The Emotional Appeal of Your Business

16 06 2010

When we try to change the behavior of other people, the authors of Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard point out that our first instinct is to teach them something—give them lots of facts and figures. But the most effective change comes when we appeal to other’s emotions rather than their intellect.

Take for example Silpada Jewelry’s recent magazine advertisement, appealing to women who want to start a business and depicting that woman with her family. Large photos and the following text:

“I never run out of vacation days.” When you control your time, there is no need to ration vacation days. “I spend more time with my family, earn a great income, and grow in ways I never thought possible. I truly love my life.”

Those are powerful words that appeal to our emotions. Who doesn’t want to spend more time with their family? Who doesn’t want to control their own time?  Who doesn’t want to earn a great income? Who doesn’t want to love their life?

In Boom Start: Super Laws of Successful Entrepreneurs, they state that a product (or service) is made up of three components: core, tangible, and augmented. The core of your product is its emotional essence. For example, the core of McDonalds’s restaurants is Family, Fun, and Friends. Sure they are selling great hamburgers, fries, and a drink—the tangible product—but more importantly they are appealing to us at an emotional level. And then just in case we become bored with the “same old,” they augment with upbeat advertising, Ronald McDonald and his friends, and the world famous Golden Arches.

As you think about your business, first focus on the heart of your business, the core that stirs emotions. Start there as you prepare marketing material for your business. In order to convince people to buy your product and/or service, pay more attention to the emotional appeal and less to filling the space with facts and information.

Bev McCrostie, M.Ed.
Coaching Small Business Startups

Your Personal Treasure Map

8 06 2010

Several years ago after reading Sarah Ban Breathnach’s book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy, I sat down one afternoon with a stack of magazines, scissors, glue, and paper to create my own personal treasure map. Minutes into my project, my youngest daughter wanted to know what I was doing, and shortly the two of us were sitting on the living room floor each working on our treasure maps.

A personal treasure map is a collage of your ideal life (ideal = an ultimate object or aim or endeavor, a goal) that creates a visual tool to focus your creative energy in the direction you wish to go. 

Visualize your ideal life.  Close your eyes.  Some questions to ponder may include:  How do I want to live my life and who lives with me?  What does my dream house look like?  Where is this house located?  What is the yard like?  Do I have animals?  What kind of vehicle(s) do I drive?  Where is my office located – in my home or at a separate location?  Do I travel and if so where? 

Search through magazines and find pictures of your ideal life.  Cut them out and arrange them in a collage on poster board, in a booklet format, or a framed picture collection – let your imagination guide you.  If you cannot find pictures, you can draw your ideal life. Find a photograph of yourself that you really like.  (You must be looking radiant and happy.)  Cut out your picture and place it in the center of your collage.

Ideally, your picture collection should be representative of each of the 4 human dimensions: Spiritual, Mental, Physical, and Social/Emotional.

At a recent women’s networking meeting, someone mentioned that she laminated her vision board (personal treasure map) and mounted it in her shower so that each morning she could focus on her life’s direction. Someone else remarked that if you can’t find a picture that represents one of your goals, have a photograph taken of you sitting in your ideal car, in front of your ideal home – you get the idea. You can also cut out words or phrases that resonate with you.

Since first creating my personal treasure map, several pictures have come to life. I have spoken at conferences, I do have a back deck to relax on, I have a well setup home office, and I set aside time regularly to relax, read books, and listen to music.

This week pull out your collection of magazines and spend what will be the most rewarding hour, creating your personal treasure map.

Bev McCrostie, M.Ed.
Coaching Small Business Startups

8 Tips for Women’s Business Success

28 05 2010

After attending the Next Steps VAST Workshop for Women Entrepreneurs, I came away with a number of tips for business growth. VAST (founded by three businesswomen) is an equity fund  focussed on investing in businesses created by, run by, or owned by women.

The 14 panel members and presenters are all women entrepreneurs who have started and grown highly successful businesses. Here are a few of their tips:

  1. Delegate – Learn to trust others and hire people to cover your non-strength areas.
  2. Make Lists – Every day do something that makes you money.
  3. Advisors – Develop a network of 12-14 people who will form your resource group.
  4. Sustainability – If you are a service business, build your business so that you are not central to its success. Is it sustainable without you?
  5. Document Financing – Be sure to document all loans and investments in your company.
    Knowing those details may be vital when later seeking further growth funding.
  6. Visionary – Look ahead of the curve and always be willing to reinvent yourself.
  7. Financing – Have other financial sources (credit cards, line of credit) in your back pocket to cover those times when revenues may be delayed. Always keep your commitments and meet your financial obligations.
  8. Free Resources – Make use of the local and online resources that are available, such as SCORE, Micro Mentor, and the Women’s Business Center.

If you were going to select one of the above tips to work on today, which one would it be? Creating a spider web drawing of your advisors? Seeking out one of the free mentors for tips on growing your business? Brainstorming ideas as to how your business could be sustainable without you?

Bev McCrostie, M.Ed.
Coaching Small Business Startups

The First Step to Your Business Startup

25 05 2010

I typically procrastinate starting a project. But once I get started, I quickly build momentum and finish the project. The trick is trying to convince myself to take the first step.

For example, I had been putting off exercising and losing the additional pounds I had gained over the past few years. Last year I was grumpy and embarrassed when I hiked with friends and they easily made it to the top of Diamond Head while I was gasping and had to stop numerous times. I talked about getting healthy, bought books on the topic, and occasionally walked with friends. But I wasn’t willing to commit myself.

The first step started five months ago when I tried a diet that a friend recommended. I lost 4 pounds in 10 days – a modest, healthy loss – and then, encouraged, decided to take the next steps. I had a body composition test to determine my ideal weight, bought a bathroom scale, and took advantage of the exercise room in our complex 6 days a week. Now with just a few pounds away from my target weight, I am actually enjoying exercising! I’ve bought a good pair of running shoes and a friend is training me for a 5 K run in a month’s time.

It’s so easy to procrastinate starting your own business. There are so many reasons to delay: you don’t have the time, money, or enough experience. You aren’t sure where you will find customers and whether your family will be supportive of your idea.

But until you actually stop dreaming about it and take the first step, you will never know if you could have been successful.  Your first step might be writing a business plan, selecting a business name, ordering business cards, purchasing a url for your website, or starting a blog.

What will be your first step?  And remember, no one said you had to give up your full time job quite yet. Many home-based business owners start out part time and only give up their full-time jobs when they have enough business.

Bev McCrostie, M.Ed.
Coaching Small Business Startups

Can They See You?

19 05 2010

Recently, we hiked around Antelope Island in Utah. It wasn’t until we were driving away that we finally saw the island’s namesake. Can you see the antelope in the picture? My husband’s sharp eyes say one of them move their head, otherwise we would have missed them.Antelope Island

Is your business like the antelopes? Do your ideal customers find it difficult to find you?

One of the least expensive and most effective ways to market your business is through social media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and blogging. It does take some time each week (approximately two hours), but I make sure I’m visible in all of these popular spots. To save me time, I’ve set my blog to feed to my Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook accounts.

As well, I read popular blogs in my area of interest (entrepreneurship) and I comment on those blogs.  I retweet other’s postings that catch my eye and that I know would be of interest to my followers. And because I’m an avid reader of business books, I try to remember to write a book review each time on

Want to find out how visible you are? Google your name or your business name – make sure to place in quotes (i.e. “Bev McCrostie”).  Six months ago I started out with about 350 hits. With weekly active involvement in the social media arena, today’s count shows just over 1,100 hits.

Bev McCrostie, M.Ed.
Coaching Small Business Startups

An Expert’s Touch

4 05 2010

BreadI had carefully followed the recipes for making bread, but each loaf came out flat and heavy like a doorstop.  Lamenting to a friend about my failed attempts, she invited me to her house to watch and learn how an expert does it.

She didn’t measure the flour! She meticulously measured the other ingredients but added the flour a cup at a time until she had the right touch – sticky but pulling away from the bowl. She let me touch the dough so that I understood what I was aiming for.

Do you know someone who is an expert in an aspect of their business? Perhaps they are great at networking, customer service, online retail, hiring key staff, or launching new products. You could read up on the topic and muddle your way through. Or you could do as I did and ask for an expert’s help.

I am always surprised by how quickly others are willing to share their experience – to be a mentor. What aspect of your business could use an expert’s advice? Who could you approach this week to seek out that help?

Bev McCrostie, M.Ed.
Your Unlimited Potential
Coaching Small Business Startups