Cultivating Business Relationships Is Not Like Cultivating Turnips

Cultivating Business RelationshipsThe very first law in advertising is to avoid the concrete promise and cultivate the delightfully vague.” ~ Bill Cosby

You know what drives me crazy? Home-based businesses that try to advertise and market like a big corporate monster. From the 1980’s.

One of the biggest benefits of being small is agility and the personal touch. It’s an asset. You can develop deep relationships on a personal level. Shallow cultivation works great for turnips, but not for business relationships.

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A Twizzler Is Not a Sprinkle and a Coupon Is Not Added Value

Incite InsightsA mounds bar is not a sprinkle. A Twizzler is not a sprinkle. A jolly rancher is not a sprinkle sir. Perhaps in Shangri-la they are, but not here!” ~ Apu Nahasapeemapetilon from “The Simpsons”

Who do you like to do business with?


Chances are they add value. If you like doing business with someone, and remain loyal to them, they provide something of value — to you. Not to their “customers,” to you personally.

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Your Business Card Is Your Offline Home Page

Business Card Home PageAllow me to set a familiar scene…

You’re in need of a certain service. You know what you want, and you hit Google to do a search. On the first page of results, there are about 4 or 5 entries that seem to fit what you’re looking for. You click on the link, and based on the first 5-10 seconds on the home page, you decide whether or not that company gets your business.

Now, let’s go to another familiar scene…

You’re at a networking function, and have talked to 20 or 30 people. You are getting ready to leave, and take a quick look at the business cards you’ve collected during the evening. Some you can match with a person you remember talking to. Others are so generic – you can’t help but feel that the person they represented must have been too. You can’t remember a thing about them.

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Industry Groups Are Great, If They’re Not for Your Industry

Making ConnectionsSally couldn’t bear to go to another one of those get-togethers. It’s always the same people talking about the same things. She joined to make contacts and find prospects, but it’s become like a bad AA meeting for designers.

I’ve talked to a lot of Sallys. Home-based business folks who joined some industry group in hopes of getting customers or finding leads. Making connections in your industry is one thing, and an important thing. But thinking a room full of your peers will lead to customers is a common misconception.

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