to get a real person to listen to you. Of course you have to have rules that your company abides by, but sometimes making a good judgement call can net you even more business down the road, and bring in very loyal and devoted customers for life.

starting a business

starting a business

An example happened this past weekend. I was staying at a rustic resort in the middle of nowhere. It was great. No cell phone coverage, no Internet coverage, no TV, and no radio. The nearest grocery store was about 40 miles away. Some people might freak out about that, but for a stressed out and overworked small business owner I thought it was heaven!

So, here’s what happened. They have a main building with about 20 rooms, and separate from the building it’s surrounded by small and large cabins. I was staying in one of the small cabins, which had a refrigerator and microwave. I was suppose to move into the main building for a couple of nights, but what I didn’t know is that the new room didn’t have a [Read more...]

When Branding Turns Negative

negative branding

negative branding

I made a call this morning to the International Special Events Society and a pleasant voice answered “ISES”. Now, I’m sure no one out there is going to associate an event organization with a terrorist group that beheads journalists, but still, it must suck to have your brand hijacked by a negative situation.

Apparently ISES isn’t the only organization having to deal with this. The ISIS mobile app is changing its name to avoid any association with the terror group. Again, I don’t think people would confuse a mobile app with a terrorist group, but as a brand owner myself I can see where it would probably leave a bad taste in your mouth when branding turns negative.

Steve Gause bought a security company in Texas two years ago with the unfortunate name of ISIS. He could argue that the terror group actually infringed on his good name, which has been an upstanding company for many years. But I don’t think you would be successful in getting a group of jihadists into a courtroom over trademark infringement.  [Read more...]

Why I Will Or Won’t Follow Someone on Social Media

followers on social media

followers on social media

I remember some years of high school as being better than others. A lot of it had to do with the people I was hanging out with. I always judged people by the way they treated me and other people and not by how much money or power they had, or by how many friends they had. Sometimes I hung out with the most popular kids in high school and sometimes I didn’t. I’m still like that today.

Social media reminds me a lot of high school, with the “likes” of Facebook, and terms like “followers” on social media. Like in high school, people are judged by how popular they are and how many “friends” they have. But as someone who has spent most of my life in the entertainment industry, the word “friend” is bantered about loosely, and your real friends can be counted on one hand. Your real friends are the ones who are still there when the chips are down and you’re at your lowest point.

Social media reminds me of the same cliquish hierarchy as high school, and why I would hang out with certain people and not others. Here are some of the reasons I will or won’t follow someone on social media:

  • Information isn’t useful to me or my own followers – The first thing I do is look through someone’s thread to see what kind of things they post. If there are endless posts about what someone had for lunch or things that wouldn’t be of interest to the other people on my list, I don’t follow them. Nothing personal, it’s just not my cup of tea. [Read more...]

How to Utilize Google + to Connect with Influences as an Entrepreneur

It’s always nice to hear about modern day rags-to-riches stories like Dropbox or Soundcloud that are now worth millions, but for most entrepreneurs, it’s more of a rags-and-more-rags sort of tale. Bootstrapping a business wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t worth it, but the personal effort involved is steep. Using every tool available is the only way to pull yourself out of obscurity and connect with the right people, which means using even the toughest social media outlets like Google +.

Google +

Google +

Google+ certainly had more than its fair share of teasing from the peanut gallery as it failed to become the next big social media hit to topple Facebook. Believing it’s a social wasteland though would be a sizable mistake. Most people agree that while Google+ is not the premier hangout for the average consumer, it has been generously adopted by professionals of all kinds as more of a laid back version of LinkedIn.

While this makes it a small pool teaming with raw influencers for the masses, getting with the right people isn’t as easy as one might assume. Google+ has a much different framework than social forums like Facebook and Twitter. Where these sites pride themselves on equal playing fields of public information, Google+ is built on exclusive memberships within tight circles.

For any optimistic entrepreneur, the best method to find the right people is find the almost right people that will get you to where you want to be. Share content with people that will take interest and encourage them to repost. As more people positively engage with content, the more circles it will find, eventually leading to those with the largest platforms.

Take Advantage of the Differences

Although Google+ may be more complex than other social media, it shouldn’t be feared but embraced especially by the startup society. Boasting features that other social media sites can’t hold a candle to, Google+ has a unique way of playing to anyone’s strengths allowing for a deeper expression of personality. Hangouts are perhaps the best examples of creating a more immersive and personal experience. “Hangout” with journalists, bloggers, and others that could deeply connect with your ideas. [Read more...]

3 Ways to Make Customers Buy

There’s a lot of discussion out there about how many times a customer needs to see your product before they will buy it. Some go by the rule of three, some by the rule of seven, and some say there are no rules on ways to make customers buy. This discussion has been going on since 1885, when an advertising dude, Thomas Smith, wrote a book called Successful Advertising.

ways to make customers buy

ways to make customers buy

According to Thomas a customer needs to see or hear about your product or service 20 times before they will buy it. That sounds like a lot, but the average infomercial could rack that up in a couple of days. There are some companies who think you need to see their products 20 times an hour to get it. It’s like Chinese water torture, where drops of water are slowly dropped on the victim’s forehead until you go insane. I want to get out my credit card and scream “Okay, okay. If I buy the pasta strainer will you make it stop?!”

Here is the list that Thomas Smith put together for his guide:

The first time people look at any given ad, they don’t even see it.
The second time, they don’t notice it.
The third time, they are aware that it is there. [Read more...]