A Bridge to Entrepreneurship

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Intrapreneurship is a positive pathway to entrepreneurship

Many people aspire to be entrepreneurs, but are not sure they have what it takes to become successful. A great place to test and develop their skills is in their current jobs, using intrapreneurship as the pathway.

BNET has a great feature section on their web site called, "Unleashing Your Inner Intrapreneur." This section contains multiple articles with some key pointers on how you can become a successful intrapreneur.

One of their resources is this video that provides some effective tips on how you can begin to pursue your entrepreneurial dreams within your current job today:

If you are currently working for someone else's company, don't give up on your dream of full-time business ownership just yet. Instead, start acquiring your entrepreneurial experience right where you are. I look forward to seeing you on the other side.

Empowering Champions,
Paul Wilson, Jr.


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Be Persistent Without Being a Pest - Part 2

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...continued from Part 1

It matters what you say AND how you say it

There is a fine line between being viewed by your customers as pest-like versus persistent. The key is effectively managing your customer interactions. In Part 1 I stressed the importance of the fact that the content of your customer communications must be focused on the tangible value that your products/services can deliver to your customers. Here in Part 2 I will focus on how to effectively communicate that value to customers.

Some statistics say that it takes a minimum of 8 interactions for a customer sale to be generated. So, one of the keys to effective customer communications is not trying to hit a homerun with every conversation or interaction. This can be hard for many entrepreneurs to buy into, because sometimes it seems like you staying in business is contingent upon that very next sale. I know how that feels, because I've been there. However, this is one of the most destructive mindsets that you can have as an entrepreneur (or employee), because it can drive short-term thinking, causing some to engage in unethical business practices just to get a sale.

Like with any relationship in life, it takes time, energy, and intentionality to build a healthy one. As it relates to effectively building long-term, mutually prosperous relationships with customers, your thought should be that every interaction that you have with customers is positioning you for the next interaction with them.
Tips for Interactions

Here's some ideas for how to engage in successful customer interactions in order to grow healthy, profitable relationships.
  1. Plan your contact intervals: Develop a 6 month schedule for when and how you will contact each key customer prospect. Strategically plan to have at least 6 to 8 interactions within this timeframe. Utilize various forms of communication including email, phone, in-person, and other tools listed below.

  2. Plan your interactions: Be very intentional about what you want to communicate with each type of interaction. Include the appropriate content with the right communication tools. Especially during the initial interactions, ask a lot of questions, so that you can spend more time listening than talking. This will help you mine key nuggets of information, such as problems, issues, or challenges they are experiencing that you can use for #3.

  3. Link previous contacts/interactions together: Remember, each contact should build for the next one. With each interaction, use creative ways to remind your customer the subject matter of your previous contact and how what you provide relates specifically to their needs or desires. You are basically authoring a story about your company they they are experiencing over a long period of time versus all at once. Make sure it's a good story!

  4. Focus on VALUE!: Don't waste your customer's time trying to impress them with your marketing materials (they can read your web site or brochure for that). Use creative ways to communicate the tangible benefits they will get from your product or service (remember Part 1?). Also, consider including the negative impact they might experience by not using your product or service.
Tools to Demonstrate Value

One key to effectively demonstrating your value to customers, is to position yourself as the expert in your area. You can do this by displaying your capabilities, experience, and expertise in ways that increase their knowledge and awareness. As part of your planned customer interactions, I suggest incorporating some of the following tools at various intervals:
  • Customer Satisfaction Surveys
  • Customer Testimonials
  • Newsletter
  • Blog
  • Case Studies
  • White Papers
  • Podcast
  • Book
  • Freelance writing for magazines and industry trade publications
  • Press releases
  • Awards
A lot of this stuff is Marketing 101, but many entrepreneurs either don't utilize these tools or they don't use them in the most effective ways. Just like in other areas of our lives, we often know what to do, but we still don't do it.

Acquiring new corporate customers requires having the right strategic approach that clearly and consistently demonstrates your value. Hope for quick customer decisions, but plan as if they will take a long time. Persist the right way so that you don't become a "sales-pest" that they want to exterminate.

Empowering Champions,
Paul Wilson, Jr.

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