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Dave Mitchell

The Problem With Your Price

By | Finance, Marketing, Sales | No Comments

chances are you are not pricing yourself correctly.Price is much more than a number that covers your costs and makes a profit. Your price communicates your value.

Take a minute and think back on how you have set or are thinking of setting your price.

Most business owners have two ways to look at what they should be charging for their product or service. Both ways are wrong!

The first method they use is to look at what their competitors are charging and then try to set their price just above, just below, or right at their competitors price. You have no idea if your competitor is actually making a profit! Even if you think he might, how do you know he’s not sinking himself into debt expecting the business to pick up any day?

This pricing method sets you up for a race to the bottom. When your competitor lowers his price, you will too in order to “stay competitive.” You are also not sure if you can even make a profit at that price.

Setting a “competitive price” positions you poorly as well. There is no differentiation between you and your competition. When a customer has no other measure to make a decision, they will base their decision on price. When a customer’s decision is based only on price, it’s a roll of the dice as to who will win.

The second method often used is to total up what it will cost, your time investment, and how much you think you should take home. However, this method does not take into consideration how your customer values your product or service.

Many of the businesses that I have seen determine their costs like this don’t take into consideration hidden costs. Some costs overlooked are their marketing costs, basic overhead like facility costs and utilities, or taxes.

Chances are good that you are undervaluing your own time as well. Most of us don’t value our own time and far undercharge for the time investments we make in the business. You are worth more than you think.



is a business coach and consultant that works with business owners and managers to create momentum in their business with strategies and tactics that they can implement today. These strategies are based on the five building blocks of business: Marketing, Leadership, Operations, Finance and Systems.

If you want someone to keep coming back and to tell about how amazing you are, give them something that blows their mind. Even better, people will pay a premium for the experience over the commodity.

Product Before Marketing

By | Follow-through, Marketing, Operations, Systems | No Comments

If you want someone to keep coming back and to tell about how amazing you are, give them something that blows their mind. Even better, people will pay a premium for the experience over the commodity.Time to stop worrying about “satisfied customers:” customers that will pay for what you give them and be content with the transaction. If you are in a market where there is good demand and little competition, that’s all you need. However, add a couple competitors and your service becomes a commodity as customers feel they can get a “better deal.”

To avoid the race to the bottom, you have to create what Ken Blanchard calls “Raving Fans.”

If you want someone to keep coming back and to tell about how amazing you are, give them something that blows their mind. Even better, people will pay a premium for the experience over the commodity.

What additional “wow” are you giving your customer? If you’re a barber, give every client a beer. If you clean houses – leave a $2 flower in a vase with your logo. Realtors can have the clients’ favorite coffee or treat in the car before looking at their list of houses. The most simple way to keep a customer coming back is to treat them as an individual.

While you’re creating your amazing experience, also look at the things customers hate about your service or industry. I hate going to the cheap, quick, drive-up oil change businesses – sitting in a dirty waiting room with uninteresting and out-of-date magazines. Why not be able to listen to my radio and read my favorite newspaper, magazine or open my tablet and get some work done? That is exactly what one particular oil service does with their oil change service. Even though the service is more expensive than the other places – every dock is full when I pull up! I know I will get someone in their flat cap (once it was a woman) and an offer of my favorite newspaper or magazine to read. I don’t even have to leave the car. By the way, the newspaper is for sale if I want to take it with me – they will just add it to the bill.

Many of my clients fist come to me asking for marketing. They don’t realize that they don’t need more promotion. The reason they don’t have enough customers is because their business is a revolving door. Their customers leave as quickly as they come in. With a little effort, they could simply close the back door and keep the customers they worked so hard for in the first place!

You can get more ways to develop word of mouth by downloading the free ebook “3 Easy Ways to Get More Referrals” on the left-hand side of this page.
is a business coach and consultant that works with business owners and managers to create momentum in their business with strategies and tactics that they can implement today. These strategies are based on the five building blocks of business: Marketing, Leadership, Operations, Finance and Systems.

Marketing is the first building block of business

Why so much marketing?

By | Marketing | No Comments

Marketing is the first building block of businessEvery business leader I have ever met is looking for hoards of people flocking to their business. They hope that demand for their services will keep them from having to worry about cash flow, making payroll, finding good employees, or having a great product to begin with. It would be their dream, come true.

Marketing is the first “Building Block” that I often focus on for a couple of reasons.

First, a business cannot be a business until enough sales are made to support it. Until that moment, it’s only a hobby.

Second, marketing is the most misunderstood area of business. Most leaders believe marketing means a better ad, a more aggressive sales team, or placement in a “big box” store. Marketing has much more to do with identifying the people who need you, developing a product that gets them excited, and then strategically communicating with them in a way that leads them towards the sale. Much more complicated than buying advertising or making sales calls.

In a nut shell, your marketing challenge is to first get a very clear definition of your market. After you know who, you have to discover what your market really wants (not just what they say they want), communicate your value, separate yourself from your competition, create a strategy that connects all your marketing efforts, develop a system that gently walks them through their purchasing decision and finally over-fulfilling on your promise.

Overwhelmed yet? Don’t be. We can walk through creating your marketing building block together. The is to have a systematic way to walk that path.

Before you get too far, remember my “Marketing Manifesto here:  “Yelling Is Not Selling”


Content will help you develop a relationship with your customer.


By | Marketing | No Comments

Content will help you develop a relationship with your customer.We are becoming more jaded and blind to the marketing around us. Even outside of the holiday season, advertising is becoming more intrusive into our lives. In a 2007 interview with the NY Times, Pablo de Echevarria, VP of Marketing with Perry Ellis (a men’s clothing company) said, “We’re always looking for new mediums and places that have not been used before — it’s an effort to get over the clutter. But, I guess we end up creating more clutter.”

So how can you, the small business leader, cut through all the clutter? What chance do you have against billion-dollar marketing budgets?

Develop a relationship with your customer.

People are no longer satisfied with the pure transactional nature of business. They yearn for a closer connection. They want to know the people they buy from; to trust their judgment. The popularity of blogging and social media is evidence of the craving for a closer relationship with the people they do business with. People now demand to see value before they let go of that hard-earned dollar.

In advertising, the relationship you build with your customer is through your content. By creating content in all of your marketing, you are establishing a dialogue that will set the stage for your initial contact with them. Your webpage, your newspaper ad, your radio or TV spot, social media, brochures, and even the yellow pages determine the relationship and set the expectations and level of trust they will have with you and your business. So why not grease the skids to make the “first date” with your new customer a good one?

One quick warning. Your marketing should have relative content – content that creates a connection, educates, and gives us value before we buy. A run-down of statistics or a list of features does not create a relationship.

If your marketing is missing relative content, you are missing out on the relationship that can garner you long-time, loyal customers.

Without knowing it, you may have broken some unwritten rules of etiquette. Here are a few I have discovered in my experiences that might be affecting your efforts.

Social Media Etiquette – 8 things you may be doing to lose friends and fans.

By | Marketing | No Comments

Without knowing it, you may have broken some unwritten rules of etiquette. Here are a few I have discovered in my experiences that might be affecting your efforts.

Google, “How to get more Facebook Fans” and you will get thousands of articles. With all the information out there, you might expect all business owners to have thriving Social Media presences. Sometimes, however, that just isn’t the case. Without knowing it, you may have broken some unwritten rules of etiquette. Here are a few I have discovered in my experiences that might be affecting your efforts.

  1. Starting a page, inviting friends with NOTHING TO SHOW! Personally, if I am going to like a new page, I would be much more likely to join an active community – or at least one that has the appearance of community. Be sure to populate the page with articles, information, blog posts, etc. to show new viewers what they might expect from liking your page.
  2. Starting a page, inviting friends and NEVER posting. Because a Facebook page is all about engagement and creating community, you MUST be active. Daily posts are a good standard, and a great habit to develop.
  3. Over inviting, when you are holding an event.  When you are having an event, create an event and invite those people who might be able to attend. And, by that, I mean – if you are having a networking event in Seattle, don’t invite your friends that live in Albuquerque.
  4. Over promoting when you are holding an event. Something that starts to look like spam is when you send multiple Facebook messages, or post on multiple friends walls. Be warned as you can easily be reported and lose posting privileges.
  5. Using only your personal page to post your business information. Not only does using your personal profile for your Business violate the Facebook Terms of Service, but it’s also just downright annoying if all you ever share is business information. A Business Page is the perfect place to share sales, new products, etc.
  6. Using only tools to post. Studies have shown engagement on Facebook decreases by over 70% when you use tools anyway. If you want to engage with your Facebook audience, come to Facebook! Feel free to use tools to post to Twitter and LinkedIn! People aren’t necessarily expecting to have a conversation on those platforms.
  7. Creating more pages than you need. I have one connection that starts a page for every activity she participates in and then bombards her friends with invitations to like each page.
  8. Posting the same exact message from your personal account and your business page. Once in awhile, this may be acceptable, but I’ve seen people (who use automators, mostly) who do this with every post. Chances are, they will unlike your page, block it, or unfriend you entirely. None of those are great results for anyone hoping to grow their business.

If you wouldn’t do it in real life, it probably isn’t good for Social Media. Just think of any of these above things in a party setting…wouldn’t that be bizarre? (But, it might make you smile right now just thinking of it.) How do you react when you see content and activities like this? I would love your feedback!

Tracey Warren is a Social Media Expert and owner of Ready Set Grow Marketing. You can read more blog posts from her at

Build a Better Mousetrap? Don’t Forget The Marketing

By | Marketing, Strategic Planning, Systems | No Comments

Just having a better product does not equal great sales

The old saying goes: “Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.” Unfortunately, this saying has led many business leaders to believe that they only need to “build a better mousetrap.” A focus on quality and creating something amazing will fix everything. Eventually word will get out. Right?!?!

Unfortunately, the world cannot beat a path to your door unless the world knows about your amazing mousetrap.

There are businesses that corner the market on word of mouth. People love them and their product so much, that they tell everyone about it. I wrote about one of these businesses here. However, they are  very intentional about encouraging word of mouth.  Also, depending on word of mouth alone leaves a large portion of your target market out of the loop.

Promoting your business is much easier once you have defined the other 4Ps of your marketing (Product, Price, and Position). Using the steps below, you can begin developing your promotion campaigns

  1. Define your target Market: Determine who needs to hear your message. The more specific the market, the more successful you will be. (More here)
  2. Define your message: Understand the motivations of your target market. Then describe how your business solves a problem or fulfills a desire. This is where a copywriter comes in handy. Copywriters are professionals that are experts in writing to sell. They can help you sculpt this message and avoid most of the trial and error it would otherwise require of your marketing. With a clear message, the design can then be sculpted around it with logos, pictures and graphic design.
  3. Define the strategy: Just running an ad, publishing a website, or networking is only effective if you know the steps that will take your ideal customer all the way through the sale.
  4. Always have a next step in place: If a person in your target market does not take you initial offer or buy on their first encounter, what is your next step? Remember that most sales don’t happen until the seventh interaction between the customer and the product. Are they on your newsletter list? Do you have a way to contact them and provide more information? How will you continue to develop that relationship?

Getting away from pure tactics and hoping they make the sale for you will get you the marketing success you have been craving.


Steve Jobs refocused Apple

Steve Jobs – A Quick Lesson

By | Marketing, Strategic Planning | One Comment

When Steve Jobs took over Apple (again) in 1997, he came into a company that was unfocused, bloated and on a downhill slide in market share.  

Jobs began a series of product review meetings. Engineers and management had to bring their projects and justify their existence. He discovered that that the Macintosh had dozens of versions built specifically for a dozen different retailers.

Jobs quickly cut 70% of Apple’s products over several weeks before he finally yelled “Stop!” in one of the product strategy sessions.

He grabbed a magic marker, padded to a whiteboard, and drew a horizontal and vertical line to make a four-squared chart. “Here’s what we need,” he continued. Atop the two columns he wrote “Consumer” and “Pro”; he labeled the two rows “Desktop” and “Portable.” Their job, he said, was to make four great products, one for each quadrant. *

In his first year, Jobs cut more than 3,000 employees, eliminated most of the products in production and development, and refocused Apple on creating incredible products.

It was this intense focus and staying true to the principles of Apple that eventually brought the world the iPod, iPhone, and iPad that has changed how the world interacts with computers.

Fear is something that many of my clients feel when I first introduce the concept of narrowing your marketing and finding a niche. The objection I get most is “I can serve more people if I don’t focus on a target market.” The other is “Won’t I miss out on some business if my marketing is focused on only one niche?”

That was the same mistake Apple had made – they had attempted to be all things to all people. Servers, printers, multiple versions of the Macintosh, and the Apple Newton (a PDA in the early 90’s) led Apple away from its core (pun intended).

By finding your niche, you will better fulfill the needs of your customers, better communicate with them, and reduce your wasted efforts.

*Source: Steve Jobs; Walter Isaacson; 2011; pg. 337(click to get a copy)


Do It, Delegate It, or Dump It

By | Accountability, Leadership, Leverage, life style, Operations | No Comments

Few things in life are equal to the joy of a job well done.

But for most business leaders, we feel the job is never “done”.

One day I was sitting at the table with my family. Sarah (my lovely and patient wife) was telling me about her day. Suddenly she says:

“Care to join us?”

I had drifted away from my family to think about the concerns I had at the office. I was steeling time from my family. This was not a one-time occurrence.

It was then that I decided I had to change a few things.

I started re-evaluating what I was doing and decided that I needed to train my staff better. It was relieving to discover how effective I could be – and I wasn’t overwhelmed.

Many of us as business leaders assume too much accountability. I’m not saying responsibility because we are always responsible for what occurs under our leadership. I’m saying that we do not share accountability with our team – or we fail to make a team that we hold accountable. By delegating and holding our team accountable, we can move the business forward without getting bogged down.

I often talk about the business leader who is still “swinging the hammer.” Instead of running a business, he has positioned himself to be the business. He has not developed a team that will allow him to delegate and leave him with the most important tasks – developing the business.

Even if you are a “one-man-army” there are ways to delegate and develop a team. There are great resources of bookkeeping/accounting, webdesign, setting appointments and even answering your phone. You can out-source these locally or use services like, and

Remember you don’t have to go it alone. Do it, delegate it, or dump it.



Succesful Entrepreneur from small beginnings

The Richard Branson Success Model

By | Follow-through, Hiring, Leverage, Motivation | No Comments

Succesful Entrepreneur from small beginnings

Recently, global sentiment towards entrepreneurs and businessmen/women has become jealous and antagonistic. This antagonism towards business owners is not as strong towards the struggling business owner, but more towards those individuals who build successful businesses.

One target of this growing sentiment is Sir Richard Branson.

While he lives on his own island, hangs out with supermodels and actors, and gives billions to charities, he wasn’t born into such wealth and fame.

You probably wouldn’t have guessed that he would become the 4th richest citizen of the United Kingdom when he started his first business at 16 – a newsletter called “The Student.” About four years later, he started mail-order album sales in two years opened a record store.

Since starting the simple newsletter at 16, Richard Branson has created an international empire with successful businesses in music, airlines, mobile phones, banking, alternative fuels, space tourism, and hundreds of other investments.

So what is it about Richard Branson that separates him from every other person who starts a business?

Find a Need and Fill It – “There is no point in starting your own business unless you do it out of a sense of frustration.” His newsletter hit a segment of the market that no one was providing. His success in music was selling records (first by mail-order and then in his own chain of stores) was being able to sell records at a deeply discounted price and still bring a profit. He signed talented bands that no one else wanted to take a chance on.

Start Small – “A business can be started with very little money.” Sir Richard’s business seed-money came from the proceeds from an unclaimed necklace that his mother found.  His record stores had very little “upper management” as he gave low-level employees responsibility and created a culture of competition for success.

Dream Big – “My interest in life comes from setting myself huge, apparently unachievable challenges and trying to rise above them … from the perspective of wanting to live life to the full, I felt that I had to attempt it.” Who would think that a 21yr old could start a record label? Or an airline that would compete with some of the biggest airlines in the world? How about starting a space tourism company?

Leverage Yourself – “Find somebody else to run your business on a day-to-day basis.” Mr. Branson runs his entire empire from his personal island in the Caribbean. He has been recruiting others to run the business from the very beginning.

Be prepared – “Protect against the worst eventualities. Make sure you know what they are.” What is the absolute worst-case scenario? Do you have the resources to survive it?



Nice Problem to Have

By | Follow-through, Marketing, Strategic Planning, Systems | No Comments

spinning-platesHow many marketing methods do you have spinning right now?

About a year ago, I met with a successful business owner. As we started talking about his marketing, the list of systems he had working for him kept getting longer and longer. He had about 15 methods that all were bringing him highly qualified leads.

While there were some systems he recognized that needed some tweaking or refreshing, he had approached me because his client base was becoming too big and he did not like turning people away that he could help.

Nice problem to have.

So how do you get so many plates spinning at one time?

The short answer is one at a time.

But its not always that easy.

Business leaders are frequently bogged down with too many ideas, unsure of the best place to start with each idea, and often dissatisfied with partially (or poorly) completed projects.

Really, a marketing plan is meant to clarify all these ideas and half-completed projects. You start with creating a schedule of projects that will create several promotion systems to get your target market’s attention, qualify customers, and move them to the sale.  Many of these promotion methods converge into a single sales process called a funnel.

Tis the season to review how your 2013 marketing did and develop your marketing plan for 2014.


To get a jump on the process, I will be holding a Marketing Plan Starter webinar on October 18th at 12:00.

Be part of it and sign up here.

You can also email me with questions at dmitchell(at)