by TD JAKES
A good life is built on strong, solid values such as integrity, love, honesty and purposeful work.
Purpose-based entrepreneurship should encompass the qualities necessary to build a good life, but at times our purposeful work can strain the balance you aim to strike with your family, your faith-community and the quality time you spend by yourself.
What are some ways you can ensure that you maintain a well-balanced life? While you reflect, be intentionally sensitive to the needs of your personal needs, your family and your faith-community as well as to your vision for your purpose-based entrepreneurship vision.
Be careful not to try and conform your “balance” to what’s right for someone else. Your balance may be considered an imbalance for another person. A good rule of thumb is to determine if any one part of your life is being neglected as a whole.
Yesterday the “greatest of all time,” Muhammad Ali, celebrated his 71st birthday. He is one of the most loved men in the world. Why is he so loved? Sure it’s because he’s the former undisputed heavy weight champion of the world, but it’s so much more than that.
Sure, talent matters, but LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Terrell Owens, Dan O’Brien and others are undoubtedly super talented athletes, but there’s something about Jesse Owens, Emmitt Smith, Michael Jordan, Deion Sanders, even Lance Armstrong, in his now infamy, that draws us to want to believe everything they tell us.
Whatever “it” is, they believe it. The “it” factor is– they believe “it” themselves. If “it” is that they’re the greatest, they believe it, if it’s that they can fly, they believe it and they believe it so deeply, we believe it too.
and I find myself searching for clips of him on YouTube to catch a glimpse of the “greatest”. Muhammad Ali is the master of what John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing calls an astonishing guarantee. He made such astonishing guarantees that were more than catchy rhymes, they were promises, it became his brand.
“I’m not the greatest; I’m the double greatest. Not only do I knock ’em out, I pick the round.” –Muhammad Ali
Sure there are athletes who make astonishing statements, but without the strength of character to back up what they’ve said, it doesn’t matter if they are great because so much about who they are contradict the hero we want them to be, the astonishing guarantee isn’t there.
“Champions aren’t made in gyms, champions are made from something they have deep inside them–a desire, a dream, a vision” –Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali spoke like the champion he was and it encompasses the legend he is now. His personal brand, his message, is demonstrated in the way he carries himself. Just as in marketing, when your message is more than just an intelligently crafted positioning statement, when your message is developed out of the character of your business and the promises on which you continue to over-deliver, your message will literally pull people into you.
I’m drawn to Muhammad Ali because how he strives to live speaks to the essence of how I strive to be in all aspects of my life, including my business. We may have different views in certain areas, but his respect and love for humanity is a compelling and magnetic message that speaks to the core of what I too believe.
“Wouldn’t it be a beautiful world if just 10 percent of the people who believe in the power of love would compete with one another to see who could do the most food for the most people?” from The Soul of a Butterfly
When you choose to put the needs of others before your own everyday, when you strive to help others reach their goals and be better versions of themselves, when you’re at your happiest when you’re able to bring happiness to others and service is a way of life and not just a mission statement, in my eyes you are the greatest.
Many people have heard the theory proposed by Malcolm Gladwell that it takes 10,000 hours of dedication and practice to become an expert at anything. In a 40 hour work week, assuming you work all 52 weeks, to reach that 10,000 mark it would take you 5 years to become an expert in any given field. The hard part about inbound marketing is that aside from some core values, it is constantly adapting at the same rate of technology, by the time you become an expert, you are already 5 years behind the inbound marketing trends.
How do we define an expert? Is an expert more influential or knowledgeable? Granted it is important to have both, but does one outweigh the other? The best thing you can do is build both areas simultaneously. Below are three easy tips on how to become a marketing expert in less than 10,000 hours:
1) Gain followers in your field.
The best way to become an expert is to let others know that you are becoming an expert. On social media sites make sure you are adding/following the most influential people. On Twitter for example, if you start following the big time marketers (Chris Brogan, Jeff Bullas, etc.) you will begin to gain other followers who are following them as well. People want to be connect with other people who share the same interests. Furthermore, if you RSS these powerful top dogs, you can begin to blog/tweet about their material and have your own opinion on their take of tips and tricks of marketing.
2) Make content that is trend-setting.
I was told along time ago that there are only 3 ways to develop something in life. Cheap, Fast, and Good. You can have two out of the three, but never all three. If you want to be the first one to post something about a recent event, i.e. the Graph Search that was announced by Facebook today, most articles on this event are up moments after the press release, but the chances of the article being anything but scratching the surface are slim to none. Try to find a happy medium by doing some more in depth research on your topical content before posting.
3) Share your content. 1+2=3
Combine the previous steps to begin to develop your own credibility. The more you repeat steps one and two the faster your expertise in marketing will grow. The great thing about becoming an expert is the closer you get to becoming one to your peers, the easier it gets to be one. Follow these steps and you will begin to see blogs referencing your content and retweets about your now vital information to the public.
If you still believe in Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hour theory, then by all means, try it. The infograph provided by Zintroblog shows two examples of who the theory is based off of. It highlights the art of practicing perfection, but the most important information in the infograph are the 7 Steps to Cheat the Rule.
The Duck Song is a three minute illustration of how quickly a prospective customer relationship can go wrong. When I first watched this video, I missed the glaring small business lessons that are apparent throughout, particularly the interaction between the man and his potentially loyal customer. After watching it multiple times – don’t judge me, the tune is rather catchy – I realized the man reacted very typically to most small business owners and I found four marketing lessons every small business owner should learn if we want to build a loyal customer base.
If every day your customers ask you for things you don’t have and in turn refuse to buy what you do have, you should reassess your product offerings, or at the very least, integrate what your customers want into what you’re offering.
The customer wasn’t asking the owner to change what he was offering, he just wanted him to offer something else. The owner of the stand missed an opportunity to nurture the relationship with an obviously loyal and persistent customer.
Small business owners need to learn that you’re only in business if someone is buying what you sell; we become so married to what we offer, that we don’t listen to what our customers want. The customer wants grapes, give him grapes. An easy way to be sure you’re selling what your customers want, is to ask them. Do a test trial of your product and get customer feedback before staking your entire business on a product that nobody wants.
Don’t insist on hard-selling your product. Instead, validate your customer’s needs. Ultimately, the customer needed lemonade, but until he felt heard he wasn’t in the mindset to listen to what the business owner was saying. Listen to your customers and they’ll tell you when they’re ready to buy what you have to sell, or they’ll tell you that what you’re selling nobody wants. Both are valuable lessons.
As small business owners, we can get so stubborn about what we sell that we will actually send customers to a competitor instead of going above and beyond to make someone happy. The owner left his own business unattended to walk a potential customer over to the competition to give him what he wanted. What a perfect “above and beyond” customer service opportunity. Instead of leaving his own store, why not keep a special stash of grapes behind
“Do you have any grapes?”
“Not usually, but since you’ve asked before, I got some especially for you,” would have been a great answer. And when the customer decided on a whim that he didn’t want grapes after all, but in fact he does want some of your lemonade, you’re golden.
Even after the threat of bodily harm, the potential customer was still willing to give the business owner a shot at delivering what he wanted. This shows us that if you’re likable enough, you have to try pretty hard to lose customers.
What other small business lessons did you learn from watching this customer interaction? Have you ever had a customer continue to ask you for products or services you don’t offer? How did you handle it? Share your answers in the comment box below.