Tag Archives: Entrepreneur

More proof of why you should speak to your customer BEFORE you market!

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Virginia Dominguez, a consultant, responds to “How come no one wants to speak to the customer BEFORE they do marketing” with this case history/anecdote:

“This is a good point…I was just watching a video, last night, where Jack Canfield (Chicken Soup for the Soul) pointed this out…He illustrated this with a story about a Chiropractor that wanted to set up his practice in this new town. So, he went to the town officials and asked a few questions, to which he was told that the town did not need another chiropractor, because the town already had one servicing the people. This negative reaction did not derail his ambition, so he set out to prove them wrong. He did this by doing some pre-marketing before opening the business.  He set out to go knocking on hundreds of doors and asking each individual and potential customer, how they would feel (together with other service related questions) about a new chiropractor in town. He not only proved the town officials incorrect, but he was able to make tons of money when he established the business. A year or so later, one of those people he interviewed was on this big event seminar, when the above story about the Dr. was told, the interviewee got up and said, “I remember him!” She was asked by the event coordinator, how was this possible and she said, “I remember him, because he came to talk to me!” She also used his services.”

The power of communicating directly with your customer/audience is amazing…when you do it. And the best part about this process is that it doesn’t have to be expensive. The ROI in terms of business, branding, establishing yourself and your business in the community is exponential.

Try it.


Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.
She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

Give Me 3 Minutes and I’ll Make You a Better Entrepreneur

English: Inside a Harvard Business School clas...
Photo credit: WikiMedia Commons

Everyone around here is tuning-up for the new school year.

The grounds have be spruced up, class assignments doled out, and learning objectives have been set.

All is in order to help aspiring students advance their knowledge beyond their expectations.

Pull in close. I want to let you in on our secret.
One of the most overlooked (and undervalued) keys to what takes place in any superior learning environment is having an integrated learning roadmap. One that balances shared knowledge (academic plus peer-to-peer) with experiential discovery.

A mix, which not surprisingly, has served me well for decades outside the walls of academia as I constantly seek to improve my professional skills and knowledge base. If I could prescribe your ideal mix I would, but alas this is something that each of us must define for ourselves.

Chin up all is not lost.

Good news, you can do it for yourself.
Here are a few articles that can help kick start your fall learning initiative and keep you moving forward…

The Most Common Strategy Mistakes
This should be the first stop for everyone who is interested in, sets, or executes strategic initiatives. This is an excerpt from Joan Magretta’s new book on Harvard Business School’s Michael Porter the focus of which is the importance of strategy in delivering competitive advantage.

Seven Strategy Questions: A Simple Approach for Better Execution
This explains how you can identify holes in your planning processes and make smart choices. This base of which is seven questions you should ask… and seek the answer to.

Three Ways to Find an Edge in a Crowded Market
Lets face it, we are all in competitive markets. No matter how you slick it there are real alternatives to our solution. What’s needed is insights on how to stay ahead of the pack and that’s exactly what this article helps you uncover.

The CEO’s guide to corporate finance
It’s all about the Benjamins. And, this article introduces you to four principles that can help you make great financial decisions. One of them, internalizing the principles of value creation, is one of the most powerful things you can do for your business. Doing so emboldens you to make independent, courageous, and even unpopular decisions in the face of myths and misconceptions about what creates value.

To Get Venture Capital Funding, Know the Risks and Tell a Good Story
Peer into the mind of a seasoned VC and develop a better understanding of how they evaluate risk. Even if you’re not looking for direct funding, these nuggets of wisdom will help when dealing with key suppliers and stakeholders.


Donald McMichacel teaches BE 261 – Starting a Small Business.
Follow him on Twitter at @DonaldMcMichael or Google+ at +Donald McMichael

The World That Was and Is No More

What if I said that as humans our behaviors tend to gravitate around comfortable rhythms which often leads to dramatic chaos?

Not only that, but what if I also said that it has a way of limiting our business success and at times seeding its downfall.

Why would I say such a thing?
Getting into a rhythm in of itself isn’t bad, there’s the Sunday morning routine, how we interact with family & friends, and the way we approach work tasks. In fact, it allows us to function quite efficiently in a settled environment.

The danger from a business perspective is that we tend to blow past the last point – “in a settled environment”.

Here’s why
Economies always had and will continue to have plateaus of calm. In fact, substantial periods of clam have allowed humans to build the economic platform that powers our organizations to this day. We’ve grow accustom to this trend.

What we shouldn’t lose sight of, however, is the fact that things do not, and in some cases, should not remain unchanged. Looking at it from a generational timespan (about 30 years) and our economic pattern looks like a singular smooth arching line. Step forward and it looks entirely different; certainly the past few years with it various economic cliffs have shown this to be true. At this operating level you will see that what appeared to be singular and smooth is in reality multiple trends that unsymmetrically oscillate around each other. Even more revealing is the fact that the cycle between relative calm and uncertainty in contracting.

That’s right the rate of change is accelerating exponentially, it has become so quick that it is tough to even make short-term predictions accurately. In other words, don’t expect long periods of calm for constant change is the new normal.

You already feel this in your business. Competitors pop-up out of nowhere, successful methodologies have begun to fall flat, and you can’t seem to put your finger on what’s wrong but you know all is not right.

So, what must you do?
Here are three insights to help jump start your vision quest.

  1. Get liberated. Break connections to make room for your new ideas.
  2. Take a walkabout. Go discover new perspectives by talking to customers and industry insiders, and then challenge their unspoken assumptions. Develop a clearer understanding of the future drivers and constraints that will shape your market.
  3. Be comfortable with multiple realities. There is no one right. Pick a path to traverse and don’t be afraid of having to take a detour, being proven right, or hitting a dead-end being.

I’m not going to pretend that this is going to be comfortable, stressless, or pretty. But you’ll certainly come out the other side in better shape.

And, after all that’s what really counts.

Donald McMichacel teaches BE 261 – Starting a Small Business.
Follow him on Twitter at @DonaldMcMichael or Google+ at +Donald McMichael