RSS

Super Risk, Super Reward?

Filed Under: Labels: , , , ,
$3 million for 30 seconds. That's the going rate for commercial ads being sold by NBC for this year's Super Bowl. That's a 10% increase over last year's price of $2.7 million (I guess the recession hasn't hit everywhere yet).

With the Super Bowl being a globally televised event that has the highest ratings of any television show, that $3 million could be a no-brainer investment - if it's spent wisely. But of course if you have watched the Super Bowl over the years you know that some companies haven't spent their money all that well.

Here's one of my favorites from last year...



What would you do if you had $3 million to spend for a 30 second commercial? How would you spend it on your business or organization? I would love to hear your comments.

Empowering Champions,
Paul Wilson, Jr.

follow me on twitter.com/pwilsonjr

Links to this post | edit post
Reactions: 

Imitating Barack 2.0

Filed Under: Labels: , , , , ,
I love hearing about innovation in unexpected places. While it's typical to expect innovation from technology companies or other businesses, it's always enlightening to find innovation in the not-so-typical places, such as a political campaign.

Even if everyone doesn't agree on the selection of this President, they do have to agree that his team ran a very innovative campaign, utilizing a social technology strategy that has never been seen before in the political arena. If the saying is true that, "imitation is the highest form of flattery", then Barack's campaign team should feel very flattered based on the imitators that will undoubtedly be coming out of the woodwork trying to copy the groundbreaking strategy they planned and executed. His team may have forever changed how politicians run their campaigns.

Small businesses (and non-profits) can glean a lot from the innovative strategies that were employed by "Barack 2.0". In fact, Fast Company magazine has an article that discusses some of the business implications from this campaign (click this link to get the story). Some examples of where they excelled in terms of creatively using technology include:
  • Established a presence where people gather online
  • Utilized multiple high tech and low tech communication channels
  • Created platforms for online community of supporters to interact with him and each other
Additionally, there is a book now available, entitled Barack 2.0: Social Media Lessons for Business.

Just like with any business, the same tools are available to most. The critical difference between small businesses that succeed and those that fail is the effective use of available tools within a well-executed plan. Barack 2.0 executed better than any other candidate in this election.

Check out the resources above to see what you can learn from this effectively-run campaign. Apply what's relevant to give your company a strategic and innovative edge over your competitors.

Empowering Champions,
Paul Wilson, Jr.

Links to this post | edit post
Reactions: 

Entrepreneurs to the Rescue!

Filed Under: Labels: , , ,
Pessimism is in vogue. It seems that in these challenging economic times doomsayers are ruling the airwaves and Internet. Not that the current business environment isn't bad, because it is. However, it seems that probably 99.7% of the "experts" are talking more about the problems rather than potential solutions, at least ones that don't include some sort of bail out. Does anyone have any hope?

Fortunately, from my brief research I have found a few pockets of optimism populated by those who believe like I do that entrepreneurs can help lead us out of this economic quagmire. Through ingenuity, innovation, and tenacity entrepreneurs can play a very strategic role in helping to revive our economy and impact people's lives. Here's a sample of what I found:
Now more than ever before these times present great opportunities for mission driven and social entrepreneurs - those with a keen understanding and sensitivity to the human side of business - to significantly impact people's lives. People are looking for hope in addition to high quality, low cost products and services. And who better to give them hope than a small business owner, who may have more of an chance to connect with them 1 on 1 than a larger impersonal corporation.

As an entrepreneur or aspiring business owner, what do you think you can do to help our economy get back on its feet? What is one of the most significant things that you could do to "keep hope alive" for a customer, employee, or supplier? Let me know what ideas you have.

Empowering Champions,
Paul Wilson, Jr.

Links to this post | edit post
Reactions: 

Confessions of a Social Technology Newbie

Filed Under: Labels: , , , , ,
Bold New World

I have a confession to make. I'm late coming to the Internet technology party. Fortunately, I'm still evolving as an entrepreneur, as are the incredible technologies at our fingertips that are now so pervasive in our society.

I recently purchased a Blackberry Bold 9000. One word sums up this nifty little device... Awesome! Now, I'm not totally new to Blackberries. I had one a few years ago when I was in corporate. However, I had forgotten just how great they are in terms of increasing your work efficiency, because of their incredible mobility and functionality. On the flip side, because they now have a lot more applications (i.e. toys) than they did a few years ago, my work efficiency might actually decrease because of the increased potential distractions (but that's more of a personal discipline issue).

That's just the beginning of this story. The purchase of the Bold was preceded by my headlong dive into the social networking arena. I've had this blog for a few years and a LinkedIn profile, because those are for "serious" businesspeople. However, I resisted getting a Facebook or MySpace page, because I only saw their "social" aspects. I also figured that mostly teenagers and "creatives" (musicians, artists, etc.) were really the only ones using these tools to network, build their brand/image, get exposure, etc. Not until I jumped in did I realize just how powerful these tools are - even for "regular" entrepreneurs.

Can I Be Your Friend?

About 3 weeks ago, I simultaneously opened Facebook and Twitter accounts. Since then I've also interacted with Meebo, Ustream.tv, Mogulus, Twitterfeed, Adjix, TinyUrl, Qik, pingfm, etc. This list doesn't even come close to listing how many are actually available. What's also amazing is how many of them are so easily integrated across each others' web sites. I'm definitely not an expert on any of them yet. I'm still feeling my way around to see which ones are going to be most effective for my business.

Although I have read plenty about these social networking tools, I didn't understand their full potential to quickly connect people and disseminate information until I had actually experienced it firsthand. Almost instantly I was able to connect with people I often see but don't know a lot about; new people whom I may not have met otherwise; and some friends whom I had not seen in a very long time (it's amazing - and sad - how many people we meet in life and forget about). I spend a lot of time on the Internet, but I had never recognized the power of the Internet to this extent.

Never Too Late

For many of you who have been doing this stuff for a while, I know I'm late to the party. If you have already gone done this path, then I'm just preaching to the choir. However, if you have not explored the world of social networking and the benefits that it can provide to your business, then you need to take a serious look at how these tools can enhance your brand, expand your reach, provide market intelligence, and increase your pool of potential customers. They also allow for other people to learn about you and your company (i.e., know, like, and trust you) in a non-threatening environment - of course when used in a non-irritating right way.

Successful entrepreneurs are always open to learning, adapting, and innovating. So, since we're at the beginning of the new year, there's no better time than the present to add more tools to your business toolkit. And just like I had to tell myself while learning this stuff, it's never too late. Even if initially you just do enough to get your feet wet, at least stick your toe in the water.

For those who think they have to hire an expensive consultant, there are plenty of free resources on the Internet that can guide you through everything you need to get started. Also, if you have teenage children, I'm sure they are well-versed enough in social technology and lingo that you probably won't have to look outside your house for help. Just do it!

Welcome to this bold new world!

Empowering Champions,
Paul Wilson, Jr.

*Follow me on twitter: twitter.com/pwilsonjr


Social Networking Resources:
1) Entrepreneurs Need Social Networking
2) 35 Tips for Getting Started with Social Media
3) Leveraging Social Networking Sites to Generate Business

Links to this post | edit post
Reactions: 

The Trust Factor

Filed Under: Labels: , ,
Know you. Like you. Trust you. It has been said that these are three critical elements of growing healthy customer relationships that result in sales and long-term loyalty. I just read a great article at Businessweek.com that speaks to the key steps in building trust with your customers (click here for the article).

Entrepreneurs can't afford not to focus on trust-building, especially when customers are more conservative and discriminating about how they spend their money. Sometimes trust is often the ultimate motivating factor for purchasing decisions.

Below is a list of some key questions related to building trust with your current and future customers. Having practical, specific, and customer-friendly answers to these questions will help you to build credibility and a competitive advantage.
  • How are you building a brand that demonstrates trust?
  • With every customer interaction, are you thinking about a long-term relationship versus a one-time transaction?
  • Does everyone in your company operate with a trust-building mindset?
  • How do you help your customers develop a comfort level with your products or services?
  • If your products or services don't work as promised, what remedies or processes do you have in place to quickly resolve issues?
Remember, if you focus on getting your customers to know you, like you, and trust you, you will not only increase your probability of sales now, you will also enhance your opportunities for repeat sales in the future.

Empowering Champions,
Paul Wilson, Jr.

Links to this post | edit post
Reactions: 

Practicing Disciplined Optimism

Filed Under: Labels: , , ,
A few weeks ago, Clate Mask, CEO of Infusionsoft, wrote an article for the Small Business Trends blog, entitled "Finding 'The Zone' in a Tough Economy". He talked about as an entrepreneur how he stays focused, especially when times get challenging. He calls his mental focus process "Disciplined Optimism". Here's an excerpt of this article:

Disciplined Optimism is a combination of positive attitude, tenacity and hard work. It requires the business owner to:

  • Constantly think positively (read Peale’s Power of Positive Thinking)
  • Tenaciously pursue the success you have envisioned; and
  • Work hard to remove obstacles, always believing you will achieve that success (google “Jim Collins Stockdale Paradox” for more on this)

As everyone is excited and hopeful for great things to happen in this new year, it is imperative that we exercise the practicality of Disciplined Optimism and not just mentally assent to positive thinking. This is crucial, because I have heard it said that excitement gets you started, but discipline keeps you going.

As many prognosticators are commenting that our present economic situation will get worse before it gets better, the practice of Disciplined Optimism will be vital to your short and long-term success. The more difficult our circumstances as entrepreneurs become, the more resolve we need to have to keep driving forward. Not ignoring the external environment, but responding to it and thriving in spite of it.

Because it's a new year or a new presidential administration (or a new anything else), don't expect that everything will automatically get better. Plan your work and work your plan. Expect the best and plan for the worst. It is possible for you to rise above what everyone else is sinking in.

Go create a success story that defies the prognosticators and doomsayers. You be the one with the blockbuster business that flourishes against all odds. I will be right there with you. Best wishes for a prosperous 2009!

Empowering Champions,
Paul Wilson, Jr.


Related Posts:
1) "Win Like Tiger"
2) "Get the Kink Out of Your Think"

Links to this post | edit post
Reactions: