Wednesday, May 25, 2005

IMHO, Sincerity trumps Hype, everyday

Every once in awhile I have to dust off my soap box and take a stand. And here it is…I’m really sick unto death of all the hype on the internet. You’ve run into this, I’m sure. Much of it is fueled by the “make m*oney on the internet” crowd. The motivation is all about selling a ton of stuff regardless of whether it’s useful to the customer so you can buy a flashy car, build a huge mansion, and run with the bulls. The sales materials are all about “you too can make lots of dough and live the life style I’m living, all you have to do is give me your cash”.

Puh-leeeze!

Anyone who has ever run a business in the real world knows that building a lasting business involves more than some carnival barker whipping up the crowd at a side show. Sure, hype sells. There’s little doubt of that. There will always be those who are so desperate for a solution to their problem that they’ll fall for any pitch. But, I take a different approach with my own business.

I guess you could say I’m “square” or “old fashioned” or “a do-gooder”. I value things like honesty, integrity, sincerity, service, and compassion. I have no interest in selling people stuff that won’t help them--just to make a buck.

I guess all those internet gurus will look down on me and think I’m a fool. Oh well. I guess I can live with that. I’ve been quietly and sincerely making a living now for years. I don’t live in a mansion or jet off to exotic locations. I don’t feel the need. I live a simple life in a place I love and fill my life with work that is meaningful and causes I believe in. And I succeed by helping others succeed. It’s a great life. I wouldn’t trade it for any other.

Building a business that allows you to “do well” while “doing good” is one of the sweetest life paths any of us can walk. I feel blessed to have the wisdom to know that and the courage to act it out. And now, Goody Two Shoes needs to tie her laces and get back to work.

Until next time,
Caroline Jordan
Get Knowledge. Get Focus. Get Results.
The Jordan Result

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Face Failure and Avoid It

I spoke to a group of life coaches yesterday on the topic of “Why Most Small Business Owners Don’t Prosper…And How You Can Reverse That Trend”. The basis of that talk was a study published by Jessie Hagen of U.S. Bank. The study gives great insight into the reasons that failure rates for small businesses are so high (as high as 80% according to some studies).

It’s a great opportunity to use the mistakes of others to help avoid our own mistakes. I’ve written an article detailing the reasons businesses fail and you can read that article here:

www.TheJordanResult.com/failure.html

Hope you find the information useful and that it contributes to your success.

Until next time,
Caroline Jordan
Get Knowledge. Get Focus. Get Results.
The Jordan Result

P.S. 82% of businesses that fail have owners with poor cash flow management skills. Overcome that skill gap by going to www.TheJordanResult.com/mastering.html

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Stitching Up a Niche

I am a great admirer of businesses that serve and market to one or a small number of niches. It’s such a great business model and one of the fastest ways to grow a business. I know one marketer who develops websites exclusively for life coaches, another business that develops marketing programs for the spa and pool industry, and another business that specializes in providing tax services for clergy. And they’re all busy!

When they develop their marketing materials, services, and products, they are able to speak to a very specific segment of the population. Niching allows them to “go deep” into the needs and problems of one particular profession or demographic. For example, clergy have very specific tax situations with their pay, housing allowances, and Social Security taxes. A tax preparer specializing in this market can market to a very specific segment of the population (members of the clergy) with a specific set of challenges (specialized tax rules applying only to clergy). I have also seen a similar service for truck drivers who also have specialized tax rules.

Today, I have discovered a new medium aimed at one of my favorite niches—quilters. I have a confession to make…When I’m not helping my customers grow their businesses, I can usually be found stitching away on my sewing machine. (Hi, my name is Caroline and I’m a quilt-a-holic.)

The new medium is an online Quilters News Network. A 24/7 internet based television network of quilting shows, tips, and, of course, advertisements for all the things quilters love. I heard about it from another quilter and as soon as I discovered it, my productivity dropped like a rock off the top of the Empire State Building. Did I mention it’s all quilting all day, right on my computer screen? What’s a quilter to do?

The quilting community is a great example of a profitable niche. Whenever I go to my quilting group or participate in a quilting event, I pick up a new tip, learn about a new tool or pattern, or meet a new quilter. And we talk. A lot. “Have you been to the new quilt store?” “Have you seen this new tool?” “Have you tried this pattern?” Word spreads like a wild fire through the quilting community when we find something new that we like.

The quilting niche is made up of 22 million happy quilters. It’s subdivided into any number of smaller niches—traditional appliqué, machine quilting, hand quilting, trapunto, redwork, etc. It is a hungry market—we can’t get enough fabric, tools, and patterns.

What hungry markets can you tap into to build your business to the next level? Serving a niche is the difference between trying to find a needle in a haystack or walking into a room full of quilters and offering them a good deal on sewing machine needles. Which one will give the greatest return on your investment?

Until next time,
Caroline Jordan
Get Knowledge. Get Focus. Get Results.
The Jordan Result