Friday, May 29, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
That sounds pretty stupid, doesn't it? "If I lost 98% of the time, can I still win?" What if football teams lost 98% of the time? Where would they rank? Or basketball or baseball?
Fortunately, owning a business is much more forgiving, and yes, you can actually win if you lose that much.
Let me explain.
A business needs, in order to be a strong, profitable business, an excellent marketing strategy to win and ultimately beat the competition by large margins.
In one particular business I own, I know three very important things about my customers.
1. I know WHO they are.
2. I know WHERE they are.
3. I know WHEN they are ready to buy.
And then, I swoop down on them and turn a mighty tidy profit!
Well, Entrepreneur Chick, what exactly are you doing?
Glad you asked.
Now some people might think direct mail to be an antiquated behemoth, but it is most certainly not.
I send a direct mailing to my clients at exactly the time they are ready to buy.
I do two things to push the process through.
1. I make an excellent offer.
2. I make my mail piece so unique and different, it stands out from all their other mail and it's so compelling, they just have to open it!
I would tell you what I do to make my mail piece so incredible, because that's proprietary information, I'm afraid.
But this I will tell you- if you are a business and you can answer those three questions with a certain degree of accuracy, then get ready for a big return!
Here's how it works.
Sure, 98% of the time my mail piece goes straight to the trash, BUT, and here is where it gets really fun-
For every $1,000 I spend- I get a whopping $40.000.00 back!
Yes, you heard right. That's forty thousand. Not four thousand.
So you see, a very good marketing strategy has to take losing into account, but yet, in the end, is still a winning strategy.
This advice is something you'll have to play around with until you get it just right; but when you do, it's very gratifying.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
I'll admit it. I'm so Mrs. Kravitz when something out of the ordinary is going on. So, there we were in our pajamas, peering out behind our mini-blinds, sipping our coffee and watching the FBI and our local police haul our neighbor, handcuffed and forlorn, to jail.
She went without a fuss. She went quietly, with rather a look of relief on her face as if she'd known this day was long going to come.
Last year, a visiting family member pointed out to me that it didn't seem to add up how she was so young but had "a hundred thousand dollar car." I guess. I don't know. I mean, maybe. I try not to be judgemental. It's more likely I'd notice your pet before I even notice you- let alone what kind of car you drive.
(Unless it's a black Mercedes because I'm in the market for one of those.)
I'll sometimes even know your pet before I know you. Oh, there's Baxter- also a Boxer with Kellie, his "mom". Rommel, a very bad tempered German Shepard and his "dad"Bruce. Lu Lu the basset hound... I could go on and on. I have no idea what kind of car any of these people drive, but I think maybe Bruce has some sort of Ford.
So, back to the things I know. She wasn't escorted away for parking tickets.
And I don't think she was selling Tupperware either. However, I did see the movie "Crash" recently so I'm not wont to come to an iron clad decision about her activities.
Once I lived with a good friend of mine for a few months until I got on my feet, before I started any of the businesses I have now. Her name was Pat. She had dogs, she had cats, and she had never been married. I know that the neighbors thought I was her lesbian lover- people would smile and say "hello" as if to intimate, well- you finally found someone, huh?
None of that was true- but I digress.
There are so many opportunities out there and so many legitimate ways to make money- it's sad when someone, presumably, opts for fraud instead. Perhaps it's because fraud is quicker and it's easier- but it's not really quicker and easier in the long run.
She's been on my mind all day. I feel sorry for her and her choices. I do. Her life is forever changed beginning today- and that will be that.
Many times it's felt as though I've been on the slow boat to China, but it takes time, diligence, vision and dedication to build a reputable business with reliable cash flow.
And besides, didn't yo Momma tell ya it just ain't right?
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Have you Simsoced lately?
That's me, E.C.-----> blond hair/grey sweater; figuring out how I was going to get out of the horrible predicament I found myself in.
Simsoc, or "Simulated Society" was part of our Leadership Training from which we graduated last week.
Simsoc Simulated Society, according to the participation manual is:
"A dynamic group simulation game that forces participants to cope with the daily problems of governing society. Assuming a variety of roles, the players grapple with issues like abuse of power, justice, diversity, trust and leadership as they negotiate their way through labor-management strife, political turmoil, and natural disasters."
Entrepreneur Chick found herself unemployed as well as did everyone else in my particular geographic location- in this case, The Red Room.
It struck me as so weird that all my classmates, after looking, horror stricken, into their instruction envelope at the start of the game and finding themselves unemployed, nearly all but two of us, myself and Diane said, "We need to get a job right now! We need jobs! Where can we get a job? Who's going to hire us? Oh my gosh, if we don't get jobs we're going to die in 2 more rounds!"
I'm sitting there thinking, what? A job? No, no. I'm NOT getting a job. So I say, "No, we need to start an enterprise." Which is the game's equivalent to a business, "an enterprise". I was more than a little miffed to see the manual state that as an option, we can chose to start a "high risk enterprise". That's the only option, "high risk". More about that in a moment.
"How are you going to start an enterprise with no money?" my team mates shot back. Okay, I suppose it's a valid question. But in the "real world" I do it all the time! You just come up with an idea and find out if it's valid, nail down the peices you need to put the puzzle together-usually a lot of business meetings- figure out your price point, figure out exacly how you get paid, figure out your break even point, and start putting the deal together- raise the capital. Shazam! Cashflow!
When you know what you're doing and you've done your due diligence, rolled out a test market, an "enterprise" does not have to be "high risk". But even in the game, the simulated society, the rules were already predetermined and there was nothing I could do about that.
But do you not see how society as a whole is simply taught to "Play it safe", "Don't take a risk", "Oooooooh, my. That's too risky- better not?" I was irritated with the game for a long while for that reason and wondered a great deal when lunchtime was and what we were going to have.
Monday, May 25, 2009
When I was little, my sister would watch me during the day.
She decided to have a thing called, "Fun Fridays". I will never forget "Fun Fridays". All week, I looked forward to Fun Friday. When I was 4, that's mostly how I learned the days of the week- Monday? Not Fun Friday. Tuesday? Nope. And so forth.
I never had to be sold on fun. I love fun. I probably love fun way too much.
If it's not fun, I'm not highly motivated to do it, I'm sorry to say. I'm rather like an overgrown child in that respect.
So, to analyze my life right now- this is what it looks like.
I basically do three things.
(1) Go to cocktail parties, luncheons and galas. Fun!
(2) Have business meetings with all kinds of people. Fun!
(3) Think of ways to make my business (es) relevant in the market-place and invent new, creative strategies to that end. Fun!
People tell me a lot that I'm enthusiastic. It's probably because I'm having a great deal of fun- which translates into enthusiasm. It also translates into money because I'm sincere when I tell you about my product(s) or service.(s)
Or even your product and service because it's not just about me and my agenda (which gets pretty boring over the long haul) and that's not, say it with me- fun! I enjoy it when other people I know are successful- again, fun. That makes me very happy. Because I learn a lot from successful people- which is fun.
Because I'm having fun, I'm a natural promoter. This is very important in business. You've got to be able to promote your product and service- communicate your message. Stand out in the market.
I'm sure you've noticed it's a highly competitive world out there.
So many people are doing things that they simply don't enjoy. Showing up at jobs they loathe- but, when you're having fun- you now have a big, fat, honking edge over the competition you see.
You've heard "happiness is a choice"?
Fun is choice too. Chose to do what brings you pleasure. Go ahead...
What's the worst that can happen?
What if you chose to do what brings you pleasure and now you make a six figure income? What about that?
Go out and have some FUN!
Okay, I know I said I wouldn't blog today but it was, again, more fun to blog than not to blog. I am going to the cemetery in a little while though. Do you think plastic flowers look tacky on graves? Sometimes I wonder if my family minds all the junk I bring them, stuff I would never have at our home!
I think they say to themselves, "Oh Lord. Here she comes again! For God sakes woman, turn down that horrid hippity- hop song- we have neighbors! She ain't nothin' but a gold digger indeed! Well, if I wasn't already dead... What's that? Oh, no. No, no, no, no, no! A green and purple spinning froggie that jingles in the wind? I lived my life to the best of my ability and I get a spinning frog? Well, our only solace is that she'll also be dead one day and maybe some Who-Ha descendant of hers will leave some crap on her final resting place. Oh, good grief. Is this from the Dollar Store?"
Sunday, May 24, 2009
."Let me guess - you're at home right now, getting ready to head out to the beach/lake/swimming pool for some Memorial Day festivities, and you're freaking out about having to put on a bathing suit, aren't you?
I have red hair, freckles and pale skin, which means I live like a vampire - inside during daylight hours, blinds closed. The odds of finding me in a bikini are about the same as finding Lindsay Lohan sober.
But if there was the slightest chance I was going anywhere today that would require anything less than long denim jeans, I'd be out of my mind right about now. The only thing that might help? Seeing this picture of Victoria's Secret model Karolina Kurkova sporting some short shorts and the distinct ripple of cellulite on her thighs. She's not as bad as Sharon Stone or Britney Spears, but it's there.
So there you go. Go ahead and have that second hot dog this afternoon, and proudly wear that bikini all over Millerton Lake. Happy Memorial Day!"
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
I'm highly functional- because I'm a hypomanic. (Yay for me.)
"Many have cited hypomania as a gateway to their success, and a large number of people with creative talents have experienced hypomania or other symptoms of bipolar disorder. Classic symptoms of hypomania include mild euphoria, a flood of ideas, endless energy, and a desire and drive for success. Unlike a lot of other mood disorders, people suffering from hypomania tend to be extremely goal oriented and many successful people have credited bipolar disorder in their successes."
Me- Entrepreneur Chick is:
1. Always very happy unless I'm irritated. Ha. And I can become very irritated.
I apparently look nice enough though, so you'd never suspect that in one of my *episodes* five security guards had to be called. Am not afraid of confrontation. But that was 6 years ago and I've been security guard free since then. TA DA.
2. Am full of ideas. It's hard to choose which idea to act on and which idea to scrap.
3. Am always asked, "Do you ever sleep?"
4. Have my goals posted on the bathroom wall. Write them down and tweak them daily in journal/calendar I keep.
5. Can not fathom my world without some relentless drive pushing me. I say a lot, "If I'm not hard on myself, who's going to be?" I am not, however, "doo dad" oriented or a collector of "stuff". If it's not practical I don't want it and if I'm not using it, I'll give it to someone who will. Love the book, "Clutter's Last Stand".
I suppose I should say, "Thank you Mood Disorder for working for me and not against me."
This is something that just struck me as probably more than a coincidence-
the writers I am attracted to (view my complete profile) are also people who have had mood disorders! Poe, Faulkner, Hemingway, Fitzgerald... you can click on "many successful people" link above.
Like attracts like. Two sickies don't make one well-ie.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
If you are a business owner or if you reside in a body on planet earth and fog a mirror, Budget Girl is for you!
I can't tell you how many extremely timely and eye-opening, not to mention budget friendly posts this girl makes every day! She's an encyclopedia of, as she says, "Looking Great and Living Well Without Spending a Fortune"- and to quote Budget Girl, "I'm all about that."
I keep thinking she's going to run out of topics. Nope. Not by a long shot. She's truly passionate and out-of-this-world knowledgeable; I don't know how she walks around without all those facts and good deals literally oozing out of her ears!
My favorite post this week? She teaches you how to entertain anyone who comes over to your house on short notice. You see, you keep these pastry puffs in your freezer that you can easily stuff with fruit or veggies, open the bottle of wine she recommends, an TA freakin' DA, you have a lovely, delicious, and budget friendly appetizer that your friends totally enjoy; and in short, make you look like you've had your act together all along, even if you didn't.
This tip resonated with me quite a bit seeing as how I flunked home economics and got kicked off the cheerleading squad. I'm still bitter.
And that's just the one tip. How would you like to save a bundle, and I do mean bundle on eyeglasses? Or find coupons for nearly everything you do, or get a deep discount at top salons or how to be screened for skin cancer, for FREE? Or.... oh. You've already left my blog to go to hers. Good move!
Monday, May 18, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
This is something I know a great deal about. Though I originally started our business through being on my own at first, the original business morphed into another business, which 18 months after its inception allowed my husband to leave his job in corporate America and at the end of this summer, I'm happy to say, it's been six years of togetherness.
Has it been sunshine and roses and a piece of cake every day?
But, with diligence and commitment to our cause (okay, I couldn't ever work for someone else and now, neither could he, so you see we don't really have a choice) we have worked through our early difficulties and have struck a good albeit, delicate balance.
This is not always the case.
Eve Tahmincioglu, in her article asserts, "Working together had a negative impact on our marriage."
She goes on to say:
"The main reason: The business became the focus of their lives."
I am not sure at what point Entrepreneur Chick and spouse noticed, but slowly and subtly, the business, in fact, did rule.
We have often made the comment, "Our business and our marriage run parallel."
If the business is good, our marriage is good.
If the business is having problems~ our marriage, low and behold, is having problems.
Now let me tell you the main reason.
Is it the business that's causing problems? Really?
It's the money that's causing problems, really.
Cash flow and lack thereof equals one thing.
And fear can make people tense, nervous, cranky, and irrational.
The fear is- we will not have enough.
Our pastor commented a few Sundays ago as to why husbands and wives fight and said, "Now wouldn't it be something if the wife turned to her husband and said, Wow, we have all this money. What should we do with this big pile of money?"
"I don't care- whatever you want to do with this big pile of money is fine with me."
Money is one- employees are another. Clients, still another.
My personal style is to tend to throw it all on the wall, devil-may-care, and see what sticks.
My spouse is more thoughtful and tentative.
My spouse also is usually right.
He has a saying, "Brotha can't be right, brotha can't be right." He's black. I'm not.
This has caused many a fight~me plowing ahead, see if I care, and he waiting until he gathers more information to make an informed choice.
He calls me his "Anny Oakley". Just shootin' up a storm. Surely she'll hit something.
After all, even a blind squirrel lucks up on a nut now and then.
So I'd say there's 5 main reasons for Conflict:
1. Business can rule your life, which is irritating.
2. Cash flow is irritating sometimes
3. Employees are irritating sometimes.
4. Clients are irritating sometimes.
5. You both can have very different management styles, which is irritating sometimes.
Once, we were doing a two day event for Texas Instruments with about 1,500 people each day.
I had the cordless mic and was about a quarter of a football field away from my husband addressing the crowd.
"Hey! Some thing's wrong with my mic!" I turned and shouted at the top of my lungs, wildly waving my arms to get his attention.
"No. Nothing's wrong with your mic. I turned you off." said spouse.
Spouse must die.
Spouse must die now!
Ha, ha, ha. Very funny. It's funny now- but then.... not so much.
So, you're going to be irritated, that's not an "if" it's a "when".
This is what we do though, that helps create a very good balance and does not let our business rule or run our lives:
1. We don't talk about business ever on Sundays. This is refreshingly important and is an excellent mental break. If one of us inadvertantly starts business talk, the other gently reminds, "It's Sunday. Sorry."
2. We spend time with family.
3. We spend time doing something that's important to us- like non-profit work.
My husband is on the Board of Directors for our Chamber of Commerce and we both served on the Board of Directors for Friends of the Library, as an example.
4. We often ask ourselves, "What do you want to do for fun today?"
5. We drink. (I'm just making sure you're paying attention.)
All work and no play makes Johnny a Dull Boy and also can wreck a relationship- just have a strategy to combat this sticky mud hole tailored to your unique needs as a couple, and, ever the optimist, Entrepreneur Chick thinks you'll be just fine.
P.S. I tried to find a graphic of an interracial couple arguing but apparently they never argue because I couldn't find one. It's not P.C. you know. 'M bad.
In the study mentioned above, nearly eight in 10 respondents said lack of respect and courtesy is a serious national problem; 61% agreed that there was more rude behavior than in the past; people blamed parents for not instilling courtesy in their children, and popular culture for encouraging rude behavior (April 3, 2002, Public Agenda Research Group, reported on ABCNEWS.com)
No matter who does the study, the results seem to be the same. Here, 79% feel people are ruder to each other now than just 10 years ago; 42% say they encounter rude behavior every day (Apr. 2002 Good Housekeeping)
Entrepreneur Chick is very active in her local Chamber of Commerce.
I attend many mixers and functions in which business cards are exchanged.
It is so dismissive, and certainly adds to the national problem of rudeness and ill behavior when this scenario takes place-
When exchanging business cards, the person you've offered your card to simply shoves it in whatever available pocket, purse or card holder without so much as even a glance and keeps on talking- blah, blah, blah- about themselves.
What effect do you think that has on building relationships?
What effect do you think that has on rapport?
If a person is going to mistreat your card so badly in front of you, how do you think they will treat it when they come home and dump their collected stash on their nightstand?
Entrepreneurs and business people everywhere- should you like to grow your business and be perceived as someone who is not contributing to the overall rudeness in America, here is a much better way to respond.
A card is placed into your hands.
Read the card.
Ask questions- "Oh, I see you own a professional assembly company. Interesting. How long have you been in that business?"
"Who's your best client?"
Now the other person sees you are taking a real interest. Now the other person sees you're not "playing at networking" but you have a true desire to understand them and their business needs!
By understanding what the other person does lets them know that you will be posed and ready when you see a good business match for them in the future. When one of your associates complains, "Arrrrrr! I hate trying to put this stupid (fill in the blank) thing together!"
Now you can be such a hero and say, "Well, I'm sorry to hear that but I have just the guy you need to solve your problem!"
Just so you'll know, when I give you my card and you don't even glance at it, now you created a deficit with me and you're going to have to do a lot to win back my respect. I'm not the only one.
Business is about relationships.
Go big or go home?
Be courteous or go home.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
I asked my girlfriend who also owns a business-
"Hey, do you know where I can get a donkey?"
"As a matter of fact, I do."
When I was a little girl, I had a beloved donkey named Wilbur and a horse named Suzy.
Now Suzy's favorite hobby was digging holes in the yard and she taught Wilbur how to enjoy her pastime too.
Eventually my father, George, got fed up with falling into holes everywhere he went and so, alas- both were sold.
To this day, I still miss Wilbur.
IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT: CHANGE IT.
I already have quite a good plan in place to offset WilburDonkey2's care.
Enter unassuming friend.
"You have children, right?"
"And I bet they love animals.... how would your children like to pet my donkey for a small fee- you know, a timeshare?"
Or, I could make WilburDonkey2 a mascot for one of my companies and write off his whole care! Thanks, IRS.
Perhaps you would say that a donkey is not important, but it is!
It's very easy to get so caught up in business that you forget to enjoy simple, sweet things that once brought you pleasure.
Entrepreneurs become entrepreneurs because of two basic reasons.
So many people waste a lot of time trying to fit into someone else's program; someone else's rules. Why not create your own program and your own rules?
I am an entrepreneur- bottom line- because I can't stand being told what to do nor how to do it.
It's not that we are not teachable, because being good at being an entrepreneur means you're going to learn and have to love learning- we just will decide exactly "what" and "how", thank you very much.
I thought of a new idea for a another business today (I have four) but I did tell a very good friend of mine to kick me in the shins if I ever say, "Gee, I have this great business idea!"
Well, she doesn't know about this blog and you're not going to tell on me, are you?