Your Marketing Machine

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Make a Marketing Machine

“One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.”


Elbert Hubbard (1856 – 1915)

Author of A Message to Garcia


I have heard marketing defined as the “quickest path to the sale.” Marketing is not about creating ego-boosting advertisement. It’s about developing a machine that creates value to the business by systematically bringing the right people to you who are pre-qualified and interested in your product.

So if you are to truly have a systematic method of moving your market towards the sale, it has to have some key common traits with a “machine”:

  1. Multiple Moving Parts: By not having more than one method in place, you are missing many potential customers that are may consider your business.
  2. Interlocking Cogs: Just getting them to look at you is merely a start. You have to move them through the process and it has to be more than one presentation of the service with a strong offer at the end. It should be several interactions that move them through the process at their pace.
  3. Elimination of Waste: Efficiency is key. Once you have given them what they were initially seeking, have you kept them asking “what next?”
  4. Re-purposing and Recycling: They are not moving through your main sales process. Now develop a second, third or fourth sales process that will continue to give them value they seek without cutting them off completely.
  5. Come As Close to “Perpetual Motion” As Possible:  Just as your car recharges your battery while you drive, create a process to keep current and past clients coming back and referring to you.


Now is the time to be developing your marketing plan. Don’t just consider your advertising, but work on your sales process as well.


Have you checked out Dave’s Recommended Reading?


Dave has put together an incredible list of business books that EVERY entrepreneur should read.


Check out the list here.

Time Keeps On Slipping

By | Time Management, Uncategorized | No Comments

Stop Letting Time Slip Away

“Half the time men think they are talking business, they are wasting time”


Edgar Watson Howe (1853-1937)


We leak quite a bit of time. How much of your effort is not bringing you the results you desire?


I was once coaching an individual about his business. I was volunteering for a business incubator and had discovered that he had very little revenue and faced the possibility of losing his home. When I asked him what he planned to do for the next two weeks, his response was: “Work on my website.”

“For two weeks? How are you driving people interested in your service to your website? What are you doing to convert website visitors to customers? What you have is a revenue problem that can best be resolved with a little more shoe leather. Since you do not have the money to spend in advertising, you are going to have to distribute flyers, knock doors, subcontract or get a job.”

What in your business are you doing that does not have a clear method of moving people through the stages of service?


Too much material when you're done?


By | Accounting, Cost Controls, Finance, Time Management | No Comments

Eliminate Waste!

“To me an unnecessary action, or shot, or casualty, was not only waste but sin.”


T.E. Lawrence (1888 – 1935)
The real-life “Lawrence of Arabia”


Last week I built a wood shed in my back yard. It’s nothing extravagant and only holds about a cord of wood. As I started building I realized that I had not adequately drawn out my plans.


The result: Wasted materials and wasted time.


It’s fine now. I got it put together and ready for our first cord for the winter. However, I could have saved myself about 30% of the time I spent building it and saved myself 20% on materials. I also have some materials left over that I know can be good for something besides burning it to heat my home.


Every day, businesses waste time and materials. Material lost between product and sale in accounting terms is called “shrinkage”. (By the way – this is not the same shrinkage Seinfeld joked about.)


After completing a project or a batch – look around at what is left over. Create a plan to reduce the waste.


If your business is about service, how can you complete it more quickly?

Bleeding to Death

By | Accounting, Cost Controls, Finance | No Comments


Don’t Bleed to Death

“For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?

Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,

Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.”


Luke 14:28-30 (KJV)


If a man is bleeding to death do you immediately give him a transfusion or should you stop the bleeding first? Most of us would move directly to find a way to stop massive bleeding before we try to get more blood flow into him.


What’s funny is that often in our business when we don’t have the cash-flow we need, our immediate response is to reconsider a transfusion rather than examining the open wound. So are your money problems because of poor marketing or do you need to re-evaluate your expenses? 
Here are a few “leaks” to verify:

  1. Labor – Do you have a staffing model that ties labor hours to production/revenue? How often are your staff going into over-time? Are you leveraging your own efforts by delegating properly?
  2. COGS – Do you know exactly how much of your raw materials go into your product? For restaurants this means portion control and strict recipes. For a  contractor this means knowing how much material will be scrapped and how much of it you can “up-cycle“.
  3. Taxes – When was the last time you had a CPA check your taxes and not just prepare them? If your CPA or tax preparer is only preparing your reports and returns and not suggesting tax savings, I can get you in contact with one who does.

When I am evaluating a client – these are the first places I look for leaks.

Party Time!

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“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”


Jeff Bezos (1964 – )
Founder/CEO of


Often we hear a customer walk out the door as they tell us how awesome we are and how much they loved the experience – and then we never hear from them again or see any of their friends. What happened?


The first question is: did you create a WOW experience or just give them what they asked for? Are you creating a satisfied customer or are you developing a raving fan?


Find the answer to the following and then develop a plan to move it forward:


  1. What is the biggest frustration customers voice about my industry? Can I eliminate or reduce that frustration?
  2. Is there a “human comfort” that is missing? If I have some, is there an incremental change I can make at a low cost?
  3. What can I do to make them feel like the most important customer of the day?
  4. Do I have a procedure to thank them and verify that they are thrilled with the service and that the procedure is going well?
  5. Did I ask for a referral, social media check-in or encourage them back?

This by no means is an all-inclusive list. But it’s a start.


Be purposeful and fanatical of your customer experience.


Stop Leaking

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“One leak will sink a ship: and one sin will destroy a sinner.”


John Bunyan (1628-1688)
English Christian Writer and Preacher


I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about leaks. Businesses are full of leaks.

  • Lost Leads
  • Return Customers
  • Expenses
  • Extra Product
  • Time
  • Effort


So I think for the next few emails, I will expound on these leaks and look for ways to overcome them.


Let’s talk about lost leads, first. Often we talk about customers and putting them into a funnel. We identify who they are and then strategically move them through the process. The idea being that eventually everyone who starts in your funnel will move down.


What this concept lacks is the fact that leads and potential customers choose to leave the funnel for a variety of reasons.


Before you can create the systems to catch and keep these leads, you have to first understand who they are and why they leave. Just talking to lost leads may get your wheels turning on how you can capture them.


Bonus Tip: Sometimes just calling them is enough to get them back into the funnel.

Fear Itself

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“I didn’t fail the test, I just found 100 ways to do it wrong”


Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)


I have a hyper sense of failure. Some of the things that have driven me forward in my life is not always a desire to achieve, but a fear of falling flat on my face. It always follows in the same order: I start moving towards a goal I have and then once I have the wheels in motion, fear of fumbling takes control. I recognize its not the best way to operate, yet it is so entrenched in my psyche, I battle with it constantly. 


As I work with clients, I see fear manifested in many ways. For some the fear of failure prevents them from getting started. For some it’s the fear of loosing what they already have.


How many times have you heard that failure is only another opportunity to learn, failure only occurs when you don’t try again, and any other number of quips, quotes and anecdotes.


I’ve found this is the way I overcome my fear and help clients overcome theirs:

  • What is the worst case scenario?
  • Decide if you can live with that scenario
  • What is the best case scenario?
  • What is the most likely result?

If I do this, I can get away from operating on a fear of failure and move towards my best case scenario.


By | Leadership, Time Management | No Comments

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.”


Jim Rohn (1930 – 2009)
Entrepreneur and Author  




Sarah (my wife) loves Sudoku. Not only does she enjoy it, she’s good at it, too. Saturday, I started a Sudoku. I think I’ve discovered the secret:

Systems and Discipline.


There are three ways to make sure a system is used:

  1. White-knuckled will. In his book Willpower, Roy Baumeister discusses how willpower is truly like a battery The more you use it, the less you have until you recharge it. The harder the choice to make, the more willpower it demands. Too many decisions in a short time will leave us unable to make good choices.
  2. Develop an accountability system. Create a way to track completion, effectiveness and success. Develop consequences and rewards for following systems.
  3. Create a system that eliminates the need for decision making. It is easier to decide to eat healthy food if you have eliminated the option of junk food and begin preparing meals before you are hungry.

So which solution are you depending on?


Eliminate the Need For Willpower:


Leadership Boot Camp

Next-Level Leadership

(Cafe Noir – October 5, 8a-12p)

  • Leadership FUN-dementals
  • Creating and Selling Your Vision
  • Managing Hidden Agendas and Conflict
  • The Next Level of Leadership



Leadership Vs Management

By | Leadership, Time Management | No Comments

“Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out. “

Stephen Covey (1932-2012)

Author: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People


I’ve talked before about the difference between leadership and management. I believe that leadership is casting the vision, deciding the direction, effectively communicating it, designing the process/steps necessary, and assembling the right people to make it happen.

Management, on the other hand is the plodding march that must take place to achieve that vision. It means making the hard decision, cutting the fluff where necessary, and holding everyone accountable for their part. The toughest part of management is not holding others accountable. The toughest part is holding yourself accountable.

Jumping from 7 Habits to E-Myth:
Leadership is an Entrepreneur skill.
Management (not surprisingly) is a Management skill.

Most of us have a hard time being both. Figure out which you are good at. Find someone to help you fill out the other.

You can’t survive without both of them.

Are You a Commodity?

By | Marketing, Sales, Strategic Planning, Uncategorized | No Comments

“A market is never saturated with a good product, but it is very quickly saturated with a bad one. ”


Henry Ford

Ford Motor Company Founder (1863-1947)


The iPhone 5 released last week.


Over the weekend, I overheard someone bemoaning the iPhone she currently has. “It’s so bulky,” she complained.


The New York Times gave the following review:

“Faster chips, bigger screens and speedier wireless Internet connections are among the refinements smartphone users can count on year after year in new models, most of them in familiar rectangular packages. They are improvements, to be sure, but they lack the breathtaking impact the first iPhone had, with its pioneering fusion of software and touch-screen

How many people do you know with a smart phone? How many have more than one or have “upgraded” the same day they were able? Good product – saturation has not happened yet..

Many businesses complain because their product or service is a “commodity.” This is not true if you have found your differentiation and are providing a superior experience. However, the superior performance has to be visible and readily recognized to the client.

Often we feel we are doing more and providing better value than our competition. Here is a short test to determine if it has an impact:

1. Does your customer ask for the added value before you provide it?

2. Do you have to point out the value for your customer to recognize it?

3. Is your value based on credentials that hang on your wall?


If you answered yes to any of these, your customer may not be aware of the value you provide. Time to educate them.


Add Value:

5 Reasons Your Marketing Doesn’t Work
Reason 2: Tactics Instead of Strategy
(Poulsbo Chamber Office – September 26, 11:30p-1p)


Leadership Boot Camp
Next-Level Leadership
(Cafe Noir – October 5, 8a-12p)