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.
YOUR UNLIMITED POTENTIAL
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.
YOUR UNLIMITED POTENTIAL
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.
YOUR UNLIMITED POTENTIAL
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 Amazon.com.

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.
YOUR UNLIMITED POTENTIAL
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





4 Reasons to Write a Business Plan

28 04 2010

The main reason for writing a Business Plan is not to obtain funding for your business.

Writing a Business Plan forces you to be more concrete and specific. Sure it is difficult and time-consuming. But as soon as you starting writing, you realize there are gaps in your knowledge of your target market, your competitors, your marketing strategies, and your financial projections.

Your Business Plan, will enable you to:

  1. Identify who your target market is.  Can you describe them in detail? What are their hobbies and interests? What is their biggest worry in life? What do they read and watch? Why would they choose your product or service? Knowing your target market gives you clear insight into which of your business features and benefits they would love.
  2. Know who your competitors are.  What are they good at and where are they weak? Can you provide quicker service, or give more for less money, or give better service for more money? As well, with so many businesses now online, you can’t say, “I don’t have any competitors in my town.” You will learn more about running a successful business from your competitors than anyone else.
  3. Describe what marketing strategies you will use.  If you are like most small business startups, you don’t have a lot of funds to allocate to marketing. Social media sites (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) are an inexpensive way of getting the word out about your product. Why not offer your product or service as a prize on one of the popular blogs read by your target market. Make sure you look around your local area for business networking groups – they provide a wealth of contacts, information, and support for new businesses.
  4. Chart out your revenue and expenses projections for Years 1, 3, and 5.  As you set monetary goals for your business, put some stretch in so that you are motivated to achieve but not so unrealistic that you soon become discouraged. One of the first things you will discover is that you are not charging enough for your product/service. You will also discover that in order to reach your monetary goals between years 3 and 5, you will need to change, delete, or add to some of your business practices.

Creating a Business Plan is like eating an elephant – easy if you do it one bite at a time. Start today by identifying who your target market is. Then move on to the other three until you have a clear Success Plan for your business.

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