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38 2009 Will Be the Year for Small Businesses to . . .

With 2009 just around the corner I thought it would be fun to collect the thoughts of some of the leading marketing folks around the web, but do so in what I am calling snack size fashion – so welcome to Snackfest 2009.

In keeping with the current trend in social media for small bites of info, think twitter sized responses – Plain and simple, I asked some thought leaders this question:

2009 will be the year for small businesses to . . .

Want to play along? Here’s how, post your comment answer to the same question, comment on the snack answer of each expert and tweet your thoughts using #snack09. (Follow the Twitter thread)

Here’s how some thought leaders responded to my question.
Seth Godin, author of Tribes said . . Run/grow/compete like mad because the big bad companies that have been slowing you down are in such disarray.
Seth Godin – Sqidoo page

Aaron Wall, author of SEOBook said. . .buy great domain names, as their perceived value drops due to an ad slowdown and browsers eating type in traffic.
Aaron Wall – Twitter ID

Alan Weiss, author of Million Dollar Consulting said . . . to assertively reinvent their relationships with customers and prospects, because you can’t grow by cutting back, can’t improve if you’re afraid, and can’t lead from the back.

John Battelle, founder of Federated Media said . . . get closer to its best customers, add value to their lives, and build new business from that value. Twitter ID

Andy Beal, author of Radically Transparent said . . . take their head out of the sand and start listening to the social media conversations customers, employees, and other stakeholders are having about their brand. Twitter ID

Tim Ferriss, author of the Four-Hour Workweek said . . . get advertising at 70-90% off. Recessions mean budget cuts for larger corporations, which means advertising cancellations, just as in 2001 and 2002. There will be fire sales on remnant advertising, whether print, TV, radio, or online.Twitter ID

Dan Pink, author of Whole New Mind said . . . think boldly and push frontiers while the big guys run scared and retreat to safety. Twitter ID

Tim Berry, founder of Palo Alto Software said . . . refocus on fundamentals: core strategy of identity, market, and focus, plus specific metrics and milestones, basic numbers, and planning as management, with review and revisions. Twitter ID

Bob Bly, author of Persuasive Presentations for Business said . . . prove their unique value to their customers and earn rather than expect repeat orders. Twitter ID

David Meerman Scott, author of The New Rules of Marketing and PR said . . . stop spending $$ on marketing. Instead create interesting information people WANT to consume.Twitter ID

Chris Brogan, publisher of ChrisBrogan.com said . . . demystify the business effects of social tools, and bring real projects to light.Twitter ID

Bryan Eisenberg, co-author of Waiting for Your Cat to Bark said . . . stop waiting for a magic bullet and realize the magic comes from hard work they do.Twitter ID

Look for another helping of expert snacks tomorrow – Snackfest – a second helping!

27 Hourly Thinking is a Recipe for Disaster

If you provide a service, and you charge for your service by the hour, you’re headed for trouble. You are essentially selling a product with a limited supply. The only way to increase your business is to raise your rates. But even that will catch up with you because at some point the old apples to apples comparison with a competitor will check your growth.

The answer is to sell a result for a fee or sell a package for a fee, much like you might sell a product. See when you sell a product, nobody says “I’m not paying you $5000, it only costs you $10 to make it.” You price it and they decide if they value it enough to buy it.

But, that’s precisely what they say when you charge by the hour isn’t it?. “I’m not paying you $5,000 for that, it only took you 3 hours to do it.” See, the thing is, it may have only taken you three hours to produce this one result but it’s taken your 10 years of your life to get good enough to do it. Don’t think hours, don’t sell hours, don’t devalue your experience and expertise and ability to bring massive results to your customers by selling yourself short.

Have you ever delivered an incredible, six figure kind of result for a customer only to return to the office and fire off a $500 invoice? Have you ever felt a customer back down because they didn’t believe you could actually deliver the results you promised that cheaply?

But how do you get out of the hourly trap? I mean everyone else in your industry is stuck with it, how can you expect to defy it?

The secret to this seemingly cavalier advice lies in putting your energy into forging one of two paths.

1) Build a brand that speaks to a narrow market so thoroughly they are willing to pay a premium to experience it.
2) Create and document results so completely that no one will ever blink when you tell them your fee for the result.

When you begin to think this way it will completely change your view of the world and quite likely allow you to more fully serve your customers while enjoying making what your expertise and unique life experiences are worth.

I had a great conversation with Alan Weiss, a consultant well known for his Million Dollar Consulting series of books and some very strong opinions on this notion of value based fees. You can click on over to listen to our chat or download the interview here.

2 Talking Coaching and Consulting with Alan Weiss

Alan WeissJoin me live – Wednesday, Sept 24th Noon CDT – for a conversation with Alan Weiss, author of Million Dollar Consulting. Register here

Anyone who is currently a coach or consultant or who wants to become a coach or consultant can learn a great deal about the industry from one of the biggest names in business consulting.

    We will discuss:

  • The difference between coaching and consulting
  • How to get significant results with your clients
  • How to create unique positioning and branding
  • The secrets to building a million dollar practice
  • How and when to disengage with clients

Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker and author and CEO of Summit Consulting Group, Inc. He is a 2006 inductee into the Professional Speaking Hall of Fame? and the concurrent recipient of the National Speakers Association Council of Peers Award of Excellence, representing the top 1% of professional speakers in the world. His prolific publishing includes over 500 articles and 25 books, including his best-seller, Million Dollar Consulting (from McGraw-Hill). His newest is The Million Dollar Consulting Toolkit