Life of a Daymaker


smileI am writing this on my way back from the EO learning conference in Buenos Aries, Argentina, where I participated with all my colleagues and friends to see a great conference come together. I want to focus on two speakers that were really inspirational and knocked it out of the park. The first was Rick Kash of The Cambridge Group, whom I’ve written about before, but seeing him in person was super special and why I am proud that I invited him to speak to us. The other was David Wagner, whose story was extraordinarily inspiring.

David’s book, Life As a Daymaker, was born as he was running his beauty salons and creating an exceptional experience for people as they came into his specially-designed salons, and even now are treated to having their day made, in one way or another. David tells his story of how he saw the difference of changing people with the new looks, pampering, and the personal treatment and care he gave to each person.

This became especially clear to David in two main examples he gave. First was a young lady who came in because she was getting married and wanted a new look for the wedding. David gave her the new look she desired, and helped her to find her confidence, as well. Later, when he found out the wedding was called off and that she’d kicked him out, he was astounded that he had helped her walk away from a mentally and physically abusive relationship.

On another occasion, a regular customer came in weeks early for a visit and said she just wanted to look good and feel better about herself. He just felt like she needed some additional attention, so he gave it his best to make that 30 minutes as special as possible. David got a note from her a while later thanking him for making her feel so special – that the reason she was coming in was because she wanted to look beautiful as she ended her life that evening. She explained that in their time together, she had decided not to go through with it. What a difference that 30 minutes had made!

David went on to tell other examples of how to make someone’s day and to do it for little or nothing in cost. He spoke of buying a present for his wife, Charlie. Struggling to find the right gift, he bought a picture frame for $1.99 with two kids on the beach and wrote a poem using the letters of his wife’s name to start each line. He also encouraged us to look to his book to pull out other examples.

David closed the presentation by sharing with us his mission of helping cancer patients and their families cope with their illnesses. His salons have opened their doors to 4,000 people going through chemotherapy. By coming in with their families, he offers a special experience of letting them participate, not only in the haircut, but also in the private photo-shoot that is held in the guest’s honor. He then turned inward and began to share of his recent experience of being diagnosed with bone cancer in his hip. He invited his wife, Charlie, and their two young daughters to the salon to partake in shaving his head, which he explained made the experience easier on the family. He showed pictures of his struggle and his healing, spoke of how going through this had changed his life, and how he had beat cancer and is now in remission.

David’s amazing story was greeted with a standing ovation. We all left that night knowing we have the power to affect those around us by being a Daymaker with every action.




Marketing through Online Contests


We have had some fun at my office recently, creating a video that will help to generate a feel and personality that represents our company. Mainly, it shows that we can let our hair down (or put some on) and just have some fun. We did this by putting together a rap video in the imitation of a rap song out there called “Thrift Shop.” The reasoning for this video is two-fold: Making it helped to create fun in our company, and it shows you how you can have fun by using contesting in your company’s marketing strategy.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/64913817″>Rap For Your App</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user17964486″>Tori Rose</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

We produced this video in conjunction with a contest we created, because that is what we do for clients – we create contests. Contesting is a very good approach to marketing for a number of reasons. This Mashable article highlights the four main ones.

1) Contests are a great tool for building your fan base.

2) Contests enable you to engage your audience.

3) Contests are a rich source of data.

4) Contests empower your customers to do your marketing for you.

You can check out the full article, but to sum it up, contesting helps you to build your likes on Facebook very quickly. You can double your likes, even if you have a lot already, with a contest. If you only have a few, you can take this up multiple times. You can engage your audience with user-generated content, which is what we did with creating a video and asking for a video in return to win a prize. This competitive nature is part of the human drive, and when others share their personal material, it invests them in your brand.

Getting data is crucial to building relationships, and contests are a key way to do that. This data will help your company to learn a lot about your potential clients during this interaction, so you can better understand their needs and how to provide value to them. It is also nice to have your clients share your story and to help you market. That is what a good contest can do – allow your customers to share with others and help foster name recognition.

When coordinated with an overall social media marketing plan, a good contest can be a powerful tool. What are you doing to create a contest that people will talk about and share with others? Oh, and feel free to enter our contest and Rap for Your App. You just might be the winner of a free mobile app for your company – built by Efficience, of course!




Riding The Wheel Of Life


As I come back from an EO Insignia and Quantum Leap conference in Park City, Utah, I carry with me some great experiences. This conference brings all the segregated forums together to have time to interact with each other and gain a personalized approach to the EO experience. Insignia is for people with 7 years or more in EO, and Quantum Leap is for those with $15-million or more in revenue. We get time with the large group as well as with our own forum, which includes a coach to take us through exercises.

Our coach, Phil Kristianson, incorporated some adjustments and tools worth sharing. One, the Wheel of Life, allows you to look at the key areas of your life and rate them by how satisfied you are with that area. These include family, significant other, health, career, finances, relationships, spirituality, and adventure or fun. See the form here and print it out and try it for yourself.

When you fill this out, you see the areas where you are lacking fulfillment in life and where you are fulfilled. With that awareness and some introspection, you can create goals based around the areas you should be focusing on in order to better your life. If you go around the circle and find it to be up and down like a roller coaster, your life may not be as balanced as you may optimally like. Thus, an effort can be made to balance it out.

These types of exercises help us to understand one another in the forum. We get to know each other and our areas of strength or weakness, so we can share experiences and changes to help one another in those areas. This is a key aspect of forum: to get help and see if you are being real with where you are and how you are getting where you are going.

How balanced are the areas of your life? Do you have a peer or peer group helping you strive to improve?

 




Where Is The Internet Going?


An analyst I used to follow in my investment days, Henry Blodget, is now an editor for Business Insider, and his own company has been on top of the internet space since the beginning. I like hearing what he has to say because he has had so many years watching the ups and downs of the firms in this space, and he offers good insight into where these companies are going.

Business Insider recently held its annual IGNITION conference with great speakers from LinkedIn, Google, Groupon, and Time Warner. With so many people in companies that are on the forefront, you have the opportunity to enjoy a great perspective at what is happening now and where things are going.

Here are some of the key observations that Blodget made from the conference:

With 1/3 of the world population now online, it leaves 2/3 of the market left to grow. However, since this 1/3 earns 85% of the world’s income, the growth and commercial opportunity may not be so strong. As I have discussed before, the smartphones and tablets are now outselling PCs. Mobile should be the focal point because that is where growth and activity are coming from.

Mobile devices have hit the half-way point in developed countries, which usually means growth slows down somewhat. Surprisingly, consumers are willing to pay for content. Blodget says digital content revenues are exploding! He points out that digital advertising is growing just behind TV advertising, with most of this growth is going to Google and Facebook.

Another observation is that Google is a better source of adverting than Facebook because Google is like advertising at a store and Facebook is like advertising at a party. He also notes that the internet has already taken out the newspaper business, so the question is: Will television be Internet Picnext?

Mary Meeker recently released her presentation on the state of the web, and she had similar observations. Internet growth is robust, and mobile adoption as many upsides. Global internet users are growing at 8% year over year, and the USA has 78% penetration, while China has 40%, and India holds 11%. Smartphones are interesting. She shows smartphones as a percentage of total subscribers, and China was at 24%, the USA at 48%, Japan at 65%, and India at 4%. Where do you think you’ll find the most opportunity?

All this data continues to support what we have been discussing for a while, that mobile and all the connectivity it will bring is the major wave we need to be riding right now. What are you doing to get on that wave?

 




Communication Revolution


Back in 1995, when Robert Loest and I were telling the world about our new mutual fund IPS Millennium, we told a story explaining that, historically, change within a civilization first occurs at an inflection point and is followed by big change and then a long plateau period.

We shared how civilization started with hunter-gathers, and people maintained that lifestyle for over 100,000 years. Then, we had an inflection point, learning to plant seeds and grow food. This was the Agricultural Revolution of the Neolithic Era, and it went on for a few thousand years. Then around 1439, Gutenberg invented the printing press, and the advent of real sustained knowledge accumulation and transfer took place.

Sharing information through books led to the invention of the Watt Steam Engine in the 1760s or 1770s, and this really kicked off the Industrial Revolution, which lasted about 100 years. The transistor was then invented around the 1940s, and the Information Age was born. This lasted for about 50 years.

Then in 1995, we entered the Wired Internet Age and dawn of connectivity in real time, all the time, which has lasted around 15 years. Now, we have kicked off the Mobile Era and the dawn of wireless connectivity.

As you can see, the timing of our mutual fund and the start of this new era lined up perfectly. Even though we proclaimed that investing in a connected world would create value, we were unaware of just how connected the Netscape browser was going to make us.

I am sure you noticed how each era has gotten shorter and shorter. Change progressively occurs faster, and some of the issues for business today center around this disruption which happens when we hit a new inflection point, and the game suddenly changes for everyone. However, this also creates massive opportunity for entrepreneurs! Anyone listening . . . especially with the new inflection point of mobile?

I was reminded of that story we told when I read a blog by David Meerman Scott on what he calls the 2nd most important communication revolution in history. When you step way back and, as David says, take a “view from the moon,” you see that the first communication revolution was bolstered by Gutenberg’s invention of mechanical movable type. This allowed books to be mass produced and freed people to more easily share information around the world, so they could go out and invent things and build on one another’s ideas. This changed the world, a world that had not changed much since the beginning of time.

We are now in what David calls the 2nd communication revolution, which started in 1995 with the invention of Netscape, allowing us to have easy web browsing capability. We are living through this time and the major changes that are occurring. We’ve gone from a few million online to billions in short time frame, and it continues to grow.

David explains how real time communication is vital in this new age and that “you are what you publish.” So, are you putting content out there on the web in real time? Check out his video.

Marketing and Leadership Speaker David Meerman Scott from David Meerman Scott on Vimeo.

I would like to thank David for inspiring me. When we met about 4 years ago, he was the one who told me to start writing a blog. It took a little while to sink in, but about 3 years ago, I started blogging sporadically, and shortly after I began posting a blog every week. We are living in the times of sharing content. Are you?




Get Your “Why” and You Will Get Your Customers


I have written before on finding your purpose and discovering why you do what you do. It is important to understand your “why” because it changes the way you communicate with your target audience in order to sell your products or services. Most of us communicate with others by discussing our features and benefits, which is the “how” and “what” of the work we do.

Discovering and sharing your “why” with your audience connects them in an emotional way that motivates the decision making process. In Simon Sinek’s TED video, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action,” he shares his discovery of the “why” and understanding why you do something and why your organization exists.

Simon says, “People don’t buy what you do . . . they buy why you do it.”

The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe. Simon uses Apple, the Wright Brothers, and Martin Luther King, Jr. to show examples of the power of WHY!

This is all grounded in biology. The human brain is broken into three major areas. The neo cortex corresponds with rational and analytical thought and language. The middle two sections correspond with our limbic brains, which are responsible for our feelings, such as trust and loyalty, as well as for all behavior and decision making. When we are communicating to the inside part of the limbic brain, we are talking to the area that resonates with our decision making ability.

This is done by stating what you believe. Instead of talking about all your benefits and features, tell them what you believe. Tell them your “why” of what you do. Those that you resonate with will look at you with their decision making limbic brain and will more likely choose to do business with you.

If you don’t know your “why” and are having a tough time figuring this out, there is a process that has been developed by my fellow EO Forum mate Ridgley Goldsborough that shares the WHY Marketing Formula. Watch his video here. This powerful approach can help you discover your “why.” Use this to connect with your target customers in such a way that business explodes.

Are you connecting with the “why” and the decision making part of the brain for your customers? How do you share your sales and marketing language? Do you share with benefits and features or with the “why” of who you are?




Mobile Apps, Change You Can Believe In!


The world is changing quickly. Many times we find ourselves looking up from whatever we were doing and wondering, “Where did that come from? Why are people doing it that way? How does everyone seem to know about this except me?” In the world of the internet, we all stay connected at all times and all locations, so when changes occur, they are downloaded and spread in real time. Some of us simply choose to see it on our own time frame.

Look around when you walk into a restaurant, when you’re waiting in line, when you’re sitting around the airport or subway station. You’ll notice that everyone is staring at a phone. This scene is so profound that we might be mistaken for a scene from “The Walking Dead” if our faces weren’t fully intact.

The point is that change is here, and more change is coming. Are you on board, or has the train left the station? At Efficience, we are doing educational sessions to provide awareness of these changes and how you can benefit from change.

IDC and Appcelerator conducted a survey of app developers. INC discussed this in an article and noted, “Developers are highlighting a cautionary note that all businesses should pay attention to: Mobile has the power to reshape entire industries and these changes will be swift.” They continue, “It is not enough to port elements of your existing business model over to mobile. Staying competitive in the era of mobility requires fundamentally re-envisioning traditional business models through a mobile-first lens.”

Using a mobile app opens up stratospheric opportunities for business when you consider the strategy behind this connection. At Efficience, we are doing this by building strategies for companies that will help them use features such as push notifications to make customers aware of discounted services or prices in real time to drive more people to you. This is particularly helpful to do when you are having slow traffic and want to increase revenue for the fix cost you are already incurring.

What if you are a restaurant and you want to get new customers? If you get your current customers to download your app, you can send out a notification saying, “Bring in a couple of your best friends that haven’t eaten here before and get a free meal!” The possibilities are endless and will evolve as location based technology grows. By connecting and sharing knowledge, push notification specials, announcements of special events, and updated photos, you make your good customers even better and drive them and their friends to do more business with you.

Does your current advertising and marketing connect you to customers and drive the opportunities for more revenue as well as mobile apps?




Are Your Crucial Conversations Flops?


As I write this blog, I am waiting in the Frankfort airport and traveling to Istanbul, Turkey to join the EO University and about 700 of my fellow entrepreneurs, including some of my very close friends. I have been looking forward to this conference for a while and have been intrigued with Istanbul for as long as I can remember. I suspect it has something to do with a movie I had seen when I was younger. I look forward to sharing some of my experiences from exploring the city and attending the conference in upcoming blogs.

On the plane, I was reading “Crucial Conversations: Tools For Talking When Stakes Are High.” What makes this book so interesting is its implications for all areas of your life, even though it is a business book. It has really challenged me to think about why we tend to mess up conversations in important situations, like requesting a raise, discussing a big business deal, determining if your relationship will last, or trying to rekindle an estranged family relationship.

Why do we mess these up? In a crucial conversation, our natural fight or flight response kicks in, so blood leaves our brain and travels to the extremities in preparation for fight or flight. The blood leaving the brain decreases our cognitive ability to consider how to say the important things we want to say in a respectful and appropriate manner given the situation. In my experience, our words typically come out in the wrong tone or in a way that does not get the desired positive outcome.

The authors have researched thousands of crucial conversations, and they say having effective discussions is a learning process. When you understand what happens to your brain, you can combine this knowledge with some of their key findings and learn and grow in this area.

Their findings conclude people skilled at having productive conversations:

  • Start from the heart. This means they start with the right motives. Winning is usually not the right motive. We are brought up to want to move forward and get ahead. When this is brought into the crucial conversation, it leads to bad outcomes.
  • Focus on what they really want. When you are starting to move toward a position of silence, defensiveness, or punishing the other, ask yourself, “What do I want for myself, for others, and for the relationship?” By clarifying what you do and do not want, you free your brain to start searching for better and healthier options.

I know I need to work on this, so I’ll focus on it until I grow my awareness and really improve. How about you? Are your crucial conversations productive and healthy?




The Value of Connection!


Who are you connected with? What is the value of connection? If you read any of my blogs over a period of time, you could pull out the frequent topic of connectivity. So why is it such a major theme? Even marketing guru Seth Godin discusses the importance of connecting in his recent blog “First, connect.” Let’s take a look back at a little science and history, and then we will come back to how it is relevant in business.

My partner in my first company was a biologist. It may not have seemed relevant, but he was also a portfolio manager overseeing hundreds of millions of dollars. You can look at individual cells and neurons, but watch what happens when they start multiplying to create something unique and totally different. As humans, we start out as one cell that divides into what become approximately 50 trillion cells as adults. Some of those cells are neurons that start firing and connecting with one another to create, among other things, consciousness. In our investment business, we focused on things that were connecting our world at the time, so not only was all this biology relevant, but it created some great returns.

Historically, you can look back and see how civilizations have seen more growth and higher standards of living when they have been most connected to others. For about 5000 years, we lived as hunters and gathers before we changed into an agrarian society growing our own food. Then, the tools to help us become more connected came along, and things really changed. Inventions like the telegraph, the railroads, telephones, semiconductor chips, the internet, and now the cell phone have all been game changers to bring us closer together and create living standards that have blown away the way we lived just 200 years ago.

Many of you have seen some of these changes happen before your eyes, and even more are coming. Connectivity changes our world and the way we work, play, and socialize. If we understand the importance of connections and how they will change the way we live, we can put ourselves in the path of that change and benefit. If we are not aware of it, we will either be left behind or run over by change.

How we connect to the world around us is expanding fast in the mobile space, so how will your business grow by the connections you create with your clients and customers? Are your eyes open to the possibilities that mobile has for your business?




Real Commerce With Mobile!


In last week’s blog, we discussed how we are entering the Web 3.0 world. That world consists of mobile. We talked about creating real value for customers and real commerce for merchants. I recently came across some really great examples of this in an article called Web 3.0: The Mobile Era written by Jay Jamison, who has a venture company that invests in early stage mobile companies.

Mobile acts as a much tighter link connecting advertisers and users, which makes it easier to close a transaction. Jay says “Now technology services have the ability to leverage not just the social graph data from Facebook, but even more real-time / real-world information. Your current location, weather, traffic, local merchants other friends nearby, how often you’ve been to this specific store or location are available (or will be soon). And this in turn provides a whole new level of commerce opportunities for potential advertisers.”

Let’s look at a few companies that are already doing this, like Waze, ShopKick, and Foodspotting. Waze is a service for social mapping and GPS. It provides the fastest routes around congestion with real time traffic information. You can also get offers for the cheapest gas along your route from Waze. Do you think this will drive some people to do business through those offers?

Another mobile app called Shopkick is pretty neat in that it turns the shopping experience into a game. It rewards shoppers for tasks and quests that they complete, and Shopkick is showing that shoppers spend more money in stores while using their app.

How would you like to know the best dishes to buy at local restaurants? With the Foodspotting app, you can. It knows where you are and shows you the pictures of what others rate as the best food at nearby establishments. This is very cool for the merchants because they can offer promotions to those that are looking at the dishes they want to order, which will drive people to go there to eat. What’s to think about? You are looking at a yummy dish that you already are dying to try, and a promotion comes along with it. I am seeing the dollar signs, are you?

As I assume you are staring to guess, the world of mobile is going to be exciting for both the users and businesses out there. This is not a world of ads that will pop up on your screen. This is more about the creative interaction that can occur when you position all the technology that we have in our hands in a way that engages our customers to want to spend money with us. This will be a disruptive world and one in which the innovators will be the winners.

What are you doing to engage your customers with the mobile experience and make them more eager to spend with you?

 

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